Every year Birmingham hosts a German Christmas Market from mid November to mid December. This year it opened on the 14th November and is running until the 22nd December, and on Sunday I finally got the chance to visit! The market runs from New Street, through Victoria Square and Chamberlain Square, and ends in Centenary Square.
It hosts over 180 stalls selling everything from gifts to food and drinks. Every few stalls you will find handmade toys, decorations and gifts for sale – ceramic Santa’s, wind-up carousels, Russian dolls, toy soldiers, hand-crafted tree decorations, wind spinners (I loved these but found them too expensive at £18 each!) and jewellery. They also sell fur scarfs, hats and gloves to help you fight off the chill as you go from stall to stall.
The market is known for offering a wide range of delicious food and as you stroll around you find yourself drawn to each stall by the inviting smells and sights. On offer are Bratwurst sausages, reindeer and ostrich burgers, roast meat stuffed into bread rolls, pretzel sandwiches, and garlic bread to name just a small handful! I particularly liked the look of the fried potatoes, mushrooms and garlic sauce dish being sold at one of the stalls.
Of course, they also offer lots of sweet indulgent food too – homemade crepes (I love watching them cook these, it definitely requires skill!), traditional French doughnuts, coconut macaroons, homemade fudge in an assortment of flavours, and extravagant chocolate truffles in unique flavours such as Pina Colada and Creme Brulee!
As you walk around the market, you will rarely spot someone without a pint sized beer glass! Failing that, they may be clutching a little novelty mug of hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream, and maybe with a shot or two of Bailey’s in it. Or a glass of mulled wine, which is offered in a variety of flavours including raspberry, cherry and apple.
My favourite drink that you can get at the market is the Winter Pimms – hot apple juice with a shot of Pimms. I first discovered it at last year’s Christmas market and fell in love with it…resulting in me spending the whole Christmas break drinking it at home with my mum. It’s delicious, warming and 100% my favourite Christmas (or year round!) drink!
My favourite stall at the market, located near the entrance of Paradise Forum as you head towards the Big Wheel, sold an assortment of quirky items and gifts. I love the vintage tin plaques of old movie stars, Marvel comic characters, and phrases. They also had mugs, magnets and badges on sale which would make perfect Christmas presents and stocking fillers! I could of spent all day there (an inevitably a lot of money!), and I plan to go back to pick up a few gifts for my family before the big day!
Centenary Square – The Big Wheel and Outdoor Ice Skating
Take a trip on the Big Wheel for only £3 and enjoy the views over Birmingham. It looks amazing at night when it’s all lit up!
This year Birmingham have opened an outdoor ice skating rink for the first time. It’s located in Centenary Square next to the Big Wheel and at one end of the Christmas Market, making it the perfect destination to end a Christmas-filled day. I hate ice skating myself, but I’ve been to watch others skate there and in the evening there’s definitely a magical Christmas-y atmosphere with the frosty chilly air, pretty lights and Christmas music. Visitors are given a 45 minute slot, with prices ranging from £6/£7 for students to £7/£9 for adults (depending if it’s peak time or not!) More information can be found on the Winter Skate website – http://www.winterskate.co.uk/
The Frankfurt Christmas Market is a MUST do to get you into the festive mood. With something for everyone, it’s the perfect place to visit with family and friends for a lovely day out.
If you’ve not filled up on yummy food around the market, finish off your trip with a stroll along the pretty Brindley Place and stop off at one of the many restaurants along here.