Elf about the Christmas Markets!

We’ve been spending our time at Christmas markets working out which ones we think are the best.

Our three favourites in no particular order are:

Southbank Christmas Market

Little wooden German market huts stack up down the Southbank, there are all the usual stalls, jewellery, candles, sweets, bratwurst and mulled wine.  Its glory is in the wonderful setting.  The lights glint of the river and the whole area smells like cinnamon and sausage, which is a surprisingly wonderful mix of smells.  It is busy but it feels more spread out than a lot of the Christmas markets.  Lovely and quaint and also close to the Southbank food market round the back of the Royal Festival Hall, in case you fancy something other than bratwurst.

https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/winter-festival

Winter Wonderland

The Christmas market that has popped straight out of an over excited child’s imagination.  This place is crazy, its busy, full, there are rides that you can buy tickets in advance for.  The beer hall is a must, but do expect to stand.  The food here is good, and has a much wider variety than you can expect at most Christmas markets…. but don’t expect to sit down…and do expect tantrums and ques.  Is it worth it…yes! Don’t be a Grinch give it a go.

http://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/#TfrvaiYcRfyyb0kR.97

Camden Christmas Market

We all love Camden Markets for the unusual and fun atmosphere, the Christmas markets here are just as quirky.  The mulled cider here is wonderful, this market has some of the normal Christmas stalls interspersed with the more unusual things, its only on a Thursday evening, so make sure you plan for this.  There is usually live music and its more of adult option for the Christmas market scene.

https://www.camdenmarket.com/journal/oi-to-the-world

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Birmingham Markets

Birmingham Christmas markets are the UK’s largest festive markets.  They fill up Victoria square and the surrounding streets.  The usual stalls a present and a huge variety of food stands and bars.

It’s easy to get to from Birmingham New Street station on foot.  Trains run regularly from London, they are quick and easy.  I would recommend booking in advance otherwise it can be a bit pricy.

We enjoyed the markets and sampled different types of mulled wine.  We had lots of options for food that are not always available at the traditional Christmas markets.  Between us we tried bratwurst, pies, fried potatoes, apple strudel and spiced cider as well as the mulled wine.  I took home some amazing donuts called Berliner which were delicious and come in so many amazing flavours.

The markets are child friendly but they are huge so I would anticipate some very tired legs!

We had a great time, I would recommend it as an adventure.  However, a lot of the stalls are similar to the ones you will find in your local Christmas market.

More information here

http://www.germanchristmasmarketbirmingham.com

Christmas is coming!

We’ve come over all Christmassy!

So, we are at the Christmas Grand Sale at the Royal Horticultural society.  Close to St James’s Park it’s easy to get to, there are tickets available on the door or you can book in advance.  With over 60 stands with a huge variety amongst them.imag2217

There is everything from wreathes to Christmas lights.  Silk scarves to flashing woollen
hats for walking the dog in!

It’s a bit squished inside the hall but we make our way around and try olives and chutneys and pick up a few early Christmas gifts.  It’s a good place to pick up some designer shirts or jewellery at discounted prices.  We don’t actually spend all that much but just enjoy imag2220milling though the stands and only spend an hour or so.

A lovely morning to start the Christmas season we don’t feel like finishing there so we jump on the number 11 bus and ride down to Covent Garden.  The 11 bus is great if you want a nice trip past Westminster Abby, Houses of Parliament, Horse Guard’s Parade and Downing Street before passing Trafalgar Square and jump off at Southampton Street to make the short walk up to Covent Garden.  I very much recommend this route if you want to show of London to visitors or want a cheap way to see the highlights of London.

Covent Garden is very busy this time of year and the whole area is full of performers, but we wonder the stalls and enjoy the decorations before ducking down a side street for coffee and cake.