With Christmas holidays fast approaching I’m betting that you haven’t got all your presents sorted out yet – am I right? Well if you’re still hunting for the perfect gift then a visit to one of the country’s magnificent Christmas markets is sure to give you the inspiration you need.
This is a great market that is now firmly embedded as one of the ‘go-to’ attractions in Birmingham come December time. I call it an attraction because there’s such a massive buzz when you get there – it really does feel like Christmas has arrived.
The many sparkling gift stalls, ale houses and Frankfurt sellers form somewhat of a shopping sprawl as it begins at the Bull Ring / New St junction and snakes its way up to Victoria Square. It’s an explosion of colours, merry-making and much drinking (responsibly of course).
The 200+ gift shops and stalls contain many traditional decorative gifts and huge selections of hand-made clothing, sculptures, trinkets and much more. Importantly you’ll be able to find a unique gift for that someone special. Go and visit – Highly recommended.
15 November to 22 December: 10am-9pm
For more information telephone 0121 464 2012.
2. Manchester Christmas Market
The Manchester market is big. There are over 200 stalls filled with mouth-watering food coming from places far and wide; from Spanish paella to Dutch pancakes – it’s a real eclectic mix. Each year the choice of glittering gifts seems to grow exponentially so you’ll definitely be able to find yourself a real gem amongst the jewellery, clothing, toys and bespoke craft stalls.
Eat, drink and be merry in true Mancunian style. The market boasts a myriad of drinking choices. Go for a mega hot chocolate with mountains of creme, a 4 litre jug of German ale (the best in my opinion) or share a bottle of classy red wine – you’ll find it all here.
Be prepared to rub shoulders with an international crowd as this incredibly popular market attracts visitors from far and wide. In a nutshell – A great Christmas market.
December: 10am – 8pm (bars open until 9pm)
Albert Square: 10am – 9pm every day
For more information visit www.manchestermarkets.com
Chester is a lovely place to visit as it has many highlights including the amazing Chester zoo. What continues to gain in its popularity is the Chester Christmas market with its beautiful Victorian theme. The market is situated right in front of the main Town Hall and there a plenty of interesting events taking place in the run up to Christmas.
Chester’s Christmas Market is a real family affair with something to keep every member of the family happy. Make sure you go on an empty stomach so you’ve got plenty of room for the culinary treats that lie ahead. Sample amazing local cheeses, locally brewed wines and beers, candied fruits and of course every-one’s favourite roasting hot chestnuts.
The Chrsimas gift stalls have a magnificent selection of hand-crafted gloves, woolly hats, beautiful scarfs as well as traditional wooden toys, interesting art from local designers and much more.
There’s also an opportunity for you to put in your personal request directly to Father Christmas himself in his grotto. Apparently it’s the real Santa Claus taking requests don’t you know.
Market dates: 22 November – 24 December
Bristol’s Christmas markets are really easy to get to making a local visit a really pleasurable affair. The market lies within the heart of the city centre shopping area situated in Broadmead. There are well over 500 stores so finding the right gift shouldn’t be a problem. Car parking is also pretty cheap – which is a bonus.
The Bristol German market offers the family a very festive experience. On the menu are time-honoured Geman foodie specialities that include premium frankfurters with the obilgatory ‘snap’ for a sure sign of quality. Make sure you head for the beer chalet as the quality beers just have to be sampled.
Not forgetting the Christmas table, you’ll also find an abundance of local wines, ciders and beers to go with the cheese, biscuits, chutneys and chestnuts.
Now head over to the40+ beautiful wooden chalets you’ll find some lovely gifts including original wooden toys, pretty lamps, hand-made soaps, woven baskets and unique amber jewellery.
Once you’ve over-indulged on cheese and wine and got some really fab gifts, it’s time to head over to the ice-skating rink to watch the children do their version of the Bolero. Beer and ice skates don’t mix so sit this one out if you don’t fancy a trip to A & E just before Christmas.
The Bristol Chritmas markets are well worth a visit.
Markets Open to 29th December 2012 from 10am – 7pm.
For a really vibrant continental feel to put you into Christmas mode visit the Belfast Christmas Market – it’s great and worth every penny of the boat / plane fare over a weekend.
We all know how the Irish like to enjoy themselves and this exciting market doesn’t disappoint in the food and drinks department. The huge choice of delicate foods include exotic cheeses, Belgian chocolates, candied nuts, iced strawberries and… I’m salivating just thinking about it. The choice of countries represented here is vast and you’ll be certain to find a culinary delight of your choice.
There are traditional gifts galore on offer including hand-knitted woollen scarfs, wooden toys, intricate glassware and also something special for the one you love; amazing jewellery at affordable prices.
You’ll also find something for the garden in the form of colourful collections of bulbs, trees and shrubs to buy. All in all this is a great Christmas market with a big emphasis on serving up some amazing foods to tempt the palate.
Open from 17th November until 20th December 2012