Celebrating the UK’s Best Markets as Great British Market Award Winners are Revealed

Celebrating the UK’s Best Markets as Great British Market Award Winners are Revealed

The Great British Market Awards 2024 celebrated the outstanding contributions of markets to local communities, regeneration, and tourism over the past year. Hosted by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) at their January Conference (25 January 2024) in Birmingham, the prestigious awards ceremony showcased the best in market excellence.

NABMA extends its gratitude to the Market Place for their sponsorship of the awards and Blachere Illuminations for their sponsorship of the conference. Full citations for the winners can be found after the Gallery section.

The award winners:

Highly Commended

In acknowledgment of remarkable contributions, NABMA awarded Highly Commended certificates to markets that exhibited exceptional dedication and innovation in serving their local communities. The recipients were:

  • Bilston Indoor Market
  • Skipton Outdoor Market
  • Watford Indoor Market
  • Bridlington King Street Market
  • Hovingham Outdoor Market
  • Ross-on-Wye Christmas Fayre

Best Large Indoor Market

The Best Large Indoor Market award recognised Swansea Indoor Market.

This is the largest indoor market in Wales with a history of tragedy and triumph but always at the heartbeat of the city. The market offers a huge selection of specialist stalls. It was rebuilt in 1961 and is different to its predecessors providing traditional trades and crafts surrounded by high street retail.

Best Small Indoor Market

Darlington Market secured the Best Small Indoor Market award, acknowledging its positive impact on the high street, support for local businesses, and commitment to fostering community engagement through diverse events.

Best Large Outdoor Market

St Albans Outdoor Market, a charter market dating back to the ninth century, clinched the Best Large Outdoor Market award. Its commitment to supporting new traders, modernizing infrastructure, and active collaboration with local partners sets it apart.

Best Small Outdoor Market

Causeway Speciality Outdoor Market, a monthly market in Northern Ireland, was crowned Best Small Outdoor Market for its commitment to Markets First principles, community engagement, and professional operation.

Best Community/Parish Market

South Molton County Pannier Market, a Victorian indoor market, received the Best Community Market award for its role as a hub for local services, free community activities, and support for charitable causes.

Best Large Speciality Market

Jointly awarded to York Christmas Market and Stratford upon Avon Victorian Christmas Market, this category recognised the outstanding contributions of these markets to their respective cities’ Christmas festivities.

Best Small Speciality Market

The joint winners, Open Art Market and Petticoat Lane Food Court, were lauded for their vibrant atmosphere, support for emerging talents, and innovative approaches to community engagement.

Best Wholesale Market

New Covent Garden, Nine Elms, secured the Best Wholesale Market award for its rich history, environmental best practices, and support for independent food businesses.

Best Food Market

Broadway Market in Hackney emerged victorious in the Best Food Market category, celebrated for its diverse array of street food, artisan offerings, and its integral role in the community’s wellbeing.

Best Market Attraction

Bolton Food and Drink Festival and Belfast Christmas Market jointly received the Best Market Attraction award for their significant impact on local economies, extensive community engagement, and commitment to sustainability.

NABMA Outstanding Market Achievement Award 2024

Borough Market, a beacon of sustainable food production and community connectivity, was honoured with the NABMA Outstanding Market Achievement Award for its longstanding commitment to excellence.

Britain’s Favourite Market 2024

Shrewsbury Indoor Market clinched the coveted Britain’s Favourite Market 2024 title, demonstrating overwhelming support from the public and affirming its position as a unique and vibrant destination within the town.

The Great British Market Awards 2024 showcased the resilience, innovation, and community spirit embodied by markets across the UK. NABMA extends its congratulations to all the winners and commends the collective efforts of the market community in making a positive impact on society.

Citations. (Can be used as quotes from David Preston, CEO of NABMA)

Highly Commended

“Arguably the 2024 awards have presented the most difficulties for any of our judging panels over the years. There have been so many nominations highlighting the amazing contributions that markets and markets people make in towns and cities. In recognition of some markets, that just failed to secure one of the national awards, the panel has agreed to award a number of highly commended certificates.  These are presented to markets that NABMA consider play outstanding roles in their local communities and have demonstrated innovation, commitment and gone that extra mile to deliver a quality markets service.  These awards are presented to”

  • Bilston Indoor Market
  • Skipton Outdoor Market
  • Watford Indoor Market
  • Bridlington King Street Market
  • Hovingham Outdoor Market
  • Ross-on- Wye Christmas Fayre

Best Large Indoor Market – Swansea

This is the largest indoor market in Wales with a history of tragedy and triumph but always at the heartbeat of the city.

The market offers a huge selection of specialist stalls. It was rebuilt in 1961 and is different to its predecessors providing traditional trades and crafts surrounded by high street retail.

The market offers space for live music, exhibitions and seasonal celebrations.

The recently added Market Garden provides innovative space to eat, socialise and work.

