24 fab Christmas markets
Feeling the need to shop? Here, let us facilitate that! Read on for your fill of the best local festive fairs.
It’s Christmaaaaaaaaassss! OK, not quite – but I think we’re allowed to get a leeedle bit excited now. The Christmas parties, carol services and panto are all to come, but hey, November is already seeing the start of the festive fairs and markets across Bucks, Oxon and beyond. Ready to shop? Hell yeah!
BUCKS & OXON
Christmas at Tythe Barn, Haddenham
When: Sat 3 Nov – Sun 16 Dec
What to expect: This beautiful 15th century barn in the Midsomer Village of Haddenham (think duck pond, 12th century church, thatched cottages) is well-regarded, offering a selection of hand-picked gifts from candles and cards to scarves, gloves and jewellery. One word of warning – those high vaulted thatched ceilings make it very chilly, so wrap up warm.
Waddesdon Manor Christmas Market, Aylesbury
When: Sat 10 Nov – Sun 16 Dec
What to expect: Take one stunning Rothschild manor house, a mahoosive tree, a light show and 80 hand-selected exhibitors standing to attention in their charming wooden chalets as you walk up to the main house, and you have Christmas lift off. Entry included in grounds admission, adult tickets £12, child tickets £6
Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Woodstock
When: Fri 23 Nov – Sun 16 Dec
What to expect: Blenheim doesn’t do things by halves and this Christmas in no exception. The Illuminated Light Trail will be back to light up Oxon’s skies with lasers, along with a brand spanking new Christmas market in the Great Court promising a hand-picked curation of gifts from textiles and homewares to leather goods, accessories and food. Also making its debut this Yuletide is the Cinderella experience, with the Palace State Rooms being transformed into scenes from the fairytale, Nov 23 – Jan 13.
Entry included in grounds admission, adult tickets £16, child tickets £7.40
Oxford Christmas Market, Broad St
When: Fri 7 – Sat 22 Dec
What to expect: Oxford’s annual Christmas market runs almost right up until the big day. Broad Street will have 60 wooden chalets selling crafts, artisan booze and nibs – head for the hog roast!
Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley
When: Sat 8 – Sun 9 Dec
What to expect: Bring your wellies to pick out your own Waterperry-grown Christmas trees and wreaths along with all the trimmings. Christmas decorations, crafts, handmade gifts, food and drink stalls will also be available.
Cogges Farm Christmas Market, Witney
When: Sat 8 – Sun 9 Dec
What to expect: This one looks like an arty affair with over 60 stalls offering handmade crafts, gifts, local produce, booze, cakes, festive hampers and ready-made mincemeat for your own homemade mince pies (it’s not cheating I promise). Local choirs will be out in force along with Santa and his elves who will be in the grotto reading festive stories. All proceeds go to Cogges Heritage trust.
Adult entry £2, child entry £1, free for season ticket holders and under threes
When: Sun 9 Dec
What to expect: Santa Clause is coming to G Miss! Missenden Abbey will have pop-up stalls selling food, drinks and hand-crafted gifts, as well as your classic St Nick experience and a live reindeer.
Chipping Norton Christmas Market
When: Sun 9 Dec, 12pm – 6pm
What to expect: This annual Christmas market #liveslocal with over 70 stalls selling arts, crafts, food and drink including produce from the award winning Cotswold Distillery. Chippy is pulling out all the stops this year with a lantern procession, fairground, free pop-up festive cinema and the addition of a life-sized snow globe. There will, of course, be your obligatory mulled wine and live music. Profits will go to The Lawrence Home Nursing Team and The Friendship Club.
Birmingham German Christmas Market
When: Thu 15 Nov – Sun 23 Dec
What to expect: It’s all very German – heavy on the beer and sausage. A whopping 5million people visited last year, it sprawls out along New Street and in Victoria Square and features an ice rink and big wheel. There’s also a slightly seedy singing Santa (apparently a German pop star). Let me know if you spot him, he’s always good value.
When: Sat 17 Nov – Thu 20 Dec
What to expect: Bustling German-themed Christmas market, which is often recognised as one of the best in Europe. There will be over 100 chalets to explore with festive foods, decorations, plenty of gifts and an open-air ice rink.
Bath Christmas Market, Somerset
When: Thu 22 Nov – Sun 9 Dec
What to expect: Voted No1 UK Christmas Market in 2017, this market is set amongst the Bath’s Georgian splendour. A whopping 87 per enjoy on the stalls were businesses from Bath and the South West, selling gifts, artisan food and drink, jewellery and lots more. #supportlocal
Southbank Centre Winter Festival, London
When: Sat 8 Dec – Sun 6 Jan
What to expect: As well as purchasing Christmas produce, artisan treats and other goodies from the Nordic-themed chalets, visitors are in for a treat with Christmas shows, including Rumpelstiltskein, workshops, performances and other family-orientated fun.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN…
When: Sat 24 Nov, 11am – 4pm
What to expect: In the heritage posh bit of Aylesbury (yes there is one!) this market takes place in the historic buildings of the elegant Bucks County Museum. If you’re going with the fam, you can take the kids to the Roald Dahl Gallery after.
