5 Northern England food markets not to be missed in the run-up to Christmas

There is no better way to start feeling the festive cheer than by visiting a traditional Christmas market. In the run-up to Christmas, food markets pop up all over the UK offering European delicacies as well as traditional mulled wine and mince pies. Here are 5 of the best Northern England Christmas markets:

1. Gateshead Christmas Market

Newcastle’s Gateshead Christmas market runs from the middle of November to the first week of December and takes place at Grey’s Monument, Grey Street and Grainger Street. The stalls offer a mixture of European and local food. You will find plenty of continental delicacies like Dutch waffles, French crepes and Spanish paella. There is a great range of foodie gifts, with local produce like homemade jams, cakes and chocolates. There are also seasonal beers and festive mulled wine.

2. Leeds Christkindelmarkt

Leeds offers you a little slice of Germany with its annual Christkindelmarkt. Setting up stalls in Millennium square, the market is turned into a scenic winter village of over 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls, alpine style log cabins and traditional seating areas. It is one of the most established German Christmas markets in the UK, offering traditional German delicacies such as Stollen, gingerbread, goulash, schnitzels, bratwurst and gluwhein. There is a new Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery, offering a cosy retreat in which you can sample some of the delicious authentic German food.

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3. Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas market is celebrating its 14th year and is spreading over eight different spaces in the city. The array of over 200 stalls makes an impressive place to find your Christmas gifts. There are mouth-watering delicacies from all over Europe, including Dutch mini pancakes, Hungarian goulash and French profiteroles. You will find plenty of inspiration for Christmas foodie gifts, with stalls offering food alike to what you might find in Christmas hampers. There is Spanish chorizo, Dutch cheeses, a range of local chutneys and much, much more. This year all glasses and mugs are returnable as part of an environmentally friendly deposit scheme, so you can enjoy a hot chocolate, some Spanish beer or French wine whilst helping to keep the city green.

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4. Lincoln Christmas Market

Lincoln Christmas market first opened in 1982 with just 11 stalls offering German produce from Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. Now the market has grown to include over 300 stalls, combining the German influence with local produce. The market itself makes a beautiful place to wander around and shop for Christmas gifts. Placed between an impressive Norman castle and a magnificent Gothic cathedral, you feel like you have been transported through time as you stroll along the cobbled streets. Sample some German treats or head to the Lincolnshire Larder which offers traditional plum bread, mince pies and local cheeses like the tangy Poacher and creamy Cote Hill Blue.

5. Lightwater Dickensian Christmas Festival

If you are looking for a Christmas market which offers something a little different then head to Ripon, North Yorkshire for the annual Lightwater Dickensian Christmas festival. It has a mixture of high-quality contemporary gifts and traditional fayre. There is an extensive range of stalls selling North Yorkshire produce, from wines and beers to pies, meats and cheeses. You won’t be able to resist the array of mouth-watering smells as you explore the stalls, as roasted chestnuts, a sizzling hog roast and seasonal mulled wine will be available for you to sample.

Christmas is the perfect time to sample delicious food, whether it’s a gift or just for yourself. Fill your Christmas hampers with treats from mail-order services such as www.formanandfield.com or visit the best Christmas markets near you.

Whether you are looking for ingredients for your Christmas celebrations or you are seeking out foodie gifts for your friends and family, you really should make the most of the delicious home-cooked produce on offer at local Christmas markets.