While it might seem like the best things happen in London, Christmass-y goings-on up and down the country are starting over the next week or so – today we’ve gathered together just a few of the markets packed full of delicious food and drink, festive decorations and beautiful handmade gifts that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit. Cheers!
Anyone in the South-East is in for a vintage-style treat with the Victorian Festival of Christmas, held at the Portsmouth historic Dockyard between the 27th and 29th November. As well as street entertainment, theatre performances, festive food and a traditional Father Christmas, there is also a huge market packed full of handmade gifts, decorations, rustic homeware and vintage clothing.
Fans of anything tasty and homemade will almost certainly love the Christmas Craft and Food Market in Plymouth; held between the 26th November and 6th December, visitors will be able to browse cosy log-cabin style stalls packed full of tasty treats and handmade delights.
Back again for its seventh year, the Bristol German Market has returned for 2015, and is running from now until 22nd December. Ideal for anyone who fancies something a little bit different, the market consists of 38 traditional chalets, festooned with lights and foliage, and stocking everything from traditional German food and drink to German Christmas decorations, crafts, gifts and much more.
The festive season in one of the UK’s most traditional cities is always going to be wonderful, so if you live locally, immerse yourself in Christmas spirit and head off to the Oxford Christmas Market, which runs from 10th to 20th December. Expect twinkling fairy lights, rustic wooden stalls, choirs singing Christmas carols and plenty of homemade and handmade goods, with this beautiful city providing a superb backdrop.
A true handmade affair, the Nottingham Winter Wonderland takes place between 20th November and 3rd January, and the market itself is packed full of artisan products from independent businesses; expect exquisite chocolates, wooden handicrafts, fabrics, clothing, plants, Fairtrade gifts and plenty more besides. Not only that, but there’s also an ice rink, bar and food hall for when you’re tired of shopping.
Back again for 2015, the Manchester Christmas Market is world-famous, and quite rightly so; with over 300 stalls featuring handcrafted goods from all over Europe, this is the place to head if you’re looking for something truly special this Christmas. Choose from leather goods, toys, crafts and jewellery for your gifts, and then travel Europe for refreshments; visitors can choose almost anything, from Hungarian Goulash to French profiteroles.
Big enough to rival any London-based celebrations, Edinburgh’s Christmas is a festival in its own right; with shows, rides and attractions, ice skating, Santa Land, street performances, a carousel and a Christmas tree maze, it’s almost easy to forget the market itself. There are in fact three, which all run from 20th November to 4th January; the Children’s Market, which is full of child-friendly shopping experiences, face-painting, crafts and visits to Santa, the European Christmas Market, which feature crafts and gifts from all over Europe, and the Scottish Market, which celebrates all things traditionally Scottish. See you there!
For something that truly celebrates the independent business, the Cardiff Christmas Market runs from 12th November to 23rd December, and features only local crafters, artists and foodies; visitors can experience the very best in artisan products, with 190 stalls full of the most beautiful gifts, homewares, jewellery, toys, food and drink.
If you can't make it to any of the Christmas markets, don't despair - there are plenty of online shops packed full of handmade decorations and gifts. The picture at the top is from Decorators Notebook, a wonderful shop which stocks fairly traded and hand-crafted items.