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Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris: Your Ultimate Guide!

Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris: Your Ultimate Guide!

There’s one sentence I heard about Disneyland it’s one I’ve adopted in my life too. “Disneyland is always a good idea” and it’s so true. As a real fairytale dreamer and a big kid at heart, I can’t think of a time that I won’t enjoy resorting back to my childhood and enjoying all things, Disney. I’ve been so lucky to visit both Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Orlando, TWICE. I’ve visited as an infant, teenager and adult and I can safely say that I can’t wait for my next visit, whenever that may be! I must admit my last trip to Disneyland Paris was my favourite yet. My best friend and I booked a last-minute deal and went off for a girly weekend which I cannot recommend more – We had so much fun! It’s off the back of that trip I decided to go ahead and create this guide to planning a trip to Disneyland.

This Disneyland Paris guide will help you plan every aspect of your trip from flights, package deals, food, accommodation and more! 

Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris: Your Ultimate Guide!

Good to Know: I wrote this guide after visiting Disneyland Paris as an adult so if you do have kids you might want to check out some guides tailored specifically for families. 

You’ll still 100%, no 110%, be able to use all of the information in this guide for your family trip but I won’t be giving any specific information about Disneyland Paris for children. Think of this as more of a guide that’s going to set you up for all the practical aspects – All the things you need to know before you arrive and have the time of your life! 

Facts about Disneyland Paris

Before heading on any of my trips I always start with research especially if I’ve never been to that destination before. It’s no different for a trip to Disneyland Paris so in this section I’m giving you all the basic information you’ll need to know about visiting:  

  • Disneyland Paris is located just a 45-minute drive from central Paris making it very accessible. You can include Disneyland Paris in your Paris itinerary or as a single trip.
  • There are just 2 Parks in Disneyland Paris: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park.
  • Disneyland Park: The Paris version of the Magic Kingdom in Florida, it’s the magical fairytale park in Disneyland Paris.
  • Walt Disney Studio Park: The Paris of MGM Studios in Florida
  • Even though French, funnily enough, is the first language in Paris everyone in Disneyland will speak English. In fact, even if you attempt to speak French they will probably just reply in English!!
  • Because of the weather in Paris, the park is often quieter from January – March meaning we can take advantage of smaller queues and cheaper prices!
  • The winter in Paris can be dismal. If you plan to visit Disneyland Paris in winter be prepared for rain, frost, ice, snow and subzero temperatures!
  • Some rides will close due to bad weather – it can be hard to predict for this in your planning but just keep it in mind as a possibility if you choose a winter trip! That said, Disneyland Paris at Christmas is nothing short of enchanting.
  • Disneyland Paris is very different from Disneyland Orlando in the United States – Let’s talk about that below!

Disneyland Paris is so very different from Disneyland in Orlando. I can’t speak for the rest of the parks in other parts of the world because I’ve only visited these two. But I do know that after visiting Orlando people have a very high expectation of the Paris parks. I’ve also noticed some real rivalry between these two Disneyland parks so I thought it would be helpful if I evened out some of the big differences! 

Differences between Disney Paris and Disneyland Florida 

  • It’s safe to say that when planning a trip to Disneyland Paris you won’t need anywhere near as much time as you do in Florida. We could happily spend 3 or even 4 weeks, probably more if I was a millionaire, in Florida but in Paris, you can do it in a weekend!
  • Disney Paris has just two main parks opposed to Florida which has over parks 10 if you include the Universal Studios. That doesn’t include the amazing waterparks either! So if you have visited Florida it may seem a little anticlimactic but it’s just as magical I promise!
  • Tickets to Disneyland Paris = cheaper!
  • Service: If you’re European then you’ll be expecting this but for Americans visiting Disneyland Paris the service can come as a little surprise. In the USA the enthusiasm and service of the people working at Disneyland are incredible. It’s definitely not up to the same standard in Paris but don’t let that put you off! It’s not really a big deal but I have read some pretty tragic reviews on Trip Advisor from some very disappointed visitors!
  • Location – Obviously, for those living in Europe it’s probably easier and cheaper to get to Disneyland Paris opposed to Florida. BUT if you’re visiting Disneyland from say, Australia then I would choose Florida over Paris in terms of value for distance!
  • Climate – The climate is completely different Florida gets a lot of sunny weather and numerous heatwaves a year! Whilst Paris does get a great summer it gets so cold in winter!

Other than those few things, which are all actually quite significant, both parks are built with the same intention to provide a magical experience for everyone who visits and they both certainly succeed! 

So now you know a few of the basic facts about Disneyland Paris then lets dive into planning this trip! 

Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris: When to Visit? 

The most important thing to consider when you’re booking a trip as we all know if when the best of year is to visit! I always think it kind of person you are and what you like. That said, there are definitely certain times of year I would avoid in Disneyland Paris. 

January to March 

If you’re planning a budget trip then the best time of year to visit Disneyland Paris is the end of January to mid-March. Christmas is long gone and you’ve got plenty of time before the Easter rush. My last visit to Disneyland Paris was in February and we got such a good deal on our park tickets but more on that later! Visiting in these months will be significantly cheaper! 

