Healthy and inexpensive fun with the kids – foraging in the countryside
If you live in the suburbs or countryside and you fancy a lovely day out with the kids, why not look for tasty goodies to take home.
Posted on Jan 21, 2016 by Aman
Oct 17, 2014 by Smart Blog
When conversation turns to Christmas markets, many people immediately think of French, German and Italian traditions, perhaps some cosy log cabins selling traditional wooden toys and lots of lebkuchen and gluhwein.
However, Christmas markets have just as much of a history here in the UK, where they were hugely popular until Oliver Cromwell banned them (and indeed his political allies went on to ban Christmas celebrations entirely, although history suggests that the British people did not take a great deal of notice when they did so).
There now seems to be more Christmas markets with each passing year, and many have a continental theme. Often these German, French or Italian Christmas markets will bring over traders from those countries, to sell items and delicacies that are not readily available in the UK.
Other Christmas markets, or fairs/fayres, are an altogether more British affair, with traditional gifts and Christmas foods on sale, and often handmade items.
A visit to a Christmas fair or market can be great fun for all ages; here are some of the bigger events that are taking place this year.
London is full of Christmas markets, so if you are in the capital there is bound to be one nearby. The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (21st November 2014 – 4th January 2015) is always hugely popular, and perfect for families. Tate Modern is holding a traditional Christmas market from 14th November – 24th December 2014, while those who love luxury will doubtless be heading over to Belgravia Christmas Sunday on 7th December 2014. Visitors to the latter event will not only be able to browse the area's many shops, but also meet Father Christmas and real reindeer, watch stilt walkers and jugglers and listen to many festive choirs - the nearest train stations are Victoria, Sloane Square and Knightsbridge.
Birmingham's Christmas market (or, to give it is full name, Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Fayre) is a legend among Christmas markets. With a strong German flavour, this event runs from 13th November – 22nd December 2014 and is not to be missed. Picturesque and very large, this market looks particularly festive after dark. Do not forget to try the gluhwein!
Another 'do not miss' attraction, Manchester's massive Christmas market actually takes the form of several markets dotted around the city. With a pan-European feel, this market has a huge array of goods (more than 300 stalls) from both continental and British merchants. For anybody who wants to avoid the predictable and find some original gifts and food items for Christmas, Manchester is the place to be. The markets run from 14th November to 21st December 2014.
There are Christmas markets and fairs all over the UK from around mid-November onwards, so it is worth keeping an eye on the local press for announcements. In particular, Leeds, Bath, Durham, Glasgow, Worcester and Skipton have well-established events, and most smaller towns and cities hold them too - often in conjunction with or in aid of local good causes and charities. Happy shopping!