The Christmas spirit is alive and thriving across the UK, and there is no better way to enjoy the season than at one of the many Christmas Markets. All of them are designed to inspire and help you find those unique gifts for family and loved ones.
Based on the classic German import, Britain’s Christmas Markets are all perfect day trips. All within reach of our wide variety of well-appointed holiday cottages across southern England, these Yuletide fairs are perfect to enjoy on family outings or romantic pre-Christmas getaways. Grab a warm mince pie and cup of hot chocolate, and read through our guide to the UK’s favourite Christmas Markets for 2015.
With loads of Christmas crafts and gift stalls, this Dorset market will take place on 29 November. The event will feature scrumptious food stalls and a Victorian Tea Lounge serving mince pies and cakes. Much of the market proceeds will go to support Relate, the relationship people. For more information, or contact details, please visit the event listing.
The town’s High Street will come to festive life during the Shaftesbury Christmas Street Fair on 13 December. From Angel Square to the Commons, the event is perfect for those looking for last-minute gifts. There will be plenty of live music and food to enjoy as well. If you can’t wait until mid-December, Shaftesbury offers regular Christmas events that are perfect for finding lovely gifts. There are regular Christmas events throughout the rest of November and into December, including fairs, musical performances and garden displays. For the perfect Christmas celebration a short distance from our beautiful Dorset holiday cottages, Shaftesbury Tourist Board has all the details.
The New Forest and Hampshire
In early December, the New Forest will host a Christmas Fair. Held in the region’s heart, the New Forest Christmas Fair 2015 will be held in Brockenhurst on the weekend of 5-6 December. Organisers expect thousands of visitors to embrace the Christmas spirit during the event. There will be festive music, locally crafted gifts and keepsakes. Additionally, the event promises a visit from Father Christmas, carol singing and delightful mulled wine.
The historic and majestic Winchester Cathedral plays a central role in this Christmas wonderland. Now open and lasting through to 22 December, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market brings in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Inspired by the brilliant German markets, this winter wonderland features wooden chalets nestled within the cathedral’s inner close. The market is not your only reason to enjoy the festive season in Winchester. The Christmas in Winchester website offers details on the many events that are taking place. There are theatre displays, musical celebrations and outdoor ice skating to enjoy.
Oxford city centre hosts a number of Christmas-related celebrations. The Oxford Christmas Market, held on historic Broad Street, will entertain and entice visitors with festive gifts and delicious delights. Running from 10-20 December this year, the event features stunning wooden stalls filled with unique and beautiful gifts for your friends and family. There will be lovely Christmas music, food, and a working Victorian carousel.
This Oxfordshire gem puts on its Christmas finery to celebrate the season. Running through 20 December, Blenheim Palace opens up its decorated gardens and courtyards. With gifts, late-night shopping events, cafés, foodie celebrations, musical concerts, and arts displays, Christmas at the palace is a one-of-a-kind experience. Buy tickets for your visit here.
The centrepiece of the city Salisbury Cathedral hosts one of the premier Christmas events in the heart of Wiltshire. The Salisbury Christmas Market features more than 70 rotating vendors, giving you a different experience every time. This year’s market will kick off on 26 November and last deep into December.
The Christmas Market will open alongside the new ‘Launch of Salisbury’s Christmas Shopping’ event on the same date. There will be exciting performances throughout the marketplace and the city centre from acts such as the awe-inspiring Flame Oz, the fabulous Sticky Toffee Jazz, and others.
In all of the UK, the Bath Christmas Market draws in more crowds than any other. People travel from all over the country to enjoy this traditional Christmas experience. From 26 November to 13 December, the market offers more than 170 stalls and traders. Held in the city’s World Heritage Site, the festive atmosphere overflows from this annual marvel. There will be ice skating and delicious food and drink. Additionally, the Theatre Royal’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk, this year’s highly anticipated pantomime, will feature during the market.
Devon and Cornwall
In the quaint capital of Devon and conveniently located off the M5, Exeter Cathedral Green is home to one of the South West’s most enduring Christmas Markets. Lasting through to 19 December, the Exeter Christmas Market provides country Christmas charm with the grand cathedral as a backdrop. The event offers great gifts, food, and a number of choral concerts inside the cathedral.
Taking your festive journey further west, there is a Cornish Christmas Market to add to your list. The Truro Victorian Market takes the shopping concept a bit further by encouraging and celebrating period clothing with fancy dress. Held on the city’s Lemon Quay, there are more than 70 local artisans and craft makers. The event takes place from 8-13 December.
For the sixth year, Chichester’s busiest streets will be turned into a Christmas celebration of shopping and the season. The Chichester Christmas Market runs from 5-13 December. There will be more than 50 stalls selling top quality crafts and gifts. During the season, Chichester will celebrate with late-night shopping, carol concerts, and a living Nativity with Mary, Joseph and a donkey or two.
With true medieval charm, the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre offers a brilliant mixture of Christmas and history. Held during the month’s last weekend – from 28-29 November – this traditional market town in Shropshire will offer more than 100 craft and gift stalls, and will be selling the finest food and drink. If that isn’t enough, members of the Plantagenet Society will be on hand to provide medieval combat demonstrations, jugglers, entertainers and acrobats. For more information, please visit the fayre’s website.
Image Credit: Stephanie Chapman (flickr.com), Barry Lewis (flickr.com), New Forest National Park Authority, Des Blenkinsopp, Oxford Christmas Market, Blenheim Palace, Simon Ward, Stewart Black (flickr.com), Sarah Smith, PR4Photos, Jeremy Bolwell (geograph.org.uk)