Monday, 22 December 2014

Visting The Bristol German Christmas Market and Where to Stay

In November last year we spent 3 days in Bristol, one of which was at the Bristol German Christmas Market. I loved it and couldn't wait to go again this year. I wasn't disappointed, at all!
The Bristol German Christmas Market is so holistic in supporting the City and I'll tell you why! It STARTS at the Galleries end. Literally park in the Galleries shopping centre's multi story car park, and when you finish visiting Santa's grotto and looking around the shopping centre, pop out and you are faced with the German Market's newest addition: a very festive snow globe, which provides a perfect photo opportunity. 
I watched a family inside it. They all had Xmas jumpers on and were throwing the "snow" at each other. Will make a treasured photo!
If you follow the whole route of the Bristol German Christmas Market, it will take you through Broadmead, meaning you can also visit the shops there and it ends at the Cabot Circus shopping centre. So much shopping you'll need to spend a couple of days, or a whole weekend. I now know that next year I will go earlier in the season, and do the majority of my shopping there as the gift ideas are so unusual and will stand out from the crowd under the tree. Lucky I had some shopping left to do and bought my niece this. I just know she will love it:
I just couldn't leave him behind. We weren't disappointed when we got him home, as he is so mobile, he's double jointed. One of those "toys" you can have a lifetime!

When you go to the market don't be concerned if you are hungry as there is food and drink everywhere, and it's actually all reasonably priced.
As I write this, today is the last day of the market. It ends on 22nd December, so you'll have to make your travel plans for next year. 

What I love about the Bristol German Christmas Market is how authentic it is. I love the huts and how beautifully and consistently decorated they are. We recently had a weekend in York. The market there has a HUGE reputation with 600 coaches arriving on  the day St Nick's opens, but the stalls are each black and white in a tudor style, and personally I think the Bristol ones are a LOT more festive. Plus I love the International feel (see below) and that so many stalls have handmade gift ideas
There's a full size Advent Calendar and Santa opens a door on it each day. We made sure we were there for 4 o'clock for Aaron to see. What's wonderful is the door of the calendar is a cupboard and it is full of gifts. Aaron was on Daddy's shoulders so he managed to grab one. Look how thrilled he is:
There were things I personally loved. I was meant to get Daddy to get me one of these (Classy Bags) handbags below. They were reduced to twenty pounds which included a free purse:
The picture (top left above) doesn't do them justice, but there were snow globes that were seventy five pounds and I am definitely going back for one of them this time next year! He only had those few left as they have sold so well. Above you can see a stand that lets you pick a photo of each letter of someone's name, and you then frame them. The one of "Bristol" is lovely. There's a great choice for each letter. I saw a family making up a "Jaz" for a relative. They were happy with the a and z and spent quite some time choosing the "J". There were lots to choose from. Great gift.

Bottom right above, is the centre piece of the market, which looks even more festive once darkness comes and all of the lights twinkle! I love the rotating elements of it and will upload a video later. Actually my point is made about it becoming brighter, as you can see in the pic below, only taken about an hour later!
Aaron and I, with the lights twinkling more as the sun sets.
I definitely want to go again next year as I want to sit for the whole evening in the German Bar (and there is one each end of the market). I want to go to the one at the Cabot Circus end as it has a moose hanging from the ceiling and his lips move to the music, which is FABULOUS. I could literally watch him for hours, but then I have been playing Xmas music at home for weeks :-)
If you are visiting Bristol, the same way we visited York, well then you'll be needing somewhere to stay. Only a 20 minute walk from the Bristol German Christmas Market is The Mercure Holland House. It looks like a typical inner city hotel, from the outside, nothing to write home about, that is, until you get inside, when it then feels like a reputable International classy hotel!

It's easy to get to:
Whilst in the midst of the German Market I saw a side street to The Sanctuary. I left Aaron and Daddy and went to investigate to see if it is the one I know and love from London's Covent Garden. However, the good news is, yes, it is, but the bad news is, there's a sign outside saying they have closed after three years, so, even more of a reason to go the The Mercure as there IS a spa there!

I had my "blogging Christmas dinner" at the Mercure Holland House's Phoenix Restaurant with Jane the other day, and it really is VERY close to the City Centre. Walking towards it,  I thought this can't be it. It's on a main road, near a roundabout. However, once you get inside, wow, it's a formidable International style swish open plan reception area, which isn't a disappointment after the market, as it is SO festive. I didn't get to see the rooms, but the lobby, the bar, and the restaurant are all very impressive.
We ate from the set menu which was superb. 19 pounds each which includes starter, main and pudding. I topped it off with a glass of rose! (Jane was driving).
Suffice to say I enjoyed it and the cherries were to die for. You can see a glimpse of Jane's prawn starter above. She did want something crunchy for the avocado though, so that needed crisps, tortillas or bread.
Jane was more organised than me, and had a card and gift for me. I haven't even bought one for my husband yet, so I wasn't nearly as prepared. But the company, the food and the venue were all superb! Same time next year Jane? ;-)
So plenty of food to graze on at the Bristol German Christmas Market and then a sumptuous menu awaits you at your hotel if you stay at the Mercure Holland House and Spa. I am actually pleasantly surprised at the prices. Their best rate for tonight for example is 80 pounds.

Do you have a German Market in your area? Or do you travel to one? UK or overseas? They're becoming quite the thing you know! Even the BBC just wrote about them in the last 24 hours: How German Christmas Markets came to the UK?

This post was a collaboration with The Mercure but all words and opinions are my own. 

3 comments:

  1. I love the German market in Bristol - so much to see and do there. Looks like you had a great time at lunch too!

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  2. I love that you've publicly declared me as organised - me??!!
    Great article - all your pictures make me want to go to the markets and I'm a bit sad that I've missed it for this year. Many thanks for the excellent lunch - very enjoyable. I'll definitely be up for a trip to the markets next year and Im looking forward to the lunch already. . . .

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  3. Wow the market looks amazing and SOOOO big! I didn't go to any this year, though we went to Winterville in Hackney last weekend which had its own smaller markets.
    The dinner in The Mercure looks divine, those photos have made me very peckish!

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