The only thing you’ll be giving up during these months is the weather. Winter can be rough in Paris with cold temperatures, rain and wind. BUT try not let that put you off too much. During our February visit, we did get some rain but it honestly didn’t make a difference to the amount of fun we had! Visiting in January to March is worth considering especially for the $$ savings you’ll make! 

It’s also wise to remember that these months are the quietest in the park so the opening hours are shorter and some of the rides can be shut for maintenance in the quieter periods. 

March – June 

These months are also a good option. The weather is getting warmer but not quite into the European summer holidays just yet! Be aware that Easter will be around March-April time so prices often rise briefly. 

July – September 

I personally wouldn’t visit Disneyland Paris during these months, unless you have kids. The European summer will be kicking in and Disneyland Paris will be busy! The kids are also off school in Europe from the end of July – September making it even busier.

Quick side note, if you don’t like kids then Disneyland Paris is not the trip for you! 

September – December 

Again it’s getting back into the shoulder season so prices to visit Disneyland Paris parks may start to fall again. September is actually a beautiful month to visit. It’s a little quieter than the summer because the kids will be back at school but the weather should still be pretty good! Winter is freezing in Paris so if you’re planning a Christmas visit expect it to be cold! That said we visited Disneyland Paris at Christmas years ago and it was truly magical, it may be more expensive but I think it’d be worth it! 

As a quick round-up, I recommend visiting Disneyland Paris in the shoulder months. Either January to March or September – November time. 

Mickey Mouse at Disneyland Paris
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” Walt Disney

Getting to Disneyland Paris 

Fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Once you’ve decided what time of year you’ll visit Disneyland Paris it’s best to start planning how you’re getting to get there! 

Paris is so well connected to the rest of the world there are so many options. If you’re coming from outside of Europe then flying into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is your best option. I’ll go into getting to the Disneyland resorts below. The airport is only about 45 minutes from Disneyland Paris so I recommend this airport no matter where you fly from!

The flights from the UK are really fast at about 45 minutes and you can often get them so so cheap last minute or in advance – keep your eyes peeled for any sales! If you’re savvy and plan ahead then you get grab flights for as little as GBP 30 from London or Manchester! 

If you’re coming from Europe then you can get into Paris on so many trains. The UK is also very well connected to Paris and the train from London runs all day every day. You could even take a day trip from London to Disneyland Paris if you wanted as I’ve mentioned below!

Catching the Eurostar from London 

You can catch the Eurostar from St Pancreas station in London which is a super popular way of getting to France, especially Paris. The Eurostar itself only takes around one hour to get into Paris costing anything from GBP 50 up to 200 depending on what class and how late you book tickets. If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland Paris in advance then you’ll be able to snag cheaper tickets. 

There are direct Eurostar trains from London to Disneyland Paris, station Chessy/Marne-La-Vallée,  but it is more expensive. The total time for rear train is just under 3 hours. 

The other option, and most popular, is to change at station Lille Flandres and then get another train to Chessy/Marne-La-Vallée. This way is usually a little cheaper if you’re on a budget. 

Transfers to Disneyland Paris 

If you book your trip to Disneyland Paris as a package deal then transfers from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport will probably be included. This is something to check when making your booking as transfers are so handy! During our trip to Disneyland Paris, we had a coach transfer making finding our hotel seamless. Although a word of warning, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is huge and it isn’t very clear where you get the coach from so just ask at the information desk – it will save you a lot of time! 

Booking Tickets to Disneyland Paris 

Decide on the Disney Parks you Want to Visit 

There are two Disneyland Parks in Disneyland Paris. You can either visit just one or both but I recommend doing both. They won’t take you more than a day each if you’re wanting a quick trip but you can easily spend longer in both if you wish. I honestly don’t see the point in visiting if you only see one park, just one travellers opinion! 

There are plenty of ticket options when it comes to booking: 

Package Deal 

Like everywhere these days you can get tickets for Disneyland Paris through so many different people! Any good travel agents, online or offline, will no doubt have a package deal for Disneyland Paris! It depends what kind of trip you’re looking for. Package deals often include everything which is handy but they can sometimes be more expensive unless you come across a great deal. 

If you’re just planning on a trip to Disneyland then a package deal could be the way to go so that you have everything organised! This is how we visited Disneyland Paris in 2018 and it was actually great for someone who doesn’t usually book deals like this. 

Always Check Group-on for Good Package Deals!

My biggest tip for those wanting to get a package deal. Is to check Group-On. Group-on is like a deal website where they give out different offers for products, experiences and travel. You can find great bargains like Spa Breaks, amazing black Friday deals and of course some sweet travel deals! 

Our Group-On package deal to Disneyland Paris cost just 100 GBP per person for 3 nights and 3 days.  We got 2 full days inside the Parks and some time when we arrived on the first afternoon. You can often choose how many parks you want to visit but I recommend visiting both! The only extra expenses we paid for was the flights costing around 60 GBP each return which isn’t bad at all since we book this trip 6 weeks before going! 

Check Group-on for Disneyland Paris packages here!

Mickey and minnie mouse on parade at Disneyland Paris
The parade is must-see!

