Christmas Markets 2011
Battling knights, sprinting santas and tap-dancing turkeys
Enjoy a little time travel at the Norwich Cathedral Historic Christmas Fayre. Housed in a 900-year-old structure with the largest cloisters in England, you can mingle with medieval characters selling odd potions and browse stalls dotted with pewter incense burners and Roman-style mosaics. And the unusual sounds you’ll hear while browsing will probably be the jesters performing hits on their medieval instruments.
When: Usually the second weekend of 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 rich gingerbread wafting through the air.
When: 17 November –23 December 2011
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: 14 November – 21 December 2011
Where better to put on a Dickensian Christmas market than in a historic Kent town where Charles Dickens once lived? Sat in the grounds of the red and green tinged Medieval Rochester Castle are lots of cheery market sellers offering mulled wine, Dutch waffles, roasted chestnuts and plenty of handmade gifts from their fairy light-draped stalls. And as you stuff your face with seasonal sugary treats, you’ll be entertained by costumed characters, street performers and festive music filling the air.
When: 30 November – 18 December 2011
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 will keep the children entertained, while you can drool over specialist cheese and hunt for quirky presents.
When: 4-11 December 2011
Get ready for two days of non-stop merriment and tomfoolery at the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre, held in the ruins of an ancient castle. Expect chivalrous knights in full armour, dancing damsels, firebreathing jesters and impressive birds of prey performances. Plus, get your hands on one-of-a-kind knight helmets and fine silver earrings.
When: 26-27 November 2011
In its 13th year, Manchester’s award-winning Christmas markets are made up of over 200 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 – 21 December 2011
The Christmas Fayre at Bury St Edmunds is something of an institution in the east of England. Awarded the ‘Best Tourism Event’ in the Enjoy England Regional awards, November sees six markets merge into one massive Christmas party. Expect speciality hot food, chestnuts roasting on every corner and lots of white-bearded men running through the historic town in the famous Father Christmas Marathon.
When: 25-27 November 2011
Avoid the Christmas crowds and shop for luxury gifts in a luxurious setting. Blenheim Palace becomes a hub for jewellery, ceramics, clothing and art in November when around 100 carefully chosen British craftsmen turn out for the Living Crafts for Christmas event. There’s lots of temping artisan food to dig in to as well, such as melt-in-the-mouth homemade chocolates, seasonal pies and tangy chutneys.
When: 18-20 November 2011
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: 24 November – 11 December 2011
Christmas in The Lakes
Cosy winter pubs, craft fairs and Christmas markets...Christmas in The Lakes
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