Christ­mas mar­kets guide

It was only about 15 years ago that the first Ger­manstyle tra­di­tional mar­ket came to the UK, but now it seems like Christ­mas wouldn’t be Christ­mas with­out a mug of Gluh­wein in the rain. These days, though, fes­tive mar­kets are not just about the Bratwurst,

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1 Ed­in­burgh Christ­mas Mar­ket East Princes Street Gar­dens, un­til Jan­uary 5 YOU need never be with­out Bratwurst in the cen­tre of Ed­in­burgh. Last year, its Christ­mas mar­ket was named the best in the UK, in a sur­vey by Mc­Carthy & Stone. One long mar­ket that barely ever stops, clos­ing its stalls down at 9pm on Mon­day to Wed­nes­day and 10pm all other days, it feels as if in this spot of the cap­i­tal, the Gluh­wein is on tap. But Ed­in­burgh Christ­mas is so much more than the mar­ket. It’s great big sprawl­ing pop-up of lights and en­ter­tain­ment. This year brings two new at­tractions. There’s the John­nie Walker Bothy Bar on The Mound, a venue over two floors with any­thing from a whisky cock­tail to a hot toddy. Then, for the dancers out there, there’s Silent Light, a silent disco event in which you can don head­phones and boo­gie un­der the lights to some cheesy Christ­mas beats.

2 Ge­orge Square Christ­mas Mar­ket Glas­gow, un­til De­cem­ber 31 HARD to choose, isn’t it? Which of Glas­gow’s two fun-filled mar­kets to hang out in? Ge­orge Square is all about the tra­di­tion, as well as the big thrills. Check out the ar­ti­san prod­ucts and craft on the 50 stalls that fill the square, while lis­ten­ing to the squeals of kids as they ride the vin­tage hel­ter skel­ter, or take in the live mu­sic and street per­form­ers – all best done with a mug of some­thing hot in hand. Nat­u­rally, Santa pays a visit, drop­ping into the ad­vent cal­en­dar each day and hand­ing out treats to chil­dren.

3 CRAFTED Christ­mas Craft and De­sign Mar­ket Dundee Con­tem­po­rary Arts, Dec 1 THERE’S no dan­ger here of bring­ing back some em­bar­rass­ing tat as a gift. For the city now home to our V&A hosts a Christ­mas mar­ket that’s all about de­sign. Here it’s pos­si­ble to buy jew­ellery, tex­tiles, il­lus­tra­tions, home­wares and other items, all di­rectly from very tal­ented in­de­pen­dent de­sign­ers and mak­ers. For­get the Christ­mas kitsch, this is pure class.

4 Christ­mas in the Quad Aberdeen, Thurs­days to Sun­days un­til De­cem­ber 23 ABERDEEN Christ­mas Vil­lage dou­bled its size this year. Part of this ex­pan­sion is a new mar­ket in the Marischal Col­lege Quad, which of­fers a range of lo­cally pro­duced crafts and gifts, as well as gourmet food and drink, all de­liv­ered from open-air wooden cab­ins. Each week­end will bring a dif­fer­ent of­fer­ing of stall­hold­ers and show­case both new and es­tab­lished brands in­clud­ing Ur­ban Cale­do­nia, Porter’s Gin and Throwup Gallery. But it’s not all stalls. Santa will be in his grotto in the quad, a com­mu­nity stage will pro­vide en­ter­tain­ment, and the ice rink, fes­tive train and other rides are nearby.

5 Jupiter Art­land Christ­mas Fair Wilkieston, De­cem­ber 1 and 2 THE third Christ­mas fair held by the art and sculp­ture park will see Jupiter Steadings near Ed­in­burgh trans­formed into a “mag­i­cal Win­ter Won­der­land” of bou­tique craft stalls, food ven­dors and live mu­sic. But Jupiter Art­land isn’t just about buy­ing, it’s also about mak­ing and bring­ing out the cre­ative in its vis­i­tors – and the fair of­fers the chance to make your own fes­tive foral dec­o­ra­tion, or a wreath, or join in an Elf work­shop to make a spe­cial dec­o­ra­tion for you tree. Bored with rein­deers? In­stead meet Jupiter’s “fes­tive” don­keys.

6 Loch Lomond Shores mar­kets Bal­loch, De­cem­ber 12 to 24 THIS year Loch Lomond Shores can­celled its pop­u­lar lights switch-on, but hasn’t done away yet with its mar­kets. Not only are there the pop­u­lar week­end farm­ers’ mar­kets, sell­ing lo­cal pro­duce and crafts, but also, from De­cem­ber 12, it will be run­ning a 12 Days Of Christ­mas mar­ket, packed with ar­ti­san good­ies and an of­fer­ing of hot food and mulled wine to ward off the chill. Santa will also be work­ing his magic in the grotto.

