The Lincoln Christmas Market kicked off the festive season on Thursday evening, spreading the Christmas cheer to locals and visitors.

The event, first launched in 1982, has since grown from strength to strength and is now host to over 250 stalls – but was cancelled for the first time in 2010 after harsh weather.

The opening night of this year’s Christmas Market was crammed with families, tourists and shoppers as they made their way around the variety of stalls which offered a wide range of unique products.

It was formally opened by the mayors of Lincoln and twinned city Neustadt at the Lincoln Cathedral, with festive music from the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Band.

The market is organised into a one-way system designed to keep the visitors moving and prevent overcrowding in the busiest areas, which proved effective as the market reached its peak times on the opening night.

Dean Dobbs, 19, said: “It’s deceitfully large but that was a welcome surprise, it had plenty of interesting stores.”

Tom Featherstone, a student from the University of Lincoln, said: “The city of Lincoln is the perfect setting for such a wonderful event.”

The Lincoln Christmas Market takes place in the cathedral quarters, running from 10am to 9:30pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sunday.