Christmas markets 2012
Battling knights and sprinting Santas...
Nothing gets you into the festive mood like a good old Christmas market teeming with cheery stall holders selling handmade gifts from twinkling wooden chalets, the sweet smell of mulled wine and a couple of tap dancing turkeys! Here’s our guide to some of the best Christmas markets around, as well as other shopping hotspots nearby.
Best for couples:
Each year, the Abbey Churchyard area becomes the magical setting for the Bath Christmas Market. Situated in the shadow of the Abbey and next to the Roman Baths, this shoppers’ haven sits in the heart of the city’s shopping district. Get your hands on locally produced handcrafted items or sip on hot mulled wine as Christmas carols gently drift through the air.
When: 22 November – 9 December
Best for groups:
In its 13th year, Manchester’s award-winning Christmas markets are made up of hundreds of stalls spanning the city centre. Bursting with European flavours, the markets are foodie heaven with bundles of Dutch cheese, fresh French bread and mounds of Spanish chorizo. Once you’ve lined your Christmas sacks with continental delicacies, hunt for alternative handmade gifts. You’ll come across fine jewellery, trendy leather bags and even bonsai trees.
When: 17 November - 23 December
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest of its kind outside Germany. It has over 180 glowing wooden chalets sprawled across Victoria Square, Chamberlain Square and New Street, each one packed with everything from glistening handmade baubles to traditional German beer. You might stray from gift shopping though, as it’s rather difficult to resist the smells of moist marzipan, mulled wine and gingerbread wafting through the air.
When: 15 November –22 December
Sticking with the German theme (we just can’t resist all that sugary stollen and mulled wine!), Christkindelmarkt in Leeds is another well-known German Christmas Market. Over 40 traditional wooden stalls covered in holly and baubles sell delicacies such as fresh pretzels and grilled Bratwurst, while characterful toy soldiers and intricate glassware will make extra special Christmas gifts.
When: 9 November - 16 December
Best for families
Head to the 'Gateway to the Dales' for Skipton's 17th Yuletide Festival on the charming cobbled High Street. This year sees the return of eccentric entertainers Bjorn the Polar Bear, the Tap Dancing Turkeys and Musical Ruth and her piano along with traditional brass and pipe bands. Sweet-studded stalls, mini fairground rides and classic games such as ‘Hook a Duck’ will keep the children busy, while you can drool over specialist cheese and hunt for quirky presents.
When: 2 and 9 December