Book via Disneyland Paris

Of course, you can also book directly through the official Disneyland Paris website where you’ll find the most up to date prices but these aren’t discounted as much as third parties. They do have some great packages on their website, especially around the holiday seasons. There are all sorts of events on at Christmas, Halloween, Easter and you can often buy a package deal to include some festive extras! 

Book Your Disneyland Paris Tickets here!

Buy on the Doors 

You can also buy on the doors when you arrive. If you decide to visit at the last minute during a trip to France then just turn up and buy a ticket. Be aware in the busier months that you might have to wait in for a little longer to purchase a ticket so. It’s always best to try and plan at least a few days ahead. Tickets are most likely to be more expensive on the doors. 

Ticket Prices at Disneyland Paris 

Park prices vary depending on how you book but I thought I’d give an approximate pricing list for the entrance into the parks. Correct as per the Disneyland Paris Website as of October 2019, subject to change. 

2 Day Entry to 2 Parks 

Adult Entry: 148 GBP 

Child (3-11) Entry : 137 GBP 

Children under 3 go free

1 Day Ticket to 1 Park 

Adult: 76 GBP

Child: 70 GBP 

Children under 3 go free

1 Day Ticket to 2 Parks 

Adult: 94 GBP 

Child: 70 GBP

Children under 3 go free

You can also get tickets that with a shuttle bus coming from the centre of Paris but as I said there are so many options out there. The best things do is shop around whilst planning a trip to Disneyland Paris to find out about all the options available that will best suit you!

Me stood outside Sleep Beauty's castle in Disneyland Paris
“If you can dream it, you can do it” Walt Disney

Fast Passes at Disneyland Paris 

Fast passes are also something else to think about. A fast pass is essentially a different ticket where you skip the queues/join a much shorter queue. The fast pass does come at an extra cost so it’s up to you to weigh up if you think it’s worth it for your visit. 

Fast Prices start at around 30 GBP and you can either buy single fast pass tickets for individual rides and attractions or you can opt for unlimited! We didn’t get a fast pass in Disneyland Paris and we didn’t need one because it was so quiet.

I think fast passes are a must-have in the summer months when it’s busy so you don’t end up spending your whole day just in a line! And if you’re visiting Disneyland Florida then buy a fast pass all year round – totally worth it!

Find out more about the Disneyland Fast Pass here

How Many Days Do You Need?

What I love most about Disneyland Paris is that you can spend a long or short amount of time there. There are only two parks and both parks are easy to see in just two days. We spent 2 full days from opening to closing time and saw everything. But there are so many factors to consider when planning how many days you’re going to spend at Disneyland Paris. 

For myself and my bestie 2 days was perfect, we filtered out what we didn’t want to see and saw the rest! We also went in February so it was so quiet with virtually zero queues!

Exploring Disneyland Paris in the summer will be a different story. It’s the school holidays and the weather is brilliant, both attracting a lot of people! I would recommend 2 days for each park in the summer months and during any festive period. For example, Christmas will be just as busy. 

That said if you are just visiting Disneyland Paris for a day as part of your France or Paris Itinerary then it’s totally doable. If you only plan on visiting for a short amount of time then plan ahead and beeline for the things you really want o see first! 

Consider How You’ll Spend Your Days 

Another aspect to consider when choosing how many days to spend at Disneyland Paris is what you want to do. Do you have small children who want to see all the characters and queue for a photograph? Or even if you’re an adult is that what you want to do? If so think about how long you might have to queue up as it starts to really eat into the day. This is why I love the fast pass option! Where-as if you just want to go on the rides then you might not need as much time etc. 

I’d recommend spending 2-4 days in Disneyland Paris and certainly no longer than a week. 

Sample Itinerary for Disneyland Pairs

I thought I’d give you a few extra tips on how to spend your days at Disneyland Paris including letting you know about some of my fave attractions! It’s always good really think about what you ‘really want to see’ before a trip so you plan those things into your itinerary first! 

I’ve already said this but I’ll say it again. Visit both parks if you can. If you only have one day then visit Disneyland Park, not the Walt Disney Studios. Disneyland Park is where all the magic happens. It’s where you’ll find sleeping beauties castle, where the fireworks and parades happen, where most of the characters hang out I could go on and on! The studio park is worth visiting if you have the time but I recommend prioritising Disneyland Park first!

Shows/Meet & Greet’s You Don’t Want to Miss in Disneyland Park are:

  • Sleeping, Beauties Castle 
  • Exploring Main Street USA 
  • Character meet with Minnie and Mickey 
  • Character meet with Disney Princesses 
  • Disney Stars on Parade 
  • Disney Illuminations 
  • Breakfast with the Disney Princesses 

Rides You Don’t Want to Miss in Disneyland Park are: 

  • It’s a Small World 
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast 
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant 
  • Le Carrousel de Lancelot 
  • Peter Pans Flight 
  • Space Mountain  

Obviously these are not exhaustive lists of all the rides and attractions but these are some my favourites that you’ll want to enjoy! I recommend carving out some space whilst you plan your itinerary to Disneyland Paris so you don’t miss any!

