Christmas has long been celebrated with aplomb in the UK, ever since Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas foods, decorations and gift in the 17th century – we’ve more than made up for it since! The traditional Christkindlmarkt started in Germany, Austria, Alsace and South Tyrol in the late Middle Ages and are now held every winter during the 4 weeks of Advent in most major towns and cities in the UK.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market – 15 November – 24 December 2013
The Christmas Market at the Southbank Centre in central London channels the traditional German markets and Queen’s Walk will come alive right along the Thames River, from the London Eye to Waterloo Bridge. Now in its fifth year there will be 80 specially themed wooden chalets selling handmade gifts, unique jewellery and traditional wooden toys. Continuing in the spirit there is German Bratwurst (sausage), German mulled wine (Glühwein) and cinnamon gingerbreads.
Edinburgh Christmas Market – 22 November – 24 December 2013
Market stallholders from Germany will set up their festive stalls in Edinburgh’s Mound Precinct this winter bringing an authentic experience to Scotland. Enjoy the seriously Christmassy atmosphere filled with local and German foods such as fried potato cake, crepes, German beer, candied nuts and Lebkuchen cookies made from gingerbread.
Norwich Christmas Market – 22 November – 23 December 2013
Watch the Christmas lights switch on and stock up on locally produced goodies at the Norfolk Diet Farmers’ Market on 14 December at the city’s Forum building. Then several Christmas craft fairs are held at various locations throughout the city such as the Castle Mall, The Forum and medieval Dragon Hall. There are handmade clothes, jewellery and local foods on offer with a great range of festive gifts and presents.
If you’re looking for the perfect getaway this season check out the perfect destinations to celebrate Christmas and the ideal locations to avoid Christmas. And follow our tips and advice to surviving the Christmas travel season.
Manchester Christmas Markets – 15 November – 22 December 2013
For one of the largest Christmas markets in the UK head to Manchester for the 15th annual market that promises to be bigger and better this year. Over 200 stalls will line the local streets with food and gifts on sale from across Europe. There will be clothes, presents, toys, jewellery and crafts on offer as well as a wide range of European food from Dutch pancakes, Spanish paella and Hungarian goulash. Treat your loved ones to an usual gift this season such as a bonsai tree, Dutch cheese hamper or Spanish chorizo parcel.
Lincoln Christmas Market – 5 – 8 December 2013
Lincoln is a charming cathedral city with more than 2,000 years of local history and this winter, 250 traditional market stalls will adorn the cobbled streets and medieval square. Lincoln is credited with bringing the first German style Christmas market to the UK in 1982 thanks to influence from its twin town of Neustadt in Germany. In fact traders from Neustadt still bring their local crafts, drink and foods to over 250,000 visitors from across the world. As well as German gifts there are also handmade local wooden toys, ceramics, artwork and hand painted glassware.
Belfast Christmas Market – 16 November – 21 December 2013
For a taste of a traditional continental market visit Belfast where the City Hall Gardens are turned into a winter wonderland. There is food, drink and gifts aplenty varying from traditional stollen, gingerbread Magenbrot, German Bratwurst, hot mulled wine and handmade toys, gifts and wares.
Newcastle Continental Christmas Market – 18 – 30 November 2013
The Newcastle festive market is a great opportunity to shop for unique and handmade gifts in a historic setting. Set around Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street and Grey Street the food is a varied affair, with German currywurst, Dutch waffles, Spanish paella and French crepes.
Blenheim Palace Living Crafts Fair, Oxford – 15 – 17 November 2013
The beautiful Blenheim Palace is the perfect location for a festive treat and the palace comes alive with 100 British designers showcasing their wares. Think chic high quality pieces of fashion clothing, jewellery, toys, ceramics and beauty products. Get your chosen gift personalised for great impact and choose from leatherwork, photography and stone carvings.
By Julie Bowman