20 cracking 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 leeetle bit excited now. The Christmas parties, carol services and pantos 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
Waddesdon Manor Christmas Market, Aylesbury
When: 16 Nov – 22 Dec (Wednesdays – Sundays)
What to expect: One stunning floodlit Rothschild manor house, a whopper of a Christmas tree (20ft to be exact) and 80 hand-selected exhibitors standing to attention in charming wooden chalets decked in fairy lights. Stalls change weekly.
Entry included in grounds admission, adult £11, child £5.50
Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Woodstock
When: 22 Nov – 15 Dec
What to expect: Blenheim really goes the whole shebang when it comes to Christmas with twinkling wooden chalets lining the Great Court selling a curated range of ceramics, textiles, gifts, homewares, fashion and foodie items. You’ll also find the brilliant annual Illuminated Light Trail (we’re talking a 100k Light Tunnel and laser show), plus the Palace’s State Rooms will be decorated with the theme of Alice in Wonderland.
Oxford Christmas Market, Broad Street
When: 5 – 21 Dec
What to expect: This central Oxford market runs right up to the big day and is a lifesaver for those last minute Christmas gifts (it’s rescued me a couple of times!) You’ll find 58 wooden chalets selling crafts, artisan tipple and festive nibbles.
Waterperry Gardens, Wheatley
When: 23 – 24 Nov
What to expect: Over this festive weekender there’ll be a selection of arty/crafty stalls selling handmade gifts and food, plus you can also find festive gifts in the Gallery, Gift Barn and Christmas Shop. Don’t forget your wellies as you can also pick out your own Christmas tree.
Cogges Manor Farm, Witney
When: 7 – 8 Dec
What to expect: 60+ stalls from local businesses pop up in the Wheat Barn every year for the sweet heritage farm’s Christmas market offering. There’s a foodie focus here with local produce, cakes, pies, beers, gift hampers, plus there’ll be local choirs, Santa’s Grotto and you can also pick out a Nordman Fir Christmas tree.
£2 entry, child entry £1 (includes grounds)
Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden
When: 1 Dec
What to expect: Here you’ll get live reindeer along with 50 stalls, Santa’s Grotto, entertainment, festive grub and the pretty backdrop of the Abbey. This year proceeds will go towards Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
£3 adult, £1 child tickets
Henley Christmas Festival, Henley-on-Thames
When: 29 Nov
What to expect: The whole of Henley clubs together with festive stalls scattered around the town along with Santa’s Grotto, Xmas lights switch on in Market Place and sweet lantern parade, led by reindeer, from Muddy favourite The River and Rowing Museum.
Woodstock Festive Fayre, St Mary Magdalen Church
When: 29 – 30 Nov
What to expect: Woodstock Festive Fayre returns for a second year with local stalls selling jewellery, textiles and more, along with seasonal cards, gift wrap, crackers, wreaths and Christmas pudding. Yum! The event coincides with a Night of a Thousand Candles on the Sat with music and Christmas light switch on countdown in the town square.
Country Homes and Interiors Christmas, Stonor, Henley
When: 21 – 24 Nov
What to expect: Hosted by Country Homes & Interiors Magazine, over 100 country lifestyle businesses will be exhibiting in marquees in Stonor Park’s grounds.
Adult tickets £12
Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford
When: 7 – 8 Dec
What to expect: Live music, carols and over 40 stalls popping up in the Botanic Garden Boutique, the Herbarium Room and marquee selling artisan gifts inspired by botanicals which, yep, means there’s gin! There’ll be Hot Toddies courtesy of The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s physic Gin, along with mulled wine, and hot drinks.
Woodstock Christmas Market, central Woodstock
When: 23 Nov
What to expect: Your usual festival stalls and new for 2019, Santa’s Grotto, wreath-making workshops, cookery demonstrations and extended parking.
Aylesbury Craft and Gift Fair, Market Square
When: 1 Dec
What to expect: This is the largest free Christmas fair in Bucks and grows bigger every year. Over 80 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 Norton Christmas Market
What to expect: Details of Chippy’s festive market are yet to be revealed but last year offered 70+ local sellers, pop up cinema, life-sized snow globe and lantern procession. I’ll keep my ear to the ground.
When: 7 – 8 Dec
What to expect: A traditional Christmas market with gift and food stalls, local choirs and entertainment. There’s a Christmas lights switch on exclusive to Saturday but the market continues on Sunday in the Town Hall.
Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market
When: 7 Nov – 23 Dec
What to expect: For its 20th year the Frankfurt Christmas market will be open for an extra week this year. It’s all very German – heavy on beer, sausage and pretzels – with over 80 stalls sprawling out along New Street and in Victoria Square. The ice rink and Big Wheel will be returning for 2019.
Bath Christmas Market, Bath
When: 28 Nov – 15 Dec
What to expect: A whopping 150 wooden chalets set along Bath’s pretty Georgian streets (lots of which are from local artisan makers #supportlocal). It’s been voted Number 1 UK Christmas Market so is bound to be a goodie, plus you can pop to one of the spas afterwards for some post-shopping R&R.
Southbank Centre Winter Market, London
When: 8 Nov – 5 Jan
What to expect: As well as Christmas produce, artisan treats and other goodies sold from Nordic-themed chalets standing along the river, there’ll be an Applebee’s pop-up restaurant and alpine-style lodge under the bridge.
Hyde Park Wonder Wonderland, London
When: 21 Nov – 5 Jan
What to expect: The big one. Along with 100 wooden chalets there’ll be *deep breath* ice skating, ice bars and sculpting workshops, rides, Santa Land, shows, boozy Bavarian Village and, new for 2019, A Christmas Carol, 70m lit-up ferris wheel, Paddington and Mr Men shows for children. It’s free to enter and get in on the festive atmosphere, but you’ll have to pay for the attractions.
When: 21 Nov – 22 Dec
What to expect: This bustling German-themed Christmas market was voted second best in the UK last year so no doubt it’ll be going all out to hit the top spot. Expect over 100 chalets, British Craft Village, food court and open air ice rink with the beautiful cathedral backdrop.