Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, Christmas markets are among the most joyful events to attend this time of the year: from unique decorations and gifts to delicious foods and fun activities, these fairs truly have something to offer to everyone. However, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the bright lights and sugar-filled treats, that is why we have put together a short guide to help you survive your day trip.
This might seem like an obvious point, but in every family/group there is always that one person who will start complaining about being cold, so unless you want to be the one who spoils the day, wear layers! It is true, you will be walking and you will probably be surrounded by lots of other visitors, but that will not be enough to shield you from the low temperatures and cold breeze. Also, do not forget to wear comfortable shoes: if it is a busy day, you will probably not have many chances to sit down.
Plan your trip
If your destination is a local fair you might not need a lot of planning, but if you are heading to Edinburgh or Glasgow you will want to get organised in advance. The two cities can get incredibly busy this time of the year, so the first thing to do (especially if you have never been there before) is to make sure you know how to get there, and if you are driving, where to park. There are regular trains running from Perth and Stirling to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Attractions and activities can be quite a hassle, too: if you wish to go ice-skating or attend a show, for example, you might need to select your time slot in advance.
Don’t be afraid to take a second round
It is easy to get carried away by all the bright lights, upbeat music and rich smells that fill the air, but remember: those stalls are not going anywhere. Take your time, explore the markets, compare products and prices and only then go back to the ones that caught your attention. You might regret buying the first elf on the shelf that catches your eye when you see a beautiful handmade wreath just a few stalls down!
Yes, we are all trying to get into shape before the holiday feast and yes, we might need to lose a few pounds in order to fit into those new party clothes, but today is your cheat day. Indulge in the rich flavours of seasonal products: mulled wine, hot chocolate, French crepes, Belgian waffles and German sausages are the ever-present protagonists at Christmas fairs. The worst thing you can do is deny yourself such a sweet pleasure and having to wait another year to satisfy that craving.
If you really want to visit one of the markets, be prepared: these events are always incredibly crowded and could put your patience to the test. Bring your Christmas spirit and your best attitude, you will find dozens of reasons to be jolly, that is a promise.
Perth Christmas Market (17th November – 5th January)
Stirling Castle Christmas Shopping Fare (4th December)