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Christmas caravan parks: the best UK Christmas markets

December 8, 2010
by Laura Canning | events | guides | seasonal

Glasgow Christmas market (courtesy of Xmas-Markets Ltd) Our last blog may have been a little, ahem, grouchy about the British winter. The dark and the cold and the lack of winnings on Euro Millions may have contributed to a general sense of malaise that only hitting the road can cure. But to be fair, there are plenty of good things about this time of year, such as waking up with frost on the caravan window or getting fat on cream and mince pies while the rain beats down outside. It’s all about getting into the Christmas spirits. I mean, spirit. Hic.

And there’s no better way to do this than by wrapping up warm and going to Christmas markets. Someday we’ll make it to the celebrated ones in Brussels and Bruges, but if you’re a bit cash/time-starved, the good news is that there are plenty of first-class markets around the country for you to spend all your money at. Make a weekend of it and stay at one of the many holiday parks and campsites that are open all year, or take a week off and go to a few around the country for the ultimate break.

The best thing about using campsites to stay in while you do your Christmas shopping at the markets is that you can spend all day in the bustle of the Christmas spirit, then, just when you’re getting grouchy and don’t want to buy another thing for as long as you live, you can retreat to a secluded park and get away from it all. And then do it all again the next day, of course.

Here’s our pick of the best Christmas markets around the country:

Christkindelmarkt, Leeds : Why go to Germany for a market when you can have an authentic German experience here? This market is open now and runs until December 19, featuring wooden chalets, food and drink from around the world and the acclaimed British Crafts Village. Established in 2006, this is already one of Europe’s top markets, with over 350,000 people visiting each year. For campsites, just visit's open-all-year Leeds page to find open sites. Moor Lodge is open all year round.

Dickens Christmas Market, Rochester Castle : This very popular Christmas market opens on 3 December and runs until the 19th, usually attracting over 80,000 visitors in its opening weekend. Kent is a top camping and caravanning spot all year round – if you’re going to the Dickens market the touring park Allhallows Place and the Fenn Bell Inn with restaurant and bar onsite, are both open in December.

Cardiff Castle Quarter Christmas Market : Cardiff is fab at any time of year, but at Christmas it’s just a bit more special. The Cardiff Castle Quarter Christmas Market is at both Cardiff Castle and St John’s Street, and offers over 40 wooden chalets of art and crafts fare. Spend the day in the city then retreat for a quiet stay at a Cardiff park Cardiff Caravan Park is open all year round.

Glasgow Traditional Christmas Market : Open now and staying open until 23 Dec, the Glasgow Traditional Christmas Market in one of the best shopping cities in the UK will definitely get you into the Christmas mood. Based at St Enoch’s Square, the market mixes continental and Scottish stalls for a different Christmas experience. For seasonal accommodation in Glasgow , Craigendmuir Park and Bankell Farm are open from January to December.