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An Alternative Guide to Christmas Shopping

Hate Christmas shopping? A pre-Christmas getaway is what you need, where the shopping is all part of the pleasure. Find out where you can shop and then drop - into a forest hot tub, for a well-deserved rest.


Head to the coast for the Looe Christmas Festival on 4th-6th December and pick up some genuine Cornish gifts from the quayside Christmas market. There’s still availability at Deerpark for both weekends, but hurry! 

Blackwood FOREST

The jewel in the crown of Christmas markets has to be Winchester Christmas Market. A German style market set in the grounds of the cathedral it is guaranteed to get you into the festive mood. It runs until 22nd December and the great news is that Blackwood Forest is putting on a special bus to the market every Wednesday from 25th November.  

Thorpe forest

Bury St. Edmunds is as good looking as a town can get and it surpasses itself when the Christmas lights are aglow. The Bury St. Edmunds Christmas Fayre is a big event from November 26th - 29th, with over 300 stalls, entertainment, food, drink and of course a special visit from Santa himself. If you are booked to stay at Thorpe Forest, don't miss the fayre. If you are not booked... at the time of writing there is just 1 cabin left!

Forest of Dean

A nice little event near to the Forest of Dean is the Hot Pot Pottery Christmas Fayre in Christchurch. It is on 5th & 6th December and they promise you can get all your Christmas presents in one place - or better still, get creative and paint your own!

Sherwood Forest

Stay at Sherwood Forest for your pre-Christmas break and you can visit the bright lights of Nottingham city centre. Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland kicked off on 20th November and runs through to Christmas. It boasts a festive market, an ice rink and lots of “Old England” themed events.

Cropton and Keldy

York takes some beating as the perfect Christmas town. The annual St. Nicholas Fair began on 19th November and runs through to 23rd December. Mulled wine, brandy-laced hot chocolate and roast chestnuts will keep you warm inside as you browse local crafts, regional food and drink, and lots of gift ideas. An alternative to York is Castle Howard. The house is dressed for Christmas from 23rd November and will be stunning. Christmas presents can be bought from the gift shop. A courtyard Christmas market adds to the atmosphere for the last 2 weekends in November and the first 2 weekends in December. Availability at Cropton and Keldy is running out fast, so book soon!

Ardgartan, Argyll

And finally, to hunt down a unique Christmas present, it’s off to Scotland. The pop up Christmas craft and collectables market at Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond is not to be missed. It “pops up” on Saturday 5th December & Saturday 19th December and you can buy crafts, gifts and vintage collectables as well as enjoying coffee, cake and some lively Christmas tunes. Ardgartan, Argyll is just half an hour away.

The real alternative...

This year, escape from the hustle of the high street and hours on the internet. Find local markets and craft fayres, buy unique gifts, savour the scents and sounds of mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas choirs. Wrap your presents in the cosy glow of a wood-burning stove and then sink into your hot tub beneath the stars for a well-deserved rest. Job done.

Sound like a good alternative? Book your forest cabin now!