12/09/2013 Escape the high street drudgery this Christmas: A Guide to Christmas Markets with Eurostar
12 Sep 2013
With just over 100 days to go until Christmas and the prospect of Christmas shopping looming heavy on the horizon, why not let Eurostar take the strain this Christmas and start planning a winter getaway? Pack a bag, sidestep the high street and pick up some unique gifts at a more leisurely pace whilst enjoying the best Christmas markets that Europe has to offer.
From the sweeping majesty of Cologne to the quaint and cobbled streets of Strasbourg, a Eurostar winter break offers something for everyone. Tickets for these charming Christmas cities, as well as Lille, Bruges and Brussels, are now on sale via Eurostar.com. Book early to avoid disappointment and beat the high street blues this winter.
A simple connection in Brussels will have you soaking up the festive cheer in no time amidst the currywurst, glühwein and pretzels on offer. Seven Christmas markets in total are an offer in this enchanting city, with the largest of these set against the backdrop of Cologne’s magnificent gothic Cathedral and the tallest Christmas tree in the Rhineland.
Journey time: 4 hours 11 minutes (via Brussels)
Markets open: 25th November – 23rd December
Tickets from: £99 return
There’s something for everyone in this quaint and ancient city, and crowds have been flocking here since 1570 to enjoy one of the oldest Christmas markets in France. A total of 12 markets now line the cobbled streets around the old cathedral offering a myriad of seasonal treats to festive shoppers.
Journey time: 5 hours 15 minutes (via Paris)
Markets open: 30th November – 31st December
Tickets from: £99 return
With a charming Christmas market and over 80 chalets open from 20 November to 30 December, Lille is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. The main square is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with an 18-meter high Christmas tree and visitors can enjoy the seasonal sights of the city from a giant Ferris wheel.
Families can spend hours enjoying the festive attractions on offer in the main square whilst shopaholics are able to take advantage of the experience and food enthusiasts can indulge in the many French Christmas delicacies the city has to offer.
Journey time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Markets open: 20 November - 30 December
Tickets from: £69 return
The Brussels Christmas market is hailed as one of the most inventive in Europe. Running from 29 November until 5 January, the 'Plaisirs d'Hiver' or ‘winter wonders’ market offers something for everyone. Young and old can wander through more than 240 chalets and stalls whilst a 200ft ice skating rink and a nightly sound and light show in the Grand Place help to provide entertainment for all.
Journey time: 2 hours
Markets open: 29 November – 5 January
Tickets from: £69 return
The beautiful market square of Bruges is transformed every winter with an abundance of colourful lights and illuminated festive stalls crammed full of Christmas goodies. Around 30 traditional stalls sell everything from gifts, speciality foods, chocolates and sweets to unusual hand-made Christmas decorations. An open-air ice rink and Christmas Hobby and Toy Fair offer plenty of additional family fun.
Journey time: 3 hours 30 minutes (via Brussels)
Markets open: 23 November - 2 January
Tickets from: £79 return
With convenient connections, fast journey times and a wide variety of hotel and train packages, it’s quick and easy to enjoy the perfect Christmas break on the continent with Eurostar.
For more information, to book Eurostar tickets or to purchase Eurostar gift vouchers, visit www.eurostar.com or call 08432 186 186.
1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.
3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 130 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet.
4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe’s leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding, European high-speed rail network.
5. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are entirely separate companies. Eurostar operates high-speed passenger trains, while Eurotunnel operates vehicle shuttle services and the Channel Tunnel itself. Eurostar is Eurotunnel’s biggest customer.
For more information:
Eurostar Press Office
020 7843 5500