Whether you fancy a unique Christmas shopping trip in the UK, or something further afield – there’s no better way to soak up the atmosphere than wandering around a Christmas market.
Here are five of our favourites, two in the UK and three within 90 minutes or less drive from a P&O Ferries port…
Held in the city’s Millennium Square, Christkindelmarkt is one of the UK’s most established German Christmas markets. Visitors can browse over 40 chalet-stalls, with the smell of festive foodie treats, including bratwursts, stollen and schnitzel, wafting past their eager noses. Sip warming gluhwein (mulled wine) as you browse seasonal gifts from authentic German traders – there’s everything from festive decorations and Christmas cards to handcrafted toys and jewellery. Map your journey here.
Southbank Christmas market, London
Until Christmas Eve, on the beautiful stretch of the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and the London Eye, you can find this enchanting Christmas market. Around 70 wooden stalls line the promenade, and visitors will find everything from hand-crafted trinkets, to ceramics and Christmas tree decorations. Like Leeds, the market offers warming glühwein, and a selection of European treats, all served alongside more traditional British classics, like sausages, hog roasts and candy floss. Map your journey here.
Christmas Market, Bruges, Belgium
Bruges has to have one of the most spectacular Christmas markets in the world. It offers a festive treat for the whole family in the picture-postcard surroundings of the city’s old town. You can buy anything from Christmas gifts, decorations and clothing to traditional food and drinks, so it’s hardly surprising that it continues to grow in popularity. Why not tour around the historic centre of Bruges while you’re there and get to know this beautiful city? There’s no better place for a winter break at this time of year. Map your journey here.
Lille Christmas Market, Lille, France
Despite the winter darkness, Lille sparkles with festive spirit at this time of year. There is plenty of local produce to enjoy and the spellbinding smells of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts fill the air. The many Christmas chalets are full of perfect presents such as arts and crafts, decorations and festive products. And the main square is transformed into a winter wonderland, with an 18-meter high Christmas tree. Map your journey here.
Skating rink in Amsterdam, Holland
Christmas in Amsterdam is a spectacular event, with the Museumplein being turned into a Christmas market each year. Enjoy alfresco ice skating with the newly-refurbished Rijksmuseum as a backdrop and enjoy Dutch treats served from festive Christmas stalls. Amsterdam’s canals make for an enchanting evening stroll at any time of year. Take a walk from the illuminated tree in Dam Square towards the Leidseplein, through craft-making displays and festive decorations. Map your journey here.