Last week we blogged about the gorgeous and historic Christmas markets in Germany. This week we intended to chat about other European Christmas markets, but have decided to take a trip home to the UK and have a look at what’s happening on our shores this season.
One of the most atmospheric Christmas Markets – and one of the most authentic – is the Cologne Christmas Market at the Southbank Centre. Think gluhwein and gingerbread, delightful foods and unusual gifts at more than sixty chalet stalls between the London Eye and the Southbank Centre. All that shopping will surely make you hungry, and we have many restaurants nearby to recommend. Christmas not quite enough to lure you? There’s also a Chocolate Festival and Realfood Market on certain weekends. There, that ought to do it.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is bigger and better than ever this year. Not only is there the Angel’s Christmas Market with more than 100 stalls of international gifties, but there are fairground rides, London’s biggest ice skating rink, family entertainment, a giant observation wheel and enough dazzlement to exhaust the children and make you a hero. And after you’ve experienced all of it, make a point of having booked a relaxing Mayfair restaurant to restore your energies — maybe for afternoon tea?
Does your life revolve around the City of London? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the Clerkenwell Christmas Market at Smithfield Market sponsored by St John Ambulance on Friday, 3 December. There will be mince pies, carol singers and mulled wine to keep you going while you shop at the fashion, crafts and and food stalls. Then, of course, you’ll need to have lovely supper booked nearby.
Outside London, the Cheltenham Promenade hosts the Cheltenham Christmas Market from Friday 19 November through 5 December with dozens of newly-designed chalets featuring delightful and surprising Christmas gifts in a festive setting. And we have Cheltenham and area restaurants to tempt you with.
The city of Bristol’s traditional German Christmas Market is on now through 22 December with all the details you love about the markets in Germany — chalet stalls, authentic arts and crafts, delicious food gifts, gluhwein. And the Bristol restaurant scene is nothing to sneeze at. Click here for the best.
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is set in the beautiful grounds of the 650 year old cathedral and it’s magical. The many stallholders are hand picked to represent a wide array of high-quality gifts and decorations. There’s a Father Christmas Ice Cave, outdoor ice skating rink and a live Nativity at various times throughout the fair, which is running from 25 November to 19 December. A lovely Winchester restaurant will make the day complete.
Need a Christmas Market in a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Oh, go on then. The Bath Christmas Market has more than one hundred stalls in the breathtaking space between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths and it runs from 25 November through 12 December selling unusual handmade gifts, unique decorations, foodie stuff and everything you need, really, to get your seasonal celebration started. Our Bath restaurants are ready to restore you afterwards, too.
Sometimes this twinning thing works out perfectly, as when Birmingham brings Frankfurt to town for the biggest and longest-running German Christmas Market outside Germany itself and it’s on now. At Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market there are jillions of stalls with traditional crafts and gifts, handmade toys and jewellery and delightful seasonal decorations. The heart of the fair is the bandstand in Victoria Square where musical performances ring out each lunchtime and evening making the festive atmosphere complete. Our Birmingham restaurants will be just the thing after your visit.
Manchester’s Christmas Markets — notice the plural — are actually eight different markets spread about the city, transforming it into a kingdom of Christmas delights. Let’s see if we can name them all (sort of like naming the seven dwarves). There’s the European Christmas Market in Albert Square, the World Christmas Market in Brazennose Street, the French Christmas Market in King Street, the German one in St Ann’s Square, the Craft and Guild Market in Exchange Street, the two Christmas Markets in New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square and the Weekend Craft and Gift Market at the Triangle Shopping Centre. Have we left anyone out? No? Good. Stroll the streets tomorrow through 21 December and immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. Then treat yourself to a fine meal in one of our Manchester restaurants because you will deserve it.
York goes slightly out of its mind at Christmas with some of the biggest fairs, most beautiful early music, most delightful decorations and all within the medieval setting of the centre of town. When Dickens wrote about keeping Christmas in the heart, York definitely got the message. The St Nicholas Fayre with its Victorian costumed traders, roast chestnuts, traders’ stalls and carollers begins 25 November for four days. The weekend of 11 – 12 December sees York transformed into a winter wonderland with the Festival of Angels, featuring beautiful ice sculptures, a procession and guaranteed snow. The Children’s Christmas Fayre is on from today through 21 November followed closely by the International Christmas Fayre 1 – 19 December and the Made in Yorkshire Christmas Market 2 – 12 December. Clearly you’re going to need to book some York restaurants to see you through the marathon of seasonal jollity.
Glasgow is celebrating the season with a lovely Traditional Christmas Market in vibrant St Enoch Square, close to the central rail station. It will be supplying a steady stream of fab Christmas gifts, decorations and food items from 18 November through 23 December. And we think you should give yourself a treat after all that shopping by booking a restaurant in Glasgow specially on toptable.
And now that we’ve given you a flavour of the celebrations that are breaking out all over the country, we’ll be delighted to return to European Christmas Markets next week to entice you into wonderful new experiences this season. In the meantime, stay warm and keep dining.