Rides You Don’t Want to Miss in the Walt Disney Studio Park are: 

  • Studio Tram Tour 
  • Hollywood Tower of Terror 
  • Ratatouille The Adventure
  • Disney Studio 1 
  • Crush’s Coaster – My ultimate favourite ride it’s so much fun!

There’s also some amazing festival shows all year round. They are held in a separate arena separate from both of the parks. We saw Mickey’s Wild Wild West Show and it was magnificent. This show was a dinner performance we got fed a 5-course meal with a drink included! It was really interactive and had everyone up and out of their seats shouting,  playing games and having a boatload of fun! These shows are paid for as extra to your park tickets but they are so worth it!

In a nutshell, I recommend allocating certain days to each park, knowing which attractions you want to see and then just going for it! Get to the park for opening times and leave when they shut there’s a lot of food options inside the park so you can grab something whilst you explore! 

Getting from the Resort Hotels to the Parks

When visiting Disneyland Paris I really recommend staying in one of the resort hotels. It may only be a train ride away from central Paris but it’s so much easier and you much more time to enjoy the parks this way.

Every hotel also has a free shuttle bus to take you to and from the parks!

We stayed at the Vienna Dream Castle Hotel which was lovely! It was part of our Group-on deal and 4 stars – I was very impressed, to say the least! We got an all you can eat buffet breakfast which as delicious, the hotel has all the amenities you could need from a pool and spa to great rooms with very comfy beds! On our first night, we did pay for the budget dinner but at 40 euros per person, I have to say it was somewhat disappointing! 

How Much Spending Money Should You Bring on Your Trip to Disneyland Paris?

Let’s talk about spending money! Like everywhere else in the world even if you get a full package deal for the parks at Disneyland Paris you still need some spending money. But how much you bring depends on what you do with it. We usually travel low budget so we bring enough money for food, drinks and little souvenirs (like my awesome Mickey Mouse ears you see below)! And like any theme park or water park food prices are ridiculously priced!

That said, Disneyland Paris does say that they pride themselves on the ability to fit all budgets when it comes to buying food inside the park. I’ll let you make that decision. 

You’ve got a whole range of eating options from character breakfasts and dining which come in at approximately 35 euros per person. But don’t forget you are paying for the experience!

There are mid-range restaurants like Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood with main meals starting at 20 Euros per person. 

For more upmarket dining, there are fine dining options like Auberge de Cendrillon. Obviously these prices are steeper adult meals start at 77 Euros! 

If you don’t want a sit-down meal then there’s always Starbucks and fast-food burger joints in both parks with meals from as a little 10 Euros. It completely depends on what you want to eat. We spent roughly around 70-80 Euros a day on lunch, coffees, snacks and dinner (breakfast came with our hotel reservation).

Souvenirs 

Mickey balloons as disneyland paris
You’re never too old for all the souvenirs either!

The only other thing we spent money on was souvenirs and they don’t come cheap. All the Disney Merchandise varies from 5 Euros up to over 100 if you’re buying something crazy! I bought a pair of Mickey mouse ears for 12 Euros and some lollipops for my cousins – the cheapest souvenir at 6 Euros each! I personally never go crazy on shopping so I never budget much in my itinerary and I suggest that you do the same – the memories you make when you get to Disneyland Paris will last a lifetime! 

Things to Check Whilst Planning a Trip to Disneyland Paris (Before You Book!)

A few things to think whilst planning your trip to Disneyland Paris:

  • Always check to see which rides/attractions are open!
  • During the quieter months, some rides and attractions are closed for routine maintenance work and there is nothing more disappointing than finding out when you arrive your favourite ride isn’t open! Disneyland Paris always keeps its website updated with which rides are open and closed so take a look! I wouldn’t want a very sad 6-year-old when she realises that the Snow White ride is closed – Apparently me when I was younger!
  • Check which character breakfasts or dinging experiences are running, are they on the day you’re going?
  • Check for special events on your chosen dates. 1, so you don’t miss out and 2, to be prepared for a busier day! 

What to Pack for Disneyland Paris 

Booked and all ready to go? Well, then let’s think about packing! There’s only one item that you must pack without a doubt in Disneyland Paris and that’s comfortable shoes! Whether it’s pumps or trainers or whatever you find comfy you’ll be walking around a lot during your time in the parks! There’s also a lot of standing around waiting in line so you’re going to be on your feet. There’s nothing worse than a big old blister to ruin the fun! 

From there on it will depend on what time of year you’re visiting. Winter gets freezing in Paris so you’ll need plenty of layers! I recommend bringing a few jumpers along with a scarf, hat and gloves in the wintertime. It’s always better to have too many layers than not enough! 

Summertime is self-explanatory just remember no strapless tops (don’t want anything popping out where it shouldn’t) and perhaps be mindful of dresses and skirts too – shorts are a perfect item to pack for summer in Disneyland Paris! And don’t forget the suncream because it will cost a small fortune inside the parks!

As long as you’ve got comfortable shoes then I don’t think you need to worry too much! 

