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Celebrate local producers, farm shops, markets and more!

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me… this handy roundup of the best places to shop and eat this December!

Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, with a little planning, the often frantic lead-up can be – dare we say it – enjoyable! Rather than fretting and panic buying, why not turn that dreaded present shop into a little UK-based adventure? There’s no shortage of towns, markets and artisan shops waiting to be discovered. So what are you waiting for? Grab your shopping list, a warm coat and a good old dose of festive cheer and get exploring, says Kayleigh Rattle

Darts Farm, Devon

What started as a farm shop 25 years ago has become an award-winning culinary destination which attracts more than 17,000 visitors a week. This working farm, food hall and deli – complete with a bakers, butchers and restaurant – is located just outside of the pretty town of Topsham, and is the perfect place to buy a gift or two this Christmas, whether that’s West Country cheeses to local wines. You could also book a friend or family member onto one of their many courses held throughout the year, covering topics such as butchery, cheese making, gin distilling and more. dartsfarm.co.uk

St Nicholas Fair, York

Don’t miss York in all of its twinkling Medieval glory this December. Start your night at Yorkshire Barn on St Sampson’s Square. Once armed with gargantuan mugs of mulled wine and a bag or two of piping hot chestnuts, explore the St Nicholas Fair on Parliament street, where you’ll find a whole host of traditional and local gifts. The Yorkshire Yuletide Village in the market area is also the place for local produce and handmade items. Just make sure you take a big enough shopping bag! St Nicholas Fair runs 15th November – 23rd December. See visityork.com/christmas

Eden Project, Cornwall

The Eden Project are pulling out all the stops for Christmas with live music and a spectacular light show taking part most evenings in December. Whilst there, make the most of exploring the verdant Biomes (and warming up from the cold!). Also have a little browse of their gift shop and food hall: there you’ll find a fine selection of spirits including local gins Curio and Caspyn, and a fantastic Cornish rum, Dead Man’s Fingers. The Eden Project is also home to Cornwall’s only indoor skating rink. So what are you waiting for? Get your (ice) skates on! edenproject.com

©Sam Morgan Moore/apexnewspix.com.

Balgrove Larder, Scotland

Scotland’s Balgrove Larder is so much more than a farm shop. On top of being home to the atmospheric Steak Barn (a rustic refurbished sawmill), there’s also a butchery, flower shed, shop and cafe, making it a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Head down on the 11th December for their annual festive fair, which will be bustling with artisan stalls aplenty. Carol singers will provide the soundtrack to your evening, while a wood-fire barbecue will be on hand to provide you with some much-needed sustenance after all of the browsing! balgrove.com

Orrery, Marylebone

Throughout December and January this elegant French restaurant in the heart of Marylebone who will be bringing a taste of Les Alpes to London with their alpine winter terrace. Perched atop the roof of the converted stable block that houses the restaurant, the space has been transformed into an alpine wonderland for the festive season, taking inspiration from the rustic chalets that dot France’s mountain slopes. Guests are greeted on the terrace with a hot winter spiced cocktail and can cosy up with sheepskin rugs, blankets and fur cushions before moving inside to enjoy the new alpine menu from chef patron Igor Tymchyshyn. The menu kicks off with a delicious plate of air-dried ham, served with a runny quail egg and truffle vinaigrette, followed by super tender sirloin steak with madeira jus and, to finish, a hot baked apple flavoured with caramel, winter spices and raisins. orrery-restaurant.co.uk

Christmas Carol Concerts, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin star Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is always enchanting, regardless of the time of year. But add some lights, festive cheer, possible snow and a choir, and it’s quite simply magical. Experience it for yourself at one of their Christmas carol concerts which are being held across December. The evenings will kick off with bubbles and canapes at Le Manoir, followed by a torch lit walk to the neighbouring St Mary’s church. Carols will follow, accompanied by an introduction from Raymond Blanc himself. A five-course dinner with wine pairings will round off the evening. Whilst there, why not book a loved one a space one of the Raymond Blanc Cookery School’s award-winning courses? Or, get in there early and reserve tickets for their 2019 Christmas carol concerts. belmond.com

Bettys, Harrogate

Bettys celebrates its 100th birthday next year. For a slice of history, take a browse of their iconic shop and stock up on their handmade, hand-decorated treats (think beautifully iced Christmas cakes, plump Fat Rascals and artisan selection boxes). Remember to leave some change to treat yourself to one of their delightful afternoon teas on your way out. bettys.co.uk

Canopy Market, London

London is a melting pot of Christmas lights, events, shops and food stalls, but one we’re really looking forward to is Canopy Market at King’s Cross’ Granary Square. It promises live music, stalls, carols, mulled wine and delicious street food. East London social enterprise Luminary Bakery will be present, as will fresh pasta connoisseurs Love Farina. The perfect setting for some serious shopping – and grazing! Runs 30th November – 16th December, kingscross.co.uk/canopy-market

Constanza Chorus, Christmas carols at the Canopy Market, King’s Cross

Edinburgh Christmas Market, Scotland

When it comes to that most wonderful time of the year, Scotland’s charming capital has it all: stalls, rides, fireworks, and festive cheer in spades. East Princes St Gardens is the place to head for the giant Christmas market, complete with rides and even a Big Wheel (check out the view from the top!) while Victoria Street’s famous cobbled walkway is lined with independent stores. While in Edinburgh, don’t miss the Cadenhead Whisky Shop, where rum and whisky can be poured straight from the cask into personalised bottles – just the thing for any spirits connoisseur. Valvona & Crolla, Scotland’s oldest deli, is a must-visit too – we can guarantee you won’t leave empty handed. Find out more at edinburghchristmas.com

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