Best Small Indoor MarketDarlington Market

This award recognises the positive impact of recent management changes, including work underway to preserve a stunning Grade 2 listed market hall and make it fit for modern trading as a focus of its high street. Throughout the various building works the market has remained open thereby supporting a diverse range of local and quality independent businesses alongside live entertainment, evening markets and various community events.

The market has seen a number of traders graduate from event to fixed premises and the change agenda includes, new units, a street food zone and a market location for a packaging and distribution solution for traders to fulfil online orders. The success of change has also improved the connectivity with the adjacent market square and its trading and community use.

Best Large Outdoor MarketSt Albans Outdoor Market

This is a charter market with some 130 plus stalls that dates to the ninth century. It is in a traditional setting and is a major visitor attraction bringing its town centre alive on market days.

It actively supports new traders with online applications, guidance and advice and these efforts have secured a diverse range of both traders and commodities for sale. It has recently been modernised in both layout and infrastructure as it has recovered out of the pandemic. Local partnerships are important and working with the local policing team is an example whereby antisocial issues around the market have been eliminated.

Management has a vision and a ten year strategy that includes for a forum with traders, residents and businesses; plans to expand the market area; and liaison with colleges and enterprise schemes to attract traders for the future.

Best Small Outdoor MarketCauseway Speciality Outdoor Market

This monthly market ticks all the boxes of MarketsFirst. It has expanded from a single figure occupancy to some 48 stalls and attracts visitors from across Northern Ireland. It works hard on initiatives to attract new traders and to help upskill all its businesses that offer many specialisms including a diverse range of quality local arts and crafts. With its town centre location, it works closely with local businesses, even stipulating to assist them, that no food or hot drinks are available from the market. On market days the town experiences an 8% uplift in footfall.

It is considered that this is a very professionally operated market in respect of both its management and its traders. With its successes and partnership this is a market that cares deeply about the community it is located within, its many users and importantly, its traders.

Best Community/Parish MarketSouth Molton County Pannier Market

This award is to a spacious Victorian indoor pannier market that proudly boasts a Charter and continues to be the home to over 70 stalls offering a wide variety of goods and services. The market is described as the beating heart of the community and the Town Council operator has made regular investment in the service.

The market is a one stop shop for surgeries for local services involving police, housing associations and health providers. It provides free weekly use for a local skate group with some 500 young people registered for regular skateboarding sessions.

The market works closely with a local food pantry that has benefited from the generosity of traders to enable help to be provided to residents experiencing hardship. It also supports a local hospice and last year, on its behalf, organised a market and fireworks evening that attracted an audience of over 5,000 residents and visitors

Best Large Speciality Market – Joint Winners – York Christmas Market & Stratford upon Avon Victorian Christmas Market.

This was a very difficult section with two markets providing outstanding nominations and ticking the #MarketsFirst priorities.

The first award is to a market at the heart of Christmas festivities in this major UK city. Held over 37 days it has provided a unique shopping experience for over 30 years in the most iconic of settings trading alongside some of some of busiest high street retailers and financial institutions. It is one of the go to events in the North of England calendar.

The team that delivers this market lead on the city’s tourism strategy and this Christmas event is at the forefront of the city’s growth and why it is described as one of the most festive cities in the UK.

The joint winner of the Best Large Specialty Market is York Christmas Market.

The second award maintains the Christmas theme with a diverse and vibrant event providing a unique blend of tradition and innovation in one of the UK’s most popular tourist towns. With a commitment to excellence, community engagement and tourism this Christmas market of 320 stalls, held over 4 days, is regarded by District and Town Councils and the local BID as a key driver for economic success. It attracts an annual footfall of 120,000 visitors and injects some £12million into the local economy.

The event welcomes small businesses and in 2023 it doubled its trader database.  This Victorian Christmas Market provides the widest benefits to the whole town, its many businesses, and its widest community.

The joint winner of Best Large Speciality Market is Stratford upon Avon Victorian Christmas Market.

Best Small Speciality Market – Joint Winners – Open Art Market & Petticoat Lane Food Court

The first award is to a private operator of a regular monthly market in London that links community and creativity and is a vibrant hub for independent emerging Artists and Creatives. It offers mentoring, workshops and access to affordable stalls alongside successful initiatives to attract and retain traders that has ensured a steady influx of new and diverse talents. The market is strongly supported by the community creating a lively and bustling atmosphere in a previously disused Square. In 2023 it proudly achieved Community Interest Company status and acknowledges that the backbone to its success has been the positive relationships between the market operator and its traders.

The joint winner of the Best Small Speciality Market is the Open Art Market

The other joint winner is a specialist food market that started out in 2018 with just 3 traders. Now it has 20 traders on its 5 days a week of trading with 100% occupancy and a long waiting list. It is described as a go to place to visit that has changed the dynamics of the area, saved the long established local market and offers affordable prices, friendly traders, meticulous management and quality food. The streets on market days are full of office workers, locals and visitors experiencing food from around the world. The operator has worked with the local BID to run place promotions and events to boast dwell time. The market is also attractive to younger food traders who use social media to show live food preparation, cooking and serving with one trader having over 17,000 followers on Tik Tok.

