Whilst the general trend seems to be to get most Christmas gifts online these days, one place that is bucking this is the traditional Christmas Market. In the UK we have been a little slow in adopting this European tradition, but with the advent of German Markets and the increase of Farmers Pop ups, plus the chance to go on excursions to events in European major cities, we are starting to embrace them. They are fast becoming a staple of the Yuletide calendar bringing colour, warmth and excellent food to our high streets and retail spaces. Below are some of the top 5 Christmas Markets in the UK and Europe.
Prague – Nestled in-between the cities Gothic splendour you’ll find the most spectacular Christmas markets in the Czech Republic. Shoppers can enjoy mulled wine, cinnamon pastries and pork goodies to keep out the chill whilst browsing through the spectacular array of gifts and souvenirs. Most impressive of all is the elegant Christmas Tree at the Old Town Square. Other attractions include food samples, traditional drinks, and animals at the stable where children can pet the goats, sheep and donkeys. As soon as someone starts up with “Good King Wenceslas looked out” Christmas will be complete!
Tallin – The Tallin Christmas Market is Estonia has been elected as one of the best in the tens of thousands of Christmas markets across Europe. When viewed from the air the whole market forms a heart shape. Along with the heart-shaped ornaments on the grand Christmas Tree, the Tallin Christmas Market really is a symbol of love and festivity.
Father Christmas arrives by sleigh pulled by real reindeer among the half a century old buildings. The Christmas tree dates back to 1441, so you are sure of a historic Yuletide here. Lots of tasty treats are available, one of the most popular being Cabbage and Black Pudding.
Cologne – In the shadow of the City’s mighty cathedral sits this brilliant German Market. It’s the quintessential Christmas Market with a great range of crafts and seasonal food. Shoppers can finish their day with an ice warming glass of Gluhwein and a wonderful light show.
Helsinki – Finland’s northern Borders extend into the Arctic, so they have a direct line to Father Christmas! In true, slightly different Finnish style this market has a good blend of the traditional and the new. Fancy a game of bingo whilst you have some vegan ham for example? Whilst the sun may be reluctant to rise at this time of the year in Helsinki, the spectacular lights, shop window decorations and sweet aromas of mulled wine warm the festive spirit as Christmas approaches. Shop for unique, hand-crafted gifts and enjoy a well voiced Finnish choir to complete your experience.
Birmingham – Of course you really do not need to go that far to enjoy the festive markets. Many towns in the UK are adopting the German Market tradition, the most popular in the UK being Birmingham City Centre. Britain’s second city transforms itself into a bustling market with dazzling lights, impressive stalls and German-style food and drinks. All the food and magic of the continent is brought to the hustle and bustle of the Midlands and is definitely worth a visit.
At No8 Waterloo we provide accommodation in Birmingham to those looking to spend some time in the city, either for this beautiful Christmas market or for other periods of the year.