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The Top Christmas Markets

Wednesbury Christmas  Market

The Top Christmas Markets to visit this Festive Season

A special post by Lily Donaldson

Christmas is fast approaching, and with the dawning of the festive season has come the annual desire to wholeheartedly embrace the commercial meaning of December 25th. Yet while big name brands will be jingling all the way to the bank, consumers are being given the opportunity to support smaller independent retailers by visiting their local Christmas market.

Christmas markets originated in Germany, at a time when seasonal markets were a cornerstone of the local economy, and as a result the best ones tend to be found in mainland Europe – Austria, Switzerland and, obviously, Germany all enjoy a boost to their tourism figures at this time of year as a result. However, the idea of the Christmas market has become so popular that you will be able to find at least one no matter where in the world you choose to travel.

Here in the UK

The Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is currently the largest of its kind outside Germany and Austria and spends the five weeks in the run-up to Christmas filling the West Midlands city with the scent of Gluhwein, roasting bratwurst and sugary delights. Unsurprisingly, this festive feast of European culture is extremely popular, with over three million people choosing to visit year on year. Highlights include having a sing-song with the Singing Moose (or Chris, as he’s otherwise known), picking up some traditional Christmas decorations at the incorporated craft fair and soaking up the atmosphere created by roaming carollers and jazz musicians. An eclectic mix of traditions from all corners of the globe, this market is certainly not to be missed.

Port Locations

Of course, for a truly authentic Christmas market experience there is no substitute for those in mainland Europe. It may surprise some to learn that Belgium, not often heaped with praise for its sense of fun, is the premier destination for the true festive boffin; both Zeebrugge and Antwerp have fantastic Christmas markets, along with a fabled history of chocolate production. If you are struggling to think of a unique way to spend the festive season with your family on a budget, visiting a Christmas market in a port town is relatively cheap and very easy to schedule into a two or three day trip.

Going the Whole Hog

Of course, for the true Christmas market experience nothing quite beats a dusting of snow to truly set the scene. This can be found in abundance in Austria, where Vienna truly sets itself apart in the Christmas market stakes by blending tradition and technology to create a festival of lights in an olde-worlde Christmas card setting. For the ultimate enthusiast, a week’s trip to Vienna will allow for a short ski break and even a trip across the border into Germany to see where this endearing festive staple began. Big kids and little kids alike will find themselves enchanted.

The market in the photograph, is Wednesbury market which has a Royal Charter and had a special evening market for the Christmas Lights switch-on.

Please comment if you would like to share your thoughts…

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