Recap 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and can now get stuck into planning a trip to Disneyland Paris! To recap the most important things to consider when planning a trip to Disneyland Paris: 

  • Research about the parks 
  • Visit both parks if you can
  • Stay at a Disneyland Paris Resort Hotel 
  • Always fly into Charles de Gaulle airport
  • Shop in advance for cheaper tickets 
  • Consider fast pass tickets in the busier months 
  • Check which shows are running and the times
  • Decide on your ‘must-see’ things and make sure you plan to do these things first
  • Check for ride closures and events 

If you’ve got any more questions about planning a trip to Disneyland Paris then I would love to hear from you below or send me an email! For my other Europe posts then take a look at this page! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends! 

Wishing You Happy and Healthy Travels, 

Alicia 

The Best Christmas Markets in the UK

The Best Christmas Markets in the UK

Our 2018 Christmas period was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. It was the height of the Australian summer and a scorching 32 degrees outside. We spent the day with friends, lounging, swimming and having the most relaxing time on the beach. Though it was a perfect day filled with friends, laughter and love it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. It kind of felt like a normal Saturday in Sydney. That goes for the whole run-up to Christmas. Christmas has always been my favourite holiday season. Wrapping up from the frosty air, nursing a mulled wine and explore the Christmas Markets make the run-up to the big day so special. I realised exactly how much I missed our UK Christmases! So after visiting the majority of the UK Christmas markets I wanted to share in my opinion the best Christmas markets to visit in the UK. 

What are ‘Christmas Markets?’

Christmas Markets have been a popular festivities amongst travellers and locals all over the world but prominently in Europe. The original Christmas markets came from Germany and can be otherwise known as ‘Christkindlmarkt’. These markets are usually made up of various stalls selling food, drinks, hand-made gifts, seasonal gifts and pretty much anything else you can think of. The stalls line the streets of most big UK cities and towns strung together by fairy lights. Though the majority of towns/cities in the UK will have a Christmas market some are definitely better than others. From experience, I’ve found the best Christmas markets in the UK to be in the bigger more popular places such as London and Edinburgh. 

Traditional Christmas Markets

When Are the Christmas Markets Held?

Traditionally the Christmas markets were always held for the advent period but in most places nowadays you can find them from late November to early January. So if you’re visiting the UK during the festive period I would recommend stopping to see at least a few of the Christmas markets around the country, especially if you’re from somewhere that doesn’t have them like Australia. But if you’re from mainland Europe then I’m guessing our little markets maybe a little bit of a disappointment.

I’m yet to visit other parts of Europe at Christmas but a road trip exploring the best Christmas markets in Europe is definitely on my bucket list! I mean come on a month hopping between the likes go Prague and Munich drinking hot coca and traditional Christmas dishes? Sounds like a perfect way to spend December!

But where are the best Christmas markets in the UK? Well, I’ve selected a few of my favourites from England and Scotland! 

8 of the Best Christmas Markets in the UK

  1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 
  2. Manchester Christmas Markets 
  3. York Christmas Markets 
  4. Chatsworth House Christmas Markets 
  5. Leeds 
  6. Glasgow Christmas Markets 
  7. Edinburgh Scotland
  8. Padstow Christmas Markets

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – London

This is probably the most well-known Christmas in the UK. Now I’m not a London girl and I’ve only visited the capital a handful of times but a couple of those times have been in the festive period. I must say that London knows how to do Christmas. From the window displays in Liberty to the beautiful planned Christmas lights which are always so gorgeous. Take a look at this post for a guide on the Christmas Lights in London! The Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is like the Christmas extravaganza. As well as an authentic German market there’s rides, shows, bars and even an area to let loose and boogie! It’s definitely one of the best Christmas markets in the UK and probably most popular.

Is There an Entry Fee at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland?

No. There isn’t an entrance fee to walk around the markets and various other attractions. That said, the majority of experiences inside the park will need to be paid for. But there’s everything from pantomimes to circus acts to enjoy. If you do go to a show or anything inside the Winter Wonderland make sure you plan well. Hyde Park covers a huge area and if you’re not familiar with it you will get lost. Even if you do know the park well it might look a little different! I know this because myself and my best friend who was living in London at the time had some tickets and were literally running trying to find the show and not miss it! 

More information on the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

Manchester Christmas Markets 

Manchester is another big city in the UK mostly known by football maniacs all over the world. Situated in the northwest of England Manchester know exactly how to do shopping and Christmas markets. I’ve visited these markets pretty much every year for the last 5 years. The markets in Manchester span the whole of the city with over three hundred stalls. Manchester has won awards year after year for these amazing markets so they are worth a visit. As well as the stalls Manchester also has a Christmas ice rink nestled in-between the markets and these gorgeous Christmas karaoke huts. Imagine wooden huts, karaoke, mulled wine and a bunch of friends. Honestly, Manchester is a wonderful place for a festive day out! 

Manchester Christmas Markets some of the best christmas markets in the uk
Manchester Christmas Markets

The markets are usually spread out quite wide but the locations for 2019 are, Exchange Square, Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Corn Exchange, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, King Street, St Anns Square and Brazennose Street. I’ve popped these places on a map just below.

The markets are free to get lost in! For more information about the Manchester Christmas Markets go here!

