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How I pick which Christmas markets I visit

Do you know that I absolutely love Christmas? I also love Christmas markets and think they are one of the best things to ever visit. Other than a couple of really close local ones, I have been to; Nottingham Lincoln, York and Birmingham over the past few years and I definitely think there is a bit of an art to picking them, even if I think I haven't mastered it yet. Today I am sharing with you all a few tips and tricks to give you some ways you can pick which markets you want to visit and how you can make the most of the experience.

The first factor we look at is distance. Now, there are a few local ones that we love going to, and we can get to them in about 10 or 20 minutes in the car and we can just drop by on them if we end up having no plans or get a few hours free when they are on. This means we get to go to the local ones and know that even with the travel time we only need about 3 hours to get there and look round if we are pushed for time. This also means we can have a rough list of local market we might want to go to if we get time, but we don't need to necessarily plan time in for. 

When looking at ones further away we tend to plan a lot further in advance. I have been on coach trips, which are very convenient as I am not a driver myself and I feel bad when my husband does all the driving on long days. We tend to look around and see what the local coach companies are offering and decided on which dates we can do and then which ones we would most like to go to. This year we went to York. York is quite a drive from us and so we thought it would be nice to go together, have the bus trip so my husband didn't have to drive and we can have a chat and relax on the way there and back. These are usually pretty good prices and also means you don't have to worry about it being busy to park. I have also bus tripped it to Lincoln Christmas market and we did look at going there this year, however it was really booked up and we decided to venture to York as I have been to Lincoln before and I think a few of our friends want to go next year to Lincoln so we might make a day trip of it next year. 

Moving on from distance, we then look at time scales. We look realistically how long we can spend at that place. Going on a bus trip means we don't have to worry about transport, but if we had driven to York I would probably have tried to book a hotel for the evening and travel back the next day. This would also solve the issue of parking as well, as you can park in the hotel while you are there. If we have the ability to make a weekend of it, we couldn't with York as I had plans on the Sunday, we would have then considered maybe going a bit further afield. I know some people go abroad for Christmas markets and that is a perfect way to make a weekend of it and en joy it but this isn't an option for us this year! 

We then look at financial ability. Now I mean if you have to pay for a hotel, or your paying for a bus trip you need money, but also, what spending can you do? I know its not all about spending money, but I wanted some flexibility to go to York and be able to pick up some nice things, so we saved up and we are hoping to do pretty much all our Christmas shopping while we are there. If we had only a small amount of money we would go more local and has less outlay for petrol, parking and all those things and make the most of being local and enjoy a local site. This is something you could save for with little bits through the year if you wanted to go bigger or further away and also, like we did, put off your Christmas shopping if you think there will be something there you could get for someone you know. 

The last thing we consider is the reviews. My friend and I almost wen't to one last year and the day before we saw awful reviews of it on the internet and we decided to go to a different one. Now that is cutting it fine, I know, but being local we didn't need much planning. For things like York and Nottingham they are ones that are big and happen every year so you can goon and see reviews and comments from previous years, and this really helps. Even the local ones seem to have a lot of reviews on local pages and I think it really does help, not only to see if it is worth going, but people often say "I loved the...." and then you know what is good and worth checking out, or what stall makes good food! Its a double win! 

I adore Christmas and definitely would be going to lots of markets this time of year if I could fit it in but you end up with so much stuff going on this time of year I actually don't have a spare weekend up until Christmas and at the time of writing this I can tell you I have way too much  filming to still fit in! I would love to know what your favourite Christmas market is as I am trying to think of where I want to go next year and what I want to plan in so I have plenty of time to fit it all in and plan as some start being open in November which is always helpful! 

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