10 great Christmas markets to visit

Alnwick Garden
Alnwick Garden

Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night have gone - now is the time of year when thoughts turn to Christmas.

So here’s our list of 10 of the best Christmas markets, both near and far, to help you get in the festive spirit.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

1. Alnwick Garden

Every weekend from the 28th November 11am - 5pm

Fill your Christmas stockings with unique and eclectic delights, and buy fabulous and unusual gifts for friends and family. All stall holders have been hand-picked by The Alnwick Garden and are sure to delight. Enjoy seasonal singing and live music played by talented performers from the region, in the warmth of the beautiful marquee. FREE ENTRY

2. Edinburgh

Beamish

Beamish

Every day from November 20, 10am -10pm

For the past 20 years in the heart of Edinburgh, the popular Christmas Market has been held in its picturesque setting below the Mound. The Christmas Market will, for a second year this year, stretch from the Mound, along East Princes Street Gardens Terrace and around the Scott Monument. The traditional and romantic Christmas Market in the heart of the City of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor with its fair of crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises.

3. Beamish

Every weekend from 14th November – 20th December, plus 21st, 22nd, 23rd & 24th December.

Step back into Christmas past and join the celebrations as you explore 1820s Pockerley Old Hall, the 1900s Town and Pit Village and 1940s Farm.

Come and explore our magnificent Frost Fair – new for 2015! Glide on the real ice rink, browse the stalls for that perfect Christmas gift, ride on the steam Gallopers and shuggy boats, and indulge in some delicious seasonal food and drink.

4. Lincoln

3-6 December

Visitors are welcomed to this beautiful city and the traditional Christmas Market, where you will enjoy cultural entertainment and stroll around over 250 stalls nestled with in the medieval square and surrounding area. Take a trip back through time and stroll along the cobbles the cultural quarter of the city. The medieval square between the impressive Norman castle and magnificent gothic cathedral is the perfect backdrop for the Christmas Market.

5. Gateshead

26-29 November

Come along to the Team Valley Christmas Market where you can buy those extra special and unique Christmas gifts. There will be over 100 stalls, a craft tent, loads of fabulous catering and of course no market would be without a nice mulled wine. Santa Claus will be on site all weekend and is bringing Rudolph and his friend. All profits from Santa go to The Kayaks and Gateshead Young Carers charities.

6. Manchester

November 14 - December 21.

Spread across the city centre, the Christmas Markets are all located within roughly a quarter of a mile of each other and accessible to all.

And for something a little further afield...

7. Prague

November 28 - January 1

Christmas is a great time to visit Prague, keeping warm with a glass on svařené vino (mulled wine) in your hand. Markets can be found across the city, the most impressive in Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square. A Christmas tree is the highlight, shipped in from the mountains in the north of the Czech Republic.

8. Cologne

23 November - 23 December

The city of Cologne offers seven Christmas Markets in total. Among them are four big Christmas Markets located at the Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt, on the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz. Every year these wonderful four Christmas Markets attract almost 2 million visitors.

9. Bruges

20 November - 3 January

The main stalls in Bruges are found in Market Square, overlooked by the 13th-century Belfort, and in Simon Stevinplein. Buy handmade jewellery, wooden toys, hats and scarves, leather goods and, of course, chocolates. Eat chocolate Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) moulded figures and honey waffle biscuits.

10. Strasbourg

27 November – 31 December

Year round, Strasbourg scores for Olde Worlde charm, but during Advent, the capital of Alsace is even more magical. Half-timbered houses sport giant red-and-white hearts; stars, angels and snowflakes garland the cobbled streets. No wonder Strasbourg has won the title of “Best Christmas Market in Europe” two years running.