The Joint Winner of the Best Small Speciality Market is Petticoat Lane Food Court

Best Wholesale MarketNew Covent Garden

This market of 160 plus tenants, with history as far back as 1670, will celebrate a golden anniversary in 2024 on its existing site and by 2027 will be rebuilt with state-of-the-art facilities. The market facilitates the connection between retail and catering businesses across the southeast of England. It is an environmental award-winning market for best practice and proudly works with and supports its traders. The market boasts a Mission Kitchen, as a shared workspace for independent food businesses to help inspire the next generation of food innovators.

Leading towards 2027 it seeks to work with its traders, their many customers and the local community to deliver a better working and shopping environment for all. It is a proud London institution and claims it will soon be able to boast it is the oldest and newest market site in the country.

Best Food MarketBroadway Market, Hackney

Recognised by Time Out magazine this is one of London’s destinations for street food with over 150 stalls each weekend, with a 2-year waiting list, offering a diverse range of cuisines. In addition to the street food appeal, it is also a haven for artisan foods. Its multifaceted role extends to tourism, events and the promotion of healthy living. It has a huge social media presence on many platforms tailored to follow demographics and aligned with seasons and trends. This centre of food excellence is seen as not just a marketplace but a valuable asset that is woven into the wellbeing and vibrancy of its local community.

Best Market Attraction

This was a very difficult award for the judging panel to determine and so we have joint recipients.

Our first award is to a speciality food festival that is so much more. It is now 18 years old, started from humble beginnings and is now the UK’s largest festival of its type. It celebrates local and regional food and helps and supports businesses, restaurants, hospitality and leisure sectors delivering high quality family friendly activities and entertainment over a four-day period.

In 2023 some 500,000 visitors packed the town centre as the festival was delivered with the help of a myriad of sponsors and partners. A huge effort is made to create an inclusive, sustainable community event that involves consulting with visitors, residents, and traders to seek to improve, to refine its offer and make its connections with visitors and the local community even better. The festival engages with chefs of international fame and if James Martin describes the event “as the best festival in the world” then the NABMA judging panel can only agree.

Our second award is to an iconic Christmas Market with over 100 stalls in a famous city centre location. It is regarded as one of the most diverse and multicultural markets in Europe hosting some 30 different trader nationalities and providing them with immense support through travel plans, accommodation lists and access to local suppliers. To motivate social enterprises and young businesses it offers significantly discounted rates and business mentoring.

The market attracts over a million visitors annually with a most recent economic impact indicated of £92 million. It has been named as one of the best Christmas Markets in the UK by The Times and provides a regular backdrop for TV, production companies and photographers. It engages extensively with schools and community groups providing behind the scenes educational visits. Each year it introduces change to reflect user feedback and extensively embraces sustainable environmental business practices.

Our joint award for Best Market Attraction is presented to Belfast Christmas Market

NABMA Outstanding Market Achievement Award 2024

This is an award that the judging panel felt appropriate to award to a market that embraces all the priorities of the NABMA #MarketsFirst Campaign and so much more. It is a market story that began 1,000 years ago but with trading on its current site since 1756 run by a charitable trust on behalf of the local community. It has a mission to show that food can be made and sold in ways that are better for people, for the planet and for the sheer pleasure of eating. It is a market that never stops evolving and is a shining beacon for sustainable food production, supply chains and social connectivity drawing visitors from far and wide. It has a market strategy until 2030 agreed from a most extensive consultation with its many stakeholders.

A new food policy has also been adopted setting out in simple terms the fundamental principles that will inform the market’s long term strategy that include quality; environmental, social and economic sustainability; health, variety and accessibility.

This Outstanding Achievement Award for 2024 is made to a world-renowned food market with an annual footfall of some 28 million customers each year and that is – Borough Market.

Britain’s Favourite Market

Since the launch of the 2024 online voting we have published regular updates as week by week the votes came in. This year the competition attracted it highest ever number of votes approaching 40,000 One market in particular had huge support.

Year on year this competition demonstrates the value and pride that towns and cities place in their local market and the innovation and diversity that applies in modern market management.

The public vote for Britain’s Favourite Market has chosen a market known locally as a unique food & drink and shopping destination that offers a vibrant and eclectic fusion of the hand crafted and the hard to find. The market is part of part of the history of its town and as a new town vision is being debated it is clearly regarded as part its future. The market has respected leadership, is not frightened of change and continually seeks to evolve and provide exciting business and start up opportunities.

We welcome news stories, job vacancies and tender opportunities from our members for publication. If your market has some news to share, please email support@nabma.com

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