With an imposing Cathedral on one side and an idyllic town on the other, Winchester Christmas Market looks like a film set all set for a Christmas magic. It is not a film set but it certainly sets the scene for a winter wonderland. Founded in 2006, the Christmas market boasts of being one of the best Christmas markets in the UK. It's neither the oldest nor the biggest but it definitely sets the pace with its merry, yuletide atmosphere.
Take a walk down narrow cobbled roads and past the velvety gardens of the Cathedral and you will a see a scene straight out of a post card. There are around 100 little shops set in pretty wooden chalets whilst the lofty Gothic structure gives a stunning backdrop. Situated in the heart of Cathedral's historic Inner Close and surrounded by an open-air real ice rink, the Winchester Christmas Market is reminiscent of ancient European markets.
The concept of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. The first Christmas Market was held in 1434 and was known as the Dresden Christmas Market. Since then, Christmas Markets became a significant tradition, it is essentially a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent.
The Winchester Christmas Market is one of loveliest Markets which offer a plethora of Christmas art, crafts and food. While you are here, don't forget to warm yourself with a soothing cup of mulled wine or dig into some scrumptious mince pies. There's plenty to take home too, this year the market features some of the finest British craftsmen and women offering unique jewels, paintings, textile art, glass painting and stuffed toys. Filing up the stocking never seemed this easy!
Scenes from nativity, a dazzling tree, sparkly rides and a chance to meet Father Christmas will definitely keep the little ones happy. What's more? The whole thing builds up to a festive climax with the wonderful Christmas Eve carol concert in Winchester Cathedral.
The 2012 Christmas Market will be running for 32 days from Thu 22 Nov to Sun 23 Dec. Open every day, 10am-6pm from Sun-Wed and 10am-7.30pm from Thu-Sat.