Air Travel to Christmas Markets Abroad Cheaper than Train Fares to Festive Hotspots in the UK
Flightgiftcard compares the cost of train travel to eight UK Christmas markets vs. airline fares to similar markets in Europe.
Who doesn’t love a Christmas market for getting in the festive spirit? Here, Flightgiftcard, has compared the costs of visiting UK markets by train versus flying to the best markets in Europe. If you can’t decide between a trip to Edinburgh or Vienna for a dose of Christmas cheer, perhaps an £80 difference, freeing up much needed budget for Christmas shopping, might help you decide.
“We often believe a staycation is the more economical option”, says Loes Daniels, Co-founder of Flightgiftcard, “but it’s not always the case, especially with UK rail fares so astronomically high.
“Low cost carriers provide easy access to some of the best Christmas markets on the continent – the perfect short break with friends, family or loved ones to kick start the season.”
Read on for Flightgiftcard’s full guide and costs.
FOR CULTURE: Edinburgh or Vienna?
UK: Edinburgh’s market is held on East Princes Street Gardens. This traditional and romantic Christmas Market offers a unique shopping experience with its range of crafts, art, gift shops and gastronomic array. Scotland is famous for whisky, so be sure to check out the Jonnie Walker Bothy Bar to sample whisky cocktails and hot toddies. Other highlights include ice skating, wintery carousels and Santa’s Grotto.
Europe: Vienna is a delight at Christmas and the Dream Christmas Market, located in front of the City Hall, ensures this is one ‘Krippenmarkt’ not to be missed. Festive lights adorn the streets, with vendors selling hot chestnuts and hand-crafted goods, plus groups of carol singers delighting visitors.
With return flights from London costing only £60 return, and free entry to the markets, it’s easy to see why visitors flock to Vienna from all around the world.
Choose Vienna for a £80 saving:
UK trains: London to Edinburgh £142 return (5.5hrs)*
Flights: London Stansted to Vienna £60 return (2.10hrs) with Laudamotion*
FOR HISTORY: Exeter or Paris?
UK: Devon’s cathedral city, Exeter, hosts its Christmas market within the historic grounds of Cathedral Green. Stalls run by locals and independent traders offer hand-crafted goods, locally made gin, mulled cider and wine, plus culinary treats including roast hog, baklava, chocolates, crepes and speciality cheeses. The west front bandstand also hosts local bands, carol singers and choirs.
Europe: With 200 wooden houses, the ‘Marché de Noël’ Christmas market on Paris’ famous Champs-Elysées, is filled to the brim with regional specialities, decorations and souvenirs. The market stretches from the Ferris wheel in Concorde Square to the Arc de Triomphe. For the best views, visit the market at night when the glittering lights are at their best – Paris is the City of Light after all.
Choose Paris for a saving of £15.80:
UK trains: London to Exeter £87.80 return (2.10hrs)*
Flights: London Gatwick to Paris £72 (2.20hrs) with Vueling*
FOR THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE: Manchester or Krakow?
UK: Manchester hosts several markets throughout the city; try the German-style market at St Ann’s Square or French-themed stalls at King Street. Exchange Square has great boutiques and food outlets, while Brazennose Street has art, crafts, jewellery and leather goods. Cathedral Gardens also has fairground rides, with more stalls in New Cathedral Street and Market Street.
Europe: Krakow’s Christmas markets are held in the Old Town, next to the majestic Renaissance Cloth Hall and towering St. Mary’s Basilica. The market is a traditional affair, blending perfectly with the medieval streets. It’s also easy to navigate on foot and looks magical when covered in snow, plus, there are plenty of cosy cafes and to enjoy for delicious spicy Polish mulled wine when you’ve finished shopping.
Choose Krakow for a £34.69 saving:
UK trains: London to Manchester £86.90 return | £110 first class (2hrs)*
Flights: London Stanstead to Krakow £52.21 (2.20 hrs) with Ryanair*
FOR FOOD & DRINK: Glasgow or Copenhagen?
UK: Visitors can sample Bavarian beers, mulled wine and cider and, of course, Scottish whisky at Glasgow’s Christmas Market, held at St Enoch Square. Foodies can sample a plethora of culinary treats, from local cheese, artisan breads, French crepes, German bratwurst and hog roasts. If you find yourself full on Christmas fare, George Square market also has live entertainment, funfair rides and craft stalls.
Europe: Christmas in the Tivoli Gardens is a tradition amongst Copenhageners, with the historic garden taking centre stage over the festive period. Traditional wooden houses are festooned with lights and decorated with pine branches and snow-covered trees for the picture-perfect Nordic Christmas. Foodies will marvel at the variety of the 60 food stalls offering traditional Danish cuisine, including pastries, cakes, rye breads, cheese, beer and spiced wine. You won’t go home hungry!
