Sunday 24 November 2019

Winchester Christmas Market

It's almost the most wonderful time of year and a surefire way to get into the festive mood is a visit to Winchester Christmas Market. The market is recognised as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe because of its incredible exhibitors, beautiful location and festive atmosphere and with over 100 chalets to explore it makes for the perfect Christmassy activity.

In 2018, Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market was voted the second-best in the UK by and it has also been voted among the top eight Christmas Markets in Europe by the New York Post. People travel far and wide to visit every year with over 350,000 people visiting last year and you can expect just as many this year, it really is magical.

We've been visiting Winchester Christmas Market for the last ten years and it always gets us in the mood although the delicious mulled wine helps too! The chalets are set around the grounds of the cathedral and in the centre, you'll find the ice skating rink but don't forget to pre-book your tickets. It always looks so much fun but I'm accident prone so I don't go on the ice, I just watch from the sides soaking up the atmosphere and listening to the Christmas music. 

The market is really family-friendly and although it does get VERY busy, we've never had any issues getting around with the pushchair. It's as accessible as it can be given that the market is on historic grounds and there are ramps in as many places as possible to allow easier access. You just need to be patient and keep your little ones close when getting around. 

In previous years we've headed to the market for the last few hours during the week which I think is the best time to go but with our son, we now get to the market for opening on a weekend before it gets too busy. 

As I've mentioned, there are over 100 chalets to explore filled with everything you could possibly think of. There's glassware, clothing, scarves as well as candles, decorations and my favourite, Pollyfields which sells Christmas oils, potpourri and garlands. There's also a Craft Village full of the most incredible and intricately made pieces from British exhibitors. 

You can view the list of exhibitors at Winchester Christmas Market but just be aware that some of the chalets change halfway through with new stalls opening on 7th December. 

The Christmas Market is free to visit but obviously, you'll need to pay for anything you would like to buy from the exhibitors. Prices really vary, we found a beautiful Christmas decoration chalet that was so reasonably priced with decorations from £1 whereas others can be pretty spendy but it is Winchester and it is a pretty spendy place. 

My biggest advice - take cash, so many of the exhibitors don't take cards. If they did have card machines, we were told the signal was either down or they weren't working at all which was kinda frustrating. We very nearly didn't take any cash at all but withdrew £20 just in case before we walked round to the market. 

The only plus side was that it limited our spending!

One of the most popular features at the Christmas Market has to be the food! I suggest you visit hungry so you can make the most of everything that is on offer. In previous years we've tried The French Compte and the incredible smoked sausage, French cheese and potatoes but you can also find The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Company, The Bratwurst Chalet, Flapping Jacks Yummy Veggie Treat, Fish and Chips and The Original Edinburgh Mead Company where we had the best Mulled Wine we've ever had! 

If sweet treats are more your thing then you'll find churros, toasted marshmallows and Kouhler Kusse which sells chocolate-covered tea cakes. We didn't get any of these this year as they were all cash only which we were so gutted about. 

Maybe next year! 

It really is the most wonderful time of year and Winchester Christmas Market is the perfect place to experience it at its fullest. Just don't forget to head out to the high street after an explore the town, it is quite special! 

The opening times are:
Thursday 21 November – Sunday 22 December 2019
Open from 10.00am – 6.30pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10.00am – 8.00pm Thursday – Saturday

You can discover more at Christmas at the Cathedral including how to get there and if this post has helped at all, I'd love for you to share it with your family and friends.

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