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Tis the season to be jolly once again, and across the country city streets, stately homes, and iconic attractions are being transformed into magical winter wonderlands. Here, VisitEngland rounds up just a few of the best Christmas markets, ice rinks, and wintery events to be enjoyed this season…

Christmas Markets




19th November – 22nd December

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of Winchester’s Christmas market and ice rink and it is expected that this year both events will be bigger and better than ever before. From its relatively modest beginnings, the Christmas Market now boasts over 100 attractive wooden chalets, all selected for the quality of their products and selling a wide range of Christmas goodies including seasonal food and drink, handmade British crafts, and unique, bespoke, interesting and unusual gifts and decorations.  A large outdoor ice rink sits at the centre of Winchester’s Christmas activity. With the historic Close’s dramatic medieval architecture as a backdrop, it’s an idyllic setting at any time of day, but it really comes into its own in the evening when the cathedral is lit up and a warm glow radiates from the market stalls. This year skaters can continue to enjoy the ambience of the rink at the Ice Rink Café which has been re-developed in Swiss-chalet style, to include a heated outdoor seating area overlooking the rink


Chatsworth Estate

12th – 29th November

Join in the festive spirit at Chatsworth, which will be hosting live seasonal musical entertainment from brass bands to string quartets. Find the perfect presents for all the family from our wide range of stalls including toiletries, clothes and things for your home. Enjoy delicious food, with gourmet burgers, hotdogs, pancakes, churros, fudge and chocolate and treats galore. See our own stunning ranges of items in the Chatsworth gift, interiors and garden shops, up in the Stables. Throughout the festive season, Chatsworth will be transforming its state rooms into scenes from Wind in the Willows – the Painted Hall will serve as the Baronial Toad Hall, while the Great Chamber and Guest Bedrooms will also be transformed to reflect scenes from Kenneth Grahame’s best-loved classic


Derby Night Market

19th November, 5pm – 10pm

Derby Night Market marks an early opportunity to do some Christmas Shopping.  A concept popular in Europe, Night Markets are growing in popularity in Derby, and the one being staged on Thursday November 19th will have around 180 different stalls.  It will be located in the streets of the Cathedral Quarter and city centre – around Sadler Gate, the Bell Hotel ballroom, Old Blacksmiths Yard, The Strand Arcade, the Avenue on The Market Place, and The Guildhall Arches. It will feature street food and drink – inside and outside – with live DJ’s, live music, performers, gift inspiration, craft, vintage, festive handicrafts, home decorations, fashion and food. The surrounding shops will stay open late into the evening too.   It will feature everything from local independent clothing, to locally brewed sake-inspired beers – as well as the hats and fascinators made by Night Market organiser Sheena Holland, whose creations are worn by the likes of P!NK and Lily Allen



14th November – 21st December

Manchester’s award-winning Christmas Markets return this winter offering mouth-watering international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of this buzzing city. With over 300 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spread across the city centre, Manchester’s markets are among the country’s largest. Soak up the atmosphere and follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps. And when planning your visit, don’t miss the amazing array of food and drink! Manchester’sChristmas Markets are famous for traditional bratwurst, but you can also treat yourself to Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast

For more Christmas markets, please see: Christmas Markets

Ice Rinks


Royal Pavilion, Brighton

7th November 2015 – 17th January 2016

Following the huge success of previous years, the winter ice rink returns to the iconic setting of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion this Christmas. This beautiful rink accommodates up to 250 skaters per session, with penguin stabilisers for younger skaters and a learners’ area for the unsure-footed. Whether you’re a skater or not, everyone is welcome to enjoy delicious food and drink by day or night at the stunning rink side Bar & Kitchen, which offers warming snacks, delicious lunches and dinners. Tickets start from £10 for adults and £7 for children


Tower of London

  20th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Located in the moat and set against the magnificent fortress battlements, the Tower of London ice rink has surely one of the most stunning central London settings and is ideal for lunchtime skating, after-work gatherings, romantic dates and weekend afternoons out. Beautifully illuminated after dark, it makes a spectacular night time destination. Beside the ice rink, the Ice Bar & Cafe provides a welcome place to warm up after your skate, serving a selection of winter drinks and festive snacks. Prices start from £12 for adults and from £8.50 for children


Bath on Ice

20th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

One of England’s UNESCO World Heritage Cities, Bath has something extra to tempt visitors this Christmas; a magnificent outdoor ice rink. Set in central Bath in Royal Victoria Park, nearby the stunning backdrop of the Georgian Royal Crescent and within walking distance of the city’s Christmas markets, Bath on Ice promises to be a truly magical experience. Tickets go on sale soon


The Ice Factor, York

21st November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, the three-time-award-winning event, returns to York Designer Outlet this winter, along with the north of England’s largest outdoor ice rink, The Ice Factor. Along with a giant Christmas tree it also has its Alpine-themed café, this year with a new heated outdoor terrace. Following a spin across the rink, visitors can enjoy vintage fair rides, a magical Grotto and live entertainment. Tickets cost £10.45 for adults and £9.45 for children

For more ice rinks, please see: Ice Rinks





Christmas events



The Polar Express Tram Ride, Exeter

December 2015

Based on the best-selling book by Chris Van Allsburg and everyone’s favourite Christmas movie, this trip to the North Pole invites you to take part in the Polar Express experience by tram. Listen to and sing along with all the songs, be served hot chocolate and cookies by the dancing chefs and meet Santa and his happy bunch of elves. Each child will receive a special gift from Santa and you’re welcome to wear your pyjamas on board just like the film








BBC Good Food Festive Fayre, Hampton Court Palace

4th -6th December

Experience the palace’s first ever Festive Fayre in the beautiful courtyards. Stock up from over 50 handpicked producers selling seasonal food and drink, accompanied by local choirs singing carols and festive songs. The Winter Kitchen will feature demonstrations from chefs and experts and will take place in the beautifully atmospheric Tudor Kitchens – complete with roaring fire


Christmas at Clumber, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

12th–13th and 19th–20th December

Escape to the countryside this Christmas and visit Clumber Park for a day of magical entertainment. With traditional brass bands playing all your favourite yuletide classics and Christmas activities, crafts, sights and sounds a-plenty, you’re sure to get into the festive spirit. Christmas for story time in his wintery grotto and meet the Rudolph and the gang outside in the Walled Kitchen Garden

For more Christmas events, please see: Christmas Events

For more festive ideas, visit:


Christmas Market at Lancaster London: Yule be sorry to miss out!

Sunday 29th November 2015, 11am-4pm

Busy crowds, sold-out turkeys, endless queues and impulse buying… Christmas shopping can try even the most patient of shoppers.

So why not sleigh the festive stress in half, with a trip to Lancaster London’s first ever Christmas Market

Admission is free for guests, who will be able purchase food and gifts from luxury hotel wholesalers, items that are not usually available for the public to buy, making it the best place to pick up unique presents.

Claus-trophobics be warned, as special appearances from Santa himself will be happening throughout the day, but pop along from 1.30pm-2.30pm to be sure you get to meet him

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