With Christmas already looming and decorations being gradually hoisted up, it’s almost time that this years Christmas markets to open for people to lose their money and, in some cases, their minds. A place that you should definitely go on an outing to, Christmas markets hold the perfect balance of cute, handmade items and offensively pointless objects. Whatever your intention, you will find something for everyone. New-year calendar? Yes. Questionable art? Yes. Wooden ducks? Yes. But, which one do you choose to visit? Some of you may have Nottingham Winter Wonderland on the cards, but if you want to broaden your horizons a bit more, have a visit to one of my top 5.
Manchester – From 14th November to 21st December 2015
As the first place in the UK to ever host a Christmas market, Manchester definitely knows what its doing when it comes this kind of thing. Attracting 9 million shoppers each year, its 300 stalls are not to be missed with gifts and food available from around the world. It’s a no brainer as to why LSU are organising a trip for students to go there! Additional to the stalls, Manchester is incorporating LED light performers, magicians and street theatre into its christmas experience this year, so if you’re questioning which market to go to, look no further.
London – 20th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016
By far the most talked about Christmas market destination, London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland makes Christmas truly magical. With a variety of amusements and theme park rides (including an incredibly tall Ferris wheel!) you are spoilt for choice in the range of things you, your friends and family can do whilst there. Definitely a whole-day affair, I can speak from experience when saying that there isn’t time for boredom. Stalls offer bespoke Christmas ornaments, beautifully decorated clothing and top quality jewellery as well as options to ice skate, experience the Magical Ice Kingdom and be wowed by circus performances throughout the day.
Bath – 26th November to 13th December 2015
If, like me, you’re from the southern parts of England, then there can be some question as to where’s best to go for a good Christmas market. There are a few dotted around, but nothing phenomenal. However, if you travel to Bath – only an hour away from Devon by train! – then you’ll be in for a treat. Preaching to have 60% of items locally sourced from around the UK, Bath Christmas market offers something different than the now typical German-style. If you want to go to somewhere that not only has a great English market but architectural brilliance and options to indulge in other cultural activities Bath is the place for you!
The largest in the UK, Birmingham consists of the famous Frankfurt market combined with an extensive crafts fair. Stretching almost over the entirety of Birmingham city centre, you’ll definitely get a good leg workout trying to navigate around the 320+ stalls present. If you think you can put up with the large crowds that it attracts every year and are looking for somewhere that without a doubt will have everything you would expect to find, and a few unique gems that I’ll leave for you to find out about, then don’t miss out.
Glasgow – 13th November to 20th December 2015
Each year, Glasgow is time and again one of the most dedicated cities when it comes to Christmas. Not only does it produce a high variety market, it gets fully involved through charitable Santa dashes, phenomenal light displays, a carnival and ice rink so everyone can really get into the Christmas spirit! One of the longest in duration (over a month!) Glasgow has even tailored their theatre productions to suit the Christmas season, with Peter Pan and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves being firmly on the agenda for this year. But don’t just take my word for it – join in the fun and experience it for yourself!
For more information about what markets could be happening near you and throughout Europe, have a browse through this page.