There’s nothing quite like a chilly evening spent wandering through some of the best Christmas markets in the UK. The air scented with roasting chestnuts and filled with festive cheer and carols, your body warmed with a hot chocolate, a mulled cider or even a gluhwein – it’s the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Visit historic Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre, set in the town’s historic fortress. Wander through the grounds and complete your Christmas shopping at Blenheim Palace, or enjoy the bustle of Manchester’s sprawling market.
A hand-blown glass bauble for the tree, wooden toys that remind us all of simpler times, jewellery for that special someone and an endless array of scarves, mittens and hats, whatever it is that you cast your eye on, and open your purse for, you’ll know that it’s that little bit extra special. If you’re visiting Bath Christmas Market, be sure to take a look at the likes of Glass ReFORM, who upcycle old glass into beautiful new homewares and ornaments, Beara Beara a British brand creating beautiful leather handbags and Barty’s trading Co, who import baskets handmade in Ghana.
Food and Drink
Once you’ve had a nose around all of the stands and worked up an appetite – and an equal thirst – you’ll want to find something delicious to keep you going, and you will not be short of options at any Christmas market.
At York’s St Nicholas Fair get cosy with a rich, thick, hot chocolate next to the fire in the spectacular Thor’s Tipi. Or go for something a little harder at Harrogate Christmas market with a nip of finest quality Brittain’s chilli and chocolate vodka. And for those seeking something more traditional, the festive scent of gluhwein is sure to waft from any good Christmas market in the UK.
But a Christmas shopper cannot live on heavily sweetened seasonal drinks alone, so why not begin your quest for sustenance backwards and start with dessert, by trying the quite unique AZRA chocolate shoe at Harrogate Christmas market, or go the whole ‘hog’ with a hog roast in the heart of Manchester’s sprawling and vibrant festive fayre.
Wherever you choose to visit a Christmas market in the UK, you’re bound to come across a slew of your festive favourites, from rich and fruity mince pies and spicy gingerbread to turkey and stuffing, crepes and toffee apples – this is not a pastime for those strictly sticking to their Slim-Fast plan.
So, you’ve shopped until you all-but dropped and you’ve refuelled with a tot of something warming and a hearty snack – now it’s time for some fun!
Wandering through the Christmas market in Manchester city centre you’ll be just a short walk from the city’s pop-up skating rink, meaning you can take to the ice and double-axel – or totter around – to your heart’s content. In York, you might like to take a break from the festivities and enjoy a guided ghost walk of the city’s ancient streets.
Or, for those seeking something a touch more sedate after all those festive snacks, wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to team a trip to a Christmas market with a tour of one of the UK’s most impressive stately homes? Well, you can, thanks to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. Stroll through the grounds of their wonderful home, Blenheim Palace, and admire the brilliant seasonal light displays. Afterwards, you can peruse the gifts at the annual Living Crafts for Christmas fair and end your day with a walk through the palace itself.
For Entertainment, there can be few markets that offer more than Ludlow’s famous Medieval Christmas Fayre. The event is fit to burst with a selection of juggling and jesters, as well as interactive theatre, workshops, live music, and groups wassailing and dancing. But that’s not to say you will not be entertained at other Christmas markets; throughout the UK you’ll find a selection of carol singers, youth choirs, street performers and folk bands sure to keep the festive cheer flowing.
However you choose to spend the build-up to Christmas, we hope you have a wonderful festive season, filled with good cheer.
Oh, and how could we forget? Whichever market you choose to visit, you will have to make time to see the jolly old man himself, Father Christmas!