15 cracking Christmas markets
Feeling the need to shop? Here, let us facilitate that! Read on for your fill of the best local festive fairs.
It’s Christmaaaaaaaaassss! OK, not quite – but I think we’re allowed to get a leeedle bit excited now. The Christmas parties, carol services and panto are all to come, but hey, November is already seeing the start of the festive fairs and markets in Herts and beyond. Ready to shop? Hell yeah!
When: Fri 30 Nov
What to expect: Tring’s Christmas Festival is the town’s biggest free event with High Street offering gift and food stalls where you can eat and order your Christmas Turkey, massage chairs (weird, but we will roll with it!) and gin cocktails. Tring’s schools and dance academies will be out in force and the shops will be staying open late.
When: Fri 30 Nov – Sat 22 Dec
What to expect: St Albans’ Christmas Market is handing over the reins to Meraki Festival this year and is promising more than your bog-standard hot dogs and mulled wine tent. Expect German sausage, hog roast and vegan goodies galore along with 40 German-style wooden shacks with crafts and gifts. Meraki’s 3-Tipis Firepit Bar will make its debut at the annual market and will be playing live acoustic music every evening. Your classic Santa experience and Christmas fair ground will also be there.
When: Sat 1 Dec
What to expect: Bishop Strotford kicks off the festive period on the first day of the month with over 140 Christmas stalls. This year will be the town’s 3rd Christmas market that includes festive gifts and food along with local vendors from the Saturday, Farmers and Craft Markets.
When: Sun 2 Dec, 11am – 5pm
What to expect: Redbourne’s Winter Festival is a whole day of Christmas spirit including over 100 stalls hosting Herts’ home grown vendors, food, drink, music and a Yule raffle. (er, can I win Tom Hardy please?).
When: Sat 15 – Sun 16 Dec
What to expect: Get your skates on this one has an ice rink *cue Boléro*, alongside your usual food, entertainment and market stalls. There’ll be a funfair for the kids and the big man himself will make an appearance to give out gifts and spread Christmas cheer.
When: Fri 23 – Sat 24 Dec
What to expect: The whole town clubs together for this one, with two days of festive celebrations. Bring your Christmas lists because, as well as festive market stalls, loads of shops and restaurants will be offering discounted prices, including newly opened The Hummingbird and Cinnabar. There’s also a living nativity, children’s activities and loads of entertainment.
When: Thu 15 Nov – Sun 23 Dec
What to expect: It’s all very German – heavy on the beer and sausage. A whopping 5million people visited last year, it sprawls out along New Street and in Victoria Square and features an ice rink and big wheel. There’s also a slightly seedy singing Santa (apparently a German pop star). Let me know if you spot him, he’s always good value.
When: Sat 10 Nov – Wed 2 Jan
What to expect: The manor is hosting its biggest Christmas fair ever with food and gifts on offer from charming wooden chalets. There’s also a light show by the Guildhall School, this year projected onto the stables, and featuring Waddesdon’s objects, gardens and architecture.
When: Wed 5 – Thu 6 Dec, 9.30am-4.30pm
What to expect: Christmas at Downton, I mean Highclere. Frock up we’re off to impress Lord and Lady Carnavon at their annual Christmas Fair. Carols in the Saloon, enormous tree, handpicked gifts to buy in the State Rooms. You can expect the same at Muddy Berks HQ. It’s grandeur all the way, baby. It’s all In aid of charidee – Thames Valley Air Ambulance and St Michaels & All Angels Church, Highclere – and if you throw a few quid in the bucket you check our the gallery and the bedrooms. Oh the temptation to dive onto the divan.
When: Sat 17 Nov – Thu 20 Dec
What to expect: Bustling German-themed Christmas market, which is often recognised as one of the best in Europe. There will be over 100 chalets to explore with festive foods, decorations, plenty of gifts and an open-air ice rink.
When: Thu 22 Nov – Sun 9 Dec
What to expect: Voted No1 UK Christmas Market in 2017, this market is set amongst the Bath’s Georgian splendour. A whopping 87 per enjoy on the stalls were businesses from Bath and the South West, selling gifts, artisan food and drink, jewellery and lots more. #supportlocal
When: Sat 1 – Sun 2 Dec
What to expect: Traditional Christmas market with over 40 gift and food stalls, local choirs and entertainment. There’s a Christmas lights switch exclusive to Saturday but the market continues on Sunday.
When: Sat 8 Dec – Sun 6 Jan
What to expect: As well as purchasing Christmas produce, artisan treats and other goodies from the Nordic-themed chalets, visitors are in for a treat with Christmas shows, including Rumpelstiltskein, workshops, performances and other family-orientated fun.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
When: Thurs 15 – Sun 18 Nov
What to expect: Blenheim is showcasing 180 British designers and makers in stylish pavilions in the grounds. Crafts on offer include millinery, ceramics, studio glass, leatherwork, sculpture, textile crafts, photography, toys and puzzles, fashion, soaps, designer jewellery and more. Some designers will be taking commissions for that perfect personalised present too.
The Prince’s Countryside Fund Racing Weekend & Christmas Shopping Fair, Ascot Racecourse, Berks
When: Fri 23 Nov, 11am-4pm
What to expect: Giddee up to Ascot for a full day of jump racing as well as Country Living Magazine’s Christmas Shopping Fair. Loads of indie pop ups offering seasonal goodies not available on the high street. A complimentary shop-and-drop service is available so you can hit the bubbles. (So. Going.)