Best Christmas Markets 2019
We know, it’s only November - but Christmas is coming fast, whether you like it or not! We stepped away from our online casino for a second to get festive by daydreaming about our favourite Christmas markets around the world. As you can probably tell by the number of English markets that made the cut, we’re suckers for the markets you can visit right here at home - so if a weekend trip abroad to visit one of the far-flung destinations isn’t on your agenda, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the jolly stalls you can find in your favourite cities. Dust off your favourite ugly Christmas jumper and read on for our first festive blog of 2019 - anyone else excited?! ...Just us?
Where: Millennium Square, Leeds
When: November 8th - December 21st
Entry Fee: FREE!
Normally York gets a better rap for its Christmas markets - largely because it’s a much more picturesque city - but Leeds is one of the biggest and best that we’ve been to, covering the huge Millennium Square in the city centre. It’s authentically German and it’s been around for 18 years now, drawing crowds from all over the North of England and beyond.
Tuck into some piping hot currywurst, luxuriously silky hot chocolates, crepes, churros, and traditional German grub while you have a wander through this festive wonderland. Once you’ve filled up on the best stall food you’ve ever eaten, stop by the carousel for a cosy insta-ready photoshoot, stock up on some handcrafted gifts, and watch some live local entertainment.
The best part? It’s already open!
Gendarmenmarkt Weihnachtszauber, Berlin
Where: Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin Mitte
When: November 25th - December 31st
Entry Fee: FREE on weekdays 11am - 2pm or €1 (around 86p)
Does anybody really do Christmas quite as well as Germany? There’s something warm and inviting about a rustic-looking Christmas market with handmade goods and freshly baked treats - and it’s a German tradition that the rest of the world has borrowed and made their own. There are a few markets in Germany’s capital, but when we visited the city this one was the most enchanting.
It’s gorgeous and gloriously lit-up, with live brass bands, local choirs, and the stalls are staffed by tremendously well-spoken English speakers - so don’t worry if you don’t brush up on your German in time, you won’t have a problem being understood. Clink steins with a “Prost!” and you can’t go wrong.
Book up for a last-minute Berlin break and treat yourself to some hot chocolate in one of the best Christmas markets in the world (in our opinion…)! Just make sure to wrap up warm!
Manchester Christmas Markets
Where: Albert Square, Manchester
When: November 8th - December 22nd
Entry Fee: FREE!
Like Leeds, this huge city prides itself on its annual markets - and this one has been going for 20 years now! This is the perfect destination for a quick break from real life where you can indulge in some hearty German food, drink gallons of hot chocolate, and treat yourself to some oddities in the stalls. A highlight of our finds was the lavender cheese… we didn’t buy it but we’d love to hear from you if you gave it a go!
Manchester’s markets are always a foodie’s paradise, so you can tuck in even if a bratwurst isn’t your cup of tea. Feast on a hog roast, paella, or goulash - and don’t forget to snap it all for your Instagram feed.
The £3 mug deposit is refundable if you return it, but we don’t know why you wouldn’t bring it home to add to your collection! There’s no such thing as too many mugs and we won’t hear any differently.
Toronto Christmas Market
Where: Distillery Historic District, Toronto
When: November 14th - December 22nd
Entry Fee: $8 (around £4.71) on weekends and Friday after 6pm. FREE weekdays!
This one is a little further away than the rest of our market picks, but for those of you lucky folks jetting off to Canadian shores anyway for the holiday season, don’t forget to ask for directions to one of the biggest and best markets in the entire continent of North America.
As one of the sponsors of the 2019 event, Nespresso have brought with them a unique pop-up complete with a cosy coffee spot, photo booth, and fun activities including homemade jewellery and card workshops - so make sure to stop by once you’ve shopped until your feet hurt. There are photo opportunities galore, including the famous 14-foot-high red heart, the giant Ontario-grown Christmas tree, and the ocean of gloriously lit-up streets.
In terms of stalls, this Canadian wonderland vastly differs from the kind of stall purchases you may be used to. Here, you can buy all your Holiday goodies; stock up on beard oil, rustic ornaments, natural honey products, funky knitwear, Eastern European gifts, soaps, stocking stuffers, Russian dolls, candles… okay, we’ve run out of breath, but trust us when we say this market has it all and more! Plus, did we mention there’s a Ferris wheel…?
Where: Hyde Park, London
When: November 21st - January 5th
Entry Fee: FREE!
You might be surprised to learn that one of the most popular markets in the country is entirely free, especially when you consider everything that you have to look forward to when you get in. There are extra events going on inside the Winter Wonderland that you may need to pay for, but the main event is open to everyone.
There are over 100 rides for those of you looking to get your kicks, the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, and some spectacular performances in the Circus MegaDome, so it’s clear to see why they pride themselves on their festive cheer.
More into the traditional Christmas market experience? Winter Wonderland won’t disappoint; there are over 100 wooden chalet-style stalls filled with an abundance of gift ideas including clothing, jewellery, crafts, decorations, and a cheeky treat or two for yourself.
In a nice environmentally-friendly twist, Winter Wonderland offers lots of drinking taps for you to fill up your water bottle and they recommend you bring one from home, but if you want a nice hot drink to keep your fingers toasty then look no further than the Bavarian Village. We know, a village within a Christmas village - it’s hard to keep up! There are tasty bratwursts, chicken nibbles, fancy sit-down meals - and you get to indulge around large community tables. Elsewhere in the market are stalls with stone-baked pizza and chocolate calzones. There’s so much choice we don’t know where to stop - just have a wander down and see what tickles your fancy.
Where: Place Broglie, Strasbourg
When: November 22nd - December 30th
Entry Fee: FREE!
Of all the choices we’ve listed so far, this one has to be the most featured on people’s bucket list. It’s hosted in a UNESCO world heritage site and it’s a total fairytale setting with more fairy lights than you’ve ever seen in your life, gorgeously rustic Tudor-style houses lining the outskirts of the festival, and a genuine love for Christmas.
For such a quaint city there are a huge number of markets available for you to visit, but the one at Place Broglie is the biggest and most famous, and if you’ve ever seen pictures of people at Strasbourg they were probably at this particular one. While markets are a German tradition, Strasbourg does it brilliantly - and it’s unsurprising as this city is famous for its blend of French and German culture as it hasn’t always been a French city!
Lots of visitors recommend exploring the markets during the day to purchase all your gifts, and then going back in the evening when it’s all lit-up to take in the sights over a cup of coffee, that way you get the best of both worlds, but be sure to wrap up!
They’re not called Capitale de Noël for nothing!
Pink Casino’s Christmas Market Favourites
So we’re a little eager this year now that the Festive Bakes have launched (the true start to the Christmas countdown) so expect lots of blog posts about Christmas as the big day nears! Our online casino blog is filled with more than just your typical articles on slot games and bingo - if you're feeling extra Christmassy you can read through our other festive blogs - notably our Top Christmas Slots picks.