European Christmas Markets 2023

What better way to immerse yourself in the festive spirit than by visiting some charming Christmas markets easily accessible from St. Pancras International? These markets are not only brimming with unique gifts and delicious treats but also offer a delightful journey to get there.

Brussels, Belgium - Brussels Winter Wonders Market

The Brussels Winter Wonders Market is a true European gem, and it's easily accessible from St. Pancras International via Eurostar. As you board the train in London, you'll be treated to a scenic ride through the English and French countryside before arriving in Brussels in just under two hours.

The Brussels Winter Wonders Market typically kicks off in late November and runs until early January. The market is set against the backdrop of the stunning Brussels City Hall, which is transformed into a spectacular light show during the Christmas season. Here, you can shop for artisanal Belgian chocolates, indulge in mouthwatering waffles, and explore an ice-skating rink that's perfect for all ages.

Lille, France - Lille Christmas Market

Another fantastic destination easily reached by Eurostar from St. Pancras is Lille, a charming French city just a little over an hour away. Lille's Christmas Market usually begins in late November and lasts until late December.

The Lille Christmas Market, also known as "Marché de Noël," is renowned for its beautifully decorated wooden chalets that line the city's central square, Grand Place. You can discover unique gifts, sample regional French cuisine, and enjoy delightful street performances. The giant Ferris wheel at the heart of the market offers breathtaking views of the festive cityscape.

Canterbury Christmas Market

Travelling from St. Pancras International to Canterbury is a breeze with Southeastern trains. The journey takes around an hour.

The Canterbury Christmas Market typically opens in late November and runs until late December. Located at Whitefriars Shopping Centre, this market offers a cozy and festive atmosphere. Stroll through charming wooden chalets selling crafts, gifts, and seasonal food and beverages. One unique feature of this market is the stunning light and sound show projected onto the façade of Canterbury Cathedral, creating a magical experience for all ages.

Image by Chris Spencer-Payne from Pixabay

Folkestone Christmas Market

The Folkestone Christmas Market typically opens in late November and runs until late December. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Folkestone Harbour, this market boasts a stunning seafront location. Visitors can explore a variety of festive stalls selling handmade gifts, artisanal food, and holiday decorations. The Folkestone Christmas Market is also known for its delightful Santa's Grotto, offering a magical experience for children. Travel to Folkestone from St. Pancras International by Southeastern train in approximately 55 minutes.

Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh's Christmas Market

Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, boasts a festive extravaganza known as Edinburgh's Christmas Market. Getting to Edinburgh from St. Pancras is easy, thanks to regular train services that connect the two cities. Simply walk eighteen steps from St. Pancras International to Kings Cross station and hop on board an LNER train to Edinburgh.

Located in the heart of the city, this market offers everything from handmade crafts to delicious Scottish food and mulled wine. One of the highlights is the ice-skating rink in St. Andrew Square, where you can glide under the gaze of the glittering Christmas tree. Edinburgh Castle provides a majestic backdrop to this winter wonderland. The market typically opens in late November and lasts until early January.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - Amsterdam Light Festival

If you're looking for a unique Christmas experience, consider taking the Eurostar to Brussels and then continuing your journey to Amsterdam. While Amsterdam doesn't have a traditional Christmas market, it hosts the Amsterdam Light Festival, which usually starts in late November and continues into January.

This festival transforms the city into a dazzling winter wonderland, with light installations, art displays, and sculptures illuminating the canals and streets. You can explore the enchanting light art while enjoying a canal cruise or savouring Dutch treats like oliebollen (doughnuts) and stroopwafels.

Image by Ilo from Pixabay

Manchester, England - Manchester Christmas Markets

A short train ride from St. Pancras via EMR will take you to Manchester, where the Manchester Christmas Markets come to life in late November and run until just before Christmas. The market sprawls across the city centre and is easily accessible from Manchester Piccadilly station.

Manchester's markets are famous for their European-inspired wooden chalets, selling gifts, crafts, and delicious international food and drink. The Albert Square location, in front of the stunning Manchester Town Hall, is a must-visit for its festive atmosphere. You can also explore the ice village and enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the season.

Bath, England - Bath Christmas Market

The Bath Christmas Market is a true gem in the heart of historic Bath, and it's easily accessible from St. Pancras by hopping on board a Thameslink train to Farringdon where you can get the Elizabeth line to Paddington, to catch a GWR train to Bath Spa. The market typically opens its doors in late November and runs until mid-December. The journey to Bath is both scenic and convenient, taking you through the picturesque English countryside.

Nestled among the Georgian architecture, the Bath Christmas Market offers over 150 wooden chalets selling handmade gifts, festive decorations, and delicious local treats. Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths serve as stunning backdrops, and the market itself is adorned with twinkling lights and a giant Christmas tree. Don't miss the chance to soak in the magic of Bath's natural hot springs while you're there.

Rochester Christmas Market

Hop on a Southeastern train from St. Pancras to Rochester. The journey takes approximately 35 minutes, making it an ideal day trip. The Rochester Christmas Market typically opens its doors in late November and runs until Christmas Eve. What sets this market apart is its picturesque setting within the historic Rochester Castle Gardens. Visitors can browse through a range of stalls offering handmade gifts, artisanal treats, and festive decorations. Don't miss the chance to explore the Rochester Christmas Market's enchanting ice rink, which adds to the festive atmosphere.

Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink and Christmas Market

Catch a Southeastern train from St. Pancras to Tunbridge Wells, and you'll arrive in approximately 50 minutes. The Tunbridge Wells Ice Rink and Christmas Market typically opens in November and continues until early January. What makes this market special is its combined offering of an ice rink and Christmas market, creating a winter wonderland. Located at the historic Calverley Grounds, you can glide on the ice rink and then warm up with a variety of food and drinks from the market's stalls. The twinkling lights and festive music make this market a memorable experience for families and couples alike.

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