Christmas fairs and markets for a festive day out
Get into the festive spirit with these wonderful Christmas fairs to visit around the UK
As Christmas creeps closer, it's time to start thinking about all things festive. From family days out and seasonal activities to that all-important Christmas shopping, both for presents and food, there's a lot of planning involved when it comes to the winter season.
There's no better way to tick everything off the to-do list than a visit to a Christmas market. Dotted all around the UK, there's delicious seasonal food, festive tipple, hand-made gifts and fun activities for the kids.
Not sure where to start? Seek out our favourite alternative Christmas fairs this winter – not only will you enjoy a festive day out and solve some of those gifting dilemmas, you can also bask in the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting independent artists and makers...
Best Christmas fairs to visit around the UK
Wembley Park Festive Market
Running on two Saturdays in December, this new market - just 12 minutes from central London - promises unique presents and deliciously warming food and drink from 30 artisan traders. Take your pick from a fabulous range of handmade gifts, jewellery, homewares, skincare and candles, alongside vintage pieces and clothing. Once you've enjoyed browsing and buying the wares on display, why not take in the festive sights and live performances that Wembley Park has to offer!
When: 10am-5pm, 10th & 17th December 2022
Where: Wembley Park, London
Admission price: Free (parking from £2, pre-booking recommended)
Mercatum Christmas Artisan Market
Killing two festive birds with one beautifully wrapped stone, Haddon Hall’s winter fair offers both the chance to track down one-off gifts and to soak up some seasonal magic, with a mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand as you shop. Spread between the decorated 900-year-old Hall itself and a cascade of marquees set up in the courtyards and gardens, you’ll find everything from jars of local honey and handmade decorations to elegant wreaths, handwoven scarves and pretty prints.
When: Various dates between 17th November & 4th December 2022
Where: Haddon Hall, Derbyshire
Admission price: £7.50 (includes parking)
The Little Makers Market
The Little Makers Market normally runs on the first Saturday of each month, but if you’re quick you might also catch the extra edition it’s squeezing in over the last weekend of November. Drag your eyes away from the venue’s Grade I-listed bones (it was built in 1711, in English baroque style) and you’ll find a raft of independent makers ready to solve all your Christmas gifting conundrums. Stalls range from Emily May’s vintage-inspired prints and textiles to Wood Row Chocolate’s hand-decorated ganaches and Bobbie Wear’s frilled gingham totes.
When: 24th–27th November & 3rd December 2022
Where: Unitarian Meeting House in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Admission price: Free
The Hand Sale
The one that, arguably, kicked it all off, this well-loved, bi-annual London fair has been going for over two decades. As popular among lovers of homewares as it is with fashion insiders and artisan beauty product devotees, The Hand Sale is renowned for its wide range of stalls and genres. Highlights of recent events include Hambro & Miller’s Fair Isle knitwear, hand-painted botanical tiles from Maude Made, and lampshades from Lazuli Design made with antique fabrics.
When: 17th–19th November 2022
Where: St Mary Abbots Centre in Kensington, London
Admission price: £2
Hopeful & Glorious Winter Art Fair
It may take place within the Palladian grandeur of Lancashire’s Lytham Hall, but this fair puts a decidedly modern spin on proceedings. Championing over 40 artists and makers from across the north of England, Hopeful & Glorious Winter Art Fair is now in its eighth year and has become almost as much a fixture on the local calendar as carols on Christmas Eve. Look out this year for vintage-inspired collage art from Sarah Buckett, colourful ceramics from Hollie Cooper, heritage-inspired cards from The Point Paper Art Company, and handwoven cushions and blankets from Ali Sharman.
When: 19th & 20th November 2022
Where: Lytham Hall, Lancashire
Admission price: Free, parking is pay and display
Charleston Designer & Maker Fair
True to its roots as the Bloomsbury Set’s colourful Sussex hideaway, the Charleston Designer & Maker Fair is sure to be a vibrant gathering, with over 30 artists, ceramicists and textile designers bringing creativity and lashings of winter cheer to the property’s Hay Barn. Go early to snare the best pieces; among them you’ll find Lewes ceramicists Liv and Dom’s hand-painted plates, soap dishes and bud vases, and Shiv Textiles’ cushions, scarves and throws in sorbet shades, each one woven from deadstock yarn.
When: 26th & 27th November 2022
Where: Charleston, East Sussex
Admission price: £5 in advance, £6 0n the door
Badger’s Velvet Underground
Shopping at Badger’s Velvet Underground is like having all your favourite independent shops under one roof. Each BVU event
is run by Ros Badger, a jeweller specialising in reworked antique pieces, and Sarah O’Keefe, co-founder of cult Holland Park boutique The Cross, now with her own brand of clothing, accessories and homewares. Their experience in the field shows, with hand-picked designer-makers ranging from Silk Road Slippers (four friends from the arts world tracking down vintage treasures all over the world), to handmade lampshades from Rosi de Ruig and cheerful earthenware from Miranda Berrow.
When: 3rd & 4th December 2022
Where: Bruton Unionist Club, Somerset
Winter Makers Market
Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery makes a sleek backdrop to the annual festive Winter Makers Market. Pieces are at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Browse CloD Studio’s butter dishes and lug jugs, intricate embroidered wall hangings from textile artist Lucy Freeman, and geometric risographs in clever colourways from Abby Sumner (who sells matching washi tape to elevate your festive wrapping). You can also sign up for an add-on workshop; Connie Noble, for instance, will be helping to create bespoke, illustrated recipe prints.
When: 4th December 2022
Where: The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh
Admission price: Free
Craft Festival Cheltenham
A more intimate version of the summer event at Bovey Tracey, Cheltenham’s Craft Festival sees 100 high-calibre makers gathering to show and sell their designs; from Hopewood Baskets’ woven platters and baskets to Loopy Ewes’ single-flock knitwear and Jeff Josephine Designs’ colourful, horticulturally inspired prints. What sets this fair apart is its support for craft skills, too; demonstrations are included and add-on workshops can be booked, including lantern-making with ceramicist Adrian Bates.
When: 26th & 27th November 2022
Where: Cheltenham Town Hall, Gloucestershire
Admission price: From £7
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