Christmas Markets in Britian


(Recently published in the Independent)

It may be five weeks until Christmas, but Britain‘s festive markets have already started opening their doors. Here are some of the best options for mulled wine, traditional wooden toys, ice rinks and much more.


November 23 to December 10

This is a bumper market with over 200 stalls lining the streets of Bath around the wonderful Roman Baths and the Abbey. Nearly all the items and produce on sale are from the local area, or made by local suppliers. Ceramics and glasswear, clothes, toys and homeware are among the items on sale – as well as food and drink. When you’ve done enough shopping, head for the ice rink (open until January 2, 2018) and glow-in-the-dark crazy golf course at nearby Royal Victoria Park, take a tour of the Roman Baths, or watch a performance at the Theatre Royal.;

Bath travel guide


November to January (various dates)

Visitors can take their pick from several markets throughout London, from the traditional Nordic inspired Southbank Centre Winter Market (November 14 to December 30) at Royal Festival Hall Riverside, to the festive extravagance of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (November 18 to January 2), with its giant observation wheel, ice rink, circus shows and ice bar alongside the Christmas market. The pop-up town of Winterville will take over part of Clapham Common from November 23 to January 1, with an indoor market and entertainment including a Street Feast food area, big wheel, crazy golf and roller disco.

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November 19 to January 7 

Edinburgh has a host of festive markets and fairs taking place into New Year. Visitors can choose from the Christmas market in East Princes Street Gardens with a big wheel and Star Flyer chair ride (ends January 6) and another in George Street, with Santa’s Grotto and a new Ice Adventure feature (ends December 24).

Edinburgh travel guide


November 16 to December 24

Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the largest German market held outside Germany and Austria. Visitors can soak up the village atmosphere in Victoria Square while enjoying a range of German fare – from mulled wine and beers to meats and pastries. The Christmas Craft Fair next door extends onto Chamberlain Square, featuring various handmade gifts from local artists.


November 18 to December 23

Belfast‘s City Hall gardens are transformed into a village setting for its Christmas market. Visitors can wander around its stalls, sampling festive treats from Belgian chocolates and French tarts to various cheeses and German sausages. As well as authentic continental food, you’ll find clothing, arts crafts and decorations from across Europe and Santa’s Grotto for children.

Belfast travel guide


November 10 to December 21

Manchester hosts several markets throughout the city, from a European market in Albert Square, a German-style market at St Ann’s Square and French-themed stalls at King Street. You’ll find boutiques and some great food outlets at Exchange Square, and arts and crafts at Brazennose Street with a globally-sourced selection of jewellery, leather goods and speciality foods. There are fairground rides in Cathedral Gardens and more stalls in New Cathedral Street and Market Street.

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November 9 to December 22

The Glasgow Christmas Market continues at St Enoch Square, with an international array of goods on offer. Visitors can sample Bavarian beers and mulled wine as well as hog roasts and French crepes. The additional Christmas market at George Square (November 25 to December 29), features craft gifts as well as live entertaiment and funfair rides.

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November 9 to December 23

There’s a great range of artwork on sale at this traditional market in the centre of Cardiff – from collage and photographic prints to posters and cards. Other stalls sell children’s toys and outfits, glassware and ceramics, knitwear, jewellery and much more. Beyond the market there’s a funfair and ice rink at Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Grotto in the atmospheric setting of Cardiff Castle.;

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November 16 to December 17

Devon‘s cathedral city hosts its Christmas market on the historic grounds of Cathedral Green. Locals showcase a variety of hand-crafted gifts and foods including roast hog, baklava, Belgian chocolates, crepes and speciality cheeses.

Devon travel guide


November 25 to December 10

Brighton does things slightly differently. Over three weekends in November and December, local artists will open their homes, studios and workshops to sell a range of arts and crafts direct to Christmas shoppers in the Artists Open Houses scheme. Openings – at around 60 venues – will take place on weekends between November 25 and  December 10. Items for sale include paintings, prints, upcycled goods, knitwear, jewellery (pictured) and sculpture and textiles. Several artists will hold workshops with drawing classes, craft activities and puppet shows.

Brighton travel guide


November 20 to December 22

The lovely medieval city of Winchester has one of the largest Christmas markets in the south of England, with around 100 wooden chalets in the Cathedral Close, alongside an open-air skating rink. Stalls sell a range of ​craft items, including Christmas decorations, jewellery, hats, belts, artwork and ​wooden toys and there’s a German theme to the food and drink offerings, with mulled wine and bratwurst.

