Kick of the festive season with a Christmas Market school trip. A tradition across many Northern European cities, festive markets are a great way to practice language skills whilst experiencing local yule tide traditions and customs.
A custom only really found in Britain in recent years, the Christmas market is a cherished and major tradition on the continent, particularly in the countries so very close to home.
A school trip to Amiens in France, or Valkenburg in the Netherlands in November or December is not really about shopping, the experience is truly enveloping and wonderfully atmospheric. From trying local produce to hearing folk music and of course speaking the language, these short breaks are ideal for younger students.
Take a look at our Christmas market destinations below or use the quick contact button to find out more!
Amiens Christmas Market is one of the biggest and best Christmas markets in northern France. With over 135 stalls there is a wide variety of produce and gifts from lead crystal glassware to famous Amiens macaroons - definitely worth a try!. Other attractions include an open air ice rink, merry-go-rounds, singers and shows. Finally "Cathedral in Colour" (La Cathédrale en Couleurs) - is a free light show from 1st December to 1st January.
Voyager's Moulin aux Draps is 80 minutes away.
Set in front of the magnificent Grand Place, the Arras Christmas Market is another substantial event easily accessible in Northern France. Around 90 stalls offer a smorgasbord of food, drink and gift ideas and are found in a dedicated market setting in the beautiful town square. other entertainment includes a skating rink, carousel, musical events and workshops.
Voyager's Moulin aux Draps is 1 hour away!
The historic town of Boulogne-sur-Mer has a Christmas market for only one weekend in December - in 2015 it's on the19/20th. Nevertheless its a super event offering all the usual festive treats, plus local delicacies such as smoked herring and Christmas pudding. Ice sculptures, a jazz band, pottery demonstrations and local folklore all combine to make this something worth heading to.
Boulogne-sur-Mer is only 25 mins drive from Voyager's Moulin aux Draps!
© Guillaume Baviere
Lille is just an hour and a half away from London by Eurostar so it's a perfect choice for a short school trip; some groups take only two-day school trips to this wonderful destination. Furthermore, Lille hosts Northern Europe’s largest Christmas market, with a Christmas Ferris Wheel, skating rink, snow covered village and an 18 metre high Christmas tree. There are also some excellent museums and galleries, which add to the attraction of this nearby city.
© Tristan Schmurr
Strasbourg hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe and it has taken place every year since 1570. This market stands out because it has been influenced by French and German Christmas traditions because it the city has been occupied over the centuries by the two countries. As you walk through this most Christmassy of cities enjoy looking at the huge and varied output of Strasbourg's talented craftsmen and don't miss out on the Bredle Market (Bredle is a traditional Alsatian biscuit), where you can taste delicious treats traditionally prepared during the Advent period. You can buy Christmas decorations, Christmas food, and even take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel and special winter boat trips.
The Brussels Christmas market takes place in the old town. Also known as Brussels Winter Wonderland, it is usually open from late November until early January and features the usual delights of a Christmas market as well as an ice-rink.
© Petra Links
The Aachen Christmas Market is Germany's nearest Christmas market to the UK and can be reached from London in less than four hours. Home to one of the most spectacular cathedrals in Germany, the city’s streets and alleys are transformed into a festive paradise with coloured lights and stalls selling speciality goods, including Aachen Printe, a kind of gingerbread traditional to the area. Aachen is probably our most popular Christmas market destination.
© Anton Raath
As Beethoven's home town, Bonn is not short of musical goings-on during its Christmas market period. There are over 170 wooden chalets selling decorative crafts, local delicacies, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. The sound of resident choirs and orchestras playing really add to the festive atmosphere. Bonn is transformed into a giant advent calendar, complete with enormous ice rink.
© Annie and Andrew
Each year Cologne holds four Christmas markets around the city, the most impressive and popular is held around the cathedral. It is said that the famous 'Heinzelmannchen' gnomes, found at the Christmas market outside the cathedral, are responsible for all the Christmas splendour and prevent mass-made goods from taking over the traditionally made ones. Every year, these markets attract about 2 million visitors.
© Marc van der Chijs
Visit the lively and atmospheric Winterland in Maastricht, for a traditional Dutch Christmas market complete with a skating rink, Christmas train, merry-go-round and giant Christmas tree.
© Chris Friese
The Christmas Market in Valkenburg is the most anticpated Christmas event in Holland; with two Christmas markets both staged in illuminated municipal caves featuring a fairy-tale theme of 'Christmas Around the World.' The caves where the Christmas Market Fluweelengrot takes place, hark back to the ancient legends of Valkenburg and a walking tour through the market will lead you to an illuminated Christmas cave within which is a magical 18th century chapel. These Santa’s grottos are the oldest and largest underground Christmas markets in the whole of Europe.
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