With Christmas approaching we have been pondering all the delightful things we will be doing over the next couple of months. One of the most splendid activities we have been thinking about is wandering around the Christmas markets that are soon to spring into life.
So this week we are telling you about some of our favourites here in the UK, and next week we will be telling you about the ones you should visit in Europe.
Christmas Markets UK
Open Thursday 20th November – Sunday 21st December. 10am-6pm from Sun-Wed and 10am-7.30pm from Thursday-Saturday.
Founded in 2006, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets. The Cathedral’s historic and beautiful Inner Close plays host to hundreds of pretty wooden chalets that surround a picturesque open-air ice rink.
The organisers put a lot of effort into hand picking exhibitors that have interesting, high quality and unique products, many of which can’t be bought on the high street. For those looking for that extra special something make sure you visit the jewellers, painters, glass makers and textile artists who sell truly unique British gifts and decorations.
It’s also an idea to visit when hungry as there is plenty of choice when it comes to food and drink. Chalets sell festive favourites such as mulled wine, bratwurst, mince pies and stollen, and the Cathedral Refectory and ice rink café are warm and comfortable with plenty of seating and tasty food.
21 November – 4 January
Edinburgh really gets into the festive spirit by playing host to three Christmas markets rather than one!
Their European-style Christmas market on East Princes Street Gardens has 100 gorgeous stalls selling everything from German-style pretzels to glühwein. Children will be entertained for hours with the funfair attractions and rides in the Children’s Market, where finding the Elves’ workshop in the Christmas Tree Maze is rewarded with a wee treat. On St Andrew Square you can put your skates on and glide across the huge ice rink in the Scottish Market, where you can also find delightful hand-knitted woollies and locally-brewed beer.
27 November – 14 December
Bath Christmas Market lines the elegant Georgian streets, against a stunning backdrop of the Abbey and the Pump Room. They have 175 gorgeous wooden chalet-like stalls that mostly feature gifts from the South West, such as lavender from Somerset, jewellery made in Bath, honey from Wiltshire and soaps handmade in Gloucestershire.
From piping-hot bangers to performances of Cinderella at the venerable Theatre Royal, the city is a true British delight. The Bath Guildhall Market is also well worth a visit as they sell their own seasonal specials, from chocolate wine and gardening equipment to hats and chutneys.
As Saturdays in Bath are very busy we suggest you use the Park & Ride or take the train.
27 November – 21 December
York plays host to a bounty of beautiful Christmas events that are sure to delight the whole family. The St Nicholas Fair on Parliament Street has a Dickensian theme, with stallholders dressed in Victorian costume offering Yorkshire’s best, from pottery and cheeses to jewellery made from Whitby jet.
The “Made in Yorkshire” Festive Fayre is hosted at the 15th-century Guildhall, with the 14th-century Barley Hall holding a Medieval Market (November 27th-30th) and Fairfax House recreating the Yuletide of Georgian times.
All over the city there is plenty to do, from special programmes at York Castle Museum to chocolate-making workshops at York Cocoa House. The Minster forms the heart of it all where you can go for a concert, a service or just sit quietly and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
Have you been to any of these markets and are you going to any Christmas markets this year? Do let us know which in the comments below!