8 Of The Best Christmas Markets & Fairs in 2015
Christmas is coming up fast, and each year the pressure is on to have a more jolly and spectacular festive season than ever before! With this in mind, we've rounded up our favourite yuletide shopping events happening around the country that are guaranteed to provide the very best in Christmas spirit.
1. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market & Craft Fair
Victoria Square, New Street, Centenary Square & Chamberlain Square
12 November - 22 December 2015
Now approaching its tenth anniversary, Birmingham's amazingly authentic German market is the largest in the UK, and quite possibly the largest outside of Germany! With a lovely villagey atmosphere, this is a really cosy and traditional market despite its enormity. Choose from more than 180 stalls this year, selling everything from traditional bratwursts and mulled wine to gifts by local designers-makers. You can also ride the traditional carousel and listen to the carollers. Very festive.
2. Kelham Island Victorian Christmas Market
Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield
5 - 6 December 2015
Revisit the ghost of Christmas past - in a good way! Sheffield's Kelham Island is steeped in history and the Victorian Christmas Market is no exception. This two-day extravaganza includes Santa's grotto complete with reindeer, Dickensian characters, a family fairground and traditional crafts and skills, all alongside more than 120 stalls from local food and drink producers and Sheffield businesses.
3. Exeter Christmas Market
Cathedral Green, Exeter
19 November - 19 December 2015
What could be more atmospheric than a festive market in the shadow of the stunning Exeter Cathedral? Winner of the National Association of British Market Authorities "Best Speciality Award 2014", the stalls this year are offering traditional food and drink, as well as more unusual handmade gifts, crafts and decorations.
4. Edinburgh's Christmas
St Andrew Square, East Princes Street Gardens, and George Street, Edinburgh
20 November 2015 - 4 January 2016
Not one, not two, but three Christmas Markets make up the festive celebrations in Edinburgh this year. Spread over three locations, from St Andrew Square, East Princes Street Gardens, and George Street, Edinburgh goes all-out with a jam-packed programme of events to entertain the whole family. With Scottish, Children's and European Markets, you're spoilt for choice on the shopping and food front, while the Street of Light, Santa Land, ice skating, myriad rides and a host of wondrous shows in the Spiegeltent all help to keep the fun going.
5. Living Crafts at Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
19 - 22 November 2015
Set in heated pavilions amidst the grounds of glorious Blenheim Palace, the Living Crafts fair is a charming event full to the brim with seasonal food and drink, and British designer-makers selling everything from traditional crafts, jewellery, art and photography, clothing and knitwear and toys. There's an admission charge but why not make a day of it, and tie your shopping in with a visit to the big house itself?
6. Bath Christmas Market
Near Bath Abbey
26 November - 13 December 2015
Set amongst the winding network of streets surrounding Bath Abbey, this is more of a proudly local affair than your usual continental import, with over 80% of the 170 chalets being businesses from Bath and the nearby area. With heaps of handmade wares from exhibitors, this market also plays host to a range of charity stalls: ideal for that warm and fuzzy feeling.
7. Spirit of Christmas Fair
2 - 8 November 2015
A truly luxe experience for a massive selection of hand-picked, stylish boutiques across all industries, there's really something for everyone at this shopping behemoth. If you shop till you drop, check in for refuelling at the food hall, champagne bar or one of the lavish dining options. There's also house and garden workshops and even a luxury travel fair, if you're in the market for winter sun. See, something for everyone - we meant it!
8. Country Living Fair
3 - 6 December 2015
This stalwart of the interior design press scene is no stranger to the magic of Christmas shopping. A curated treasure trove of regional produce, gifts and homeware, beauty products and kids' presents, it's the perfect opportunity to stock your home full of festive treats worthy of a magazine spread. Get thoroughly involved with craft and create rooms, a cookery theatre and a Christmas bunting competition. Glorious.
Wow, that's a lot of Christmas shopping! Are you in the mood for a mince pie yet?