There is something really special about the run up to Christmas, and in the lead up to the special day itself, what better way to ‘get into Christmas Spirit’ than to take in one of the multitude of festival’s and markets across the country. Let’s take a look at some of the best options for 2013.
The world heritage city of Bath is the venue for one of the premier Christmas events in the South West. You probably do not need much excuse to visit this, one of the most vibrant and attractive cities in the country, but in the lead up to Christmas the city centre is bustling with its annual Christmas market. This is an extremely popular event, with the intoxicating mix of this exquisite Georgian city regaled in decoration with the delicious smell freshly cooked food wafting in the air, it is not hard to see why thousands visit Bath’s Christmas festival each year. With a fantastic range of arts and crafts, jewellery, local cheeses and ciders there is plenty to take in on a dark crisp winter’s evening. If the children or not excited enough, there is even an outdoor ice rink to complete that perfect winter wonderland ambience. This really is the city to indulge yourself, with a terrific range of fine dining options and why not top off the evening in one of the famous outdoor spas!
Grassington, North Yorkshire
If you really want to sample a flavour of Christmas’ past, Grassington in North Yorkshire may be the ideal venue for you this year. Set in the atmospheric Yorkshire Dales, Grassington plays host to a Dickensian Festival each Saturday in the lead up to Christmas. This historic market town takes on a theatrical feel, with the market square full of people in Victorian costumes attending traditional markets selling an enticing selection of local wares. It really captures the essence of an era forever associated with Christmas and of course Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol. Feel yourself transported by the sights and sounds of a traditional Victorian Yorkshire Christmas celebration. This really is a festival with a great mix of events incorporating local brass bands, choirs and local actors to produce a truly memorable day in ‘God’s own country’.
In the shadow of the London Eye, the South Bank is transformed by a German Christmas market set alongside the River Thames. There cannot be many more spectacular settings with many of London’s most prominent landmarks, all illuminated and providing a special backdrop to a market providing a little taste of Bavaria. With Bratwurst and traditional German mulled wine there is plenty to keep you warm and your taste buds tantalised! This world famous stretch of promenade is lit up with traditional Christmas lights twinkling, reflecting against the ancient Thames; helps create that special Christmas atmosphere in the heart of nation’s capital. Add to that regularly scheduled choir performances and you will be soon caught up in the romance of the South Bank during this the most special time of the year.
The attention of the world will focus on Glasgow this summer, as the cream of the Commonwealth’s athletes congregate to compete once again at next years games. This international spirit is captured in the city’s Christmas market set in Enoch Square, in the beating heart of Glasgow’s shopping district, attracting market traders from across the globe. Glasgow was famously a former European city of culture and visitors to this year’s Christmas market can expect to find an exciting variety of international products to provide extra special gift ideas this Christmas. As well as the ubiquitous glass of Glühwein, you will be able to sample from a selection of fine German beers at the Bavarian Bar, a particular favourite for some reason! Nearby Buchanan Street provides a selection of some if the city’s best shopping outlets and restaurants. You are sure to find a very welcome in this one of the nation’s most hospitable urban centres.
The historic cathedral of Winchester, once the capital of England, is now the county town of Hampshire. Lying in the South Downs, Winchester is dominated by its huge cathedral, one of the largest in Europe. Dating back to the eleventh century Winchester Cathedral has attracted pilgrims for centuries, indeed is the historic starting point for ‘Pilgrim’s Way’, the spiritual journey to Canterbury. The final resting place for Jane Austen and several Anglo Saxon monarchs, Winchester Cathedral has definitely got to be on your to do list on your next visit to this delightful Hampshire city. In its eighth year, the Christmas market (like so many modelled in the traditional Bavarian style) is widely recognised as one of Europe’s best. With an emphasis on quality, traders are hand picked to maintain the market’s reputation as a premier Christmas event which attracts in excess of three hundred thousand visitors each year. It is something about the mix of the setting and the vibrant festive atmosphere that lies at the heart of this market’s success. Open until the 22nd of December, why not discover what all the fuss is for yourself, and visit Winchester this Christmas.