Posted by Victoria
Due to me writing this post you’re probably thinking that I’m one of those crazy people who starts their Christmas shopping in the January sales, but fear not. I am in fact one of the most unorganised people you could ever wish to meet! Saying this, I feel my time working for Superbreak has led me to be more prepared for events such as the impending phenomenon and so I decided that a list of the best places to shop would be as much help to me as it may be for you. Thanks to a lack of effort and somewhat selfish spending on my part, my Christmas gifts over the past couple of years have been met with some rather blank faces. This year however, thanks to a renewed love of Christmas and (hopefully) this post, my festive shopping experience will be a positive one! Here are our top five UK cities for the best Christmas shopping and markets.
Picturesque, quaint and historic, my beautiful home town of York is my favourite place to be whatever the occasion, and when it comes to Christmas it appears many others like to visit York too! The medieval streets are decked with bells and holly from late November, and with the main shopping hotspots of Parliament Streetand St. Sampson’s Square filled with stalls and entertainers the festive spirit is guaranteed to sweep you up. As well as boutique shops, designer outlets and a host of hidden gems, the amazing ‘Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland’ is a highlight of York’s Christmas shopping experience. With The Ice Factor ice rink, traditional stalls and tasty food and drink, this stunning city is transformed into a true winter wonderland.
I am yet to visit Edinburgh, but if it’s great for Christmas shopping then I can’t think of a better reason for me to give it a go! With two huge markets there’s guaranteed to be lots for you to choose from. Edinburgh’s German Market is insanely popular selling everything from classic and contemporary gifts as well as a range of German food and drink, ideal for warming up your chilly bits. Tasty delights include hearty sausages, fried potato cakes, crepes and German beer, as well as the now famous Glühwein. There’s also the Highland Christmas Market which is full of great tradition. Selling a whole range from Scottish foodie treats to woolly hats and Scottish teddy bears, this market is eclectic, vibrant and fun.
With the largest German Market outside of Germany itself, Birmingham is well-known as one of the best places to head for all of your gift-giving needs. Dive into the festive atmosphere with a glass of mulled wine or a cool pint of bier, and buy your loved ones something quirky and unique from any of the 180 stalls. A truly continental ambience is conjured up by the lights, sounds and smells of this unique spectacle that is imported in its entirety and then installed in the beautiful setting of Birmingham’s Victoria Square. Birmingham is obviously great for shopping at any time of the year, so if Christmas markets don’t have the gifts you’re looking for there’s always the huge selection of stores inside the Bullring.
Top of my list of cities to Christmas shop in is Bath. Set up in the World heritage Sites of Bath Abbey and The Roman Baths, the city’s Christmas Market is one of culture, tradition and quaint boutique stalls. For eleven days, wooden chalets line the streets of Bath selling original crafts, homemade delights and yummy food for you to enjoy. It’s a storybook image with stunning buildings and lively street entertainment, all topped off by the true Christmas aroma of mulled wine and pine needles. Whether you find your gifts or not, the wonderful experience is likely to be worth the journey on its own.
Gloucester’s Christmas Market is somewhat unique; a very Victorian affair if you will. The hustle and bustle of a traditional Victorian Christmas is brought to the modern day streets of Gloucester, with characters in Dickensian dress, authentic street stalls selling delicious food and drink, traditional fairground rides and original brass band. Keep an eye out for a host of colourful and larger than life characters, including street urchins, ‘wonder tonic’ salesmen, toffs, Fagin-style gang masters, barbers, dentists, flower sellers, little match girls, fine ladies, not-so-fine ladies, beggars and thieves…all under the watchful eye of the faithful ‘peeler’. These fantastic characters really bring the market to life.
Where are you planning on doing your Christmas shopping this year? Have you shopped in any of our suggestions before?