There’s nothing we love more than cruising but, let’s be real here, you can’t spend every single day hopping between the islands. Like it or lump it, you have to spend time on terra firma in between catching up on doses of vitamin sea. Fortunately, there are ways and means of making the countdown to your next cruise holiday pass quicker, like cramming as much as possible into your weekends. If a Christmas markets cruise to Europe isn’t on the agenda, these are the ones to catch here in the UK instead.
LEEDS HIDDEN CHRISTMAS MARKET
16 – 22 December 2016
A secret kingdom lays beyond the magical doors of Kirkstall Abbey, where a hidden entrance paves the way to live music, artisan food stalls, festive cocktails and craft ale bars. A family-friendly version of the two-hour event is also on offer each afternoon, with daytime entertainment replacing the more adult-focused offerings of each evening.
CHRISTMAS IN LEICESTER SQUARE
11 November 2016 – 8 January 2017
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has some stiff competition for 2016, with the debut of Christmas in Leicester Square. Bringing Christmas spirit to the hustle and bustle of central London, this Christmas fair is traditional on first impressions, with the usual Bavarian huts and gallons of gluhwein. Look beyond the glow of the fairy lights however, and there’s an adult undertone to the fair’s main event; performances of the Olivier award-winning La Soirée return for an exclusive week-long run and the burlesque show is littered with laugh-a-minute innuendo and adult-only spectacle.
HYPER JAPAN CHRISTMAS MARKET
25 – 27 November 2016
This is one Christmas market that is as far removed from the norm as you could ever imagine. The UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture and cuisine descends on London’s Tobacco Dock in November, with the kooky foods and out-there anime outfits alone enough to warrant the ticket price for Hyper Japan. Performers and special guests will entertain the crowds, many of whom arrive in search of quirky Christmas gifts with a difference. Sweet potato Kit Kats anyone?
A TASTE OF LONDON ‘THE FESTIVE EDITION’
17 – 20 November 2016
Food, glorious food; that’s the name of the game at A Taste of London: The Festive Edition. Tom Kerridge will host proceedings at a weekend of eating, drinking and entertaining. Pop up restaurants dish up high-end fayre at low-end prices, with most dishes coming in at less the £6. The Woodford, named as the ‘Champagne Laurent-Perrier London Restaurant of the Year’, is one of the gastronomic highlights of the event. World-class chefs will hold cookery demonstrations and masterclasses in the Taste Theatre, artisanal produce will be offered for sale at various stalls, and wine, whisky and beer tastings make this one worth catching the bus for.
ULVERSTON’S DICKENSIAN CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
26 – 27 November 2016
Don your fancy dress for a Dickensian Christmas in Cumbria. This traditional market sees the historic market town of Ulverston transformed into the setting a Charles Dickens fairy tale, its cobbled streets filled with Christmas market stalls, a Victorian helter skelter and fairground, horse drawn carriages and the smell of hog roasts and roasted chestnuts. Folk and brass bands will play throughout the weekend, and a grand parade around the town takes place on both days, with visitors invited to dress the part and join in.
Will you be visiting the UK’s Christmas markets this year or are you heading to Europe on a Christmas markets cruise? Don’t worry if you’re still undecided, there’s still time to book a mini cruise to the markets of Bruges, Amsterdam and more with the likes of Fred Olsen and P&O Cruises. Speak to your Bolsover Cruise Club Sales Consultant to find out more.