A TREASURE hunt was one of the main attractions at an event to encourage more people to the Top of The Town.

Hundreds of families and shoppers visited Market Place to enjoy fun activities and browse a vintage and craft market at the first event organised by Top of The Town traders.

Children took part in a range of activities including a treasure hunt for which they went on a tour of nine shops, including The Squirrels Collectors Centre, in New Street, Festival Plaice, in Wote Street, Basing Cycles, in Winchester Street, Aspiral, in Church Street and The Lime Leaf, in London Street.

Participants were tasked with finding a pirate in each shop window and taking note of the colour of its beard in order to win a pot of treasure at the end, which included sweets and toys donated by shops in the area. The vintage market included stalls selling jewellery, clothing and antiques.

And for those working up an appetite, restaurants including The Lime Leaf dished up some tasty treats for the gathering crowd.

Owner of The Squirrels Collector Centre, Alan Stone, told The Gazette: “It has bought a lot of people from the villages and people who are saying they wouldn’t normally come to Basingstoke said they would come here more if there were events like this.

“This is how the market should be. It is community run so it has worked well and all the shops have been happy to put up posters.”

Cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Councillor Terri Reid said: “I’ve had very good feedback about the vintage and craft market and how it made Market Place really vibrant, colourful and bustling.

“I would like to congratulate the traders and thank them for all their hard work and I hope this is the first of many events of its kind.”

The Top of The Town Traders Association will now meet up to discuss the possibility of running the event again next summer.