A German Christmas in Birmingham
23 November, 2015
A trip to Birmingham in the period from mid-November to the run-up to Christmas has a surprising added enticement, particularly for lovers of Christmas markets. That is when the Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Fair is held, a market in the purest German style in Britain’s second largest city. What’s more, it is the largest market of this type both in the United Kingdom and outside German itself. Not to be scoffed at!
For a few weeks, a number of quaint wooden stalls transform the city centre into a picturesque village revolving around the theme of Christmas. This magnificent market is sited in Birmingham’s emblematic Victoria Square – the heart of the city, with its Town Hall and Council House – as well as in Chamberlain Square and Centenary Square. As befits the occasion, Christmas lights and decoration are very much in evidence there.
So, what can visitors expect to find in the market? First, all kinds of Christmas decoration and gift objects, most of them hand made, such as wooden toys, candles and dolls. A large portion of the market is dedicated to craftwork sourced both locally and abroad.
Additionally, in line with German Christmas markets, fair-goers can spice up their visit by trying some of the German and Austrian culinary delicacies on offer: German sausage, pretzels, schnitzel, German beer, like weissbier (wheat beer), the popular mulled wine known as glühwein and hot chocolate. The market also offers attractions, ideal when accompanied by children, and the atmosphere is gingered up by live music.
More Christmas Shopping
In you haven’t had enough with just the market and require a stiffer spot of Christmas shopping, Birmingham is the perfect place to splash out. Here are some relevant recommendations:
Bullring. the city’s shopping area par excellence. It runs from New Street to St Martin’s Church and features no fewer than 160 shops, as well as two department stores. You are unlikely to remain impassive at the sight of the stunningSelfridgesbuilding, designed by the Future Systems architects studio and a veritable icon of the city.
Jewellery Quarter. As its name indicates, this is where jewellery business are concentrated. Here, 40% of the United Kingdom’s jewellery is produced. Located in downtown Birmingham, it boasts a tradition going back several centuries. The quarter houses some 100 retail outlets where you can purchase both new pieces and vintage jewels by weight.
Great Western Arcade. A shopping arcade located between Colmore Row and Temple Row, in the heart of the city. One of its major attractions are the premises themselves, as the stores are housed in an elegant Victorian building.
Custard Factory. Enthusiasts of things original and striking will find themselves at home on these premises, the former Bird’s Custard factory, situated in the industrial district of Digbeth. The interior is taken up artists’ and creatives’ studios, side by side with shops and bars where you can take a breather. There is a grand total of 30 stores displaying the latest trends in fashion, vintage garments, contemporary jewellery, artworks, bicycles, skateboards and many other things.
Mailbox. If exclusive design and luxury brands are for you, look no further than this shopping area located in Commercial Street. This complex includes the BBC Birmingham studios, the Harvey Nichols luxury department store, and two hotels. The back of the building, which gives onto a canal, is full of terraces with bars and restaurants for you to relax in after all your hectic shopping.
Ready for a Christmas shopping spree in Birmingham? Check out your flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Photos by Horst Gutmann, Custard Factory, Basti V, Tony Hisgett, Guy Evans
23 November, 2015