Written by Isabel Clift
Warm your belly with copious amounts of mulled wine, bite the heads off gingerbread men and browse baubles to your heart’s content… it’s Christmas market time again.
If you don’t want to fly all the way to Germany, there are plenty of markets in the UK to get you in that Christmassy mood. Christmas markets in Belgium or France are also just a zip away on the Eurostar. Here’s our pick of the six best Christmas markets just a train ride away…
Southbank Centre Winter Festival, 5th November 2014 to 11th January 2015
Stretching alongside the twinkling Thames, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market specialises in artisan stocking-fillers from handmade soaps to wooden toys.
With 60 chalets, a kids’ carousel and traditional treats like Bratwurst sausages, mulled wine and gingerbread hearts, it gives you a little taste of traditional Germany without having to fork out for the plane ticket.
See also: Ultimate guide to London NYE
Edinburgh Christmas Market, 21st November 2014 to 4th January 2015
Found at East Princes Street Gardens between the Edinburgh ferris wheel and outdoor ice rink, this Christmas market lets you choose from a range of traditional Scottish treats.
Sip on a hot toddy and check out the locally-procured meats (including veal), cheeses, jewellery, clothes and craft gifts.
See also: Ultimate guide to Edinburgh NYE
Lille Christmas Market, 19th November to 30th December 2014
The closest Christmas market in Europe by rail from London, Lille’s Christmas market at Place Rihour is made up of more than 80 chalets and strung with twinkling fairy lights.
As well as tucking in to usual suspects gingerbread and mulled wine, you can pick up local crafts from Russia, Poland, and Québec, as well as Native American crafts.
Trocadero Christmas Market, November 15th to January 6th 2015
In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Paris’s Christmas market on the Trocadero gives a magical setting for family trips and couples alike.
Wooden chalets sell toys and decorations as well as regional French cheese, wine and chocolate, and there’s an ice rink and carousel to keep kids (and big kids) happy.
See also: Ultimate guide to Paris NYE
Brussels Christmas Market, 28th November 2014 to 4th January 2015
A great Christmas shopping bonanza, with over 200 chalets stretching across the Grand Place and Place Sainte-Catherine, Brussels Christmas Market also incorporates an outdoor ice rink and Ferris wheel.
Chalets are decked out to represent different countries and there are regional craft gifts on offer from all over the world, plus enough food stalls to feed the whole family for every day of Christmas!
Bruges Christmas Market, 21st November 2014 to 2nd January 2015
Set in Bruges’ beautiful medieval main square, this petite Christmas market sits around an outdoor ice-rink with traders selling a range of local crafts, clothes and sweet treats.
It’s not nearly as extensive as markets elsewhere, but worth a stroll as you pop in and out of the town’s enchanting collection of chocolate, lace and perfume shops.
- The 9 Best Places to go for New Year’s Eve
- The Craziest Christmas Markets in Germany
- Amazing Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks
Thanks to Heather Cowper, Chris Flemming, Eduardo M C, Gary Bembridge and C.M.FRIESE photography for the images from Flickr. Please note, all images were held under the creative commons licence at the time of publication.