Fly to Copenhagen and save £42.50:
UK trains: London to Glasgow £142.50 (4.5hrs)*
Flights: London Gatwick to Copenhagen £100 (2 hrs) with Norwegian*
FOR ALL THINGS LOCAL: Newcastle or Venice?
UK: Newcastle has one of the oldest Christmas markets in the UK, with a fantastic array of stalls and local shops selling arts and crafts, upcycled furniture, vintage and designer wares every Saturday in the run up to Christmas. The market also offers local delights from beers brewed in microbreweries to homemade jams, delicious cakes and handmade chocolates. Handcrafted goods include scarves, pottery, jewellery and leather bags.
Europe: A quick flight to Venice is kinder to your wallet at £115 return. Head to St Mark’s Square to see the Venetian take on Christmas in full glory, with a spectacular array of Christmas trees and festive lights. The market is dedicated to Italian food and crafts; look out for fruit-filled panettone from Verona, white truffle treats from Alba, and creamy almond-studded nougat from Tuscany. Purchase traditional carnival masks, beautiful marbled paper and Murano glass jewellery for untie gifts your loved ones will adore.
Choose Italy and save £24.40 on travel:
UK trains: London to Newcastle £137.40 (4 hrs)*
Flights: London Stansted to Venice Treviso £115 (2 hrs) with Ryanair*
FOR FAMILIES: Leeds or Prague?
UK: Christkindelmarkt is a German Christmas market held in Millennium Square in Leeds and hosts free activities for children every Sunday between 11am and 1pm, including face painting, story-telling and games. Look out for winter wonderland princesses and other costumed characters. For parents, the Ski Hutte bar is a lively alpine-style chalet with live music and an après ski atmosphere.
Europe: The Czechs take Christmas very seriously and take enormous pride in the chocolate-box style markets that spring up all over the country. Prague Christmas market is perfect for families thanks to its low-key and friendly environment. Highlights include parades in traditional folk costume, concerts and carol singers. Keep an eye out for hand-carved wooden puppets and puppet shows to delight younger family members.
A trip to Prague will save you £15:
UK trains: London to Leeds £110 (3.30 hrs)*
Flights: London Luton to Prague £95 (1.50 hrs) with WizzAir *
FOR TRADITIONAL CHARM: York or Berlin?
UK: A charming and historic city, York’s medieval streets are filled with the scents of spiced mulled wine during the Christmas season. Head to St Nicholas Fair for ice skating or playful panto fun, wander inside the traditional chalets for a truly special shopping experience of local wares and visit Santa’s Grotto.
Europe: Fall under the festive spell in Berlin, with horse-drawn carriage rides through Christmas tree-lined streets, ice skating at the Berlin Fairy Forest and heated seating areas heaped with blankets for a cosy outdoor treat. Stock up on gifts, try mulled wine or German beer in a traditional stein mug and soak up the Christmassy atmosphere.
A trip to Berlin will save you £29:
UK trains: London to York £110 (2.50 hrs)*
Flights: London Stansted to Berlin £81 (1.50 hrs) with Ryanair *
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*Costs sourced as follows:
- All prices applicable for travel departing 10 November, returning 11 November.
- All flight costs calculated from London airports via Skyscanner, as published on 30 October.
- All train costs applicable for departures from London stations via National Rail, as published on 30 October.
Notes to Editors:
Flightgiftcard & Hotelgift co-founders, Loes Daniels & Jorik Schroder, are available for interview or comment upon request.
About Flightgiftcard & Hotelgift
Flightgiftcard is the world’s only flight gift card brand. Hotelgift is the number one hotel gift card brand.
With no catch and no limitations, Flightgiftcard and Hotelgift’s monetary value provides giftees complete freedom to book wherever and whenever they want.
Both gift card options can be redeemed, via the Flightgiftcard and Hotelgift website, for flights with over 300 airlines, and over 110,000 hotels worldwide.
With short and long-haul flights to 980 destinations across the globe, recipients of a Flightgiftcard will find flights to suit all budgets and requirements.
Flightgiftcard & Hotelgift offers a choice of three simple options to deliver the delight:
- A customisable, digital gift card that can be emailed to the recipient or printed for hand delivery.
- A luxury printed gift card with a handwritten message (shipping takes 2-4 working days).
- A recorded video greeting that can be sent alongside the ecard.
Flightgiftcard launched in February 2018 in the UK following the success of sister brand, Hotelgift.
Set up in the Netherlands in 2014 and operating in the UK from July 2016, Hotelgift launched officially in the UK on 21 November 2017.