THE countdown has begun for the very first Christmas market at Exeter's Cathedral Green.
It is set to open at 6pm on Friday, November 23, the day after Exeter's Christmas lights are switched on.
Performing the opening will be the Lord Mayor of Exeter Cllr Rob Newby and the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Rev Dr Jonathan Draper.
There will be a lantern parade, carols by the cathedral and the organisers are promising surprise guests.
All of the 50 stalls available have been taken for the market, which will be open until December 16.
A lot of thought went into the new market before authorities agreed to allow it on the green north of the cathedral.
Dr Draper said: "We examined this very carefully because it is a big deal and a big change, but we could see the benefits for the city and potential benefits for the cathedral.
"We hope this will enable people to know more about what we do and what's on offer.
"It is a very exciting opportunity for us all and we will see how it works.
"The contract is for five years with a break to see if it is right for everybody."
Cllr Rosie Denham, the city's portfolio holder for economy and tourism, said: "It is going to be a great market and we hope this will not only persuade more people to come to Exeter to Christmas shop and support our retailers, but will also encourage people to make more of a trip of it – making a day of it by shopping and staying on into the evening for a meal."
Exeter city centre manager John Harvey said: "We are delighted to be hosting the Christmas Market in conjunction with Exeter Cathedral, Exeter Chamber of Commerce and the Heart of Devon Tourism Partnership.
"The Christmas market will be a hub of activity offering quality produce and unique seasonal charm – all of which will serve to boost the visitor experience."
Nick Rhodes, chief executive of Market Place Europe, said: "We are delighted to be coming to Exeter for the first time and to be providing new retail experiences that will enhance Christmas shopping for everyone.
"We are especially thrilled to be setting up our Christmas market on the Cathedral Green – a place that is a very special venue that captures the essence of Exeter."
Shoppers will be able to enjoy a hog roast, Belgian chocolates, baklava, crepes, speciality cheeses and meats from across the continent.
Local retailers will make up 20 per cent of the traders and will be offering traditional Christmas crafts and local foods.
The market will be open from 10am each day, 11am on Sundays.