When: Fri 16 Nov – Sun 18 Nov
What to expect: Henley’s annual festive market attracts both local sellers and those further afield including Bucks’ The Marlow Cheese Company and the award winning home of pork pies, Brockleby’s. There’s also the promise of handcrafted, artisan gifts, jewellery arts and crafts.
Woodstock Christmas Market, Holt Hotel
When: Sun 18 Nov, 10am- 5pm
What to expect: A change of locale for Woodstock’s 7th annual market as it moves to Holt Hotel in Steeple Aston, about seven miles from town. It promises 40 stalls, Christmas wreath workshops (booking essential), Santa’s grotto and a live demonstration on how to spice up your sprouts (literally, with Punjabi masala) from heritage food brand Dadima’s.
Country Homes & Interiors, Stonor Park
When: Thurs 22 – Sun 25 Nov
What to expect: The Country Home and Interiors Show returns to the gorgeous grounds of Stonor Park with more than 100 sellers of crafts, lifestyle products, gifts and homewares.
Woodstock Festive Fayre, St Mary Magdalen Church
When: Sat 24 Nov, 9:30am – 7pm
What to expect: Woodstock is pulling out all the stops for its brand new Christmas festival at St Mary Magdalen Church: 35 stalls selling a curation of hand-picked decorations, jewellery and gifts, including British Polo Gin that will be selling bottles of their limited edition sloe gin. Running from 6pm is A Night of a Thousand Candles in the town centre where the new Christmas light illuminations will be turned on, along with live music, food and theatre performances.
Highclere Castle, Berks
When: Wed 5 – Thu 6 Dec, 9.30am-4.30pm
What to expect: Christmas at Downton, I mean Highclere. Frock up we’re off to impress Lord and Lady Carnavon at their annual Christmas Fair. Carols in the Saloon, enormous tree, handpicked gifts to buy in the State Rooms. You can expect the same at Muddy Berks HQ. It’s grandeur all the way, baby. It’s all In aid of charidee – Thames Valley Air Ambulance and St Michaels & All Angels Church, Highclere – and if you throw a few quid in the bucket you check our the gallery and the bedrooms. Oh the temptation to dive onto the divan.
Prince’s Countryside Fund Racing Weekend & Christmas Shopping Fair, Ascot Racecourse, Berks
When: Fri 23 Nov, 11am-4pm
What to expect: Giddee up to Ascot for a full day of jump racing as well as Country Living Magazine’s Christmas Shopping Fair. Loads of indie pop ups offering seasonal goodies not available on the high street. A complimentary shop-and-drop service is available so you can hit the bubbles. (So. Going.)
Knebworth Winter Festival, Herts
When: Fri 9 – Sun 11 Nov
What to expect: No need to travel to Europe to get your Christmas market fix as Kenbworth House is running its first ever Winter Festival. The Tudor building will have over 200 craft, gift, food and drink stalls as well as an enchanted garden for Santa’s little helpers.
Hoddesdon Loves Christmas, Herts
When: Sat 24 Nov, 10am – 6pm
What to expect: A full day of festive stalls, fairground rides and musical entertainment ending with a Father Christmas parade, Christmas light switch on and firework display. A real Rudolph will be there to gnaw carrots and ignore the children.
When: Sat 1 – Sun 2 Dec
What to expect: A little quieter and a little earlier than the main market on Broad Street. Along with your usual cohort of handcrafted gifts, Oxford Botanic Garden is promising floral mulled wine, Hot Toddies courtesy of The Oxford Artisan Distillery and Oxford University’s home grown Physic Gin.
Aylesbury Craft and Gift Fair, Market Square
When: Sun 2 Dec, 11am – 3pm
What to expect: This is the largest free Christmas fair in Bucks and grows bigger every year. Over 75 stalls will line Aylesbury’s cobbled Market Square offering jewellery, gifts, candles, cheese, craft gin and more. You’re just across the road from the Waterside Theatre if you want to fit the panto into your day too!
Chipping Campden, Glos
When: Sat 1 – Sun 2 Dec
What to expect: Traditional Christmas market with over 40 gift and food stalls, local choirs and entertainment. There’s a Christmas lights switch exclusive to Saturday but the market continues on Sunday.