Feast and be merry: 10 UK winter villages for Christmas food and drink

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The Winter Village, York

The new winter village at York Minster is a good spot for shopping as well as socialising, with wooden cabins selling local food, drinks and gifts. The Smoking Pig serves pulled pork sandwiches and Yorkshire bratwurst; the Chocolate Cabin sells sweet treats and hot chocolate; and the Cabin Bar has gluhwein and beer. Gifts include local cheese, rapeseed oil and preserves, and coffee roasted in Robin Hood’s Bay; spirits from the Yorkshire Bottle Shop; and candles, blankets and sleepwear from Yorkshire makers. There is an adjacent Christmas Tree festival with 40 trees, plus decoration workshops and other events.
Until 6 January, yorkminster.org

Escape to Winter Island, Manchester

Escape to Freight Island, a street-food market in Manchester, has had a long-planned festive makeover and name change (it was due to open for Christmas 2020). Escape to Winter Island’s highlight, literally, is the “ice rink in the sky” – skaters glide around on a mezzanine overlooking the rest of the action. Hog roasts and mulled wine join the existing food and drink lineup, which includes Basque dishes cooked over a huge wood-fired grill, craft beer and cocktails. There are comedy nights on Tuesdays and orchestral renditions of Christmas songs on Wednesdays, and lots of bands and DJs the rest of the week. Other events include Massaoke (a giant singalong with a live band), wreath-making workshops and breakfasts with Santa. Also in Manchester, Ramona and the Firehouse is becoming a winter village with tequila cabins, a Christmas campfire and a dance tent (until 31 December, firehousemcr.com).
Until 1 January, escapetofreightisland.com

Chow Down Winter Village, Leeds

Chow Down, an outdoor dining venue at Temple Arches, Leeds, has transformed into a winter village centred on a new two-storey apres-ski-style bar. Bar Hütte has DJs and a dancefloor downstairs and a rooftop curling club upstairs, plus other activities such as beer pong. There are kitchen residencies from local restaurants, rotating street-food traders, a cocktail bar, a cosy ski lodge and acoustic music sessions around the campfire. And it’s not just for adults: the tipis host festive family activities on Sundays, including the chance to meet Father Christmas.
Until 31 December, chowdownevents.co.uk

Gosford House Winter Wonderland, East Lothian

Gosford House is the grand setting for East Lothian’s first winter wonderland. It has a vintage feel, with a Victorian-style fairground, a train ride around the grounds, donkeys and a Christmas tree maze with a postbox in the middle for sending letters to Father Christmas. There is also a marketplace selling independent Scottish brands and food traders serving warming dishes such as macaroni cheese. The house itself is opening for guided tours, dance classes and beauty treatments. On 17 and 18 December there is a food festival, Feast, with lots of East Lothian producers, a tipi bar with an open fire, and whisky tours and tastings.
17-23 December, roguevillage.com

Cranside Winter Village, Glasgow

Cranside Kitchen, a food courtyard in Finnieston, Glasgow, is another outdoor dining venue turning into a winter village. The bar now serves mulled wine and cider, winter cocktails and boozy hot chocolate, and the seven restaurant stands have been joined by Christmas food market stalls. New seating areas – which include igloos, a ski gondola and a “hygge lounge” with heaters, blankets and fairy lights – are set in winter gardens with festive foliage and a giant Christmas tree. There is a programme of DJs, live music, Christmas party nights and drag brunches.
Until 2 January, cransidekitchen.co.uk

Liberté Winter Village, Liverpool

Liberté bar and restaurant’s rooftop winter village is back for a second year, with 16 heated wooden lodges, each seating six, plus the Shack, a new 30-seater lodge with its own bar. Drinks and food are served to the smaller lodges – including winter cocktails, crepes and waffles – which have Christmas tunes playing. Kids can have breakfast with Santa on Sundays in December, while for adults a lot of the magic comes from the location: the terrace is on the third floor of the Bentley Building on the Strand, with panoramic views of Liverpool’s waterfront and city centre, all lit up for Christmas.
Until 22 January, liberteliverpool.com

Junkyard Wonderland, Norwich

Norwich’s Junkyard Market has been reborn as Junkyard Wonderland for Christmas, with five heated marquees, hot toddies and hearty food such as yorkshire pudding wraps and loaded roast potatoes. The market raises money for local homelessness charities, with £48,500 donated so far. Also in Norwich, Mysabar has reopened for the festive period: it’s a heated open-sided tent with 18 craft beers and ciders on tap, plus street food, Sunday music sessions and a New Year’s Eve party (weekends until 2 January, mysabar.co.uk).
Weekends until 31 December, junkyardmarket.co.uk

City Social, Birmingham

Held in a neglected underpass, this is a hip alternative to Birmingham’s traditional German Christmas market, with independent traders, film screenings and live music. This year there is a new craft cocktail bar, plus the return of stalls selling hot Pimm’s and mulled gin, while food vendors include Roastie Toastie – Christmas dinner in a toasted sandwich. Local makers sell Christmas decorations and gifts, and there are buskers during the day, DJs on Fridays and live bands on Saturdays.
Wednesdays to Saturdays until 18 December, thecitysocial.co.uk

The Winter Village at Battersea Power Station, London

This riverside winter village is returning for its fourth year, with pop-up alpine huts along the Thames. The Grade-II listed Coaling Jetty hosts stalls serving mulled wine, crepes and seafood treats from Wright Bros such as oysters and scallops cooked in flame-torched butter . Arts and crafts workshops will include, on 18 December, a “signature Christmas centrepiece” class on the Coaling Jetty. A giant advent calendar art trail with the theme Peace on Earth takes in 24 venues and a newly opened section of the North Park in front of the power station hosts a vintage ferris wheel and Toy Town carousel (£2). Visitors will be able to play Yule Boules, Reindeer Toss and Feed the Snowman games for free. Frozen II is showing at the Cinema in the Arches and The Cat in the Hat is on at the Turbine theatre; and the 13 bars and restaurants have Christmas menus.
Until 3 January, batterseapowerstation.co.uk

Winter Wundergarten at Depot, Cardiff

Depot, a warehouse events space in Cardiff, is all decked out for Christmas and has a packed festive programme. The Winter Wundergarten on 4 and 11 December is a Bavarian-themed party with steins, street food and Christmas songs. The Christmas market on 12 December has Welsh traders, live music, hot cider, and arts and crafts for kids. There are several Christmas circus editions of Bingo Lingo, its bingo party nights, featuring acrobats, fire-breathers and singers belting out songs from The Greatest Showman. Then there’s the Gavin & Stacey Christmas quiz, the children’s rave and a New Year’s Eve party with live band and champagne.
Various dates until 31 December, depotcardiff.com

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