George Eustice says ‘Christmas is safe’
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Autumn is here and, before you know it, it will be November and time to step into the Christmas spirit. Christmas markets are the perfect festive day out now that Covid restrictions have mostly been lifted. But which Christmas Markets are open this year? Express.co.uk reveals the top Christmas markets to visit in the UK.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
Winter Wonderland in London, arguably the most popular Christmas market in the UK, is open this year from November 19 till January 3
Winter Wonderland activities include the chance to skate on the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, watch the acrobats at a circus show, hop on the Giant Observation Wheel, ride a rollercoaster, create an ice sculpture, and play fairground games.
There’s a huge range of food and drink on offer in a number of stalls, bars and restaurants, or you can simply stroll around under the glorious lights and do some shopping from the festive chalets.
Winter Wonderland must be pre-booked and during off-peak times is free to enter, but entry at peak times and access to some activities requires a paid-for ticket.
If you spend an additional £20 on paid-for attractions, rides or games when booking your entry ticket, your entry fee will be free.
Between November 19 and December 19, Blenheim Palace’s Great Court will be transformed into a spectacular seasonal market, with traditional wooden chalets showcasing a range of festive treats from over 50 designer-makers and artisan food and drink producers.
Who wouldn’t want to get in the festive spirit against the stunning backdrop of the baroque Oxfordshire Palace?
If you fancy getting your loved ones some unique gifts, look no further as the markets are filled with a variety of hand-picked, irresistible gifts, unique works by a range of designers and tempting treats to taste and take home.
No shopping is required though as the market makes the perfect addition to a Christmas day out with winter warming tipples, great British cheeses, charcuterie and sweet treats to get your teeth into.
The Christmas Market is part of a whole host of festive entertainment on offer such as a Christmas trail and a performance of the Nutcracker.
Entry to the Christmas Market is free to all, but you’ll need tickets to the other events inside and parking must be booked in advance.
For more information, prices, opening times and to book, click here.
Fancy some early Christmas cheer? Head to Picton Castle and Gardens.
The medieval castle that was transformed into a stately home in the eighteenth century will be holding a Christmas Market on November 20 and 21
At the cost of £9 for adults, £8 for senior citizens and £6 for children, you can get a complimentary glass of mulled wine for adults and peruse the stalls.
There will be a great selection of local Pembrokeshire producers from food to jewellery, toys and local crafts and art, and visitors can also enjoy strolling around the well tended 40 acre gardens.
Chatsworth is celebrating The Magic of Christmas with a look back over the 20 years since the house first opened for the festive season in 2001, to help revive Derbyshire’s tourism industry which was badly affected by foot and mouth disease that year.
Visitors will see nods to a variety of themes that have featured in the house over the past two decades, as they enjoy decorations designed to capture the magic of the festive season.
Enjoy the displays, fairy lights, Christmas trees, garlands, snow installation, and references to Narnia, Charles Dickens novels and Alice and Wonderland as you walk around the garden.
There will be a variety of festive activities in the farmyard and the Christmas market on Lodge Hill next to the house will be made up of more than 100 stalls offering a wide range of Christmas gifts and decorations.
Tickets for Christmas at Chatsworth are priced at £26 for adults, £15 for children, and £70 for a family (two adults and up to three children), and include access to the house, garden and farmyard, as well as car parking and access to the Christmas market between 6-24 November. Advanced booking via the Chatsworth website is required.
Raby Castle, Durham
Raby Castle in Durham’s Christmas Market is on December 4 and 5 from 10am and it’s totally free – including parking!
Visitors can browse a selection of stalls in the Coach Yard and discover lots of delicious treats, seasonal produce and beautiful homemade products from local suppliers.
The attraction’s Stables Shop will also be open and selling unique Christmas decorations and gifts.
Raby will be serving takeaway food and drink including spiced mulled wine and the Stables Café will be open for refreshments and lunch.
Christmas trees that have been grown on the Raby Estates will also be for sale.
Pensthorpe Natural Park, Norfolk
On Sunday, November 28, Pensthorpe’s popular Christmas Market returns.
Attended by the region’s best food and drink suppliers, artists and craft makers, Pensthorpe’s Christmas Market provides shoppers with a welcome change of scenery from the high street, with pop-up stalls, all in a relaxed and spacious outdoor environment.
Escape the city crowds and discover bespoke creations, creative gift ideas and delicious treats made from boutique producers, many of whom are from the local area.
The event is open from 10am till 4pm with free entry and free parking.
The North Pole, Parker’s Piece Park, Cambridge
The North Pole Ice Rink is returning to Cambridge this year between November 19 and January 3, alongside a magical Christmas Market.
You can skate in the day or evening, jump on the Big Wheel, tuck into delicious food and drink in the Ice Bar, or take a ride on the UK’s longest three-lane ice slide.
Tickets for The North Pole are available now, with prices starting at £13 for adults and £11 for children, with discounted family and season tickets also available.
Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent
Leeds Castle, which is in Kent not Leeds, is open for their famous Christmas Market full of seasonal gifts, toys, festive decorations, specialist food and drink from November 27 to January 2.
You will get to step inside the popular Christmas song, the Twelve Days of Christmas, as you walk through 12 different artworks representing the gifts in the song.
Whether it be a lover’s stroll through the turtle dove arch in the woodland walk, admiring seven mirrored swans swimming on the Great Water, or banging 12 drummer’s drums by the play areas, the trail has been designed with many photo moments, interactive elements for the little ones to enjoy, and lots of sensory experiences to explore.
The Castle itself will be a Christmas wonderland, full of trees and decorations to admire.
Tickets are included with the price of regular admissions, which is £28 for adults, £27 for those aged above 65 and students, £19.50 for children and free for those under four.
Discounts for visitors with disabilities, carers, and family groups are available too.
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