Christmas Markets have become a fixture in the lead up to the festive week and no longer do we need to book a ferry to Germany or Bruges to experience the delights of gluhwein and wooden chalets. Most towns now offer some kind of outdoor shopping festival where trinkets can be bought while the children ice skate and the mulled wine flows. The food on offer however is often of the grilled hog or sausage variety which is not everyone’s cup of tea. We have put together a list of our pick of the Christmas markets in the UK and nearby restaurants which will also satisfy the discerning foodie – and where members can use their cards!
1. The Barbican Christmas Market and Lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas shopping in London, but for a touch of something different how about trying out The Barbican Christmas Market? The Barbican hosts 10 days of seasonal shopping, with 35 independent designers, makers and artisans setting up shop in the foyers. With vintage and designer clothes, arts and crafts, jewellery, books and toys all available, it’s a great option for cultural Christmas shopping. As is requisite for a festive market, there’ll be plenty of mulled wine and mince pies, too. The Market will run from Friday 12th December to Sunday 21st December and is open Monday to Friday from 4pm to 8.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 8.30pm. View more details at www.barbican.org.uk/xmasmarket/#/
For lunch why not pop down to Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa which is just over 10 minutes walk from the Barbican Centre. Opened four years ago, Barbecoa is a celebration of incredible produce and fire-based cooking. His chefs create beautiful, seasonal dishes using traditional techniques such as the Texas pit smoker, Argentine grill, Japanese robata grill, tandoor and wood-fired oven. The love and passion for food can be felt throughout the restaurant. What sets Barbecoa apart from the rest is not just the traditional techniques – but also the in-house butchery. Located just below the restaurant, their team of butchers source the finest meat from around the UK and dry-age it in-house, creating meat that is second-to-none.
Members receive a complimentary meal when dining in a party of 3 or more when taking lunch Saturday, Sunday and Monday and dinner Sunday and Monday. For more details click here.
2. Winchester Christmas Market and Lunch at The Avenue at Lainston House
Founded in 2006, the Winchester Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe, renowned for its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance. View the exhibitor list at www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/christmas/christmas-market/exhibitor-list/ for details of the this years traders. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets it attracts more than 350,000 visitors each year. The pretty wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic close surrounding an open-air real ice rink. The 2014 Christmas Market will be running from Thu 20th November to Sun 21st December. Open every day, 10am-6pm from Sun-Wed and 10am-7.30pm from Thu-Sat.
Before or after your shopping extravaganza, treat yourself to lunch or dinner at the charming Lainston House Hotel’s Avenue Restaurant which is just a 15 minute from the centre of Winchester. Offering stunning views of the spectacular avenue of Lime Trees, The Avenue menu showcases Chef Ollie Rouse’s blend of traditional cooking with simplicity, freshness and purity. The extensive menu is ostensibly English with a regional French influence.
Member exclusively dines complimentary when dining with one or more guests on days shown. The bill is calculated by taking the total food bill (excluding beverages and service charge) and dividing by the amount of people in the dining party and deducting one portion. Offer times are Dinner Sunday to Friday and lunch Monday to Friday. For more details click here.
3. Bath Christmas Market and Lunch at Olive Tree at Queensberry Hotel
The Bath Christmas Market offers 18 days of magical festive shopping, as the areas between the stunning Bath Abbey and the renowned Roman Baths are transformed into a Christmas shopping wonderland. Right in the heart of Bath’s main shopping district, more than 170 traditional wooden chalets line the streets; each one offering handmade and beautiful gifts from Christmas decorations and food to toys and festive tipples; everything you need for the perfect Christmas. For details of stalls go to www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk/market/. Shopping times are Monday to Wednesday – 10am to 7pm, Thursday – 10am to 8pm, Friday and Saturday – 10am to 9pm and Sunday – 10am to 6pm and is open from Thursday 27th November to Sunday 14th December.
Enjoy lunch or dinner at the boutique and quirky Queensberry Hotel in the centre of Bath which houses the rather natty Olive Tree Restaurant. Situated in the lower ground floor of this Georgian Townhouse it is deceptively bright and airy. Head Chef Chris Cleghorn has honed his exceptional cooking skills as the protege of a trio of world renowned Michelin Star chefs: Heston Blumenthal (Fat Duck, Bray), Michael Caines (Gidleigh Park) and Adam Simmonds (Danesfield House). Chris has drawn influence from these culinary masters to create his own exciting style.
Members receive a 15% discount off the total bill when dining from the a la carte menu for lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday and for Dinner every night except Saturday. For more details click here.
4. Manchester Christmas Markets and Lunch at The Lowry
Manchesters award-winning markets have more stalls than any other in the UK spanning nine different sites from Catheral Gardens to Queen Anne Square. Experience French, German and Traditional British themes as you stroll through the city with a winter cocktail – and don’t miss the giant LED Santa in Albert Square. For details of stalls go to www.manchester.gov.uk/info/500241/christmas_markets. The markets run from Friday 14th November to Sunday 21st December and are open in November 10am to 7.30pm and in December 10am to 8pm.
Enjoy lunch or dinner at the iconic City Centre Lowry Hotel in their swish River Bar and Grill perched on the banks of the River Irwell in the recently developed Chapel Wharf area on the Salford-Manchester boundary. The decor is clean and contemporary in soft muted tones and the dining rooms floor to ceiling windows frame great views of the colourful Manchester cityscape. Executive Head Chef Andrew Wilkie has created a truly British menu using the best seasonal British and local ingredients where possible.
Member exclusively dines complimentary when dining with one or more guests when having lunch all week or dinner Sunday to Thursday. For more details click here.
5. Chester Christmas Market and Lunch at La Brasserie at The Chester Grosvenor
Visiting shoppers are in for an enchanting time and will be able to revel in the choice of stalls at the new and improved Christmas Market with over 70 traditional wooden chalets positioned outside Chester’s Town Hall. The new Chester Christmas Market will take place from 20th November until 14th December offering a variety of quality products, including crafts, clothing, jewellery, giftware and local food and drink from carefully chosen suppliers and unique gifts you wouldn’t find on the high-street. Open daily from 10am-6pm, and with late night shopping on Thursdays until 8pm. For more details of whats on go to www.christmasinchester.com/christmas-market/
When you’ve finished shopping pop into the iconic Chester Grosvenor and treat yourself to an elegant meal at La Brasserie and enjoy its lavish and decadent surroundings. The fabulous menu is expertly arranged and endlessly flavoursome, with a reassuringly attractive mix of traditional brasserie standards (calf’s liver & bacon, roast cod with chickpeas) pepped up with more creative ideas; open goat’s cheese ravioli and seared scallops with shredded pork rillettes.
Members receive a 10% reduction from the total food and beverage bill when having lunch or dinner Monday to Friday. Fore more details click here.
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