Yes, we did it, we said the 'C' word! Christmas is well and truly on its way. If you've been in any large British supermarket recently you'll have seen the festive products starting to pop up in a number of places. And we have a number of self-confessed Christmas fans (super-fans is probably more accurate) in the Accomable team and I am not ashamed to admit that one of them is me!
So listen up for our accessible Christmas market low-down. And find out where you can stay if you plan to make a trip further afield, or want to make a bit of a holiday out of it.
The ancient capital of England, Winchester claims to be 'home to England's perfect Christmas'. And who can argue with that when the quaint wooden Christmas Market huts sit in the shadow of gothic Winchester Cathedral.
18th November - 20th December 2016
Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink
The market is located in the inner close of the Cathedral on the cobbles, ramps are available in some areas but not every chalet is wheelchair accessible. Staff are on hand to help where possible. There are disabled toilets in the Cathedral Visitors' Centre.
Where to stay - Wallops Wood are located a short drive from Winchester and are offering a £25 towards a meal at the Chesil Rectory when you stay during the Christmas Market period.
Bath Christmas Market
As far is reasonably possible, VisitBath have ensured access to everyone wishing to attend. The main areas of the event site can be accessed via drop curbs, which are permanent features of the city centre, and an accessible toilet will also be available. Find out more about accessibility in the city of Bath here.
Where to stay - you'll have to make sure you book up early for this popular Christmas shopping destination. If booking up to 21 days in advance, we have access to discounts of up to 30% with Holiday Inn Express Bath.
Nestled below majestic Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh Christmas Market and Ice Rink lights up the Edinburgh skyline in the winter months. Adjacent to the main shopping area in the city, you can get all of your Christmas shopping done in one go! There are also rides and an ice rink.
19th November 2016 - 7th January 2017
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Most of Edinburgh's Christmas Market is flat and level with only gentle inclines, and ramps access the huts wherever possible. Wheelchairs are welcome on the Ice Rink, there are pods in the Big Wheel and spaces in the Spiegeltent designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Please note large electric wheelchairs may not be accommodated on the Big Wheel due to weight restrictions. There are various disabled toilets situated around the site. There is free Blue Badge parking with no time limit on Frederick Street, George Street, Hanover Street and Waterloo Place.
Where to stay - we would definitely recommend making the most of Edinburgh by extending your trip as there is so much to see! The Tune Hotel is a great budget option, leaving you plenty of funds for your Christmas shopping.
You can recognise Manchester's main Christmas Market by the illuminated Father Christmas that sits under Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square. There are also a number of other sites around the city hosting a French market, ice rink, arts & craft market and more...
10th November - 20th December 2016
Manchester Christmas Market
The public toilets adjacent to Albert Square (in the Town Hall extension) have disabled facilities. Most of the market areas are easily accessed. Most of the chalets have a counter-top rather than full entry for customers so you can access as a wheelchair user. The Windmill Bar has a ramp at either side for wheelchair users. Albert Square can get incredibly busy at weekends so bear this in mind, but there are 9 additional Christmas market sites around the city centre.
Where to stay - centrally located Holiday Inn Express - Manchester City Centre is a short stroll from the Christmas markets and with 14 accessible rooms, is the perfect place for groups and individuals alike. Book soon for reduced rates for Accomable customers.
There's certainly plenty of choice if you choose Prague as your Christmas market destination, the main Christmas markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (5 minutes walk from each other). There is also a smaller market at Republic Square and a permanent one at Havel's Market.
26th November 2016 - 1st January 2017
Prague Christmas Market
Christmas in Brussels is an illuminated spectacle with over 18,000 lights lighting up the city's festive celebrations. The Christmas market now extends along the streets from Grand’Place to place Ste-Catherine, covering almost 2km. Entertainment and quaint stalls sit alongside each other with a toboggan slope, ice rink and big wheel.
25th November 2016 - 1st January 2017
Brussels Christmas Market
The streets of Brussels are cobbled, and you will encounter some tricky surfaces. It's worth contacting Visit Flanders direct if there are specific areas of the market you want to visit as it covers such vast area.
Where to stay - the stylish Aloft Brussels Schuman is just minutes from the city centre and offers 9 adapted bedrooms/bathrooms.
Heading further north, Copenhagen immerses you in the atmospheric Christmas mood with colder temperatures and if you're lucky, some snow (depending on whether you like the snow). Tivoli Gardens turns into a vast Christmas grotto and really looks the most quintessentially 'Christmassy'.
November 19th - December 31st 2016
Copenhagen Christmas Market
The market has disabled facilities and access is easy for wheelchairs (watch out for the snow forecast!).
Where to stay - we're working with Scandic Hotels to share their well-adapted hotels across Scandinavia. They have a number of options in Copenhagen to suit a range of budgets.
In this chocolate-box Belgian city, the main Christmas market in Grote Markt, with its pretty, wooden chalets surrounding a glittering ice rink is the perfect place for a fairytale Christmas Market.
November 18th 2016 - January 1st 2017
Bruges Christmas Market
The streets of Bruges are largely cobbled so don't expect the smoothest of rides, but the city centre is largely flat and easy enough to navigate. And you can find more about the accessibility of Bruges as a whole here.
Where to stay - stay just outside Bruges and relax with bed and breakfast accommodation, with on-site care available if required.
This year celebrating 30 years of running, Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt takes place in the already very beautiful Rathausplatz and is a picturesque winter wonderland for children and adults of all ages. With wooden huts surrounding a grand Christmas tree, you'll feel the festive spirit sipping on your glühwein in this glittering market.
18th November - 23rd December 2016
Vienna Christmas Market
The main area of the Christkindlmarkt is wheelchair accessible with flat surfaces, wheelchairs may not be able to enter all huts, but many only have a serving window rather than full entry (see picture).
Where to stay - located centrally in Vienna, the InterContinental Vienna has a beautiful interior to befit this historical city. Book early to benefit from discounted Accomable rates.
And finally, to the namesake of traditional Christmas markets, Germany. There are a number of markets in Berlin, but the Christmas market at the Charlottenburg Palace is full of the picturesque Christmas grandeur.
21st November - 26th December 2016
Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market
Ramps are available on site for wheelchairs to access the tents. For wheelchair users, there is also an accessible WC at the western entrance to the park. More information and a site plan are available here.
Where to stay - make yourself at home in a modern accessible apartment just outside of Berlin city centre, sleeping 4 people with a roll-in shower.
Well we hope that helped to kick-start your Christmas spirit for this year, and maybe even inspired a last-minute break!
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