If you are looking for a magical and memorable way to celebrate the festive season, you should consider visiting the Winchester Cathedral Christmas market.
This annual event is renowned for its unique location, quality exhibitors and lively atmosphere.
Here, the Christmas.co.uk team explain what the Winchester Cathedral Christmas market is and why should think about visiting it.
What is the Winchester Cathedral Christmas market?
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas market is a seasonal event that takes place on the historic grounds of the Winchester Cathedral, one of the finest medieval cathedrals in Europe.
The market features more than 100 wooden chalets, inspired by German Christmas markets, that sell a variety of products, such as crafts, jewellery, clothing, food and drink.
The Cathedral’s market also has a spectacular ice rink, where visitors can enjoy skating under the stars.
The market is open daily from mid-November to late December, with different opening hours depending on the day of the week.
Winchester Christmas Market: Christmas in England
This is an interesting traipse around Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market showing off the stalls and the food and drink – there’s a marvellous-looking raclette type of dish topped with a huge slice of melted cheese.
Along with footage of the unique surroundings, there’s a professional stage for performers and footage of a massive vat of mulled wine.
The Christmas lights and decorations also help to create an impressive festive destination.
How popular is the market?
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas market is recognised as one of Europe’s best, attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year.
Those visitors come for a variety of reasons, including its stunning location since it is set in the beautiful surroundings of the Winchester Cathedral, which adds to the charm and elegance of the event.
The cathedral also hosts many Christmas services, carol concerts and events that visitors can attend.
Another reason is for the handpicked high-quality exhibitors who offer a range of unique and original products that are not easily found elsewhere.
The exhibitors are carefully chosen by the market organisers, who ensure that they meet the standards of quality, presentation and customer service.
The result is a bustling atmosphere, and this is a Christmas market that is full of festive spirit, with festive lighting, Christmas carols, and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon filling the air.
Visitors can enjoy browsing the chalets, sampling the delicacies, and mingling with the friendly stallholders and other shoppers.
What’s on at Winchester Cathedral Christmas market?
The attractions for people going to the Winchester Cathedral Christmas market include shopping for Christmas gifts – especially if you are after unique and personalised presents for loved ones. Or, if you want to treat yourself to something special.
The products include handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing, accessories, toys, books and more.
And there’s a great choice of festive food and drink too since the market offers a range of delicious options, such as hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts, crepes, waffles, sausages and cheese. You can also try some of the local specialities, such as Hampshire pies, cider and gin.
There’s also the opportunity to have fun on the ice rink where visitors can skate under the stars and enjoy the views of the cathedral. The ice rink is suitable for all ages and abilities and has a separate area for children and beginners. You can also book a skating session online in advance to avoid the queues.
This festive market also brings the chance to explore the culture and history of Winchester, which is one of the oldest and most historic cities in England. You can visit the Winchester Cathedral, which has a rich history and architecture, and see some of its treasures, such as the Winchester Bible, the Great Screen and the tomb of Jane Austen.
Other attractions include Winchester Castle, the Great Hall and the Winchester City Museum.
Inside 900-Year-Old Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market | Times Travel
This video comes from Times Travel in 2021 and shows the best side of the festive market.
Antonia Windsor interviews one of the market’s organisers who explains the history and how much work goes into creating the market.
Again, there’s a good look around the market and a look at the cathedral’s interior.
She stresses that the market is compact and it’s certainly one worth visiting.
What makes Winchester Cathedral Christmas market so special?
Launched in 2006, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market is now one of the longest-running and most successful Christmas markets in the UK.
In that time, it has won several awards and accolades, such as being voted as one of the top 10 of Europe’s Christmas markets by the European Best Destinations organisation.
The market is so special with so many other markets to choose from with its combination of factors, such as its location, quality, atmosphere and variety.
Essentially, this Christmas market offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family outing or a solo adventure.
The market is also a part of the wider Christmas in Winchester programme, which includes other events and activities, such as the Winchester Lantern Parade, the Winchester Cathedral Carol Services, and the Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On.
Visiting Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas market runs from 17 November to 21 December 2023. The market has wooden chalets based on those found in traditional German Christmas markets in the historic Inner Close.
The chalets showcase the talents of skilled artists and craftspeople who offer unique and customised products, such as knitted wool throws. Visitors can also enjoy listening to the local choirs performing Christmas carols and other live performances.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas market can get very busy and does not require timed entry or tickets, but you may need to wait to enter. You can leave and re-enter at any time and tickets for Christmas concerts, special events and services can be purchased via the Winchester Cathedral website.