Today, I take you to explore the biggest German Christmas Market in the UK. There are many festive things to do during December and one of them is visiting a Christmas Market, you will find one in almost every big city in the UK. Birmingham ‘Frankfurt Christmas Market’ is said to be the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany and Austria with more than 80 stalls set up and various winter activities organised! With this guide, you will see what it has to offer and whether it’s worthy of putting on your travel list!
Although this event has sadly been cancelled for 2020- thanks to covid (click here for the event updates). This post still will hopefully give you enough insight into the event for when it’s back on and also transform you back to the year 2019, a simpler time, free from facemasks, crowd restrictions, and hand sanitizers- on every corner!
Christmas Market Layout & Best Time to Visit
The Frankfurt Christmas market normally takes place from Monday 23rd November to Tuesday 22nd of December, located in Bullring and stretching all across the main street where you’ll also find many shopping stores. It’s a good placement for getting drunk off mulled wine while simultaneously buying Christmas gifts for your loved ones (and for yourself…because let’s be honest-you will ). And it’s also a bad placement- because there’s barely any walking space left which makes a 2 min walk into a 20min walk, while continuously being bumped into by other people in the crowd.
However, I suspect that when the event gets back on, it probably will have social distancing measures in place which will make it less crowded and therefore- more enjoyable.
If you do manage to attend in the future, I’d still recommend visiting early on in the day, so that you can have a more peaceful Christmas shopping experience and be able to enjoy the Christmas market before the evening, when it gets busier.
What you will find there:
If there is anything worth going to Christmas Markets for- it’s food. As soon as you enter the street, you are hit with aromas and scents of various kinds. From fried goods like bratwursts, roasted nuts, pretzels to gingerbread cookies and chocolate. You can find a 3 course meal easily, and there is A LOT of options there. My long standing order is a bratwurst in a bun, with some fried onions, mustard and ketchup. I then normally order a chocolate crepe (which has a variety of different filling options) for dessert.
With the options to purchase hot and ready to eat food items, you’d also find a lot of packaged treats- ready to eat later. Whether it be, classic German decorated gingerbread cookies, donuts with various fillings… or my favourite – the ‘’German’s kiss’’ treats (schokokuss).
When I was a little kid, I’d go bonkers for these. It’s a chocolate covered marshmallow treat with a wafer bottom. My standing order is a box of 12, in variety of flavours (white chocolate& almond, mint, coconut, cappuccino, whiskey, hazelnut, caramel -among many others). If you want to try anything sweet – I HIGHLY suggest you try that (and if you don’t like them, please send them to me hehe).
Another thing you’d find in the market, is plenty of festive beverages. Most commonly- German wheat beer (weissbeer). You will get it in a plastic cup or if you pay a deposit – in a cute glass pitcher (the payment is security as most people end up taking them home). The beer is really good but I’m almost always drawn to mulled wine more (gluhwein), it comes in a tiny Santa cup and warms you right up in the cold December weather. A non-alcohol alternative is a hot chocolate, which is rich in flavour and very creamy.
The stalls are also filled with many unique items and decorations. Handmade glass or carved wood ornaments in the shape of angels, Christmas trees and stars. Home decorations like chandeliers, oil diffusers, candle holders and lamps as well as jewellery items that have various stones and crystals embedded in them. You’ll also find stalls with the usual winter clothing items like knitted sweaters, hats, scarves and gloves! Perfect for cold winter months.
I found myself mesmerised by all those artistic creations. While you admire the handmade items, sellers will often be open to share little tips or advice, in case you’re struggling of what to choose or even enlighten you on the process of how an item was made, which makes the experience even more special.
You can get very beautiful and unique gifts for your loved ones made with an artists’ loving hands, which makes the gifts even more special. And even if you don’t manage to find anything you like, you will surely get inspired by all those creations.
Of course, I had to mention this stall in this post. This one is for fellow coffee junkies out there. It holds a variety of various flavoured coffee beans (vanilla, whisky, Irish cream, blueberry muffin, cinnamon, rum). I have to say that although the smell is very strong, once ground it fades and is quite subtle. But the coffee is still delicious so I recommend that as a gift for any of my fellow coffee lovers, since it’s quite a novelty, and an exciting one indeed!
As you go down the street, eventually you’ll approach Victoria Square. There you will find more food stalls as well as live music. Various musicians will be playing festive songs while people get multiple rounds of beers. While I appreciate the cheery Christmas spirit, I have one main word that describes this place- ‘LOUD’. Amongst blasting music from the speakers, you will also have people of various stages of drunk- joining in the singing. Creating a somewhat disjointed melody.
This is also the place where people prefer to sit down and rest generally. They sit on ledges, stairs or just stand around small tables. Couples, families, friends, all practically screaming to one another because it’s so loud you can barely hear what the other person is saying. Which creates even more noise. So I’d say this part is quite variable in terms of enjoyment, depending on what levels of noise you find comfortable. I’d say after a 3rd round of German beer- it won’t bother you much!
ICE SKATING/ KIDS ENTERTAINMENT
Apart from the live music entertainment, you will also find an ice ring and some stalls where you can play games and win some prizes. Perfect area for a date or a family day out. I have to say that my ice skating skills are close to non-existent, and if you’re anything like me- be prepared to fall on your BUTT a lot and mildly embarrass yourself against 7 years olds that skilfully speed past you.
To finish off I’d like to mention the atmosphere of the place. Even if you don’t find yourself interested in purchasing anything, the atmosphere is special enough for it to be worth a visit. Surrounded by food smells, Christmas lights and decorations with the sounds of Christmas songs as well as lively conversations with fellow humans, is enough to get you into Christmas spirit. This time of year, is widely known as the time of giving and cheer, and I find that people in the city tend to be particularly nice and helpful, which is always a plus. There’s a lot that you can do there, whether going alone or bringing partner, friends or family with you. Once the event resumes the crowd management might be put in place which would make it easier to navigate through the area. We shall see.
Over all, I’d recommend visiting this Christmas Market, at least once. Put it on your travel list- ready to cross off when the event gets back on. I look forward to returning in the future and seeing how different it will be post covid to what it was back in 2019! One thing I know for sure, is that I will go with full intention to stock up on the marshmallow treats and coffee beans!
Hope you enjoy this holiday season!
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