Christmas is fast approaching and, for many of us, the start of the festive season is the traditional Christmas lights switch on. Star-studded switch-on events are usually followed by our favourite adopted tradition, German-style Christmas markets. Bratwurst, gluhwein and gingerbread - what more could we want?
Here are our must-visit UK Christmas markets to visit this festive season.
Bath Christmas Market – 23rd November / 10th December 2017
One of the prettiest markets around, the Bath switch-on starts in Bath Abbey's floodlit courtyard and sprawls into the grand Georgian streets that surround it. Bath has quickly cemented itself as a favourite destination for those looking for fantastic, family-friendly markets, and 80% of all the gifts here are handmade from a broad selection of tradesmen and stallholders - all supported by the Fairtrade certification.
Edinburgh Christmas Spectacular – 18th November / 6th January 2018
North of the border, Scotland's capital has one of the most spectacular markets around. Edinburgh's historic atmosphere really brings on the festive spirit, and there's the spectacular ice rink in St Andrews Square, as well as Santa's grotto and festive playground for the little ones. The markets stay for a little longer than usual here so you can carry on the festive cheer over Hogmanay and right into the new year.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London – 17th November / 1st January 2018
Plenty goes on in London over the Christmas period, but the pick of the bunch is the festive Winter Wonderland extravaganza at Hyde Park. Its giant Ferris wheel dominates the skyline, and its carefully decorated chalets, large ice rink and circus attraction make for an exceptional festive spectacle. This year you'll find wonderous ice sculptures which have taken over, with sculptures of deep sea divers, sharks and even a submarine.
Manchester Christmas Market – 10th November / 20th December 2017
One of the UK's longest running markets, the expansive, award-winning market is well known for its authentic and continental feel. There are stalls and specialities from all over the world, as well as traditional British treats to stir the senses. With over 300 stalls across the city centre, it's hard to resist the charm. The bustling atmosphere as the crisp nights draw delights the thousands that make the yearly trip.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market and Ice Rink – 20th November / 22nd December 2017
A jewel on the south coast this Christmas, the medieval city of Winchester transforms into a glistening winter playground. With over 100 stalls and chalets under the stunning cathedral, you will find a wide variety of bespoke and handmade gifts for everyone. Be sure to check out the many events unique to this setting - while the twilight hour tours of the cathedral grounds are spectacular.