In the UK, Christmas markets are sometimes promoted as Christmas Fairs, Christmas Fayres, Continental or Traditional Christmas Markets and in more general terms. But, what’s in a name?


Well when it is described as Continental or Traditional, then it’s likely that the stalls will have the appearance of wooden chalets, selling a range of traditional and seasonal toys gifts and food featuring real European traders; in addition there could be an ice rink, if you are very lucky. The other terms are not so easy to define, but Christmas Fairs and Fayres should normally have a traditional feel, but some may lack that old world charm that always proves popular.


However, whatever market, fair or fayre you decide to visit there is always plenty of choice wherever you are in the country. The Manchester Market is celebrating its 14th  year and is bigger and better than ever, now spreading across the entire City Centre. Other European themed markets now appear across the country in Birmingham, Bournemouth, Leeds, London, Glasgow and Oxford, whereas Portsmouth is celebrating with a Victorian festival.


So whether you visit one of the big city centre markets or the local church fair its advisable to wrap up warm with a woolly scarf and hat until the smell of cinnamon, bratwurst and the mulled wine takes its effect. Oliver Cromwell might have banned Christmas when he ruled the country, but I think he missed out on something really special.