The Top 10 Best Christmas Markets
The clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter and colder, which can mean only one thing: the festive season is upon us!
Christmas is no longer a single day in the calendar for us to celebrate, but a full season of events and traditions, from Christmas Light switch-ons and office Christmas parties, to festive themed restaurant menus, television programmes and even fashion trends (got your Christmas jumper ready this year?).
But if you're feeling more like Ebeneezer Scrooge than Elf, nothing will get you in the festive spirit quite like a trip to the Christmas Markets. Come November, the joyful Bavarian markets start to pop up across the UK, bringing with them toys, trinkets and treasures to make the perfect gifts for just about everyone, as well as plenty of delicious food and tempting tipples. Christmas Markets in some cities have even taken the festivities a step further, with unique attractions to make them extra special.
At the Christmas markets you can get all your Christmas shopping done, tuck into a hearty meal, and wash it all down with a mug (or boot!) of mulled wine - it's easy to see why we Brits just can't get enough of them. We've selected ten of the nation's most-Googled Christmas Markets, and asked you to vote for your favourite. See what you voted as the best below!
Exeter Christmas Markets take place on Cathedral Green in the shadow of the magnificent Cathedral. There will be an exciting mix of local and continental traders to give you plenty of choice when it comes to gifts for friends and family. Of course there will be plenty of festive food and drinks to enjoy too, and this year there will be the new addition of a Band Stand, which will feature Carol Singers, live bands and choirs to get you in the festive spirit.
The Leeds German Market has been running for 15 years, and is one of the most established in the UK. While old hats will undoubtedly mourn the loss of the Beer Hall at this year's event, Leeds Christmas Market has made up for it with not one but three new tents.
The Alp Chalet offers a laid-back restaurant experience and will be serving tasty treats like red deer medallions and juicy roast pork with crackling while the live band plays! There's also the Ski Hutte -- an apres-ski inspired bar, or you can get cosy around the roaring fire in the Kuh Stall with a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate. The festivities run right up until Christmas Eve, so there's plenty of time to pick up last-minute gifts.
At Cardiff's Christmas Markets you'll find a vast array of stalls selling anything from ceramics and artworks to clothing, jewellery and Christmas decorations. It's the perfect location to take a stroll if you're struggling for gift ideas, and you can treat yourself to a warming meal and a drink or two while you're at it!
You'll find Liverpool's Christmas markets on Lime Street outside St George's Hall, featuring over 40 festive cabins and the Windmill Bar -- new this year. There will be plenty of festive trinkets to pick up, from decorations to gifts like handmade jewellery.
Of course, there will be plenty of food and drink stalls to, including all the Bavarian favourites like mulled wine, bratwursts and schnitzels, as well as sweet treats like chocolate and doughnuts.
In the run up to Christmas, Nottingham's Old Market Square and Long Row are transformed into a Winter Wonderland, complete with an ice skating rink, food halls, Helter Skelter and Ice Bar, as well as plenty of craft stalls to pick up gifts. The bars, stalls and ice rink can be enjoyed all the way up to New Year's Eve, while the stalls are open until Christmas Eve.
The Christmas Markets transform Bristol's Shopping Quarter during the festive season. The traditional German food and drink returns to Broadmead for 2017, with a new addition in the form of Jagerbarn bar and beer garden. Corn Street will feature St Nick's Christmas Market, a popular local Christmas market selling locally made goods from handmade gifts and art to produce like local cider, craft beers, jams, cheeses and chutneys.
The narrow cobbled streets and medieval architecture of York is the perfect backdrop for a Christmas market. York's St Nicholas Fair is a truly special shopping experience. The many independents shops create a living advent calendar, showcasing their creativity in the shop windows in the countdown the Christmas.
Parliament Street, St Sampson's Square and The Judges Lodging will be taken up by Scandinavian style stalls, while the Small Business Christmas Market means everyone's stockings can be filled with local gifts this year. When you've finished shopping, warm up with a mulled wine around the roaring fire at Thor's Tipi.
The Christmas Markets in Birmingham stretch across the city centre, filling Victoria Square, New Street, Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square. It's the largest German market of its kind outside of Germany and Austria, and is brimming with Bavarian delights.
You'll find a huge range of festive decorations, toys, baubles, jewellery, accessories, hats and sweet treats at the many stalls, while the delicious foods on offer are more than tempting. The scent of sizzling German sausages like bratwursts fill the air, and you'll find firm favourites like schnitzels, strudel and Berliner doughnuts too. And of course, there will be plenty of steaming gluhwein to keep the winter chills at bay, as well as creamy hot chocolates for the kids.
This year is set to be Bath's biggest Christmas Market yet, with 200 wooden chalets selling all the gifts, food and decorations you can carry. More than 80% of Bath's chalets will be run by businesses from the South West this year, so it's a great chance to support local business while Christmas shopping. You'll find local artwork, handmade Christmas decorations, jewellery and toys for sale, alongside delicious seasonal food.
The Bath Christmas Markets will also feature choirs, carol singers, musicians and theatre students performing alongside the market stalls. In the spirit of keeping things local, Bath residents are invited to an exclusive preview evening the night before the market officially opens, giving local residents the chance to enjoy the market before the crowds descend.
Edinburgh has Christmas Markets both on George Street and on East Princess Street.
George Street Markets offer the traditional Christmas Market shopping experience, with a huge array of festive gifts, decorations, and tasty treats to get you in the festive spirit. East Princess Street features the Bavarian Christmas markets, complete with chalets serving German sausages, Gluhwein and more gift ideas than you can shake a candy stick at.
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