Today I have a guest post from Superbreak, provider of short breaks, city breaks and weekend breaks in London, throughout the UK and abroad, who are going to tell us all about Christmas markets. I don't know about you but Christmas is not complete for me without a trip to a Christmas market to have a slurp on some Glühwein.
Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of a Christmas market this festive season
If the thought of high street Christmas shopping makes your heart sink but buying gifts online doesn’t give you any more of a warm festive feeling, you’re not alone. Finding original seasonal gifts often seems more of a chore than the pleasure it should be.
The answer could be to purchase your presents at a Christmas market. This means you get to shop somewhere that feels very different, and where it will be easier to find unique gifts. While these stalls are a firm fixture in the festive calendar on the continent, they are becoming increasingly popular this side of the Channel too. You could even make a trip out of it and stay at a Christmas market hotel, meaning you can take a weekend break for reasons that are altogether practical.
Christmas markets in the UK have an interesting history. They died out in the seventeenth century after Oliver Cromwell put a halt to festive celebrations. Although market stalls sold Christmas products and food in the Victorian period, they weren’t known as Christmas markets as such.
In recent times, however, these events have enjoyed a renaissance, with Lincoln the first to be revived in the 1980s. The Norman castle, majestic gothic cathedral and medieval square of this 2,000-year old city form the perfect backdrop for the occasion, which has grown from modest beginnings of just 11 stalls to more than 250.
Other historic cities hosting seasonal marketplaces include Winchester, where the cathedral’s ancient Inner Close, surrounding an open air ice rink, forms another idyllic and relaxing seasonal shopping location. If it doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will!
As will most of these markets, you won’t find many of the exhibitor’s gifts elsewhere, and stallholders have been chosen for the quality and uniqueness of their offerings, from glass and textiles to jewellery, paintings and decorations. It also copies the European style of market with goods sold from an array of cosy wooden chalets.
UK Christmas markets are staged in venues from town centres to stately homes, lasting from between one weekend and six weeks. You’ll also find them in places as varied as smaller market towns and big cities like Leeds and Manchester. You’ll be in for a truly sensual experience, with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the season. Keep warm with a glass of steaming mulled wine, nibble on some spicy sausage and enjoy the scent of cinnamon in the air, along with street entertainers and other attractions.
If you fancy going a bit further afield for your Christmas market, there’s still plenty of time to plan a jaunt over to somewhere like Bruges or Prague, and soak up the atmosphere of their seasonal stalls with a pre-Christmas shopping break. Whether in the UK or abroad, this may be the answer to a far more interesting and enjoyable Christmas shopping experience. And considering that the words ‘enjoyable’ and ‘Christmas shopping’ never share the same sentence, this is quite a feat.
Are you visiting any Christmas markets this festive season? I'd love to hear about which ones are your favourite. I've never been to one abroad and in fact the only Christmas market I ever frequent is the Birmingham one so perhaps I am missing out somewhere? Do let me know!
Disclaimer: This is a guest post with all content written and provided for me by Superbreak. I have received no payment or any other form of compensation in return for publishing this article.