I love Christmas and everything about it. It is a time of great company, perfect food and (most importantly!) mulled wine, which all induce a general feeling of happiness that everyone embraces throughout the festive period. However old you are, every single one of us turns into a child as we try to enjoy the simple things of life and forget all the day to day struggles which bug us for the rest of the year. One of the best ways to celebrate (and prepare) for this gorgeous time of year is by visiting one of the many Christmas markets which are scattered around the UK. Sure, they aren’t quite as famous as the ones in Germany but they are based on a similar style and are such good fun. And, luckily, can be found in just about every (semi-decent) town in the country.
Within these little areas of festive haven, you can normally find: rides, ice-rings and so many quirky stalls selling all manners of different items. Personally, some of my favourites are the ones which sell mulled wine (not to sound like an alcoholic or anything…). This sweet and spicy hot drink is just the epitome of Christmas! It is the perfect addition to your wanderings to ensure you don’t freeze as you make your way around the markets. Because, without fail, once these log cabins are put up, the frost suddenly seem to appear and accompany it and the temperature drops around 10 degrees – just so you feel as completely Christmassy as humanely possible! A mild temperature around Christmas would just be plain wrong, wouldn’t it?
On top of that, you can find pretty much any weird and wonderful gift that you could possibly want! There are craft stands, knit wear, candles, Christmas decorations, pictures, cards, toys, jewellery and everything else under the (non-existent) sun. So if you are looking for that present that will be a little bit more unique these markets are the perfect places to find them! A lot of the items are handmade. Even just examining all the hidden treasures will take hours, let alone if you want to try and find presents as well!
I have visited a great many of these different markets all around the country and wherever you go, although they are similar, you do find that they tend to have their own exclusive spins which depend heavily on who are available to run the stalls. For the sheer number of markets, Manchester was a real experience to visit and we dutifully visited each one when we stayed up there last year. But actually, I prefer the southern ones. Winchester is one of my absolute favourites, as the market is based beneath the stunning cathedral and it gave us a great opportunity to explore the quaint little town as well as visit the market. Other fascinating ones can be found in: Bath, Oxford, Birmingham and Salisbury but none of these can beat the beautiful Winter Wonderland in central London. Nestled in Hyde Park, it is the biggest I have ever seen with two long ‘streets’ of shops with various pubs, food stalls, fairground games and rides to keep you entertained for the day. You can be lost in there for hours and then easily walk to the primely placed and nearby Oxford Street for any of those elusive presents, which are just determined not to be found.
For those of you who are childishly excited by everything Christmassy I urge you to visit these gorgeous little cabins that give you such a unique shopping experience. You won’t regret it and it will leave you feeling unfailingly festive, that no other Scrooge will be able to quench!