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Our top 10 UK Christmas markets and fayres 2016

Not a fan of Christmas shopping? Build it into a relaxing break using our guide to the best local markets and craft fayres near our forest locations.

A traditional Christmas begins with the Christmas shopping. If that's not your idea of fun, this year, make the experience special and the presents unique by combining your shopping with a relaxing break. Surround yourself with the sights and sounds of a traditional Christmas market - mulled wine, mince pies and carols carrying on the wintry air. Then, come home to a cosy cabin in the forest and wrap your presents in the glow of a wood-burning stove, before sinking into a hot tub beneath the stars for a festive glass of bubbly. We’ve found the markets and fayres for you; just choose your location, book your cabin, and enjoy.

1. Fowey Christmas Market, from 9 – 11 December is one of the best in Cornwall. Enjoy local Cornish food, drink, and crafts on the Town Quay, and in the Town Hall you'll find lots of perfect Christmas gifts from handmade cushions and slate clocks to local watercolour prints. Just 30 minutes from a cosy cabin at Deerpark.

2. Closer to your cabin in Deerpark, catch the magic of Christmas in the pretty harbour town of Looe at the BIG Festive Weekend from 2 – 4 December. Watch the Christmas lights switch-on, follow the lantern procession and browse the Christmas market for local produce and handmade Christmas gifts.

3. Stay at Blackwood Forest and you have one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe on your doorstep. Winchester Christmas Market runs from 18 November to 20 December and it's full of Christmas gifts that you won't find on the high street, with an emphasis on British crafts. The atmosphere is helped along by delicious foods, heart-warming drinks, carol singing and outdoor ice skating. Best of all, we are offering our guests a tour of Winchester Cathedral and Christmas Market with free transport included. You can reserve tickets when you book your Blackwood Forest cabin.

One of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Winchester Christmas Market runs from 18 November to 20 December!

4. Bury St. Edmunds is a pretty market town that lights up at Christmas. The Bury St. Edmunds Christmas Fayre, 24 – 27 November is in its 13th year and this year it is bigger and better than ever before, with over 300 stalls and lots of festive activities. After the hustle and bustle of the fayre, you can head back to the comfort of your cabin at Thorpe Forest and relax in your hot tub.  

5. Fancy something altogether more intimate? A pot's throw from our Forest of Dean location, in the village of Christchurch, is the delightful Hot Pot Pottery Studio. Their annual Christmas Fayre is 10 - 11 December. Buy your Christmas presents from local craftspeople or create your own unique pottery gifts in front of the cosy wood burner.

6. Kelham hall, a Victorian stately home set in 44 acres of Nottinghamshire parkland, hosts a very special Christmas Fayre on 26 - 27 November. With lots of opportunities to buy some unusual presents in this atmospheric setting, as well as a free hot chocolate on arrival, it's a great Christmas shopping trip for the whole family. Kelham Hall is a short drive from our woodland cabins at Sherwood Forest, where you can keep the Christmas spirit going with a seasonal movie and a glass of festive fizz. 

7. How about heading for the coast for your Christmas shopping trip? The Whitby Christmas Festival runs from 18 to 20 November. The Christmas lights switch-on is Friday 18 November followed by a firework display – the perfect kick-start to a winter weekend staying at Cropton or Keldy

Get all your Christmas presents in one place with a visit to one of the nearby Christmas markets

8. Also in Yorkshire, stay at Cropton or Keldy and immerse yourself in Christmas at Castle Howard. From 19 November to 23 December, Yorkshire's finest country house will be transformed for Christmas with lavish decorations, live music, an audience with Father Christmas, twilight tours and even an artist-designed gingerbread model of Castle Howard. There is so much to enjoy, you might forget your Christmas shopping, which is all in the marquee market within the grounds.

9. If the possibility of Christmas snow in Scotland is calling… you will need our guide! Scotland is all about Hogmanay and trying to find a Christmas market or Fayre is as difficult as trying to catch wild haggis. However, we've found some Christmas sparkle at the Festive Lights & Fireworks event at Loch Lomond Shores on 20 November. The shopping is slightly more mainstream than our many craft fayre recommendations but there are lots of traditional Scottish gifts and it promises to be a lively event. Stay at Ardgartan Argyll, just half an hour away.

10. Take a midweek pre-Christmas break at Strathyre and do your Christmas shopping in the glorious surroundings on the Grand Hall at Stirling Castle. In one evening, Tuesday 6 December, you can buy all your presents and then spend the rest of your week relaxing in your woodland cabin, congratulating yourself on how thoroughly enjoyable you have made this annual chore. 

Still looking for inspiration? Find more Christmas markets here.