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Christkindelmarkt returns to Leeds’ Millennium Square to add festive sparkle to the city’s bustling shopping scene. Bag traditional gifts and decorations, then try to resist the yummy festive food stalls. The only thing you can’t guarantee is snow but other than that this is as Christmassy as it gets with an alpine restaurant and cosy Kuh Stall serving hot and cold drinks and belly-warming German food in front of a real log fire. Bliss.
You can shop ’til your pine needles drop in Manchester this Christmas at nine festive markets and 300 stalls – including a dedicated arts and crafts market, a French market, the obligatory German market and, covering all bases, a world market too. It all centres on Albert Square – hard to miss with the giant looming Santa. Need some apres-spree? Bar Hütte is the ski-themed drinking hole of your dreams. As well as cocktails galore, there’s live entertainment and ‘carol-oke’ booths. We’d go as far as saying: some like it Hütte.
If there’s a city more into Christmas than Glasgow, it’s probably made of gingerbread. There are two main markets plus pop-up stalls aplenty. From 9 November to 23 December, St Enoch Square is more German than sauerkraut-stuffed lederhosen with Bavarian bars and a windmill. George Square market runs from 25 November until 10pm on New Year’s Eve, with a day off for Santa’s pressie drop. There’s a vintage fair too, if you fancy a festive frolic.
It’s Yuletide all year round at York’s Nutcracker Christmas Shop but as the big day draws nearer, the chocolate box Shambles (York’s most famous street) and the city’s other storied avenues bristle with the festive spirit too. St Nicholas’ Fair is the focal point, full of crafts made by local elves and showcased in the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village.
Head to the steel city if you’re looking for a steal this Christmas. More than 50 traditional cabins will pepper the streets of Sheffield, with attractions and distractions including fun fairs and festive entertainment to boot. If you’re a regular at the Sleigh Bar at the top of Fargate it is sadly no more, but don’t worry, there’s a new haunt with an alpine feel in the same spot, keeping with the winter wonderland vibe.
Newcastle’s Christmas market traditionally hugs Grey’s monument nice and tightly. This year, new organisers are promising a bigger footprint with more stalls and food and drink outlets. It’s all in the heart of Newcastle’s shopping district with Eldon Square, Monument Mall and Northumberland Street just yards away. While you’re in town, you must also observe local tradition by visiting the festive display in Fenwick’s window.
The real stars of Christmas in Edinburgh are the city’s ancient streets and fairytale nooks. Against this picture-book backdrop, the Christmas Market shines like a beacon in East Princes Street Gardens, right next to the train station. This tinsel-trimmed traditional fair is open 10am to 10pm daily and is crammed with crafters, art shops, gift stalls and food stops. Fancy a wee dram after a hard day’s shopping? Hit up the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar, serving warming whisky fit for Santa himself.
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