Social Secretary Sorcha Hornett shares her favourite British Christmas Markets
Christmas markets are the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. Here is a round-up of the best markets from around the UK that aren’t too far from Birmingham:
London seems like an obvious place to visit when searching for the perfect Christmas market, as it’s only around an hour and a half by train and there are so many different options. Check out the Southbank Centre Winter Market (November 9th-December 27th) a traditional, Nordic-inspired market, with a hideaway serving cheese-themed food and a bar selling spicy mulled wine and cider. If you’re feeling a bit extra, then Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland (November 22nd – January 6th) is perfect for you. With a big wheel, ice skating, circus shows, comedy clubs and an ice sculpting workshop there is something for everybody. But, be warned, it can be a fairly expensive trip, though undoubtedly will get you in the festive spirit!
The Bath Christmas Market is only around for 18 days in total (November 22nd – December 9th)and features over 180 fairy-light heavy stalls set up in its beautiful Georgian streets. There is something here for everyone, from ceramics to personalised gifts – all of which are sourced or made locally so you’ll be supporting local businesses while shopping. The market is also going green this year, with all decorations made using recycled plastic bags and bottles. Not to mention there will be plenty of food stalls and mulled wine to keep you warm. With trains to Bath from Birmingham under two hours, you can definitely make a day trip out of it.
East Princes St Gardens will host Edinburgh’s traditional Christmas market, lasting until early January you can stretch your festive celebrations well into the new year. The market offers a unique shopping experience with plenty of crafters, artists and gift shops, alongside a big wheel and a Star Flyer chair ride. Adjacent to the market is the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar, a two-floor bar that serves lots of different whisky cocktails and hot toddies to keep you warm after wandering the Christmas market.
If you’re looking for variety then Manchester delivers exactly that. There’s a European market in Albert Square, a German-style market at St Ann’s square and French-themed stalls at King Street, so whatever you’re in the mood for you can find it here. Alongside the markets there is also fairground rides in Cathedral gardens and food stalls at every location. Make sure to try the famous Yorkshire Pudding wraps, mulled gin and Dutch frites. The market at St Ann’s square was Europe’s most instagrammed Christmas market last year, so you know you can count on getting that perfect Instagram too.
If you’re looking for something different this Christmas, then Brighton has you covered. This year, over three weekends in November and December, local artists will be opening up their homes, studios and workshops to sell their products directly to shoppers under the Artists Open Houses scheme. This community event includes artists with learning disabilities, ones that have experienced homelessness, established professional artists, as well as young and emerging ones. If you’re looking to purchase a quirky Christmas present, head down to Brighton to find something just that little bit different.
Finally, make sure to visit the wonderful Frankfurt Christmas Market right here in Birmingham, which has been running for over fifteen years. It is one of the largest German markets around and takes over the whole of Victoria Square. They serve lots of traditional German cuisine and beverages including pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein and weissbeer, along with the usual favourites like mulled wine and waffles. There is a big wheel, providing you with perfect views over Birmingham, and an ice rink. There will also be a market at Birmingham Cathedral on Colmore Row which will have an array of locally sourced gifts and food.
Depending on what you’re looking for, these markets offer everything and are the perfect place to get into the festive spirit this Christmas.