York Christmas Markets 

Ask anyone from the UK what they think of the city of York and most would call it enchanting and magical. York is exactly what you expect when you think of an English city. Cobbled streets, old buildings and a rich history fill the city. The Christmas Markets in York are just as good as the rest of the city. In fact, the whole of York is one of the best places to enjoy Christmas in the UK. From beautiful Christmas lights and traditional German market York is definitely high up on the list as one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.

As well as enjoying the markets in York I recommend taking a stroll down the Shambles and enjoy some Christmas shopping! If you’ve never been to York then you’ll probably notice a huge line outside Betty’s Tearoom but if I’m honest I wouldn’t bother. If you have heard of Betty’s Tea room the one to visit is in Harrogate! Other must-see places in York (Christmas or no Christmas) are: 

  • York Minster 
  • The Shambles 
  • York City Walls
  • York Dungeon 
  • Jorvik Viking Centre
Me and My Beautiful Family at York Christmas Markets a couple of Years Ago!
Me and My Beautiful Family at York Christmas Markets a couple of Years Ago!

Chatsworth House Christmas Markets 

Being from God’s Own Country myself, Yorkshire for those of you who don’t know that saying, so it would be rude not to include of my own.  Best Christmas Markets in the UK I love are at Chatsworth house. Nestled in the heart of the Peak District lies Chatsworth House. Chatsworth House is home to the Cavendish family and has been for the last 16 generations. It’s currently home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Certain areas of the house have been open to the public for years. The gardens are beautiful and Chatsworth hosts an array of events throughout the year including some Christmas Markets. 

The Christmas Markets at Chatsworth House have been voted as some of the best in the country. The house promotes a different Christmas theme each year which is released in late September. Keep an eye on this website for the release. Tickets also need to be purchased for the markets at Chatsworth but it’s certainly worth it! 

The Best Christmas Markets in the UK – Leeds Christmas Markets 

Leeds is also a hub for designer shopping, dining and bars! One of my favourite bars in Leeds is the rooftop bar Angelica’s. Enjoy views of the city below whilst during a cocktail. You’ll find the bar on the roof of the Trinity Shopping Centre. The Christmas markets in Leeds are somewhat smaller than the others I mentioned but still cute and worth a visit. Leeds is so festive at Christmas time but maybe that’s because I love Christmas shopping!

Glasgow Scotland 

We unexpectedly found ourselves at the Glasgow Christmas markets a few years ago and boy we were glad. Glasgow is a beautiful city and the Christmas tree is amazing! The city is easy to navigate as it’s set out like a square. The Christmas markets in Glasgow span across a couple of areas in the city. The main are areas usually George Square and St Enoch Square filled with culinary delights and traditional Christmas gifts. Glasgow also runs various independent Christmas markets across the city. Find these locations here. 

Dave at Glasgow Christmas Markets
Dave enjoying Glasgow Christmas Markets a few years ago – before we knew how to take photographs!

Edinburgh Christmas Markets 

The Christmas Markets in Edinburgh is pretty special. If I was choosing between Glasgow or
Edinburgh I’d opt for Edinburgh. The market is a lot bigger and completed with a Ferris wheel offering great views of the city. Edinburgh has a fantastic array of Bavarian-themed stalls and plenty of German sausages to go around.  There’s usually plenty of areas playing live music and outside bars. Snuggle in with a blanket under a heater and get into the festive spirit whilst listening to some festive favourites. Edinburgh is a great Scottish city to visit from gorgeous colourful shopping street to haunted ghost tours. Some of the great things to do in Edinburgh at Christmas are: 

  • Go Ice Skating 
  • Enjoy the Nativity Play in St. Andrew square 
  • Visit Edinburgh Castle
  • Walk unto Arthurs Seat 
  • Enjoy the colours on Victoria Street 

Padstow Christmas Festival

Okay, I haven’t actually been to this Christmas Market but I know many who have and it’s highly recommended. Built upon the beautiful English coast Padstow is found in Cornwall England. It makes a change from the big city of London and the countryside of Yorkshire and Scotland is the coast. The Padstow Christmas Festival is one of the biggest in the country with pop-up stalls everyone can enjoy! Padstow also have plenty of other events going on at Christmas too! Check it out on their website here!

I honestly can’t wait to get back to Europe at some point for all the winter festivities! I really hope you enjoyed this post on my favourite Christmas Markets in the UK. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of the best Christmas Markets in the UK but these ones are especially good! If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends! I hope you manage to enjoy some Christmas markets this year!


You might also like ‘How to Spend One Day in Amsterdam’

Happy Travels 

Alicia

How to Spend One Day in Amsterdam

How to Spend One Day in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is Hollands enchanting capital city. It’s one of the few European cities I have actually visited. I can’t believe how much of Europe I haven’t seen after living in England for the first 23 years of my life! Amsterdam will always remain etched into my memory not because it’s one of the first cities I visited in mainland Europe and because it was a trip with my bestie. No, I will always remember Amsterdam’s beauty and authenticity. It may now attract millions of visitors a year but the city of Amsterdam remains so very charming. After only being able to spend one day in Amsterdam a few years ago I wanted to share a post on how to make the most of this city. Whether you’re visiting Amsterdam for 24 hours or 1 full week there’s a lot to be explored. 

