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Hand’s up who has visit a Christmas market on their Christmas wishlist? There’s just something so magical about wandering around those cute chalet-stalls picking up decorations, presents and of course yummy food. If you ever loose me just find me at the churros stall!!! This year we decided to make a weekend of it and considered taking the car across the channel to Europe, but with time ticking away we decided to head off on a mini road trip to Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, about a two-hour drive from us in Kent.
There are loads of amazing Christmas markets in the UK, we’ve done Manchester, St Albans and the one that lines the banks of the River Thames in London before, and I’ve had Edinburgh, Bath, Oxford and Winchester on my wishlist for a while. It is always nice to choose somewhere new, it makes for great memories and I’d heard amazing things Winchester, as not only is the town so adorable, but the market is perfectly located, nestled between the iconic cathedral and the ice rink, and it has more than 100 stalls.
Winchester Christmas Market
Heading to somewhere like Winchester at the weekend, especially before Christmas, means it can be very busy, and I hate stressing over a car parking space, which is why we used the very handy park and ride. Winchester has a few different sites, all very close to the M3, which was perfect for us, and we didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes for our bus into town or back to the car. It was also super reasonable at £3 per car for the day.
First thing we did when we got into Winchester was head to the ice skating, it is always one of my favourite things to do over Christmas, and here they have their rink under cover, so doesn’t matter what the weather is like. It was a great size, but do be prepared for a lot of people, it was a little too full for my liking and meant I was constantly trying not to fall over those little penguins. Then after our slot on the ice, we went for a wander around the Christmas market, which is located around the ice rink.
If you are planning on going to Winchester for the market, try a week day, it might be less busy, or come early, as we seemed to be in a slow moving queue the whole way round, which wasn’t ideal. My favourite section was the craft village, filled with independent traders who had designed wonderful pottery, jewellery and decorations. Next favourite was the food court, there was a chocolate stall that was just incredible, and my husband went for a very tasty Bratwurst. I would also recommend the mulled wine, which is traditionally brewed, just walking past the stall was amazing.
Tips on planning a road trip to a Christmas Market
- Get your car, winter ready – make sure you have enough fuel for the journey, check your oil, tyre pressure, top up your screen wash and be prepared for the icy weather by making sure you have an ice scraper and de-icer.
- Make sure your car insurance and breakdown cover is up to date and if you are driving abroad make sure your policies cover this.
- Plan ahead – Google your route, look into parking, and see if there is a park and ride where you are going as this will probably be easier and cheaper.