With its windswept stretches of sandy beach, dramatic soaring cliffs and rugged hiking trails, Guernsey is an atmospheric winter retreat that’s perfect for nature lovers. But its wild landscapes aren’t Guernsey’s only draw. As the days grow shorter and the countdown to Christmas begins, the island’s capital St Peter Port is illuminated with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights, and the aromas of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts fill the air. Seasonal markets and festive pop-up shops surround The Old Government House Hotel and Spa in the centre of town, making this season a very appealing time to visit. Guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, here are our favourite Christmas markets in Guernsey.
Winter Fayre at St James
Marking the start of the holiday festivities on the island is the annual Winter Fayre at St James Concert Hall, held on the last Saturday of November. Falling this year on the 25th, Guernsey’s most popular Christmas market is home to a busy cluster of stalls selling local crafts, jewellery, ceramics, homewares and unique festive decorations. Handmade seasonal preserves, beautifully presented chocolates and traditional festive candies all make excellent stocking-fillers. Once the gift list has been ticked off, head to the café for a warming glass of mulled wine and mince pies. There’s plenty for younger visitors too, with face-painting, Christmas games and Santa’s grotto. The man himself will be making an appearance later in the afternoon to switch on the festive lights in St Peter Port at 5pm.
St Peter Port Christmas Market
Following the inaugural switching on of the lights on 25th November, St Peter Port’s lively Christmas Market sets up shop in Market Square every Saturday. Wander through countless festive stalls, piled high with gift inspiration. Find unique treasures such as local hand-painted crockery, organic homemade soaps, fine jewellery and hand-embroidered linen among the usual giddy troves of candied nuts, toffees and chocolates.
The Museum Christmas Shop
There are plenty of reasons to visit Saumarez Park’s Folk & Costume Museum throughout the year. Showcasing 250 years of Guernsey’s intriguing social history, the museum’s exhibits are an intimate glance into life on the island through the ages. Come December, it has additional allure. Its Museum Christmas Shop twinkles with festive charm. Homemade preserves and chutneys, sugar-dusted Turkish delight, artisan chocolates and ribbon-tied candy canes are beautifully displayed among children’s toys, exquisite pottery, tasteful soft furnishings and plenty more unique gift ideas.
Le Friquet Home of Garden & Living
It’s something of a yearly tradition in Guernsey to don a pair of skates and glide out across Le Friquet Home of Garden & Living’s sparkling skating rink, open from 1st December – 6th January. The rink is flanked by the garden centre’s beautifully presented Christmas market: a haven of holly wreaths, tree decorations, gift ideas, toys and games. For younger visitors who aren’t quite ready to try out their figure eights, Santa’s grotto is one of the best on the island.
Stay at The Old Government House Hotel and Spa during the festive season to explore Guernsey’s Christmas markets.
Images Credits: Lead image 'Gingerbread' © iStock/amzphoto. 'Mulled wine' © iStock/chamillewhite. 'Looking at decortions' © iStock/m_a_y_a. 'Handmade gifts' © iStock/emicristea. 'Ice skating' © iStock/m_a_y_a.