Christmas shopping: My quest for the best in Dagenham Sunday Market

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though - Credit: Archant

It’s that time of year again – when you need all the help you can get to find the perfect Christmas gift. Jacob Ranson visited Dagenham Sunday Market to do the leg work for you.

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though - Credit: Archant

Forget goodwill – Christmas is the season of panicking.

What should you buy? How much should you spend? And have you accidentally given Uncle Arthur the same gift six years running?

Keen to bag some top presents that wouldn’t end up in the bin with the wrapping paper, I visited Dagenham Sunday Market in River Road.

It was 2pm when I arrived – and the sight of the crowd, many of them laden with bags, was encouraging.

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though - Credit: Archant

I found a big selection of clothes and accessories as well as some fun little items – Christmas jumpers, household goods and plenty of food.

Fruit trader Lee Shannon, 48, explained: “It’s been busy but it’s good weather today, which is good news – we’ve sold a lot. Next week should be twice as busy again as it’s the last week before Christmas.”

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Lee’s best sellers, he said, are grapes and cherries – a snip at £2 for a pound of grapes and £3.50 for a pound of cherries.

Sport City Ltd trader Mustafa, 40, said: “The last couple of weeks have been a lot busier than normal. Our T-shirts have been really popular today – they’re only £15 so that’s probably our biggest bargain.”

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though

Cheap as chips: That cheeseburger might not keep until the 25th, though - Credit: Archant

The East Ender added: “Everything is genuine designer stuff – we carry Nike, Ralph Lauren and North Face.

“Hopefully it’ll be even busier next week, but you never know – it could be pouring with rain and everything could get soaked.”

After speaking to the traders I decided to see what some of the shoppers thought.

Dorreth Ramsey, 65, who had come all the way from Islington, said: “It’s my first time to this market. I’ve enjoyed it – I got some gloves, a carpet and some boots.

“It could have done with being warmer and a bit more Christmassy – there are no lights or tinsel – but it was a good day out and I got a good bargain. The carpet was £50.”

Dawn Kadar, 46, of Hendon, added: “I like this market. I come every weekend.

“I got some good bargains – I found covers for my children’s beds and some aftershave as presents for Christmas. “

She added the market had a festive feel in the run-up to the big day.

“They’ve played Christmas songs you could hear the whole way round,” she said.

It wasn’t all about filling stockings – Dagenham Sunday Market also had some great food and hot chocolate across different stalls.

I caught up with the owner of three of them while my fingers thawed.

But Julie O’Brien said the crowds and bustle around me were nothing compared with what she’d seen in the last few weeks. “Hopefully it’ll be a lot busier next week,” the 52-year-old, of Grays, added.

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