An essential festive attraction that guarantees to get you into the Christmas spirit is the ever-popular Christmas Market.
The aroma of mulled wine and incense amidst quaint little wooden huts decorated with pretty fairy lights, selling traditional crafts and tasty delicacies from local artisans really does evoke the atmosphere of advent. Take a look at some of the best places to visit this Christmas all direct from Southampton Airport.
During Advent, Düsseldorf is an exciting mix of Christmas markets and shopping delights with over 200 decorated huts which form part of different theme worlds across the city. With crystals that break the light into thousands of colours and sparkling stars, the “Sternchenmarkt” (“Little Star Market”) at the Stadtbrückchen is idyllically located in the courtyard of the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus. Markets open from 19th November to 23rd December
Whether you want to shop with the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame as your backdrop or prefer to meander the stalls of a typically French boulevard, Paris has many Christmas markets to choose from. You’ll find the largest Christmas market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Along with the stunning illuminations on what is considered to be the world’s most beautiful avenue, there are no less than 160 authentic chalets that line the Champs-Elysées for festive trinkets, carols, crafts and gifts. Markets open from 15th November 2015 to 4th January 2016
Searching for that extra special gift this Christmas, then head to Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world. This cosmopolitan city offers sparkles in abundance but if the sparkles you want are for the tree rather than those set in lavish jewellery, make your way to Grote Markt, Suikerrui, Handschoenmarkt and the Groenplaats lined with festive gifts galore. Enjoy a hot chocolate or an Antwerp coffee on a heated terrace, skate hand-in-hand with your loved one or see stunning views over the city and river during a ride on the Ferris wheel. Markets open from 5th to 27th December 2015.
Enjoy the winter season in Amsterdam when it’s transformed into a city of festive light. Soak up the seasonal atmosphere on illuminated walking routes around the canals. With 26 neighbourhood markets you’ll also find delightful festive stalls, street entertainers and fairground attractions as you meander through the city. Be dazzled by: Amsterdam Light Festival. Markets open from 26th November 2015 to 17th January 2016.
Head to Dublin this Winter and be part of its inaugural Christmas market. Set within St Stephens Green in the heart of Dublin, the market will offer visitors a unique selection of quality Irish made handcrafted gift items as well as crepes, bratwurst and Gluhwein and a good selection of festive threads! Markets open from 13th November to 22nd December 2015.
The Belfast City Hall and the big wheel make the perfect backdrop for the Belfast Christmas market. Bringing together French, German, Spanish and Italian traders you can explore local food, beers, art and crafts as well as the buzzing atmosphere and entertainment. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without saying hi to the main man himself, Santa! People come back to Belfast year after year as it never fails to impress. Markets open from 14th November to 20th December 2015
Kick off the festive season at Jersey’s very own Christmas festival, La Fête dé Noué, famous for its magical parades, street entertainment and spectacular festive events. It’ll light up your evening in St Helier and bring the bustling Christmas market to life. There is also a visiting Norman French Market which takes place in the Royal Square mid-way through the Fête dé Noué where you simply have to sample the Norman cider. You simply have to: watch the spectacular Christmas parade (procession starts from the Rue de L’Etau along La Route du Port Elizabeth to Liberation Square finishing at the Esplanade). Markets open from 3rd to 6th December 2015.
Reignite the magic of Christmas in Market Square in St Peter Port, which comes alive with twinkling lights and traditional celebrations. Well regarded for fantastic fresh produce markets during the rest of the year, the Christmas markets are full with seasonal crafts, gifts and tasty treats. Time your visit with: Fresh Fridays: sample the delights of the local stall holders and their finest fresh and homemade produce from breads to jams, vegetables to fresh fish. You’ll also be serenaded with music sessions from island musicians. Markets open from 30th November to 21st December 2015.