Is there a more fun way to get into the festive spirit than at one of the many Christmas markets that spring up around the country at this time of year? And as if twinkling fairy lights, sizzling sausages and beautiful chalets offering pretty gifts to browse isn’t enough to keep you happy, then a tasty tipple should help.
Luckily, mulled wine and German beer aren’t your only options these days - here are just a few of our favourite Christmas markets that have some yummy options for gin lovers, too!
Bath Christmas Market
Thursday 28th November—Sunday 15th December 2019
With some 150 traditional chalets spread out across Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets, with the majestic cathedral towering above and twinkling fairy lights strung throughout the town, this is one of the UK’s loveliest Christmas markets.
Alongside beautiful festive decorations, handcrafted gifts from local and Southwest artisans and delicious plates of steaming food, gin lovers have an abundant choice of chalets to visit, each showcasing fabulous ginny products from local producers: Bath Botanical Gin, 6 O’Clock Gin, Scout & Sage Micro Distillery, Friary Drinks and The Bath Gin Company. That’s your Christmas shopping sorted, then!
Manchester Christmas Market
8 November - 21 December 2019
(Stalls remain open until 22 December at the Albert Square site)
Two (extra) reasons for gin lovers to rejoice at the arrival of Manchester’s Christmas Market this year: the announcement of a “gin trail” and the opening of a snow globe bar - selling hot gin toddies!
The gin trail is a fun, festive route you can follow through the market streets to visit five participating bars, each of which is offering a special, Christmassy cocktail using local gin liqueur, I Love MCR Strawberry Jam Gin. These are no ordinary cocktails: think sparkling, shimmering, and smoking rosy-red tipples, fitting for festive frolics!
Meanwhile, over in Piccadilly Gardens - where the markets will also be setting up stalls for the first time - a snow globe bar will invite guests to warm up with a gin hot toddy under a transparent canopy sparkling with fairy lights. Dreamy!
Ginchester Christmas Market (Winchester)
Saturday 7 December
Okay, so not strictly a Christmas market, but we couldn’t NOT include a gin-themed festive market, could we?! This is a one-day affair, with three 2.5-hour sessions taking place in Winchester’s awe-inspiring Great Hall. It is ticketed, and for £16.58 you’ll get a drink on arrival and then the chance to sample and learn about gins from all over the country, including those from local producers such as Winchester Distillery.
The bonus? The Great Hall is just a few minutes’ walk from the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, where one of the loveliest Christmas markets in the UK is taking place from 21 November to 22 December 2019, so you can combine a day of gin-tasting with all the usual fun market browsing!
Liverpool Christmas Market
15 November 2019 - 23 December 2019
Liverpool's Christmas Market returns to St George's Plateau this year, where shoppers can enjoy browsing the traditional alpine-style chalet stalls against the impressive backdrop of St George's Hall. After shopping for locally made goodies, tucking into a Yorkshire Pudding wrap (er.. genius) and having a go on the vintage fair rides, gin lovers can skip the queues for the mulled wine and treat themselves to a hot tipple from the “Gin Tin” mobile gin bar!
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
13 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
Yes, we know - this isn’t a market! That said, this is one of our favourite annual activities each festive season in London - the outdoor ice skating rink in the glorious surroundings of Somerset House. Once you’ve spent an hour gliding (ok, staggering) around the ice, sit back and admire the twinkling Christmas tree (and all those kids who can pirouette backwards, aged five). For a really indulgent treat, head to the Fortnum Lodge, an apres-skate restaurant with cocktail offerings including the Sloe Gin Fizz. One of those will soon have you feeling better about all those bumps and bruises you’ve just acquired…