If there’s ever been a Christmas to embrace brilliantly, it’s surely 2021. After last year’s festive wet firecracker – which saw us forgo the delicacies of traditional markets, lighted trails and good humor in decorated pubs – we’re ready to mop up every last drop of winter celebrations this time around.
Now that a number of European countries are tightening restrictions (Netherlands), ending events (Germany) or returning to lockdown (Austria), England’s unrestricted approach surely promises the best hope of a little Christmas downtime unencumbered by the pandemic – related miseries of 2020. Indeed, if you have unvaccinated children over a certain age, a handful of EU countries are difficult, if not impossible , for a vacation in December anyway.
Of course, the UK as a whole has its own unique challenges. Continental-style markets in some of our municipal squares have shrunk, both thanks to a foreclosure-induced exodus of stalls and a shortage of imported goods and traders (a result of post-Brexit bureaucracy). If a visit to a full market is high on your festive wishlist, be sure to check out details about this year’s attendance before booking a trip.
That said, here is a mix of events and exhibits, in some of Britain’s most festive corners, which will ensure a decent Christmas break in the weeks to come.
Go to the market in Winchester
If you had planned a visit to Germany’s most famous festive markets, only to have your itinerary thwarted by the closure of many Christmas events in the country, then Winchester’s offer is a suitable alternative – during a a typical year, it attracts 400,000 visitors. Expect over 100 stalls (housed in mini wooden chalets) selling games, toys, decorations, jewelry, seasonal food and drink, and more. The ice rink isn’t listed for 2021, but instead you’ll find a larger food court as well as a main stage hosting local musicians. Nestled in the shadow of the cathedral, a few market tours should be accompanied by a visit to the building itself. Step into its 900+ year history and maybe even join a seasonal service.