Get into the festive spirit and establish a new tradition with a Christmas market weekend break this November or December. Ideal for picking up some unusual gifts or decorations for your home, as well as marking the countdown to Christmas with a glass of mulled wine.
Here’s our top picks:
Set in the city’s Princes Gardens, the Edinburgh Christmas Market is both traditional and romantic. There are artisan gifts, festive food and drink, fairground rides, a Christmas tree maze, ice skating and Santa’s grotto. We’d recommend a ride on the big wheel for an aerial view of this winter wonderland.
From November 17 to January 5
Stay at: Tweedswood in the Scottish Borders for a cosy winter country cottage experience with a day trip to the city, just an hour away by car or train.
The Alnwick Garden
Situated at the foot of The Alnwick Garden Treehouse, you could be mistaken for thinking that you had wandered into C S Lewis’s Narnia. A truly magical location any time of the year, the Treehouse is the perfect setting for some festive shopping.
From November 17 to December 23 (weekends only)
Stay at: The Fold @ Rock – the perfect Retreat to combine shopping with a pre-Christmas get together for the whole family.
A Christmas market for the whole family, at Ford you’ll find over 50 crafters and food producers plus a carousel and Santa and his donkeys! For us the pull is definitely the locally-reared hog roast.
Stay at: Rosebud close to the Northumberland National Park where you will see some amazing starry night skies, and if you’re lucky, a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
There’s an international flavour to Newcastle’s Christmas market, which brings together gourmet food from around the globe, as well as showcasing homegrown producers. This month-long event is held at Grey’s Monument, Grey Street and Grainger Street and is an opportunity to enjoy some street food while picking up gifts.
From November 16 to December 16
Stay at: The Alnmouth Boathouse with its direct sea views and short walk to the beach. A mini break here can be combined with a day trip into Newcastle, easily reached from Alnmouth train station.
Durham’s Christmas Festival takes over the city for one weekend with food stalls, crafts and entertainment around the World Heritage Site of its cathedral and castle, and throughout the city centre. With over 180 stalls, a lantern procession, falconry display, and of course Santa, it is easy to see why this is a not-to-be-missed award-winning event.
November 30 to December 2
Stay at: The Old Paper Mill, a 250-year-old renovated stone mill half a mile down a woodland track in County Durham. This secluded couple’s cottage makes a great base for days out before coming home to a slice of country life.