The best food festivals and Christmas markets in December

The best food festivals and Christmas markets in December 2017

We have rounded up our top food festivals and Christmas markets in the UK for 2017. Mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas shopping galore

Looking for the best Christmas markets in 2017? We have travelled the UK to find the best german Christmas markets, Christmas fairs and festivals to find some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. There’ll be mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas gift ideas at the markets.


If you’re not a fan of mulled wine and jingling bells, you’re probably better off fleeing the country come December. Even those food festivals and farmers markets that don’t sell themselves as festive events tend to come draped with tinsel and trimmed with holly. Fortunately here at olive towers we love a bit of Christmas cheer. Here are eight of our favourite food festivals and Christmas markets taking place across the UK in December.

York Christmas Festival

The streets of York will be turned into a festive playground for 37 days this winter. Wooden chalets will house food producers selling everything from spiced apple chutney (look for Pucketts Pickles) to pecan and amaretto brownies (Brown and Blond).

If you’re feeling chilly, cosy up by the fire inside Thor’s Tipi with a mulled wine and burgers cooked on a winter BBQ. Head to the Shambles Market food court for Persian chicken wraps from Los Moros and savoury galletes from the Krep Truck. For the first time this year the York Museum Gardens will also stay open after dark – just the spot for an illuminating winter walk.

16 November – 22 December,

York St Nicholas Christmas market

Salisbury Christmas Market

Salisbury’s stately Guildhall is the backdrop to Wiltshire’s best-known Christmas market. Over 75 pretty chalets sit beside it, selling artisan goods from fudge to sloe gin. There’s a hefty European influence among the food stalls here, so expect Raclette on sautéed new potatoes with baby gherkins from Raclette Melt, and seasonal French crepes and traditional German bratwurst from local restaurant Charter 1227.

For foodie stocking fillers, some of the more homegrown products on sale include Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s peppery sauces, Red Robin Pantry’s frangipane mince pies and roast apple moonshine from O’Donnell Moonshine.

23 November – 22 December,

Wooden chalets at Salisbury Christmas Market. The roofs of the chalets are adorned with multi covered fairy lights and they are lit up inside. There is a man walking past the chalets and people are looking into them, too

Winchester Christmas Market

Worthy of its reputation as England’s Christmas Capital, Winchester hosts an annual German-inspired Christmas market that’s strong on British and artisan producers. You’ll be spoilt for choice with over 100 traditional wooden chalets adorning the city’s twinkling streets. Warm up over a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie from The Old Vine or wander the stalls with a hot croque monsieur from The French Comte.

Don’t miss the ice rink at the centre of the festivities (it’s best enjoyed after twilight), or the chance to embrace a bit of Christmas spirit at one of the Cathedral’s many carol services.

20 November – 22 December,

Winchester Christmas market

The Winter Fair

Setting up stall in Ardingley, West Sussex, on 3 & 4 December this celebration of the coldest season should warm your festive cockles. Run in conjunction with the South of England Agricultural Society, the big attraction here is a market featuring over 100 food and drink producers, many of whom are from the local area. Street Food trucks and stalls will also be part of the festivities. This year’s vendors have yet to be announced but some of the most popular last year included Fine & Scandi’s hot dogs, Bocaface’s patatas bravas, Sussex Lamb’s burgers and winter cocktails from the Bug Bar).

3 – 4 December

Padstow Christmas Festival

For gourmet gifts a little more exciting than a bottom-of-the-stocking satsuma, Padstow is a safe bet. Now in it’s 10th year, Padstow Christmas festival will welcome a galaxy of renowned chefs to town to cook up a winter feast (including Cornish locals Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw).

Or, take the chance to graze on everything from Baileys brownies from The Brownie Baker to a hand-crimped steak pastie from Warrens Bakery. There’ll be gingered fig and rhubarb chutney to buy from Louise’s Larder, and maybe a classic Christmas figgy pudding steeped in Somerset Cider Brandy from Figgy’s. And don’t miss a tipple in Sharp’s Brewery’s secret bar.

7 – 10 December,

Padstow harbour during the Christmas festival. The harbour has a couple of boats in it with houses in the background. The water in the harbour is glistening with red and blue lights reflected in it
Credit: James Ram

St Albans Christmas Market

St Albans has one of the oldest regular markets in the UK, dating back to the 9th century, and so it only seems fitting to hold a Christmas market in the walled Vintry Garden. This year there’ll be a festive food quarter to feast your way around. Pick up a hot pork roll or a traditional German bratwurst and a sweet crepe for dessert. Hatch will be serving up hot chocolates to indulge, too.

If you’re looking for a gift, there’ll be award-winning preserves from Larkins Larder. For some festive tunes, head to St Albans Cathedral on 16th December for carols.

25 November – 23 December,

Manchester Christmas Market

Spread across this dynamic city, Manchester’s Christmas Market returns as one of the country’s largest with nearly 350 stallholders set in 10 distinctive locations. Soak up the festive spirit as you wind through the city centre’s brimming streets, buying from a tempting choice of food and drink, along with a huge selection of gifts from European and local producers. There’ll be traditional German bratwurst, hog roasts as well as an array of vegetarian options. Fluffy Dutch mini pancakes and French profiteroles are sure to satisfy any sweet cravings as you make your way around the winter wonderland.

10 November – 21 December,

Bath Christmas Market

Bath boasts one of England’s prettiest Christmas markets, with over 200 chalets lining the streets around its floodlit abbey. While there’ll be homewares and art on offer, this festival is one for the foodies. Start off with a hot toddy of Somerset cider before trying a gin or two from Da Mhile (keep it classic with sloe gin or branch out with a seaweed one). Start the celebrations early with a glass of cider from Iford Cider and a chunk of Wyfe of Bath from Bath Soft Cheese.

If you’re on the lookout for gifts, Kettlesmith will be selling craft beers and pick up a box of Hokey Pokey honeycomb from Somerset based Chocolate Society. Over 60% of the producers are from Bath and the local areas, so you can feast and give back to the community all at once.

23 November – 10 December,

Bath Christmas market

Christmas Bowhouse Food Weekend

The barn-like Bowhouse, just outside the small Fife town of Anstruther, hosts a series of indoor food markets throughout the year. The biggest of the lot, however, is likely to be the Christmas edition. Setting up stall for one weekend only (the second weekend of December), its range of artisan food and drink producers all come from the local area. Expect a dedicated street food section as well as food demonstrations and over 55 stalls. Local shellfish will feature prominently, and paella made with hand-dived shellfish will be on offer in the street food section. ‘It’s Fudge Jim’ will be selling bags of creamy fudge including rum and raisin, milkybar and Bailey’s versions. There will also be lashings of mulled wine and carols to get you in the festive spirit, too.


9 – 10 December,

Senior designer Nicki makes her podcast debut to talk about homemade crafts for styling your Christmas table

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