23/12/2011 06:33 GMT | Updated 23/12/2011 06:33 GMT

Christmas Markets Illuminate British Cities

For those of you who have an annual battle between your bank balance and wanting to buy Christmas presents to be proud of, the Huffington Post UK may just have the answer.

Most of England has been engulfed by thick fog these past few days but the infectious magic of Christmas markets which are popping up in student cities across the UK will certainly help to forget the gloom.

Get ready for city squares to be transformed into twinkling, aromatic open-air markets, with student-budget prices to match.

Inspired by the hustle and bustle of Germany’s market squares, the British equivalent has rapidly taken off and now they are becoming an indispensable part of the Advent season. They originated in the 15th century in Dresden and have remained largely unchanged and unaffected by commercialism.

Traditional German Christmas markets have become increasingly popular in the UK. There are now more than 15 markets across the country, with the largest and oldest being Birmingham.

Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market is into its 11th year. It fills Victoria Square with gingerbread and bratwurst stands from November 17 to December 23 and has become a favourite with both locals and visitors alike. Traditional stalls offer the usual array of beautiful handmade toys, Christmas decorations, original jewellery and craft goods, which provide perfect stocking fillers or "Secret Santa" presents for housemates and parents alike.

Another growing force in the Christmas scene is Bath, where an annual market runs from November 24 to December 11. The area between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths is transformed into a shopper's haven. In the heart of Bath's main shopping district, 129 chalets adorn the streets, offering handmade and unusual gifts, decorations and food. A carol singing workshop is one of the added extras for this year’s Bath Christmas Market.

Other cities in the UK are also present on the Christmas market scene, with smaller and shorter events. From December 1 to 4 , take a trip back through time and stroll along the cobbles of the cultural quarter of Lincoln. The medieval square between the Norman castle and gothic cathedral is the perfect backdrop for the Christmas Market.

Festive cheer will also come to Antrobus on December 3rd, when the village hosts its annual Christmas market. Father Christmas himself is due to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage and take up residence in his grotto ready to meet the children.

London’s spectacular Winter Wonterland in Hyde Park dominates the capital’s festive season with its beautifully decorated attractions, ice rink and wooden stalls. But don’t forget the many Christmas Farmers' Markets. They are some of the best place to get hold of fresh and authentic German produce.

Some must-visit London venues include Chapel Market in Islington, Cramer Street in Marylebone and Lyric Square in Hammersmith.