7 Perth Christ­mas Mar­ket High Street, un­til De­cem­ber 2 PERTH’S fes­tive vil­lage, it could be said, is do­ing the full Christ­mas. Not only are there the stalls pro­vid­ing ev­ery­thing from culi­nary de­lights to crafts and cloth­ing, but there’s a sausage swing grill and a tav­ern sell­ing mulled wine and spiced cider. There’s live mu­sic too, and, of course, Santa, in­stalled in a fairy­tale grotto.

8 Lo­gie Steading Christ­mas mar­ket Dun­phail, De­cem­ber 8 and 9 THE best Christ­mas mar­kets are all about the place in which they’re held and the prod­ucts made in that area. Lo­gie Steading, a group of sand­stone build­ings nes­tled in the Find­horn Val­ley, houses a com­mu­nity of ar­ti­san mak­ers and re­tail­ers, so you can be sure it’s go­ing to be good. The mar­ket it­self brings to­gether over 50 ex­hibitors, cre­ators work­ing in fine art, pho­tog­ra­phy, wood, metal and jew­ellery, as well as sell­ers of se­ri­ously tasty food. Toasted marsh­mal­lows, mu­sic, tast­ings, demon­stra­tions and the com­pany of Speysound lo­cal ra­dio broad­cast­ing, are all in a line-up that speaks of noth­ing but pure fes­tive cheer.

9 Oban Win­ter Fes­ti­val Oban, Novem­ber 25 TAKE your pick be­tween two Oban mar­kets – or do them both – but get in quick be­cause to­day’s the last day of the win­ter fes­ti­val. There’s the Vic­to­rian Mar­ket in the Perle ho­tel, which not only hosts out­door food stalls but also the all-im­por­tant Santa’s Post­box. But the key mar­ket to­day is re­ally the one held at Oban Dis­tillery and fea­tur­ing not only stalls but live mu­sic, face paint­ing, tea, cof­fee, soup, hot tod­dies and Pimm’s. It’s where, ef­fec­tively, the win­ter fes­ti­val cli­maxes. Ar­rive there with the Fi­nale Pa­rade, The Big Racket, so-called since it in­vites those who join it to bring their own in­stru­ments and add to the noise.

10 Kames Christ­mas Mar­ket Kames Hall, Ar­gyll, De­cem­ber1 A pro­duc­ers’ mar­ket in the small vil­lage of Kames on the beau­ti­ful Cowal penin­sula in which you’ll find lo­cal cheese, lo­cal lamb, home­made treats, crafts and ar­ti­san breads. This fes­tive cel­e­bra­tion is thor­oughly lo­cal and de­clares it­self “home­made, home­grown and home­spun”. Go to stock up, or hang out at the pop-up café and gorge on cake.

11 St Enoch Square Christ­mas Mar­ket Glas­gow, De­cem­ber 1-De­cem­ber 23 START or end a big shop­ping ses­sion in St Enoch’s with a bit of proper fes­tive cheer in this tra­di­tional-style con­ti­nen­tal mar­ket. You might even find a hand-crafted gift that suits bet­ter than the mass-pro­duced present you were about to get in the mall.

12 Dundee Eth­i­cal Christ­mas Fair Dundee City Square, De­cem­ber 5-22 THE fair for those who don’t want Christ­mas to weigh too heav­ily on their con­science. By­pass the high street stores and the web and get some­thing you know is de­liv­er­ing its mak­ers a fair and hon­est pay­ment. Over 40 stalls will be packed with eth­i­cal in­ter­na­tional and Scot­tish gifts, in­clud­ing hand­crafted prod­ucts from Mada­gas­car, Mo­rocco, South Africa, Peru and many other coun­tries. In­ter­na­tional ex­hibitors travel from as far as Zam­bia and In­dia.

13 He­lens­burgh Win­ter Fes­ti­val Colquhoun Square, De­cem­ber 1-2 HERE’S a fes­ti­val with plenty to please the kids. In He­lens­burgh, it’s not Santa the chil­dren should be on the look out for – though, of course, he’s there and housed in his grotto – but the wee mas­cot of its win­ter fes­ti­val, a pen­guin. They also might want to catch a glimpse of the Ayr­shire Rein­deer who are squeez­ing a date in to their busy sched­ule to come on Sun­day. Mean­while, for the grown-ups, He­lens­burgh’s fes­tive mar­ket of­fers a wide range of gifts, plus there’s en­ter­tain­ment for all on the live stage, in­clud­ing the He­lens­burgh rock choir and Bavari­a­tions, a tribute to Ger­man Sch­lager hits.

14 Etsy Made Lo­cal Glas­gow The Brig­gait, De­cem­ber 1-2 RATHER than sit at home brows­ing Etsy, the on­line mart for hand­made craft items, it’s far more en­joy­able, surely, to get out and meet some of those mak­ers and sell­ers them­selves. In its fourth year, Etsy Made Lo­cal Glas­gow brings to­gether some of the finest of Scot­land’s Etsy sell­ers in The Brig­gait in Glas­gow’s Mer­chant City. Check out the line-up of sell­ers on each day on­line be­fore­hand.

