Posted by: travelrat | December 10, 2014

English Christmas Markets

Salisbury Christmas Market

Salisbury Christmas Market

For years, Britain has been trying to copy the hugely popular Christmas Markets, which had their origin in Germany, but now can be found almost anywhere on mainland Europe. The first British attempts weren’t very successful; they mainly consisted of tacky pop-up stalls selling tat.

But, of late, they have been improving. For the last two years, the one in Salisbury has been nearly as good as anything you’d find on the Continent. There’s still something missing, though … and I identified what it was at Southampton, where they have a similar market.

The smell! A sweet, sugary smell I always associate with the gingerbread without which no German market is complete.



The Southampton market does seem to have more food stalls than the Salisbury one does. German food, of course, with a sprinkling of British-style bacon butties. There are stalls selling Greek, Arab and Turkish food too, which does seem a bit incongruous … but maybe that’s also the norm in the rest of Europe these days?

Our original plan was a beer and a sausage at a ‘German’ bar, but a stident blast of rock music from an overloud-speaker put paid to that.

Maybe that’s another thing missing from these markets? An ‘Oompah’ band! They did, however, have a Salvation Army band at Salisbury. Now, I have every respect for the ‘Sally Anne’ and their good works … but, if you’ll permit me a rant I have almost every year … I question why they make Christmas carols sound so dismal?

After all, as their founder, General William Booth once said:

‘Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?’

Southampton Christmas Market

Southampton Christmas Market

(You can see my video of the Salisbury Christmas Market at )

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