Roast chestnuts, festive music, mulled wine and shopping ideas galore – these are just some of the ingredients that make up the traditional Bath Christmas Market.
The annual Bath Christmas Market takes place in late November – early December and runs for 11 days. Traditional wooden stalls are erected in the city center, near the famous Bath Abbey and Roman Baths. Stallholders sell handmade and unusual gifts, Christmas decorations, cards, and food and drink that mark the holiday season. There are over 100 stalls, built in a style reminiscent of European chalets, each with an abundance of Christmas lights strung around them, creating a celebratory atmosphere on a typical, dull, dark December day or as daylight fades and dusk arrives.
The Christmas market has become a popular Bath attraction, with many people from a wide surrounding area making day trips or taking weekend breaks to the city to take full advantage of the market. It does get extremely busy, especially on weekends, so if you want to browse the stalls properly, then it’s best to go early or late in the day and avoid the peak times at weekends.
Street entertainment is a big part of the overall experience, so you can expect to enjoy watching and listening to a variety of novel amusments and diversions as you wander the market grounds. Carol singing is, of course, a favourite form of entertainment at this time of year, but there are also children’s entertainers and a good selection of musicians to keep the crowds happy. Children – or children at heart – can also enjoy a ride on the Victorian Galloper Carousel, which offers rides throughout the day.
Three stage areas have been introduced this year to provide a real break from the shopping crowds and give you time to focus on the entertainment in style. Plus, you may get lucky and catch the sounds of a full choir singing in the Bath Abbey.
Holiday food and drink is available throughout the market area, so you will certainly want to enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine, tuck into mince pies or nibble on traditional roasted chestnuts. Other European favourites are available as well, from freshly made pancakes and crepes, to German Bratwurst.
The market is ideally located for exploring the rest of Bath’s shops, where you can get more of your Christmas shopping done. And there are plenty of restaurants and cafes in which to stop for a refreshing cup of tea or coffee, or have a bite to eat at lunchtime. If you are visiting on a weekend, then the streets are likely to be heaving with visitors – the market attracts coach loads of extra visitors – so if you are planning on treating yourself to lunch out, then it’s advisable to book a table in advance. If you don’t, you could find yourself queuing for ages, or waiting in vain for a free table.
On most days, the market opens at 10am (11am on Sundays) and stays open until 6pm, 7pm or even 9pm. It provides a wonderful festive atmosphere, especially at night, and is a lovely way for all ages to enjoy the festive season and find some great gift ideas.
Photos courtesy of visitbath.co.uk
Copyright: Bath Tourism Plus / Colin Hawkins
Written by Rachel Newcombe for EuropeUpClose.com