Christmas markets and shows are popping up around the country. Chris Carter picks some of the best.
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.
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