Christmas festivals to fill you with festive cheer
London: Wintertime at Southbank Centre and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
10 Nov 2017 - 4 Jan 2018
When you think of Christmas markets, you can’t go past London. Glistening lights, soft white snow, mulled wine and seasonal treats - London has no end to its festive offerings! Go ice-skating and ride the observation wheel at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland or travel to Southbank Wintertime Festival to wander among alpine chalets and rooftop bars.
Madrid: Christmas market in Plaza Mayor (Mercado de Navidad le Plaza Mayor)
Late November - Late December 2017
Come November, the century-old enclave of Plaza Mayor transforms into a bustling hive of Christmas spirit. This stunning traditional market dates back to the 19th century, and today it is home to over 100 wooden stalls. See stunning hand painting nativity scenes, traditional Christmas decorations and purchase a variety of unique toys and jokes.
Sydney: Carols under the bridge
Perhaps you aren’t dreaming of a White Christmas? Perhaps you’re dreaming of hot summer evenings and sand between your toes. In which case you can join thousands of Sydney-siders and travellers alike who will gather by the stunning Sydney Harbour for Carols Under the Bridge. This annual tradition has everything from a roaming Nativity Parade, market stalls selling a range of cuisines and of course, plenty of singing. 2017 has some special guests visiting all the way from Bethlehem, three sheep, Frank, Sence and Myyrhial.
Barcelona: Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia
25th November to 23rd December 2017
When it comes to impressive settings, the Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Familia really takes the (Christmas) cake. Below Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, explore over 100 stalls selling everything from Christmas trees and handcrafted gifts, to local food and traditional sweets. Make sure you pay a visit to the star of the festival, Santa Claus, who visits in late December to collect all your Christmas wish lists.
Dubai: Fort Island’s Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah
17th- 27th December
Experience the magic of a traditional German Christmas market…in Dubai! This annual celebration has something for the whole family - market stalls, a glimmering Christmas tree, rides, games, bungee jumping and even a snowball zone. Decorate your own gingerbread house, ride the North Pole train or enjoy a seasonal beverage while listening to the live band.
Cape Town: The Festive Lights Switch-On
3rd December - January
Witness one of the most magical moments of Cape Town, the Festive Lights Switch-On. Marking the beginning of the festive season in the most spectacular fashion, this parade is not to be missed. Thousands will join this exciting street party of festive food, big musical names and Christmas spirit. The lights will remain on throughout December, so there is plenty of time to soak in the merriness.
Hong Kong: Winterfest
Festive season hits Hong Kong in full sparkling fashion. Head to North Statue Square throughout December to admire the twinkling 18-metre Christmas tree, pay a visit to Santa Claus and listen to the classic carols filling the square with Christmas spirit. Afterwards, you won’t want to miss one of Hong Kong’s most famous displays, the light shows. Every evening in December, The Harbourfront will be lit up with the spectacular displays, “A Symphony of Lights” and “Hong Kong Pulse Light Show.”
Honolulu: City Lights
Christmas doesn’t truly arrive in Honolulu until the lights are switched on. 2017 marks the 33rd year of the Honolulu City Lights and in 2017, the theme is “It’s a Zoo Out There.” Visit the towering 50-foot tree decorated with 56 new animal-themed ornaments. Throughout December there will be a program of family-friendly events including live concerts, keiki rides, visits from Santa, a movie evening and even a Free Milk and Cookie Night.