It’s well known that Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is one of the best, regularly getting featured in top 10 festive markets guides nationally and internationally.
I go every year and it always helps kick start the festive spirit, take a look at this magical market…
Winchester Christmas Market is in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, the most stunning backdrop for a festive market, right in the heart of the city centre.
There are a couple of stalls and traders by the shop outside the front of the cathedral. But, most of the market is to the right of the building and it extends through the grounds.
Winchester Christmas Market
If you’ve not been to a Christmas market before this would be a great one to start with. The grounds of the cathedral are filled with rows of wooden lodges t0 create a mini village allowing traders to sell goods and food.
There’s lots of hustle and bustle and weekends are particularly busy, weekday evenings offer a much more gentle experience.
Let me start with my favourite part of the market. Apart from the obviously incredible setting, there’s these beautiful little old fashioned carts selling mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
It fills the air with the rich smell of cinnamon and spice creating all those festive vibes from the moment you walk in.
The carts have this traditional aesthetic, embellished with golden accents, detailed wood carvings and twinkly lights.
I’m not sure why it’s my favourite, I think it’s because it instantly immerses all my senses in Christmas and that’s the whole point, right?
The traders change every year and I like seeing what quirky gifts we can pick up for family and friends. The best stalls are the ones offering local produce and usually Hampshire Distillery is there, well it was in 2018 and we picked up a delicious winter gin.
In fact, most years we pick up a new gin or other drink to have over the festive period to share with family and friends or as a gift for someone.
One year we got the most beautiful hand made fair trade Indian leather satchel for Henry’s sister, we’ve found hand warmers, chopping boards and all manner of different items.
Every year I usually pick up a decoration, for a couple of years there was a lodge filled to the brim with Gisella Graham ornaments and it always looked like something out of a fancy home magazine.
In 2018, I bought a garland made from dried fruits and it filled the house with the scent of orange and cloves.
From raclette to fancy chocolates there’s so many food options – it’s worth walking around the whole foodie bit before making your decision though as there’s so much on offer!
Family and friends
Over the years I’ve visited with and introduced many family and friends to the market and shared lots of seasonal memories there.
There’s something really wonderful about spending time together, especially at this time of the year, and the market is the perfect place for it. There’s something to keep everyone happy.
In the centre of all the lodges is a huge ice rink and while I don’t skate I love taking a mulled wine and watching everyone trying their best not to look like Bambi on ice.
Apparently there’s ice skating display shows too but, I’ve never caught one of these despite going for many years now!
- Take cash for smaller purchases like food and drink, it speeds things up and the ATM’s in Winchester always run out of cash on the weekends of the Christmas Market.
- Take a waterproof, nothing is really undercover so stay dry and warm – regardless of what you look like!
- Try and car share if you’re going by car – parking spaces are like gold dust.
- if you’re travelling in by train, check train lines for disruption, it’s just that time of the year!
- Take a tote bag or fold down rucksack if you plan on purchasing.
- Give yourself plenty of time – weekends are so busy and it always take a lot longer to make it through the crowds than you think.
- Some year it’s been a dead zone for phone reception so ensure you’ve got a meeting point should you get separated from your friends and family.
See what 2018’s market looked like…
This official video will give you a good idea what to expect from Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market.
Let me know if you’re headed to Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market in 2019 or if you’ve been before. I’d love to know what your favourite part of it is!