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As the festive season approaches, the South West of England comes alive with the enchanting spirit of Christmas, offering a plethora of artisanal gifts and a celebration of local craftsmanship. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the best Christmas markets across the region, focusing on handmade treasures and the support of the local economy. Whether you're seeking unique gifts or aiming to immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, these markets provide an unparalleled experience.
Bath Christmas Market: A Dickensian Delight
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Nestled against the backdrop of Bath's historic architecture, the Bath Christmas Market stands out as one of the most iconic in the South West. With over 150 chalets lining the streets, the market transforms the city into a festive wonderland. Local artisans showcase their talents, offering an array of handmade products, from intricately crafted jewelry to bespoke ceramics.
When? Thursday 23rd November - Sunday 10th December
- Monday to Wednesday: 10am to 7pm
- Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 8pm
- Sundays: 10am to 6pm
Where? Abbey Chambers, Abbey Churchyard, 2 York St, Bath BA1 1LY
If you have time, discover the charm of handmade Bath stone products and traditional West Country crafts while you're here!
Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market: A Cultural Gem
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Set against the stunning backdrop of Exeter Cathedral, this market combines the magic of Christmas with the beauty of local craftsmanship, local musicians and family-friendly entertainment. With over 80 stalls, it's a haven for those seeking Christmas food, artisanal gifts and decorations from the South West. From handmade textiles to locally sourced food products, Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market is a testament to the region's creative spirit.
When? 17th November to 17th December 2023.
- Monday to Wednesday: 10am and 7pm.
- Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 9pm.
- Sunday: 11am to 5pm.
- Christmas Day: Closed.
Where? Cathedral Green opposite the Gothic Cathedral.
Bristol Christmas Markets
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A City Centre Wonderland
Bristol's centre sets the stage for a unique Christmas market experience with over 35 wooden chalet stalls offering festive food and drinks, as well as a selection of gifts and handmade goods, emphasizing local craftsmanship. New additions this year include the Candy Factory Escape room and a 15 meter Ferris wheel for a view of the market from above.
When? From 3 Nov 2023 to 23 Dec 2023.
- Open from 10am - 10pm.
- Gift and craft stalls are open 10am-7pm
Where? Broadmead, Bristol, BS1 1UX
The Vintage Winter Wonderland in Millennium Square
When? 10 Nov 2023 - 2 Jan 2024 but closed on the 25th of December
Where? Millennium Square, Bristol, BS1 5DB
With the waterfront as a backdrop, this market offers a diverse range of seasonal food and drink.
Click here to find out more about everything going on in Bristol this Christmas.
Plymouth Christmas Market: Maritime Magic
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Plymouth, with its maritime heritage, hosts a Christmas market that reflects the city's nautical charm. Over 50 stalls adorn the city center, featuring handmade wares that pay homage to the local seafaring history under fairy lights. From maritime-themed jewelry to artisanal soaps, Plymouth Christmas Market offers a unique shopping experience.
When? 30 November to 17 December 2023
- Mondays to Saturdays: 10am to 6pm (late night shopping every Thursday until 9pm)
- Sundays: 10am to 5pm
Where? Piazza, city centre
Find out more about all the traders here.
Truro Christmas Markets
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'Made in Cornwall'
The Truro Cathedral 'Made in Cornwall' Christmas Market captivates visitors with its Cornish charm.
The market boasts over 80 stalls showcasing handmade treasures, including traditional Cornish pasties, locally distilled spirits, and artisanal crafts. The backdrop of Truro Cathedral adds a touch of elegance to the festive atmosphere.
Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards Service is responsible for authenticity and ensures every product is Made in Cornwall.
When? Friday 1st December – Saturday 2nd December
Opening times for both days: 10.00 – 17.00
Where? Truro Cathedral, Saint Mary's Street, Truro, UK
Discover more about this wondeful market supporting local artisans on the Cathedral's website..
The Big Christmas Market
Truro's inaugural 'Big Christmas Market' is set to be the highlight of the holiday season this year, promising an enchanting experience for visitors seeking festive delights. Nestled in the heart of Cornwall's capital, this new market is poised to become a seasonal sensation, drawing locals and tourists alike with its unique offerings.
The market, making its debut this year, boasts an extensive array of stalls featuring handcrafted gifts, artisanal treats, and festive decorations, providing a one-stop destination for all your Christmas shopping needs. Visitors can explore a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and aromatic scents, immersing themselves in the magical ambiance that only the holiday season can bring.
Truro's Big Christmas Market is designed to showcase the talents of local artisans and vendors, ensuring a diverse and distinctive selection of goods. From bespoke ornaments to locally-produced gourmet delights, the market is a treasure trove of unique finds that make for perfect gifts or personal indulgences. Additionally, food stalls will tempt taste buds with seasonal treats, from mulled wine to artisanal chocolates.
When? Wednesday 29th November - Sunday 24th December
- Monday 9.00 – 17.00
- Tuesday 9.00 – 17.00
- Wednesdays 9.00 – 21.00 (from Wednesday 29th November)
- Thursdays 9.00 – 17.00
- Friday 9.00 – 17.00
- Saturdays 9.00 – 17.00
- Sundays 10.00 – 16.00
Where? Lemon Quay, Truro, UK
Supporting the Local Economy
Beyond the enchanting atmosphere and unique gifts, these Christmas markets play a crucial role in supporting the local economy. By promoting handmade, locally sourced products, these markets contribute to the livelihoods of regional artisans and businesses. Encourage visitors to embrace the spirit of "shop local" during the festive season, fostering a sense of community and sustainability.
In the South West of England, Christmas markets offer more than just a shopping experience—they provide a journey into the heart of local craftsmanship and community spirit. From the historic streets of Bath to the waterfront charm of Bristol, each market has its own story to tell. As you explore these festive wonders, remember that every artisanal purchase contributes to the rich tapestry of the South West's cultural and economic landscape. Embrace the magic, support local artisans, and unwrap the joy of Christmas in the South West of England.