One of our favourite things about the season is the array of artisanal Christmas markets that appear, transforming streets into enchanting bazaars. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts and stocking fillers in the UK, or want to soak up the spirit of Christmas abroad, we’ve handpicked our favourite festive markets to weave through with a comforting hot chocolate – or mulled wine – in hand.
Bath: The best for local luxuries
Almost two hundred illuminated wooden chalets line the picturesque streets of Bath, surrounding the iconic Roman Baths and Abbey. This quaint market is renowned for supporting local businesses and, with 90% of the beautiful pieces on sale being handmade in the surrounding villages, you’re sure to find some special gift ideas. From stylish ceramics, glassware and decorations to loveable toys, accessories and fragrances, there really is something for everyone. If you’re visiting the market on the 10th or 17th December, make sure you visit the Abbey for a heart-warming Christmas carol concert, too.
Thursday 24th November-Sunday 11th December 2016
Edinburgh: The best for beautiful views
If there’s something the Scots always get right, it’s a spectacular celebration. Each year, in the heart of Edinburgh, you’ll discover multiple markets, bustling fairs and enchanting events the whole family will love. Our favourite spots include the European Christmas market, which is the ideal place to shop for gorgeous gifts (with an awe-inspiring view of the majestic castle) and the traditional Scottish market, where you can watch the world go by while sampling the city’s best locally-sourced food and drink. But that’s not all: wander the streets of this historic city and you’ll discover dazzling light shows, fireworks, Santa visits, funfairs, drive-through cinema showings and Europe’s largest outdoor ice rink, too.
Saturday November 19th 2016-Saturday January 7th 2017
Birmingham: The best for food and drink
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the Frankfurt Christmas market is one of the largest German markets outside its country of origin and is the biggest one the UK has to offer. A feast for both the eyes and the belly, we recommend spending an afternoon tasting the most traditional German delicacies – our favourites include warm pretzels, tender schnitzels, sizzling bratwursts and tankards of crisp weissbeer. Set to the merry soundtrack of live bands, amble into the adjoining Christmas Craft Fair, where you’ll find an assortment of handcrafted wooden decorations, trinkets, glass baubles and more – allowing you to take home a little bit of that festive feeling.
Thursday 17th November-Thursday 29th December 2016
London’s Hyde Park: The best for festive fun
Once again, Hyde Park is set to turn into an imagination-capturing Winter Wonderland that both adults and little ones will love. Aside from the authentic-looking Bavarian huts, filled with everything from toys and decorations to jewellery, clothing, candles and more, there’s also plenty of festive extravagance not to miss. Entertainment highlights include visiting the Magical Ice Kingdom (an ice-sculpture exhibition, made from 500 tonnes of glittering ice), watching world-class performances of The Nutcracker on Ice, discovering daily circus shows and playing in Santa Land. There’s really no place like it for a dose of wonderful Winter charm.
Friday 18th November 2016-Monday 2nd Jan 2017
Dresden: The best for historic tradition
Dating back to 1434, Dresden’s Christmas market is the oldest in Germany. A real treasure trove of traditional handmade crafts, discover the city’s hand-picked specialities from the surrounding areas, including candleholders from Erzegirge, indigo-printed pottery from Lusatia, gingerbread from Pulsnitz, filigree lace from Plauen and sweet delicacies from Dresden itself, to name but a few. What makes this market so special is that you are welcome to watch the carvers, glass-blowers and bakers lovingly craft everything they sell that day. Decorated with thousands of twinkling lights, it’s a romantic and charming destination to visit with a loved one.
Thursday 24th November-Saturday 24th December 2016
Feeling inspired to get into the festive mood? Discover our collection of artificial Christmas trees, decorations and Winter fragrances for your home or browse our special gift ideas for him, her and little ones.