Sophie Joelle’s guide to this year’s best Christmas markets


What a busy and spectacularly wonderful time of year! 2015 has seen us spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas markets and events. I’ve been to quite a few this year, and have been astounded by the magical quality of each one. Here’s my countdown of the markets that brought me the most Christmas cheer this year…

1. Leeds Christkindelmarkt

Leeds City Council brings the Christmas Market to Leeds each year – and each year it brings us mulled wine goodness and plenty of sausagey treats. Okay, so the market is pretty much the same each year… but it’s so lovely! There’s not just a stunning selection of tasty treats, but also plenty of Christmas gifts to look at!

2. Victorian Christmas Market at Bradford Industrial Museum

This is always a lovely event, but this year was even more magical than the years before. The USP of this market is the handmade Christmas gifts. Most things were so reasonably priced, and really unusual. I bought a whole range of unique presents at this event, and was so surprised by how quiet yet festive the whole vibe was! If you haven’t been to this event before, pop it on your 2016 To-Do list!

3. Otley Victorian Fayre

Uh-oh… this one caused a bit of trouble! The Otley Victorian Fayre is the bad-boy of the Christmas markets, causing pretty much all Otley town centre roads to be closed. But for such a good cause! Tombolas, games, prizes, food and drink stalls, gift stalls… what’s not to love? The event was all outdoors, though, so it’s best to wrap up warm before attempting the deceptively large fayre. I particularly loved the stage set up in the market square that provided entertainment all day – a really fun day out for all the family!

4. Crafts for Christmas 

The Rural Crafts Association brought this event to Harrogate in November. Though there were plenty of stalls, this seemed to be the most expensive event. The ticket price wasn’t too much, but the merchandise on offer seemed very overpriced. We came away having bought very little, and the Christmas cheer seemed in short supply. I’ve been to this event before and loved it, but in 2015 it fell flat for me. Here’s hoping Santa brings Crafts for Christmas a little more sparkle next year!

5. Manchester Christmas Markets

This year marked my first adventure to the Manchester Christmas Markets… and what a spectacular time I had! There seems to be lots of little markets everywhere, and each one offers something different. The largest market was extremely crowded so it was hard to get the most out of the Christmas joy, but we managed it anyway! I’ll definitely be returning to Manchester next year for another market fix.

Merry Christmas everyone!