The Christmas Market is an ancient German tradition, originally the place where local toy makers sold their wares. The charming custom has since spread across Europe. Here’s a selection of our favourites.
Bremen, North Germany – Daily 10am-8.30pm from 29th November to 23rd December
Bremen is where Gisela Graham grew up. Its centuries old Christmas market is considered to be one of the most attractive in Germany, and undoubtedly the source of Gisela’s love of the festive season.
It takes place in the main square dominated by the magnificent 15th century Rathaus ( Town Hall ). Over 170 festively decorated stalls offer a wonderful variety of handmade Christmas tree decorations and gifts. It’s also a place to eat and drink seasonal specialities such as mulled wine, spiced rum, cinnamon biscuits and roast Bratwurst sausages.
Winchester Cathedral, England – Daily 10am–6pm Mon-Wed, 10am-7.30pm Thurs-Sat, Open 22nd November to 23rd December
Winchester Christmas Market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year. The pretty wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close surrounding an open-air ice rink. You’ll find traditional German decorations (and some by Gisela Graham!) alongside British craftspeople selling hand made gifts and decorations.
The food and drink blends British and German traditions: Stollen Christmas cake vies with our native mince pies.
Edinburgh – Daily Sun-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Sat 10am-10pm – Open 24th November to 24th December
Explore Edinburgh’s renowned German Christmas Market for unusual gift ideas such as handmade decorations and unique craft items. Warm up with a mug of Glühwein, with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, lemon and sugar, and try some delicious German fare including biscuits, sweets and venison burgers.
Lille, Northern France – Daily Sun – Thurs 11am – 8pm, Fri – Sat 11am – 9pm, Open 21st November to 30th December
Follow the irresistible aroma of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts to Place Rihour where, for over a month, you can find more than 80 chalets of the Christmas Market. Here, merchants and craftspeople offer original and delightful gift ideas: regional products, gingerbread and other delicacies to try on the spot or take away, nativity figurines and Christmas decorations, traditional toys, Russian, German and Polish specialties, and much more.
The holiday spirit can be found in every district, with shop windows each vying to be the most original. Shopping becomes an immense pleasure in a city glowing with joie de vivre.
London Southbank Centre, UK – Daily Mon – Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat – Sun 10am – 10pm, Open 16th November to 24th December
London, Europe’s most cosmopolitan city, now has a Christmas market that stands comparison with the best of Germany. A ‘street’ of 80 authentically decorated wooden chalet stalls at the Southbank Centre offer a wonderful range of handmade craft gifts, jewellery, wooden and soft toys , handmade soaps and many more Christmassy products in a magical winter atmosphere. Sip a warming “Glühwein” or enjoy a Bratwurst or a gingerbread heart and many other delicious treats. There’s also carousel and traditional Christmas music.