If it gets too crowded (and it can do) wander beyond the Close into the centre of town; just a short walk away are The Square and Parchment Street, both with a range of interesting independent shops – and there’s more shopping and lots of cafes and restaurants in the surrounding streets.


December 2, December 16 and 17

This lovely Cotswolds town is full of Christmas activities and events, with the Sparkles Advent Festival and Market on December 2, when the festive lights are switched on, and a Christmas Market selling a range of food and gifts on December 16 and 17. Both will be held in the newly regenerated Market Place.

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November 17 to December 24

Nottingham‘s Victorian-themed gift and craft market (ends December 24) is full of festive delights, from roasted chestnuts, cider and mulled wine to carol singing. The market is spread over Smithy Row, Albert Street and Lister Gate. Visitors can also enjoy Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland (to December 31) on the Old Market Square, with winter-themed bars, including a new ski lodge style bar, a traditional carousel, children’s rides, an ice rink and live music.


November 10 to December 24

Christkindelmarkt, a German Christmas market set in the heart of Leeds at Millennium Square, offers over 40 stalls and delicacies including bratwurst sausages, goulash and schnitzels and carousel rides. There are free children’s activities every Sunday between 11am and 1pm, including face painting and games. Look out for winter wonderland princesses and other costumed characters. The Ski Hutte bar in an alpine chalet-style setting aims to create an apres ski-inspired atmosphere with music.


November 23 to December 22

Held at Guildhall Square in this lovely medieval city, Salisbury’s Christmas market will host over 100 exhibitors this year. Look out for street entertainers, musical performances from choirs and local schools, as well as a colourful Christmas lantern parade on November 30. Take a break from the market to see the Magna Carta exhibition in Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House – one of only four remaining copies of the document is housed there.


November 28 to December 24

Visitors to Canterbury‘s small traditional market can enjoy the festive spirit in an intimate setting at Whitefriars Square, from German mulled wine and sausages to Christmas music and hand-crafted gifts from its colourful cabins.

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(November and December)

A Christmas Gift Fair is held in the grounds of atmospheric Leeds Castle, which has been decorated for Christmas with cinnamon and orange wreaths, pine trees and sparkling lights. The market will feature live music, children’s rides ,reindeer,  a Victorian carousel and other fairground attractions. The market is open on November 25 and 26, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17.  The Country Homes and Interiors Christmas Fair will take place on the lawns in front of Stonor Park in Oxfordshire from November 23-26 – and again the house itself has been decked out in festive style. A Christmas Fair and Fine Food Market will run at Burghley House in Lincolnshire from November 23-26.





Christmas Markets 2017

(currently posted on the Travel Agent site)

Despite the fact that it’s still summertime, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holiday season.

If you’re thinking about getting away for this upcoming Christmas, these tours supplied by this list are sure to do the trick. Here are six different tour and cruise operators who can add some extra special Christmas cheer to your family’s holiday season this year – whether you are looking for authentic, festive delicacies or to immerse yourself in a different style of holiday tradition.

Abercrombie & Kent

This Christmas, this luxury tour operator is offering families a new “Christmas Markets Along the Danube” holiday tour. The cruise runs for a total of nine days and is limited to only 24 guests, allowing for the trip to be particularly intimate. Travelers will start in Vienna, Austria, and end in Munich, Germany, staying within the confines of the two countries throughout the journey.

While in Vienna, guests will tour the famous, baroque Belvedere Museum, take a Viennese waltz lesson, visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, tour the city while driving along the Ringstrasse (or Ring Road), visit Schönbrunn Palace and its Christmas market as well as other Viennese holiday markets, including the famous Christkindlemarkt on the Rathausplatz. This famous holiday market dates back to the 18th century, but only moved to its present location in 1975. It estimates a rough 3.5 million attendees per year, and offers high quality blown glass and handcrafted wood gifts.

There will be more Christmas markets in Passau, Regensburg and Nuremberg, Germany. At the latter, travelers will get to enjoy an original, homemade, holiday classic: gingerbread.

This tour runs through December 10 to 18, 2017.


This tour operator is offering two different Christmas holiday market tours this year: the “Spotlight on Paris Holiday” and the “Classic Christmas Markets” tours.

