The festive season is a really exciting time of the year. Whether you celebrate that with just your household, friends, family members, or strangers, it’s always a time to come together to relax and enjoy the end of another year. If you’re thinking of doing something different this year, then planning a trip to a Christmas market might certainly be something worth considering.

Christmas markets originate from Germany but are now featured across the globe in many cities, and they often begin from November, with some spilling into the New Year. It’s a great opportunity to sample some delicious delights but also to see a new part of the world. There are lots of UK Christmas markets about, so if you want to go to one, here are some tips when planning a trip.

Do Your Research

There are going to plenty of towns and cities doing Christmas markets because they’re so popular in getting the shoppers out and encouraging people to buy presents for Christmas. With that in mind, you want to consider which ones are currently popular. The bigger markets in the cities are obviously going to be more varied in what they have on and what they’re selling. However, some markets may co-inside with a Christmas light switch on, which can also make your trip to a market, even more festive. Some Christmas markets will not only sell food and drink but may have a variety of performances that they put on. There’s one in London called Winter Wonderland, which takes over Hyde Park for the majority of December and January. It attracts hundreds and thousands of tourists and locals. They have plenty of independent shops that sell their products and services, but they also have bars, dining areas, and performances around the park. Not only that, but they have a few rides for those who want a bit of thrill-seeking. Ice-skating is also available, so it’s good to look at what each market can offer and what is need with who you’re bringing. For children, you might need a few more interactive features than just stalls. It might not keep them as engaged for long as you’d want them to.

Plan Your Journey

Once you’ve picked your location, you want to look at how you’re going to get there. You could be based in Plymouth but need to travel up to Glasgow in order to get to your Christmas market. Not all markets are going to be within an easy distance, so you need to decide whether to go by car, train or even plane. With larger Christmas markets, you may want to look at staying in a hotel for the weekend or for a few days in the mid-week. There are plenty of places that will offer discounts, including, who have plenty of hotels that offer stays for those wishing to explore the local area near the markets. During this time of year, a lot of the roads and transport options are either going to be fairly pricy or if traveling by car could encounter a lot of traffic. Therefore, you want to make sure that you’ve planned ahead and that you’ve calculated the routes that are going to get you there quicker. If traveling by train, you want to check that there are no planned closures or railworks over the period of your travels. This could extend your travel by a number of hours, which could have an impact on how much time you have at the markets and how enjoyable it is.

Get Plenty Of Snacks For Your Travels

Snacks are an essential for your travels, and during this time of the year, any diet can really be thrown out of your car or train window! It also means that you may cut down the number of stops you take en route to your destination. Obviously, you want to ensure that everyone is comfortable traveling and that you take regular breaks for whoever is driving, but having snacks in the car is good to help make a longer trip more bearable. Try to take snacks that aren’t going to stink out the car, and that can be sealed up and won’t cause a mess.

Plan Out Your Time At The Market

The bigger the market is, the more planning that should go into scheduling your day. There might be a lot to do there and a lot to see, so it’s important that you plan out your day accordingly. Be sure to make time for your meal breaks and decide on whether you’re going to take any food with you or whether you’ve got a budget to spend money on food at the market. It’s also worth noting that in bigger cities, the food is likely to be more expensive, and if you’re paying on behalf of a big group, you could be spending an eye-watering amount of money. As you approach the main part of the festive period, there will be more people at these markets, and therefore, there may be more waiting times for certain aspects of the market. If there’s an ice-skating rink or a Ferris wheel, you might want to see if any of these can be pre-booked. Any parent will know that kids probably don’t have as much patience as adults have when it comes to queuing. This is something that’s definitely worth adding into your schedule if you know that it’s going to be a busy time for other people at the market.

Try to make the most of your day by getting up early and to be at the market just as they open the stalls. This will mean that you miss the rush, and also when it comes to attractions, you are likely near to be at the front of the line. There’s always going to be people who do the same, but the majority of the crowds will come later in the morning. Lunchtimes are also worth aiming for when it comes to the things you want at the market, as most are likely distracted with their food or buying food from the food stands.

Wear Warm Clothing

This is probably the most obvious but still, people living in the UK, won’t dress properly for the cold weather. During December, it’s likely to be very cold, so it’s a very good idea to wear warm clothing and to ensure you have plenty of warm layers. There may not be huge amounts of seating, and so you may find yourself standing around a lot. As a guide, take an extra jumper, wear a coat, gloves, and hat. Take a scarf too, and any extras should go in a bag that you can have easy access to. You may also want to get a flask of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate to keep yourselves warm over the course of the day. Flasks tend to keep nice and hot for hours, so it’s definitely something worth getting.

And finally, don’t forget to take some cash to these markets. Although a lot of businesses both in permanent shops and pop-ups are trying to use a card machine nowadays to cater to everyone, not all of these markets will offer this option. Try to remember to draw some cash out before going in as any ATM machines that are set up inside are likely to have a chargeable fee for withdrawing money.

If you’ve never been to a Christmas market, then this year is the time to go!