Nothing quite spurs on the warm and fuzzy feeling of Christmas like the festive themed markets that pop up all over the UK and Brittany throughout November and December. Set across a wide range of venues; from town centres, to harbours, to Cathedrals, these ever popular shopping experiences allow visitors to take home a selection of trinkets and gifts whilst indulging in some seasonal sweets and savouries.
To make sure you don’t miss out on getting into the festive swing, we’ve carefully chosen some of our favourite markets across the UK and Western France that are definitely worth a visit this Christmas.
Like many of its kind throughout the UK, this exceptionally popular shopping set-up has taken inspiration from the “Weihnachtsmarkt” or German Markets. The decorated alpine chalet stalls, Christmas bar and German BBQ Bratwurst House all come together to make the warm and exciting atmosphere that brings Bournemouth’s town centre to life.
When not shopping for hand-crafted gifts for loved ones, visitors can enjoy a mulled wine whilst enjoying choir and music performances or revelling in some family fun on the Victorian style carousel.
In a winter garden setting, an authentic Christmas village awaits you. From hot chestnuts, pretzels, macaroons, gingerbread and nougat, to original gifts and thoughtful presents, over 30 exhibitors come to show their creations and craftsmanship. The beautiful backdrop of the city’s walls houses this spectacular market from 16th to 31st December and of course, Santa will be present every afternoon.
As part of the city’s Christmas Festival, this seasonal gathering of the around 40 independent stallholders who can offer visitors anything from jewellery, candied fruit and wooden toys is not to be missed. Not only featuring regular performances from local schoolchildren and musicians, but Southampton’s Christmas market fails to disappoint as the renowned “Flying Santa” show returns to give shoppers a festive buzz.
The ideal location for Brest’s Marché de Noël sees this Christmas market being set in the magnificent natural harbour sheltered by the Leon and Crozon peninsulas. Aside from the extensive list of almost 50 local tradesmen and women that come to sell their seasonal products, this market gives visitors the chance to indulge in some typically festive treats such as the mulled wines and gingerbreads, but also local delicacies such as the well-known Breton crêpe.
As another German-inspired market, Winchester incorporates everything you love about seasonal shopping such as the tinsel-lined chalets and steaming food stalls but places it in an unforgettable location. Situated in the historic Close of the Cathedral and surrounded by the open-air ice rink, it’s no wonder that this Christmas market attracts more than 350,000 eager visitors each year and you can join them in celebrating the festive season from 18th November to 20th December.
Step foot into Rennes’ Marché de Noël where you’re welcomed by the twinkle of illuminated Christmas trees and the fragrance of spices in the air. Starting from 25th November, traders and visitors gravitate from all over to immerse themselves in the festive spirit with a hot chocolate or mulled wine whilst enjoying the variety of acts and entertainments.