Christmas markets are the very best way to get into the festive spirit – think mulled wine, carols, local delicacies, fairground carousels and much much more.
Simply load up the car with all the family, hop on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle and you’ll be in Hauts-de-France, home to some of Europe’s most glittering Christmas markets, in no time at all.
As the UK’s closest international self-drive destination, this region in Northern France offers an authentic festive experience right on your doorstep and is easy to navigate from the comfort of your own car. From the glittering big wheel and charming wooden chalets of the market at Lille to the atmospheric stalls of the Village de Noël in Arras, and the spectacular light show at the Cathedral in Amiens – there’s no shortage of things to explore.
Travelling by car from Folkestone to Calais on Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is by far the easiest way to pop over to France for an overnight stay or a long weekend – just enough time to fill your boots with Christmas trinkets and treats galore. Here is Hauts-de-France Tourism’s pick of the best Christmas Markets for 2021.
Lille Christmas Market– 19th November – 30th December 2021
One of Europe’s best-loved Christmas markets can be found in the city of Lille just over an hour from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle at Calais by car. Shop til you drop and you’ll be spoilt for choice with an array of handmade decorations and intricate arts and crafts from as far afield as Russia, Canada and Poland. Stock up on local foods including gingerbread, pastries and waffles as you keep warm with a delicious mulled wine, ride the glittering big wheel and Christmassy carousel then enjoy traditional carols as you browse amongst a selection of 90 wooden chalets in Place Rihour.
Arras Christmas Market– 3rd December – 2nd January 2022 (all week)
Roughly halfway between Lille and Amiens, and just an hour’s drive from Calais, Arras draws visitors year-round for its splendid Flemish-style architecture, some of which is UNESCO World Heritage listed. At Christmas it is even more atmospheric, as a Village de Noël takes over the Baroque Grand Place as well as the rest of the city centre, with as many as 130 Christmas market chalets. Meander around the beautifully illuminated city and admire the exquisite window displays in Arras’ many boutiques. On selected dates special events take place, including St Nicolas abseiling down the belfry on December 6th, and a bold brass band performing every Friday evening.
Amiens Christmas Market – 27th November – 31st December 2021
With approximately 130 chalet-style stalls, Amiens Christmas Market ticks all the boxes for festive shopping for the whole family. Choose from local crafts, regional food and unique gifts whilst browsing the stalls covering over 2km of the beautiful city. There’s a whole host of delicious food to sample whilst shopping, with roasted chestnuts, warm, chocolatey waffles and tasty local delicacies. Once you’ve had your fill of retail therapy, there are some fantastic amusements to indulge in – including illuminations, carols, a skating rink and a Santa Parade, as well as a festive fairground wheel and carousel. The real highlight of the city is the cathedral – sitting proudly and twice the size of Notre-Dame de Paris, it is illuminated throughout December, with a spectacular sound and light show (Chroma).
Book your getaway with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from as little as:
- £91 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a standard ticket (for any duration). One way
- £249 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a Flexiplus ticket, turn up any time and get on the next available train, and access to the club lounge (for any duration). One way
- Take your furry four legged friend from just £22 each way
For inspiration, Hauts-de-France Tourism has created a specially curated website, with a tempting range of itinerary and accommodation ideas at www.french-weekendbreaks.co.uk.