Before you know it Christmas will be here, so maybe it's time to start planning which Christmas markets you'd love to visit, and whilst your off exploring a new town for its festivities, why not make a break of it and discover more in the area.
Why visit a Christmas Market?
Every year hundreds of Christmas markets pop up around the UK and Europe, offering the finest in handmade crafts, festive treats, delicious foods and drinks, and plenty of Christmas spirit.
You will find a whole range of unique gifts and decorations at each market, and as some markets have a theme or even travel from other countries, you're bound to find something that's filled with a little more love than your typical high street store.
You should go not just for the things you can buy, but also the atmosphere, the smells and the sounds that will build that inner joy to the point you're singing along to your favourite Christmas carols (out loud is optional and dependent on your singing - think of the other shoppers).
Where are the Best Christmas Markets?
Now having been in the industry for over 40 years, we know a thing or two about where the best Christmas markets are, which is why we put on a wonderful selection every year, mixing up where we're going and which extra excursions to put on. Below is a list of wonderful markets and why they're so special!
Manchester Christmas Market
The international city has some magical Christmas markets with venders from all over Europe wanting to set up shop. You'll find more than 300 stalls spread through the city centre with an array of goodies including Bratwursts, Dutch Frites with cheese (there's Vegan cheese too), Bonsai Trees, mulled wine and gin, plus specially made crafts, toys and jewellry.
What really completes the Christmassy atmosphere is the ice rink, which fills the air with the festive cheers, screams and probably a few thuds on the ice.
Exeter Christmas Market
Set on the stunning grounds of Exeter Cathedral, this Christmas market boasts a great mix of stalls from local businesses and performers, with continental sellers from around the world. The bandstand enjoys music performed by local artists, choirs and carol singers, all of whom can bid for a free slot to entertain the crowds.
This isn't the only spot to find a Christmas market in Exeter though as they have two more on Castle Street and Fore Street!
Winchester & Salisbury Christmas Market
These two Cathedral cities are transformed into winter wonderlands every Christmas with authentic German-style chalet stalls and festive events held throughout. Winchester's market brings in nearly half a million visitors every year, proving popular thanks to its hand-picked exhibitors who offer high-quality and unique products.
York & Leeds Christmas Market
These two wonderful cities offer fantastic Christmas markets! Leeds' Christkindel market is a traditional German market complete with Bratwursts, goulash and schnitzels, a treat for the tastebuds. It's a family friendly affair with carousel rides and plenty of actvities for them to do during the days, whilst you can shop.
Just down the road in York you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in Diagon Alley (from Harry Potter) as you wander down the famous Shambles with the wonky, character-filled buildings, and it's a truly magical city at Christmas. Great shopping, atmosphere and chocolate, of course!
Rochester Dickensian Market
This is a market you won't ever forget thanks to the Dickensian theme. The whole experience is an absolute treat with actors, Dickensian 'characters' and re-enactments ongoing throughout the market, which celebrates the life of Charles Dickens. Shops, Christmas carols and readings from the author's famous books make this a memorable place to visit.
Padstow Christmas Market
The delightful fishing village hosts a Christmas Festival each year which is very orientated around food and drink with celebrity chefs, including local chef Rick Stein. You'll get to enjoy many a tipple with brewerys and distilleries showing off their finest produce, from beers and ales to gins and liquers.
If you're looking to pick up a few presents whilst you're there, there are stalls with a fine selection of arts and crafts, sure to please your loved ones.
There's so many!
These are just a few of the incredible Christmas markets around England that you can visit, but there are many more amazing ones including Birmingham, London, Bath and Edinburgh! We can't visit them all every year, but we can help you this Christmas, be it a shopping trip or a relaxing, washing-up free break over Christmas. Take a look at our Festive Holidays section for more magical breaks.