The British distinguish Christmas Markets, which try to capture the old-world feel of Victorian or Continental celebrations, from Christmas Fairs, which simply sell seasonal crafts and foods. Bournemouth aspires to the former, setting up a two-part festival across the center of town.
The park linking the town center to the seashore features the Gardens of Light, both innovative set-piece displays and a broad ice-skating rink. The ice rink has a bit of a Dutch feel as patents push younger children around in sleds resembling wooden shoes. Older children who haven’t got their feet under them yet are invited to dance with stabilizing penguin sculptures.
Closer to town center, at the top of the gardens, is the market-proper. The stalls contain a wide selection of crafts and foods, arrayed around a well-lit carousel, lively performing stage, and massive beer-garden.
As in Maastricht, the outdoor bar feature mulled wine (with various liquor shots added to enhance it’s potency) in signature souvenir mugs. It’s relatively expensive, £5 for the drink, £3 for a shot, £3 for the mug: almost $15 a drink all-in.