Everyone enjoys a bit of Christmas shopping and the best thing at the moment is all the Christmas markets on the go.
Here are the best ten we know of in the UK to get things started and then, if you’re up for more adventure, we’ve the best ten Christmas Markets in Europe!
1. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
15th December – 22nd December
This is a huge market and jam packed full of Christmas goodies and stocking fillers. It is now the biggest outdoor Christmas market in England!
Birminghams City Council now make it the centrepiece of their Christmas events. It’s held at Victoria Square in New Street from the 15th December to the 22nd between 10am and 9pm and the stalls are fabulous and include carousels for the kids, mulled wine for the Moms and good German beer for the Dads!
Visit www.visitbirmingham.com for more details.
2. Leeds Christkindelmarkt
11th December – 18th December
The celebrations get under way in Leeds from 11th December to the 18th December with the very popular Christkindelmarkt in the Millenium Square.
There are over 40 chalet style stalls offering superb seasonal gifts, stocking fillers and treats for all the family ranging from toys to speciality foods and delicacies like stolen and bratwurst! There’s even an authentic bier keller!
3. Belfast Christmas Continental Market
17th November – 19th December
The Belfast Christmas market opens on 17 Nov and stays open until 19 December this year.
There are stalls from over 25 countries in the City Hall grounds open from the 17th November offering stunning crafts, food and decorations that reflect all the different cultures as well as a Santa’s Grotto where the kids can visit with Santa from 2pm – 5pm Monday to Sunday. Friday.
The quality of the gifts offered is reflected in a vast selection including handbags, jewellery, lotions and creams, pashmina’s and scarves, toys, trinkets and stocking fillers!
4. SouthBank and London Eye Christmas Market
16th November – 24th December
Open from the 16th Nov right through to the 24th December this is the longest running Christmas market in England. It’s open from 11 am to 10 pm most days but check the website!
This market trails from Queens Walk next to the Thames right along the promenade with 80 decorated chalet style stalls selling a variety of handmade presents and gifts from toys through to soaps and ‘smellies’ for the ladies and silk neckties for the gents! It’s a fun day out with lots of tasting to do as you saunter through the stalls choosing the right gift for those you love.
There is a daily choir performing all those classics you love from 1:30pm each day to enhance that Christmassy spirit as you sip your mulled wine and shop.
5. Manchester Christmas Market
17 Nov – 23 Dec
Manchester’s Christmas Market is a lot of fun for all the family. It’s right in the heart of the city and has been running for 14 years!
There are over 200 stalls offering delicious food, drink, snacks and Christmas goodies as well as every type of perfect gift idea! There are various locations throughout the city this year as the market meanders through the streets but the main area is on Albert Square and runs daily from 10am.
6. North Sheilds Victorian Christmas Market
8th and 9th December
This market is in its fourteenth year and is set up in the famous Victorian Northumberland Square. There are over 100 stalls packed to the gunnels with gifts, goodies and surprises for all the family and a varied menu of entertainment from the stall holders dressed in Victorian clothing to school bands, pantomime groups and Punch and Judy shows too!
7. Bath Christmas Market
Up to 11th December
A really pretty market set between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths with over 140 stalls, great entertainment, festive food and carol singing!
Bath is a really pretty city to explore and the kids can have fun ice skating once the shopping fun is over or, if you prefer the warmth, head to the spa baths and ease those tired feet!
8. Caerphilly Medieval Market
10th and 11th December
Take a step back in time to this lovely Medieval market. They’re offering seasonal music, a castle jester to entertain and over 150 traders selling delicious fayre and gifts for all.
There’s also a selection of medieval acts and activities to entertain young and old, a farmers market, a continental market, street entertainers, Santa’s grotto for the kids, cookery demonstrations, workshops and funfair rides.
9. Edinburgh German Christmas Market and Fair
29th November – 24th December
Edinburgh goes a bit mad at Christmas, but in a good way! The well established German Christmas market is held on the Mound Precinct from 10am to late.
These stalls offer a contemporary and classical selection of stunning gifts, food and drink for everyone to enjoy along with a chance to see a Traditional Highland Village in East Princes Street Gardens between 29th November and the 6th January where every Scottish type of gift and food is being offered from woolly hats to well hung beef!
There’s also the ice rink in Princes St Gardens. This has to be the prettiest skating rink in the world and the kids will find it more so with the bright and noisy fairground flanking it this year! If you’re in to loads of shopping, sparkle and skating, Edinburgh market is made for you!
10. York – Christmas at the Castle
30 November – 22nd December
Castle Howard will delight parents and children alike. This magnificent 18th-century House is opening especially for Christmas this year and will be lit by roaring fires and candlelight.
Go along and marvel at the giant Christmas trees in the Great Hall and Long Gallery, each decorated with over 1,000 baubles, and enjoy the display of traditional Christmas ‘twigs’ – all decorated by the Hon. Simon Howard and Mrs Howard. Beautiful decorations, seasonal displays and garlands will add to the magic.
Musical performances will take place daily inside the House, the shops will offer an assortment of Christmas gifts and the cafés will be offering delicious festive menus.
For an additional charge children can meet Father Christmas at his Lakeside Grotto (weekends only – 11.00am till 4.00pm).