On the Paris tour, travelers can spend seven days – either from November 27 to December 3, December 4 to December 10, or December 11 to December 17, 2017 – understanding what the City of Lights is all about during this time of year. There will be a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral, a Seine River cruise showing off the city skyline, and time at the Champs-Elysees Christmas Market. Guests will also dine at the Eiffel Tower, which will have holiday-inspired decorations, and be able to gaze at the Christmas window displays of Galerie Lafayette and Printemps Haussman. The tour will also take travelers out of Paris and into the city of Reims, where they will also get to explore that city’s holiday market.

“Classic Christmas Markets” is a nine-day tour, with dates including November 25 to December 3, December 2 to December 10, or December 9 to December 17, 2017. This tour will take guests through Strasbourg, France, Würzburg, Nuremberg and Munich, Germany, as well as Innsbruck, Austria. Each country will host its own variation of a “Christkindlesmarkt,” complete with authentic gifts, delicacies and European charm. There will also be excursions to other historic and cultural landmarks on this tour.

GOGO Vacations

Explore the German city of Frankfurt on this tour operator’s holiday market itinerary. One of the shorter tours on this list, visitors will be able to enjoy the city for three full nights. Guests will stay at the five-star Le Meridien Frankfurt, receive breakfast daily as well as private hotel transfers, and walk through the Rüdesheim Christmas markets, which includes dinner.

The Rüdesheim holiday market is set in Frankfurt’s “chocolate box” old quarter, adorned with warm, twinkly lights and pine galore. There are 120 stalls from 12 different countries, all gathering to celebrate and share their own variation of holiday tradition with the world. Some “must-do’s” at this holiday market involve trying Rüdesheim mulled wine or Rüdesheim coffee – the latter exclusively made with locally distilled Asbach Uralt Brandy and whipped cream. Asbach Uralt also makes its own variety of brandy-filled chocolates, which could make for an authentic gift. A highlight of this market arrives on is the parade for St. Thomas on December 20, a traditional pageant where minstrels, masked men and others walks through the Old Town.

This tour should be booked by September 30, 2017 and runs tours through November 27 to December 23, 2017.


Travelers can also set sail for the holiday season on this cruise line, with festive options aboard the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria ships. The Bruges Short Break cruises run for three nights, while the Bruges and Amsterdam cruises run for five. Those aboard the Queen Elizabeth on the Bruges Short Break tour will travel from December 8 to 11, 2017, and those aboard the Queen Victoria on the Bruges and Amsterdam tour will travel from December 12 to 17, 2017.

The Bruges Short Break tour will start in Southampton, traveling to Zeebrugge (Bruges) and back to Southampton again. The famous Christmas market in Bruges is home to picturesque cobblestone streets, festive ice sculptures, horse-drawn carriages, ice skating and holiday sweets.

The Bruges and Amsterdam cruise also departs from Southampton, though it not only stops in Bruges, but Amsterdam and Cherbourg, France, as well. The Museumplein Christmas village in Amsterdam hosts live entertainment, Christmas games, gifts and traditional Dutch food and drinks. The Cherbourg Christmas market also hosts live entertainment as well as seasonal delicacies such as grilled chestnuts and mulled wine. There are more Christmas gifts to be found here, along with an ice skating rink and a toboggan run.

Pleasant Holidays

This tour operator has recently expanded its Germany portfolio, making holiday market tours available throughout the country. Known to have some of the best holiday markets, travelers with this tour operator will explore Berlin, Munich, Nuremburg, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Going through so many German cities, guests with Pleasant Holidays will be able to see the cultural differences and influences of each city.

Aside from Germany, there are other cruises offered through Prague, Rome, Salzburg, Vienna and ending in Budapest aboard AmaWaterways’ river cruises.

Insight Vacations

Unlike most other itineraries on this list, this tour operator brings travelers to some “off the beaten path” locations, such as Russia, Poland and Bavaria. Some of these tours include “Christmas Markets of Poland, Prague & Germany,” “Christmas Markets of Austria & Bavaria” and “Easy Pace Russia with Christmas Markets.”

However, there are still other European holiday tours offered, including the “Alpine Christmas Markets” tour through the Alps, the “Christmas Markets of Germany” tour and the “Winter Wonderland” tour through Salzburg and Innsbruck, Austria, Lucerne, Switzerland and Frankfurt, Rothenburg, Munich, Mainz and Heidelberg, Germany. These tours vary from seven- to nine-day itineraries.

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