Other European Christmas markets to explore...
The Nordic countries certainly know how to throw a Christmas market, and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is one of the best. Many of the stalls sell both gifts and hot food and drink, but there are also lots of other festive attractions on offer. Visit Father Christmas in the Pantomime Theatre, or pet reindeer in the park. Topped with more than a dusting of snow, the place is simply magical. Open November 15 until December 31.
Bruges is a popular destination for tourists year-round, but it really comes to life during the festive season. In addition to the traditional stalls, there will be an ice rink on the market square and, from November 22, a snow and ice sculpture festival at the railway station square. The city itself is small enough to easily navigate, making it a great option if you're short on time. Open November 22 until January 2.
Connected to London by the Eurostar, Lille is one of the more convenient markets to visit. The first of the French Christmas markets to open each year, it's located on the Place Rihour. Expect to find German, Polish and Canadian food specialities for sale, alongside traditional gifts. Visit Grand Place, where you'll find a 50m-high big wheel perfect for looking out over the city. For something a little more gentile try the snow-covered village in the Grand Place square. Open November 20 until December 30.
Carol singing and Victorian fairground rides are just a few of the attractions at this friendly market, taking place at Georges Dock. Singing and dancing are features throughout the market season, while punters can grab a drink from a bar set up in a vintage 1950s airstream. Open December 12-23.
For Hamburg Christmas market times, visit hamburg.de
Double rooms at the Movenpick Hotel Hamburg (moevenpick-hotels.com) start from £115 per night (based on two sharing).
easyJet (easyJet.com) flies to Hamburg from Gatwick, Luton, Manchester and Edinburgh. Prices start from £55 return.