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10 places to lift your Christmas Spirit in the UK

As the number of shopping days left until Christmas dwindles are you filled with horror at the thought of a visit to your local high street or shopping centre? Why not take a fresh approach to your Christmas shopping this year?

Countdown to Christmas

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Instead of braving queues in your local high street, book yourself a short break in one of the homes featured on Direct Holiday Cottages and plan your Christmas shopping at one of the many Christmas fairs or markets taking place across the UK. A little gift shopping in an atmosphere that helps lift your Christmas spirits, some fabulous local produce to grace your festive table plus the chance to take some time out, perhaps explore a new area and relax a little!

Christmas Holiday Chaos

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Here’s a few suggestions to get you started . . .

1. Leyburn Christmas Festival

When: 6 December 2014

An annual Christmas event in The North Yorkshire Dales with stalls for those Christmas gift ideas, refreshments, entertainment and festive music add to the occasion. A local event that all the family can enjoy with Father Christmas usually arriving in great style to deliver presents to local children.

If you don’t get your gift shopping done at the festival, spend a few days exploring the Dales. The Station at Richmond in Swaledale, or Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes are two great options for some local produce.

Alternative Christmas Fare

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More information:

Stay at: Anywhere in The North Yorkshire Dales. – see a selection on Direct Holiday Cottages


2. Robin Hoods Bay Victorian Weekend

When: 5-7 December 2014

Victorian shop window at Robin Hoods Bay North Yorkshire

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A wonderful magical event involving traditional Victorian costumes, Christmas window dressings and general festive merriment throughout the village.

More information:

Stay at: Darnholm, Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby or Scarborough along the North Yorkshire coast.


3. Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival, Monmouthshire, Wales

When: 14 December 2014

The annual Christmas Food & Drink Fair in Abergavenny has got festive feasting all wrapped up. The focus is definitely on food with a selection of local produce from Wales, the Marches and further afield. Take in chef demos helping you plan your own Christmas feasts, sample fabulous treats and collect top tips for seasonal fun and feasts. You can shop for fresh and cured meats, poultry and game, cheeses and chocolates, cakes and desserts, wines and liqueurs, ales and cider whether you’re buying as gifts or treating yourself!

More information:

Stay at: An apartment in Brecon, a cottage just outside or for larger groups check out Portland House in Ross on Wye.


4. Cirencester Christmas Market, Cotswolds

When: Until December 16 2014

From skating in the Abbey Grounds of the parish church to a lantern parade, Cirencester is full of Christmas activities and events. Explore gourmet foods in the Charter Market, antiques at Corn Hall as well as clothes, accessories and crafts from festively decorated chalets.

More information:

Stay at: The Granary

Christmas montage


5. Edinburgh Christmas markets

When: Until January 5 2015

Christmas Market Stall in Edinburgh

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Edinburgh plays host to a selection of festive markets and fairs continuing into the New Year. St Mary’s Christmas Market runs through till December 22 – also featuring children’s activities and carol singing to help get you in a festive mood. Visit the traditional German Christmas market or for the best locally sourced food and drink or choose Edinburgh’s Scottish market (both open till 5th January)

More information:

Stay at: Millsyde at Kelso in the Scottish Borders.


6 Where: Glasgow Christmas Market

When: Until December 23 2014

The Glasgow Christmas Market continues at St Enoch Square until the 23rd December. It offers an international array of goods, featuring traders from Ecuador, Russia and Lapland. Sample anything from Bavarian beers to mulled wine or hog roast to French crepes.

More information:

Stay at: Acorn Cottage, Ayshire or The Old Dairy, Loch Lomond


7. Kendal Festive Fortnight, The Market Place in Kendall

When: Christmas Market 11-14 Dec 2014; Made in Cumbria Market 15-16 Dec 2014;

Festive Farmers Market 19 Dec 2014; Traditional Christmas Market 20-24 Dec 2014

Set in a prime location in Kendal town centre in the heart of the picturesque Lake District, this festive fortnight should really help get you in the mood for Christmas. Stay longer and enjoy the fabulous scenery too! You can choose from a German-style Market with alpine chalets, Gluhwein and Bratwurst Bar, traditional festive food and drinks, gifts and crafts or a selection of local produce at the Made in Cumbria events and Farmers Market. If you’ve left it to the last minute – shop up until the 24th December at the traditional Kendal Market. And if you still have energy after all that, take a spin around the skating rink from 21 – 23 December.

More information:

Stay at: Cumbria / Lake District – See selection of properties on Direct Holiday Cottages


8. Exeter Christmas market

When: Until 20 December 2014

Takes place on The Cathedral Green creating a real Christmas buzz at the heart of the city centre. Everything you need for your Christmas shopping with a mix of local and international traders offering unique, handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and speciality food items from across the continent. Visitors can also enjoy a hot Gluwhein in a specially designed Exeter Christmas Market mug. Take in a visit to the iconic cathedral at the same time.

Exeter Cathedral

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More information :

Stay at: Above Bayards in Dartmouth or Fairdale in Torquay


9. Christmas Market in The Alnwick Garden

When: Until 24th December

The first Christmas Market hosted here in a unique location just below the garden’s magical tree house. There will be plenty of choice whether you are looking for local hand-made gifts, stocking fillers or just want to soak up the atmosphere. There’s also rides for the children and the chance to pose for photos in the ‘Snowglobe’ experience. Stay longer and pay a visit to Holy Island while you’re there.

More information:

Stay at: At one of the cottages along the Northumberland coast


10. Hexham Christmas Market

When: 12-13th December

Another Christmas event  for all the family including the award winning Hexham Farmers Market, Hexham Abbey Fair, carol singing, performances from local schools and bands, mulled wine, kiddies rides, face painting, real reindeer and  of course – Santa’s Grotto!

More information:

Stay at: At cottage near Kielder reservoir

Christmas lights in Hexham Northumberland

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This is just a small selection of the numerous festive events across the country. Share your own favourites you have visited in the past that helped you start feeling that Christmas spirit. Or let us know about the Christmas celebrations not to be missed taking place near your holiday home. Add your own posts and pics today!


To list your own holiday home on contact Sarah or Tracy for details.

T. 0333 240 0797(local rate)



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