CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

PUBLISHED: 09:13 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:39 20 February 2013

Visit Kingston's German Christmas market

Visit Kingston's German Christmas market

At Christmas, Kingston comes alive with festive spirit. If, however, you happened to be visiting for the first time, you might think you've accidentally stepped into a Berlin street. MATTHEW WILLIAMS discovers more about the town's German Christma...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2008

At Christmas, Kingston comes alive with festive spirit. If, however, you happened to be visiting for the first time, you might think you've accidentally stepped into a Berlin street. MATTHEW WILLIAMS discovers more about the town's German Christmas market

For the past three years, a Kingston Christmas has been a little more continental than your average Surrey town. Every year, the toppling telephone boxes and the Toilet Gallery are somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of an enormous pyramid in the Ancient Market Place and the German Christmas Market that comes with it, bringing bratwurst, stollen and glühwein.

"It's like a small traditional village in the Black Forest," says Gorden Bulla, who with his business partner Sven Schmidt has been creating markets like this in the UK since 2003. "But what really makes the market special is the centrepiece wooden pyramid. This is a true German Christmas decoration, which nearly every family in Germany has on their table during Advent - much smaller versions, though, of course! Our three-floor pyramid hosts the bar in the ground floor, a family of deer with Santa Claus in the first floor and stunning decorations around the top."

Market culture

Markets have always played a big role in Kingston's 800 years and, in 2008, the Ancient Market Place has already welcomed in Chinese New Year, taken a trip to the Caribbean, displayed dragon boats and showcased local talent at carnival time.

Come December, the German Christmas Market opens, alongside the fantastic Christmas light switch-on, and from the first day, the lovely smell of mulled wine, roasted almonds and the delicious bratwurst sausages waft through the area.

German gifts

"As well as all the wonderful German food and gifts, we also play Christmas songs from all over the world, including, of course, many German carols like Stille Nacht and O Tannenbaum," says Gorden. "There is a very large German community in the Kingston and Richmond area and so we always get a lot of German-speaking guests and assistants there."

In among the traditional German-style wooden chalets, the farmshops sell an enormous range of salami, bacon and ham, while the bakery is a great place to pick up some gingerbread. Other stalls have moreish crêpes and waffles. And as well as all the food, it's a great place to pick up an interesting gift for a loved one or friend, with wooden decorations, handmade metal figures, amberstone jewellery and traditional ceramics all on display. It is the country's famous drinks, though, that hold key importance to the festivities and no doubt act as a convenient winter warmer on the colder days.

"Nothing is more important than our glühwein, which is served in little ceramic boots," says Gorden. "We not only have the original Christkindl mulled wine from Nuremberg but also have flavours like blueberry and raspberry. We also serve a punch for children.

"Regulars always ask about the Oktoberfest bier from the Paulaner brewery in Munich. This is one of the most famous breweries in Germany and, like the Bavarians say, they make the best beer of the world."

Continental Kingston

So, if you're searching for something a bit different this Christmas, you don't have to go all the way to Berlin. Instead, why not check out a market a little closer to home.

  • Kingston's German Christmas Market is held in the Ancient Market Place and runs until Sunday December 28. It is open daily from 10am to 8pm.

While you're at the Christmas Market, there are plenty of other things to keep you busy in Kingston - check out our reasons to visit Kingston

More from Surrey Life

55 minutes ago

She may have recently moved to the seaside, but Surrey still holds a uniquely “precious” place in the heart of legendary children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson – not to mention the crucial role the county played in bringing everyone’s favourite and newly-returning feisty foster-kid to life

Read more

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (23, 24 and 25 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search