Every year, the council hosts a historic outdoor travelling funfair and market near the centre of Bridgwater, Somerset. The funfair on St Matthews Field, TA6 7HD is organised by the Showman’s Guild, with the council organising the market elements of the event. Bridgwater Fair attracts crowds from far a field and is recognised as the largest fair in the South West with roughly 40,000 visitors each year.
This annual event, which dates back to the Charter of King John, is now almost 800 years old, the last 600 years of which have been spent on St Matthews Field. The Charter decreed that the four day fair was to start annually on the last Wednesday in September.
2023’s Bridgwater Fair will start on Wednesday 27 September and ends on Saturday 30 September.
Please note any casual traders planning to attend the Fairfield one day market must supply insurance certificates on the day, or they will not be allowed to trade.
Please see related documents below for a map highlighting the locations of the West Street and Fairfield Markets and the parking days for the Fairfield Market.
Market opening times
The West Street market usually opens:
- Wednesday- 10am to 10pm
- Thursday- 10am to 10pm
- Friday- 10am to 10pm
- Saturday- 10am to 10pm
There are around 85 stalls for hire in West Street, TA6 3RW as well as a few peripatetic trader permits (mainly for balloon sellers) and roughly 60 stalls available in the Fairfield, TA6 7HD. West Street traders agree to trade for the full 4 days of the fair with Fairfield traders trading for Fair Wednesday only.
West Street stalls range from 10 to 55 foot frontage – all are roughly a standard 8 foot depth.
Fairfield pitches range from 15 to 75 foot frontage, with the majority of stalls being 20 to 30 foot frontage, with a depth of 20 foot. There is a minimum charge of 15 foot frontage.
Most pitches are allocated to regular traders who have attended the event for many years – we do however welcome applications from new traders.
Electricity supply to pitches:
Generators are available for hire to West Street traders, 3 wattages of generator are available to traders (if pre-booked): one standard, one for heavy-use traders (mainly food stalls) and one for extremely heavy use. PAT testing of trader equipment can also be arranged for a small fee (usually £3 to £5 per item) directly with our electrical contractor. Generator hire should be requested at the time of West Street pitch application.
2023 charges for market pitch hire and generator usage:
The scale of charges are available on our fees and charging page. These charges are non-negotiable and must be paid in advance of the event.
Pitch allocation timetable and payment:
Application forms for pitches are usually sent to our applicant mailing lists in April. For a pitch application to be considered completed, application forms have to be received by the deadline detailed within the accompanying letter, which is usually in June or early July. Pitches are allocated in July, with traders then being notified if they have been successful.
All traders must pay for their pitch in advance of the event, the payment deadline is clearly detailed in letters offering traders a pitch. Payment can be made by cheque or debit/credit card.
Cash is not accepted for payment during the event. If payment has not been received in advance of the event, the council will reallocate your pitch.
Road closures and prohibition of on-street parking
Road closures usually come into place at 9am on the last Tuesday of September, and are lifted the following Sunday after fair, at 10am. West Street, Milton Place, St Matthews Green, Westover Green and St Matthews Field are affected by road closures. Diversion routes will be in place.
Prohibition of parking (and traffic coning) will be in place along many surrounding streets including Northfield, Durleigh Road (to the junction of Woodbury Road), Park Road and Albert Street from 8pm on Monday 25 September 2023 to 10am on Sunday 1 October 2023.
Traders trading at the West Street 4-day market can arrive on the Tuesday before the fair, providing it is after 9am. Stall space must be occupied by 8:30am on Wednesday. Failure to do so is very likely to result in the pitch being re-let. Traders must be set-up and fully staffed by 10am on Wednesday.
Traders trading at the one day Fairfield Market can arrive at the Fairfield on Tuesday, providing it is between noon and 6pm, or Wednesday from 6am, when the gates open. Traders must occupy their stalls by 8am on Wednesday. Failure to occupy by 8am will result in the pitch being re-let.
Temporary cabin toilets, provided by the council, are available behind the former Squib Public House next to West Bow House, behind Westfield House on West Street and behind the Horse and Jockey Public House on Fairfield. Portaloos (including disabled accessible toilets) are also provided behind the Horse and Jockey Public House on Fairfield.
First Aid during the event is provided by St Johns Ambulance. This service is situated in Westfield Church car park on West Street from Wednesday to Saturday of fair week. First Aid provision is funded by the council.