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Christmas markets and fairs

Many of the big Christmas markets open this week around the country and in Europe. Let the smell of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread get you into the Christmas spirit. We’ve rounded up some of the best ones that can be explored in a motorhome. Motorhome hire rates start at £200 over the coming month.

Christmas market scene

Christmas market scene

Bath

Set in the grounds of Bath Abbey and next to the Roman Baths, this magical Christmas market gets bigger each year. This year there will be 140 wooden stalls and so it will spill over into neighbouring side streets. Rest your weary feet in the Thermae Bath Spa at the end of the day. The market is open from 22 November to 9 December.

Stay at: Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park

Getting into town: Park at the Lansdown Park & Ride, BA1 9BJ. Buses run every 15 minutes – Monday to Sunday.

Brighton

The Rare Brand Christmas Market will be held for the first time in Brighton this year at the Corn Exchange on 7-8 December – offering more than 100 great brands not normally seen on the high street. In other parts of Brighton, a German Christmas market is being held in Churchill Square until 29 December and the Royal Pavillion Ice Rink is now open.

Stay at: Sheepcote Valley Caravan Club Site

Getting into town: Take the bus into Brighton or the Volks historic railway along the promenade to Brighton Marina.

Bruges, Belgium

From 25 November the Bruges market square will be transformed into an ice rink surrounded by lots of little shops selling clothes, food and drink and every Christmas bauble imaginable. Sweets and chocolates are the highlight here. The market runs every day until 3 January except Christmas Day.

Park (day and overnight) at the Canal Island Aire de Camping Car and walk into town.

Caerphilly

For something a little bit different, visit the Caerphilly Medieval Christmas Fayre on 8-9 December. Watch out for the pickpockets, beggars, scoundrels and thieves, join in with the hue and cry and, when one is caught, it’s the stocks for them! Buy from the authentic medieval traders and then have a sup of ale at the local tavern and watch the light display on the castle walls.

Stay at: The Cwmcarn Forest Campsite

Getting into town: Use St Ilan’s Park and Ride

Canterbury

A small traditional market selling jewellery, hand crafted toys, fragile glass ornaments for your Christmas tree, wooden decoration, unique hats and much more. The Canterbury Christmas Market will be open from 23 November to 23 December in Whitefriars Square.

Stay at: Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Site

Getting into town: Take the bus from the site entrance into Canterbury.

Cardiff

Arts and crafts are the cornerstone of the Cardiff Christmas Market with lots of gifts made of enamel, pewter, slate, metal, wood, silver and precious stones, leather and pottery. The market is open from now until 23 December.

Stay at: Cardiff Caravan Park owned by the Council

Getting into town: Cardiff town centre is just a short walk away.

Chichester

The Chichester Christmas Market runs from Saturday 8 December to Sunday 16 December. More than 50 festive stalls will be on display in the pedestrianised areas of North Street and East Street, with ‘The Cross’ as the central point. Offering a range of unusual gifts and inspiration for your friends, colleagues and family, from crafts and unique finds to tried and tested Christmas gifts and foods, you’ll find something for everyone on your list.

Stay at: Stubcroft Farm

Getting into town: Park in the Via Ravenna Coach Park adjacent to Waitrose.

Padstow

The Padstow Christmas Festival earned the accolade of one of Lonely Planet’s top ten delightfully different Christmas markets in Europe. As you would expect from Rick Stein’s home town, food is a large part of this festival and a top line up of chefs will be giving demonstrations throughout the three days. The festival runs on the weekend of the 7-9 December.

Stay: Padstow Caravan Park

Getting into town: If you can walk the couple of miles into town. Otherwise use the Harbour car park or the Park and Ride near Tesco.

Reims, France

The Christmas Village at the Place d’Erion is made up of 125 chalets offering beautiful seasonal gifts, decorations and festive delicacies. There is much street entertainment including carol singers, jazz bands and magicians. Stock up on Champagne at the same time.

Stay: Reims Aire de Camping Car in the centre of town

Winchester

Founded in 2006, the Winchester Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best in Europe, renowned for its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance.

Stay at: Two Hoots Campsite, Alresford

Or stay at the Chestnut Horse Brit Stop

Getting into town: Park in the Worthy Lane coach park or St Catherine’s Park and Ride

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