Christmas with Caesar and Jane Austen
The city of Bath holds its Christmas Market from 27 November-7 December. In the Abbey Grounds right at the centre of town, next to the Roman Baths, along the streets Jane Austen knew so well, visitors will find an array of traditional wooden chalets and stall offering food, drink and gifts of all kinds. Carol singers, musicians, and children’s entertainers will add to the merriment in three designated performance areas. You can enjoy the festive atmosphere in one of Britain’s loveliest cities free of charge.
Jacobean Splendour in the Great Hall
Cotswold Crafts at Chastleton House is on 29 November. Admission is £2 for adults, £1 for accompanied children, and allows you access to the glorious Great Hall, decorated for Christmas with a magnificent tree and log fire, as well as to the local craftsmen and their wares. There’ll be live music during the Fair. Chastleton House itself is over 400 years old, and the home of modern croquet. Trains to Moreton-in-Marsh take about an hour and a half from London Paddington.
Christmas with Charles Dickens
Rochester’s Dickensian Christmas Fair is on 1-2 December, and is just an hour from London Victoria or Charing Cross station. The streets of the acient town are thronged with costumed characters, musicians and entertainers. There’s a carol concert outside the Cathedral at the end of each day’s trading. Aside from the stalls packing the Victorian High Street with enticing gifts, there are many Dickens-related places of interest to visit in the town.
A Victorian Christmas
The renowned naval city of Portsmouth, home to historic ships like the Mary Rose and HMS Victory, reflects Britain’s maritime heritage. From 28-30 November, admission to the Victorian Festival of Christmas (£12 adults, £10 children) also gives you admission to many attractions in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, making this a great-value day out. You can see Victorian characters thronging around the many stalls, hear carol singers, buy your holiday gifts and even visit a “green” Santa Claus. Travel by rail or coach from London’s Victoria; the train takes just over two hours.
Bavaria comes to Bournemouth
You can visit a traditional German Christmas market without setting foot outside Britain. The seaside town of Bournemouth, less than two hours by train from London’s Victoria station, will transform The Square into a Bavarian-style festive market from 28 November to 21 December. A carousel at the centre of the Square offers rides at a modest charge, but the music and atmosphere in The Square is free. Stalls selling tin, wooden and glass handicrafts, jewellery, toys and gifts are augmented by food sellers with gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds and a host of other German delicacies.