15 Out of the Blue Christ­mas mar­kets Dal­meny Street, Ed­in­burgh, De­cem­ber 5 and 12 AN­OTHER mar­ket that is all about con­nect­ing up with the mak­ers and find­ing gifts that have that hand­made, per­sonal touch. The mar­kets take place on two Satur­days, bring­ing to­gether over 100 artists and pro­duc­ers of ev­ery­thing from pho­tog­ra­phy through to fash­ion and fur­ni­ture. Head there on De­cem­ber 5 and it’s also pos­si­ble to browse the Open Stu­dios event while en­joy­ing the Mu­sic Fayre, in which lo­cal la­bels will be sell­ing their own re­leases and play­ing tunes. On De­cem­ber 12, the venue also holds a Xmas Brun­cheon, fea­tur­ing live mu­sic.

16 Sum­mer­hall Christ­mas Mar­ket Ed­in­burgh, De­cem­ber 9 THE labyrinth of the former Royal Dick Ve­teri­nary School is home to this sprawl­ing Christ­mas mar­ket – noisy, busy, and packed with around 70 stalls. This is Christ­mas fes­tiv­ity on hy­per­drive – with ev­ery­thing from porce­lain paint­ing work­shops to wreath­mak­ing ses­sions and a com­mu­nity choir de­liv­er­ing the car­ols – and the key thing to men­tion is that it’s mostly in­doors, away from the chill. All the same, there are plea­sures out­doors too in the court­yard where the bar will be serv­ing up those warm­ing drinks from hot tod­dies to mulled wine. Or if you’re fed up with hot spiced drinks you can al­ways head to the Royal Dick for a nice gin and tonic, dis­tilled on site.

17 GLOW Scot­tish De­sign Fair Dove­cot, Ed­in­burgh, De­cem­ber 8 HERE’S some­thing re­ally spe­cial – a fair that touts it­self as “a unique op­por­tu­nity to buy from some of the great­est con­tem­po­rary Scot­tish de­sign­ers”. It’s cu­rated by weaver James Don­ald, the man be­hind the hugely suc­cess­ful CLOTH#18 mak­ers fair ear­lier this year. Housed in the

Dove­cot, an ex­hi­bi­tion space that cham­pi­ons art, de­sign and crafts­man­ship, this prom­ises craft gifts at their finest. 18 Drum­lan­rig Cas­tle Christ­mas Fair

Thorn­hill, Dun­fries & Gal­loway, Novem­ber 30 and De­cem­ber 1 THERE are not many more stun­ning lo­ca­tions for Christ­mas fairs than Drum­lan­rig – par­tic­u­larly when the cas­tle is lit up green and red. Browse the stalls housed in­side a mar­quee at the front of the cas­tle. Take a trip back in time and go for a ride – on the Sat­ur­day – on a car­riage pulled by the Black­stone Cly­des­dales. Join in the carol singing on Fri­day evening and have a warm­ing tip­ple in the tea­room. And, of course, visit Santa in his grotto. 19 Traquair Christ­mas Fayre

Traquair House, In­ner­lei­then, to­day THE last day of the an­nual Traquair Christ­mas Fayre is to­day, so you bet­ter get your sleigh cranked up if you’re go­ing to make it in time for the mulled wine and roast chest­nuts. The in­te­ri­ors of Scot­land’s old­est in­hab­ited house will be dec­o­rated in Vic­to­rian Christ­mas style, with craft stalls dot­ted through­out the rooms. Lo­cal choirs and the Sil­ver band will per­form in the court­yard and chapel. Mean­while, Santa will be sta­tioned in a “lux­u­ri­ous grotto”. Plus there are fun-filled pup­pet shows, de­li­cious home-cooked lunches and teas in the Gar­den Cafe. 20 River­side Christ­mas Fair & Mar­ket Glas­gow, De­cem­ber 1-2

NOS­TAL­GIA is what the Christ­mas mar­ket is all about this year. We’re in thrall to some idea, prob­a­bly mis­placed, of Christ­mas in days gone by. This makes the River­side, with its re­con­structed Vic­to­rian Street, the ideal set­ting for a few stalls and a bit of nos­tal­gic at­mos­phere. For one week­end the mu­seum trans­forms it­self into a fes­tive won­der­land, with a tra­di­tional fair­ground whose rides and carousels are free. Where’s Santa? In his Tall Ship grotto, of course.

Christ­mas mar­kets and fairs across Scot­land have be­come the go-to at­trac­tion for a great day out with friends and fam­ily, and the ideal way to pick up gifts that are some­thing dif­fer­ent and of­ten lo­cally made

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