Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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German Christmas MarketHere is an update to my earlier blog on Christmas Markets. We have now been to visit the Frankfurt (German) market in Birmingham City Centre and the Street Christmas Market at Royal Leamington Spa.

The first was on Saturday, when we went to the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham. We went into Birmingham City Centre at about 4:30pm. We hoped that it would have been quieter, by then avoiding most of the Christmas shoppers, although that was not really the case. The traffic towards Birmingham was good, but it was badly congested around the entrance towards the Bull Ring Car Park which is where we parked. The car park did have plenty of spaces so at least we didn't need to drive around looking for a space. It cost us £4 which I think was for up to 4 hours.

We ventured into some shops in the town centre before heading towards the German Market. The Market is located around the City Hall / Museum area, stretching almost as far as the Palisades Shopping Centre. The market stalls were not too busy, and had a good selection of goods from traditional German food and goods, to handmade crafts.

When we reached the food and drink area it was extremely busy. It was hard work to either approach any of the food /drink stalls and to move around. We did get some German Sausages (very nice), some Hot Raspberry Wine (very strong - flavour wise), and a non-alcoholic childrens punch (not so nice, but I was driving so didn't indulge in any of the hot alcoholic drinks). We also had some potatoes and mushrooms (very salty and the garlic sauce was very strong). Also on offer was ham, pork steaks, garlic bread, chips and German beer.

We bought some traditional biscuits and Stollen for Christmas and also bought some hand puppets. We have been searching around for hand puppets for a while as our baby daughter is very interested by the puppets used in the Baby Einstein DVDs. We had only been able to buy one hand puppet before visiting the market, which was a duck that came from Center Parcs. The puppets we bought at the German market were expensive at £15 each, but they were well made and had holes for all 5 fingers of the hand, as well as including a finger puppet.

The Frankfurt German market was well worth a visit, but beware it gets very busy around the food area, and you may want to either find a quieter time, or avoid that area particularly if you have small children with you (we had already arranged for a baby sitter so that we didn't have to take our daughter along).

More details:

We also went to the Street Christmas Market in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire on Sunday. The market is on Sundays during December occupying the Parade, which is closed to traffic for the duration. I have been to these in the past, particularly when I lived in Leamington, but this is bigger than those in the past. The market includes a variety of goods, from handmade crafts, to high-street goods. There were also some charity stalls, but not very many.

Other than at the charity stalls, the only thing we bought were some more hand puppets. We had spent some time looking for these before and then see our second puppet stall within two days. The stall had an assortment of puppets including large puppets which used the full arm, and had two different style of hand puppet. We went for the cheaper ones at only £4 each.

We also got some audio book CDs from one of the Charity Stalls. The CDs were of Disney films, such as Bugs Life, Toy Story etc., and had been donated by Woolworths. We left a donation in return for one of each of the CDs.

See: Days Out Diary Christmas page for a recent list of dates for Christmas Markets.