Sorry, is it too soon for festive jollity?
We think not!
Christmas shopping can be stressful but if you let yourself be seduced by the glittering fairy lights, Santa’s grottoes (all housing the real Father Christmas of course) and the warmly welcoming aroma of mince pies, gingerbread and maybe even a hot toddy or two it doesn’t seem so tough.
Of course there are spectacular markets across Europe which are very tempting but home-grown has its own appeal. Here are a few of the biggest and best Christmas Markets up and down the country. If your favourite’s not here, drop us a line in the comments.
Bath Christmas Market
We love Bath and at Christmas time it becomes rather special with 180 stalls lining the streets around the historic Roman Baths and beautiful Abbey. This year the market’s going green so watch out for decorations made from recycled plastic bags and bottles.
Open from Thursday 28 November to Sunday 15 December 2019
On Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets local makers, designers and businesses offer everything from unique home-ware to personalised presents, Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewellery and more.
Throughout the market, there’ll be tasty food to satisfy any appetite and aromatic mulled wine to warm the cockles of your heart (or anywhere else alcohol reaches!)
For more details see their website
Winchester Christmas Market
The historic Cathedral Close is home to an open-air ice-rink surrounded by dozens of wooden chalets with everything from elegant jewellery to gifts and decorations. You won’t go hungry or thirsty either with stalls selling mulled wine, bratwurst, mince pies and stollen.
Open from Thursday 21 November to Sunday 22 December 2019
The market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and attracts around half a million visitors each year. All the exhibitors are hand-picked for their interesting and often unique products, many of which can’t be bought on the high street. More details on Winchester Cathedral’s website
London – Southbank Centre Winter Market
Eat drink and be merry beside the River Thames with seasonal goodies, sparkling lights, mulled wine and a real festive feeling. A host of pop-ups will keep foodies happy too.
Traders from around the world bring an array of handmade goodies and delicious street food to the riverside with stalls offering Asian, Indian and Greek cuisines, traditional winter favourites like raclette and bratwurst and sweet treats.
Open from now until Sunday 22 December 2019
And you might like to pop back for their New Year’s Eve Spectacular when the world-famous Royal Festival Hall is transformed with five floors of themed club nights, seven bars, two live acts, twelve DJs, eight dance lessons, and outdoor spaces offering the perfect view of the UK’s largest annual fireworks display.
More details of the market and events on Southbank Centre’s website
London – Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
This is arguably the capital’s biggest festive draw. Entrance to the Wonderland itself is free but you have to pay for the attractions. And there are plenty to chose from.
New this year are Peter Pan on Ice, the Teletubbies Christmas Show, Ice Sculpting Workshops, and a Comedy Club and the ice-rink’s even bigger this year.
You’ll need to book early for the most popular attractions.
Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park on Thursday 21 November 2019 and runs til Sunday 5 January 2020.
Full details on their website
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Get in the Christmas spirit with a traditional market in the heart of the city.
East Princes St Gardens is the romantic setting with crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises.
Open Saturday 16 November 2019 to Saturday 4 January 2020.
And while you’re there look out for the Winter Windows display – a magical pathway of stained-glass windows on the theme of kindness. You can see them in West Parliament Square near St Giles Cathedral, Great Michael Rise in Newhaven, North Street, Ratho, the Royston/Wardieburn Community Centre in Pilton and St Patrick Square. More details on their website
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Birmingham plays host to the largest German-inspired Christmas fair outside of mainland Europe. The whole market is European in flavour so expect pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, and roasted almonds which can be washed down with traditional glühwein, weissbeer or tasty hot chocolate.
Open Thursday 7 November to Monday 23 December 2019
The market is a firm fixture in the city’s annual calendar and signals to locals and visitors alike that Christmas is just around the corner. All the details on their website
Manchester Christmas Markets
Not one, not two but eight different locations for more than 300 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spread across the city centre.
They run from Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December 2019 with the market in Albert Square opening for an extra day on Sunday 22 December.
Follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and beautiful bonsai to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.
And don’t miss the food and drink – Manchester’s Christmas Markets offer bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, a Spanish paella or an old-fashioned hog roast. More details on their website