Forget London's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and the St Nicholas Fair in York, both of which achieved top-tier "gold" level status in a survey conducted by hotel chain Premier Inn. If it's the ultimate all-round Christmas market you're after, you need to head to Chatsworth House the Derbyshire estate came top overall. This year, the rooms in the 16th-century pile, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, have been "transformed into scenes from favourite festive stories for a spectacular entitled Once Upon a Time", says Gay Bolton in the Derbyshire Times. There's Snow White in the sculpture gallery and Cinderella in the chapel, along with more recent classics such as James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte's Web in the other rooms. Finally, in the vestibule, snowball decorations are to be found swirling around The Snowman.
Christmas at Chatsworth runs until 6 January and costs £25 for adults Chatsworth.org
A Yuletide village in Scotland
Aberdeen's Christmas Village proved so popular last year it has been made even bigger for 2018, says Emma Morrice in the city's Evening Express. Rides for thrill-seekers, a helter-skelter, candy-cane trampolines, a Santa Express train around the city centre and a grotto are new this year. Meanwhile, locally made food and drink, along with artisan arts and crafts, can be snapped up at the Christmas in the Quad market of German-style chalet stalls. At the Castlegate, Aberdeen's Norwegian fir Christmas tree an annual gift from its twin town of Stavanger, in Norway rises 35 feet into the air.
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Newport in Wales is holding its debut Christmas market this year with chalet-like stalls in the city centre selling festive treats and gifts. There is even a German bar in Westgate Square, the South Wales Argus reports. Cardiff is also putting on its usual Nadolig (Christmas) shindig. Welsh slate, crafted candles, cheeses, fruit wines and liqueurs, jewellery, pottery and original artwork are on sale at more than 80 "beautifully decorated wooden market stalls" in the Festive Quarter, says Kathryn Williams on Wales Online. "You will be able to find something for everyone on your Christmas gifts list while enjoying a cup of hot mulled wine." But don't miss the Winter Wonderland. The "first-class" ice rink has returned and is even bigger this year. The Drop Tower is a new attraction it takes riders' breath away with a 90m free-fall. As for Santa, he's taken up residence in Cardiff Castle, surrounded by beautiful decorations, magnificent banquets and spectacular entertainment.
Cardiff Christmas Market runs until 23 December, Winter Wonderland until 6 January. CardiffChristmasMarket.com
Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.
Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.
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