1. Go local
The best Christmas markets to visit on a budget are local ones. As well as avoiding travel costs you’ll find unique gifts at bargain prices, from your local market or craft fair but it will look like you’ve travelled far and wide.
2. Write a Christmas shopping list
Set a budget for each person and don’t forget to take the list out with you. Download our Christmas shopping checklist and budget planner to help.
3. Plan your route
Consider taking public transport where parking costs are over the odds.
4. Pick up a Christmas market guide
You can often find deals and discounts at the back of the market, and a stalls map is handy if you’re hunting around for specific Christmas gifts. Beat the crowds and start your journey back to front.
5. Set a cash budget
Temporary cash machines are most likely to be at Christmas markets but they do come with cash withdrawal charges. Bring enough money with you and set a budget factoring in food, drink, gifts and attraction costs.
6. Beware of food and drink prices
Eating out at a Christmas market is pricey so if you’re on a strict budget consider eating before you go, bringing a packed lunch or eat at a cheaper restaurant outside the market.
7. Don’t buy edible Christmas gifts
It’s cheaper to make your own. Stock up on jars and baskets from the market then fill them with our edible gifts like homemade limoncello, snowmen biscuits and spiced cookie wreaths.
Package the tasty homemade treats in Mason jars or a paper plate cookie gift box.
8. Don’t buy Christmas cards
Cards can be expensive at markets, so try making our handmade Christmas cards instead.
Choose from a doily Santa Claus, a needle and thread Christmas tree or a button snowman card, or make all three.
9. Shop around
Don't be shy to haggle, especially if you're buying loads of items. Also don’t be tempted to flash the cash at the first bargain you see, look around and compare prices before you buy.
10. Time it right
If you have some spare time, a mid-week visit to a Christmas market will be less crowded and you might have more chance of finding a bargain. Most goods are discounted in the last couple of days but it will be busy so try to head out early in the day.
11. Book in advance
Admission and attraction tickets can sell out quickly so book in advance to avoid disappointment and save money, too. Remember that family and group tickets are also better value.
12. Make a day of it
Have a festive day out and do a bit of Christmas shopping with a visit to one of the top four Christmas markets in the UK. Here’s what they have to offer...
Bath Christmas market
24 November to 11 December 2016
The market at Bath Abbey has 170 chalets selling gifts from handmade jewellery to wooden toys and food gifts. Bring your Local Resident Discovery Card for discounts. Visit bathchristmasmarket.co.uk
Birmingham Christmas market
18 November to 29 December 2016
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas and Craft Market in Victoria Square has 180 stalls selling gifts from Brummie art, leather goods and crystal lamps. Bring your own mug to save you paying a deposit on a Gluhwein glass. Visit birmingham.gov.uk/frankfurtmarket
Manchester Christmas market
10th November to 20th December 2016
The large market in Albert Square has 300 stalls selling gifts from handcrafted clothes, to Fairtrade crafts and recycled Christmas decorations. Again, bring a mug from home to save you paying a deposit on a Gluhwein glass. Visit manchester.gov.uk/christmasmarkets
London Christmas market
18 November 2016 to 2 January 2017
Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink and 200 stalls selling handmade crafts and luxury gifts. Entry is free! Visit hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
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