Why not make an enjoyable day out of your Christmas shopping this year? Here’s a selection of markets and destinations to help you and your group plan ahead.

BICESTER VILLAGE
If designer brands are on your Christmas shopping list, head to Bicester Village, just off the M40 motorway and 46 minutes from London’s Marylebone station. Bicester Village is home to a range of designer outlet stores including Mulberry, Burberry, Barbour, Cath Kidston, Versace and Ted Baker, to name a few. L’Atelier is the latest addition to the Bicester Village shopping experience. Selling luxury multi-branded watch and Jewellery, L’Atelier – Time & Jewellery Pieces, adds sparkle and prestige. L’Atelier, named after the design studios and watches and jewellery workshops in Paris, offers luxury timepieces and fine jewellery with savings of at least 33.3 per cent on the full RRP; prices range from £100 to £50,000 and more. With a diverse brand mix including Theo Fennell, Georg Jensen, Le Vian, Tolkowsky, Corum, Dreyfuss & Co, Eterna, and many more. Dining options include Soho House & Co’s farm shop restaurant and cafe, Villandry Grand Café, and Le Pain Quotidien. For more information, go to www. bicestervillage.com 

Pick up bargains in designer gifts and clothing at Bicester Village.

Pick up bargains in designer gifts and clothing at Bicester Village.

ST ALBANS
St Albans offers a boutique-style, European Christmas Market. A groupfriendly festive tour includes a visit to the Christmas Market, which is located in the pretty walled Vintry Garden in the grounds of St Albans Cathedral, a 12 Days of Christmas Group tour of the Cathedral an, after lunch, an Historic St Albans – A City Revealed tour. Alternatively, enjoy the Markets, Monks and Martyrs tour that gives groups an insight into St Albans’ street market traditions, including the region’s liveliest street market every Wednesday and Saturday. For more information email enjoystalbans.com/groups

SALISBURY
Salisbury Christmas Market offers over 75 beautifully decorated chalets with a wide range of exhibitors selling food, drink and Christmas gifts. This year’s market opens on November 24 and runs until December 18.Salisbury, a coach-friendly city, offers a central drop off point close to the market and a team of Christmas market ambassadors will greet groups on arrival. Pay and display coach parking is available. www.salisburychristmasmarket.co.uk Combine a shopping trip with a visit to The National Trust’s A Georgian Christmas at Mompesson House near the Cathedral. The downstairs rooms of this large 18th century townhouse will be decorated for the festive season from November 26. Call 01722 335 659 or email mompessonhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mompesson-house SWINDON McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Swindon is launching its Christmas event on November 12 with indoor Christmas gift stalls, ‘snowfall’ throughout the day – irrespective of the weather – and reindeer visiting every weekend from November 26. Pre-book to receive a group pack including a 10 per cent discount card and £5 gift card lunch voucher for coach drivers. www.mcarthurglen.com/uk/swindon-designer-outlet

Salisbury’s Christmas Market will have more than 75 chalets this year.

Salisbury’s Christmas Market will
have more than 75 chalets this year.

 

The main facade at Mompesson House, Salisbury, Wiltshire. The house was built in 1701 and is faced with fine grey limestone from the quarry at Chilmark.

The main facade at Mompesson House, Salisbury, Wiltshire. The house was built in 1701 and is faced with fine grey limestone from the quarry at Chilmark.

WINCHESTER
Winchester’s Christmas Market celebrates its 10th birthday this year. It is recognised as one of the best in Europe with its unique location and festive atmosphere. The wooden chalets are placed around an open-air ice rink in the Cathedral’s historic Close. Shop here for Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods. It runs daily from November 18 to December 20. To book your visit call 01962 857 225 or email visits@winchester-cathedral.org.uk www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/home/christmas-at-the-cathedral

EXETER
The Christmas Shopping Fayre at Westpoint, Exeter is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year with hundreds more exhibitors than usual. The three days of festive shopping run from Friday November 25 to November 27. It’s staged the Westpoint Centre on the Devon County Showground, a mile from the M5. Call 01271 378 000 or email office@grandstandevents.com www.christmasshoppingfayre.com BAKEWELL Bakewell Christmas Weekend takes place on November 26 and 27. There’s a traditional Christmas Market with cultural entertainment, food and drink, cookery demonstrations, with stalls nestled in the town’s attractive streets and marketplace. Call 01629 813 227 for more information. www.whatsonbakewell.co.uk

GLOUCESTER
Gloucester’s historic docks and Gloucester Quays Outlet act as the backdrop for a Victorian Christmas experience which runs from November 17-20, with characters including street urchins, ‘wonder tonic’ salesman, ‘toffs’ and Fagin-style gang masters, wandering the streets. A market sells high quality food, drink and hand-made festive gifts, and music is provided by choirs and brass bands. Coach parking is free and there’s a free meal voucher for the driver, though advanced booking is essential. Email cservices@peel.co.uk www.thecityofgloucester.co.uk

Shopping at the Victorian Christmas market at Gloucester Quays.

Shopping at the Victorian Christmas market at Gloucester Quays.

ROMFORD
At Christmas, Romford Market is open every day of the week, including Sunday. It’s one of the largest street markets in the South East with more than 150 regular stalls and has been going for nearly 800 years. It’s close to shopping arcades, cafes, bakeries, pubs and restaurants. For more information see www.romford-market.co.uk l For more information on markets, take a look at the Markets UK website www.christmasmarkets.com/UK

LEEDS
The popular traditional German Christmas market Christkindelmarkt in Leeds takes place November 11 to December 18, 2016 on the city’s Millennium Square. Incidentally, the city of Leeds has been named the Best Shopping Destination in the UK by Rough Guide to Britain. It’s a coach friendly city with more than 1,000 shops. See www.visitleeds.co.uk for a coach parking map. Call 0113 242 5242 or email tourinfo@leeds.gov.uk