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you purchase or book anything via a link on this page then I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you – thank you 🙂

Is One Day in Amsterdam Enough? 

This almost feels like a trick question but one that I want to answer before getting into how to fill your day in Amsterdam. After spending a full day from 8 am – 7 pm exploring the city I can safely say we saw all the things we set out to see. We had a little set back with the weather, some heavy rain, but enjoyed the main attractions that Amsterdam has to offer. 

We strolled the teeny tiny shopping lanes, walked around the Red Light District, visited the cheese museum, strolled around the cutest canals and so much more that you’ll read about below. That said the one day we spent in Amsterdam was full-on. Photographs were snapped left right and centre and once we’d enjoyed one place it was onto the next! If I were to return to Amsterdam, 2020 is the year, I would like around 3 days to really make the most of the city! 

But when one day is all you’ve got a one-day city guide to Amsterdam is what I’m going to give you! 

Before You Go: Buy a good pair of shoes! Or bring a decent pair of shoes. I will go into some details about public transport at the end of this post but honestly walking is the best way to get around. So pack your best pair of sneakers or hiking shoes so you can comfortably roam the cobbled streets of Amsterdam. 

How to Spend One Day in Amsterdam – 13 Things To Do

When I’m only visiting a city for a short period of time I want to know what are the musts! So below I’m giving you what I think are the best things to do in Amsterdam in one day. 

  1. Explore the Amsterdam Canals on Foot

    Amsterdam is made up of scenic canals flowing from street to street. Amsterdam could be every photographer’s heaven because the canals and streets are so picturesque. My Favourite area to stroll around during our day in Amsterdam was The Jordaan. The Jordaan is located at the top of the Brouwersgracht not far from central station. The streets are lined with cute boutiques and walkways that follow along the canal side. You’ll find the northern area pretty touristy but by no means less beautiful. Follow the beautiful little streets in and out. Anne Frank Huis is also found in The Jordan but I’ll mention that again a little further down.
  2. Take an Amsterdam River Cruise

    The canals are a popular and beautiful part of this city and worth exploring. If you don’t want to stroll the canals by foot then why not take a river cruise. There are various companies that run river cruises in Amsterdam all year round. Did you know that the canals in Amsterdam are a UNESCO world heritage site? I didn’t until our visit! So whether it’s on foot or by river cruise you simply cannot visit Amsterdam without spending some time on or near the water. Cruises start from 25 euros and some come paired with tickets for other attractions too. Best way to decide on which river to cruise to take is to take a look at the Trip Advisor reviews. We didn’t take a river cruise due to budget but on my next visit, it’s at the top of the list!
  3. Visit the Rijksmuseum

    The Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular in the city. If you’re not a museum kind of person then it’s still worth visiting because the architecture of the building itself is unremarkable. A little like most of the buildings in Amsterdam actually. The Rijksmuseum is a museum dedicated to arts and the history of Amsterdam. It’s been every tourist’s main selfie spot for years and years as it used to be the home of the ‘i am Amsterdam’ letters. Unfortunately, the letters have now been removed from this location as the council thought they were having a negative impact causing overcrowding in the area. But don’t worry the letters haven’t gone completely – take a look at the next tip to try and find them!
  4. Find the famous ‘I am Amsterdam’ Letters

    As I mentioned above these letters were the first port of call for so many travellers. For the last few days if tourists were spending just one day in Amsterdam it was not complete without a stop here! Now because of overcrowding, the letters are on the move. They have been placed all over the city at different times of the year by the council. Take a look at this article and the Amsterdam Tourism website to find out where they might be on your visit.
  5. Explore Amsterdams Red Light District

    It wouldn’t be a trip to Amsterdam without visiting the unique Red Light District. It’s not something I often promote in my blogs but it’s such an important and intriguing part of the city you just have to go! The Red Light District in Amsterdam leaves nothing to the imagination but it’s probably not going to be like what you’re anticipating. I was surprised my how subtle the district really is. Yes, there’s some bright lights advertising ‘sex shows’ and a very unique condom shop but the rest blends in with the city well. The buildings are the same as the rest you just might see someone dancing in the window when you look up. 
  6. Visit the Heart of the City – Dam Square

    Dam Square is the hub of the city in Amsterdam. Most popular streets like Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, and Damstraat lead to the square. Though often filled with people I thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the city with some incredible buildings to ogle over. It’s also home to some important landmarks etched in the Dutch city. The National Monument in the square pays tribute to the fallen Dutch soldiers in the second world war. If you’re visiting Amsterdam in May be aware that on the 4th there is an annual ceremony held here, like a memorial service. The Royal Palace also towers above the square and when night falls the windows in the northeast corner of Dam Square are lit up with the ladies of the night.
  7. Walk amongst the Enchanting 9 Little Streets

    The 9 Little Streets of Amsterdam are the cutest pedestrian laneways in the city. Filled with shops, eateries and bars there is so much to explore. Head here for a snack or gift to take home and support some of the independent businesses in the city. The 9 streets you want to explore are found amongst the 4 main canals in the city, Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. The streets are super popular and you’ll stumble upon them easily but if not looks for the signs ‘De 9 Straatjes’.
  8. Marvel in the History of Amsterdam at Anne Frank Huis

