Last minute Christmas markets
The best Christmas markets you can reach from LCY
Last-minute shopping made fun: The best Christmas markets you can reach from LCY
Give yourself an excuse for a little trip away by booking a last-minute weekend that combines some essential Christmas shopping with one of the most festive things you can do – wandering around a fully decked-out Christmas market. Here’s our pick of the top Christmas markets you can reach easily from London – both with a quick flight from London City Airport, and a little closer to home.
Go big in Dusseldorf
If you’re really after a traditional Christmas market, go to the source – Germany. Dusseldorf doesn’t have a Christmas market; it has seven. The biggest is the central one in Marktplatz, which is enough to outdo most British town’s efforts alone, but you can easily spend a weekend doing them all. Sternchenmarkt in the Altstadt is a highlight for its signature twinkling lights and delicate crystal decorations, and the cutely named Engelchenmarkt (Little Angel Market) is a must for the pretty canopy of lights that traditionally covers the ornate bandstand in Heinrich-Heine-Platz.
Go off-piste in Exeter
For a slightly different take on the usual collection of wooden chalets selling a standard range of general Christmassy stuff, head to the South West. The market organised by Exeter Cathedral takes up the whole of the city’s landmark Cathedral Green, giving a typically quirky Devonshire spin on the Christmas market. Not only does it place an emphasis on local independent businesses, Exeter’s market is also a showcase for local performers, with a live entertainment programme. You’ll want to get in there quickly – the last day of the market is 16 December, although there’s also a series of smaller markets in nearby Castle Street.
Find the real deal in Frankfurt
A centre of business it may be, but Frankfurt goes just as all-in on Christmas as any other German city. Spread across five separate locations around the city, Frankfurt’s Christmas market is one of the biggest (and best) in Europe. It’s also particularly easy to make a quick or a long weekend of it, with several flights on Thursday and Friday evenings to get you there after work. Visit at the weekend and you can catch one of Frankfurt’s series of advent concerts on the stage at Römerberg location (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1710).
Get into the spirit in Berlin
There is no ‘best time to visit Berlin’. The place is fantastic year-round. But if we really, really had to call it, we’d probably go for Christmas. The German capital rarely looks better than when it’s decked out in its festive finest and, as a city that famously knows how to party, Berlin has an especially exuberant Christmas spirit throughout December. Naturally, there’s an enormous sprawl of Christmas markets all over Berlin too. The centrepiece is the Winterwelt market that takes over Potsdamer Platz and ticks every Christmas market box you could think of, complete with ice rink, toboggan run, and live music and DJs until 2200 at the weekend.
Come to London (or stay put)
Of course, if you’re not already in London, there’s still every reason to come here. Of course, there’s Winter Wonderland, but the city is covered with Christmas markets, many with a distinct character all their own. Columbia Road’s traditional flower market hosts Christmassy evenings each Wednesday, while Peckham’s Pexmas brings a great gathering of local makers, producers and traders together in South London.
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