Three of the best Christmas markets

Lovers of festive German markets will have to find them on these shores this year. Chris Carter reports.

Birmingham Christmas market
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market: the biggest German fair outside Germany
(Image credit: © Alamy)

Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park is back after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, says Josie Klein in The Sun. Since it opened at the end of last month, families have been lacing up their skates to take to the ice on the largest outdoor rink in Britain. The gymnast and acrobats of the Cirque Berserk have also returned. This year, the show features a “terrifying ‘Globe of Death’”, where stunt riders ride motorcycles inside a mesh ball.

On the slightly more festive side, there’s a walk-through Magical Ice Kingdom, created from 500 tonnes of ice and snow, with an ice sculpture of a knight slaying a dragon. And for the traditionalists, there’s a Bavarian Christmas market, heaving with families, and even an ice bar serving drinks in “glasses” made from sculpted ice.

Until 3 January, free at off-peak times and £5 to £7.50 at others,

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Birmingham am Main

Germany and Austria have gone back into lockdowns. So for those seeking an authentic German Christmas market without leaving these shores, Birmingham offers the next-best thing. The Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham in the city centre claims to be the biggest German festive fair outside either country. Admittedly, there are fewer stalls this year. But they are “bursting” with traditional offerings, including “gingerbread, mulled wine and, yes, frankfurters”, says Jack Rear in The Daily Telegraph. While you’re visiting, don’t forget to check out the Colmore BID market in Cathedral Square, which runs until 19 December. More focused on Frankley than Frankfurt, Christmas shoppers can find locally made gifts.

The Frankfurt market runs until 23 December,

Yuletide in York

The city centre in York was heaving on the first day of the St Nicholas Fair, says Stephen Lewis for local paper The Press. After last year’s festivities had been forced online, there was plenty of Christmas spirit on show, “from the buskers belting out Christmas tunes, to the festive fare on sale – mulled wine and hot roasted chestnuts – and the group of women sporting Rudolph head-gear”. Business was booming across the 68 alpine chalets spread across Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. “The York Christmas market is the best,” says Adam Wild of Yorkshire craftsmaker Wild Wood Gifts. “It’s really well run, and this is such a great place for people to come. It’s a real destination!”

Runs until 23 December,

Chris Carter

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.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.