    History buff or not a visit to the house of Anne Frank is certainly worth it. Located in The Jordaan learn all there was to know about Anne Frank herself, her diary and family. Explore the secret annexe and the history behind it all. The house is open all year round. You do need to obtain a ticket for entry so it does bump the price of the day in Amsterdam up. Tickets for adults start at 10.50 and discounted for children. Find out more about booking tickets to Anne Frank House here.
  9. Heineken Experience

    For the beer lovers out there why not take some time to enjoy the Heineken Experience? Learn the story behind one of the worlds most famous beers! The tours run every day for 90 minutes so if you’re into your beers then it’s easy to fit into your one day in Amsterdam itinerary! Make sure you book online for a $3 discount and so you can choose the time of your preferred tour. At the bottom of this post, I’ve included a self-walking map so you can organise your day and see what time of the day would be best to enjoy this experience!

    Top Tip: Make sure you take ID no matter what your age.
  10. Visit the Smallest Pub in Town

    Louis Bar located in within the 9 little streets of Amsterdam is a cute bar such a warm cosy feel. We visited Amsterdam in winter and the air was crisp so warm pubs were very welcoming! It may be dinky but it’s worth a pit shot to rest those achy legs from all the walking.
  11. Visit the Cheese Museum

    No idea about you but cheese is the way to my heart. Located in the heart of The Jordaan is the Amsterdam cheese museum. Entry is free and the smell is beautiful. Explore some of the cities best cheeses and see cheese wheels that have been maturing over many years. There are also some great photo opportunities inside too! If you don’t think you’ll have enough time to visit a cheese factory with just one day in Amsterdam fear not, it’s not that big. The museum is more like a cheese shop with some cheese history and maturing cheese wheels as mentioned above in the basement.
  12. Visit Amsterdams Floating Flower Shops

    Whenever I hear the word ‘floating’ I imagine boats bobbing up and down on the water. But the famous flower shops in Amsterdam aren’t boats but stalls built upon the canal. Find the floating flower shops or Bloemenmarkt on Singal Canal nestled underneath the cutest buildings. It’s a wonderful way to spend 20 minutes or two immersed in the fragrant delights and bright colours. Expect plenty of tulips as Holland is the Queen of all things Tulip!
  13. Vondelpark

    Vondelpark is one of the most glorious parks in the city. The weather can be rubbish in Amsterdam, to say the least, but if you manage to fall on a good summers day then this park is worth a visit. It’s like something out a fairytale with beautiful lakes and lawns. Make sure you take a look at what’s going on at the park during your visit as concerts and events run all year round but especially in summer. But it’s great even just to stroll through during your one day in Amsterdam.
  14. If it Rains All Damn Day

    I admit walking around canals in the wild rain isn’t any fun. Bad weather can definitely take away from the beauty of Amsterdam but there are plenty of indoor actives to enjoy too. For arts and history head to Anne Frank House (mentioned above), The Van Gough Museum or Stedelijk, the three most popular museums to visit in Amsterdam. For some fun head to the Xtra Cold Amsterdam Ice Bar or Madame Tussauds in Dam Square.

Walking Map of Amsterdam – Google Maps 

The best way to get around Amsterdam is on foot. To follow this one day in Amsterdam guide then take a look at the walking directions below. I’ve pinned every spot I’ve mentioned in this post so you can plan your day easier. Simply avoid the places you don’t wish to visit but it will give you an idea of times and distances. Amsterdam can be a complicated city to navigate so expect lots of crossing back and forth.

Another way to enjoy all that Amsterdam has to offer in one day is by taking a free walking tour. Visit this website to take a look at the free tours available in Amsterdam. Choose from a daytime walking tour of the city, food tour or a red light district tour all for free! I love going at my own pace when visiting a city but sometimes these tours are great to make sure you don’t miss anything out! The guides are usually local and super informative – they often know a few hidden gems too! 

Below I’ve given you an example of a walking route in the city centre. As you can the museums, Heineken Experience and park are a little further afield so you can add them to your own walking route as required.

Other Ways to Get Around the City – Cycling and Public Transport 

The most dangerous mode of transport in Amsterdam is bicycles! Honestly, there are hardly any cars in the city and every single local owns a bike! There are cycle lanes situated all over the place and cyclists whizzing past whilst tourists trying to cycle and sightsee at the same time! So whatever you do don’t stop to take photos on a cycle lane! 

All jokes aside cycling is a brilliant way to see the city. I think it’s a great way to get around Amsterdam quicker especially if you only have one day to see everything! There are bike hires all over the place and you can find some more information about hire locations and pricing here. Cycling is also great for your fitness and the environment I think it’s brilliant that the locals use bicycles so much in this European city!

Public Transport

The other option is to use the public transport system in Amsterdam but I think you’d miss a lot of the gorgeous sights. Amsterdam uses bus, rail and tram services within the city. Over the last few years Amsterdam has been gearing up towards a cashless system on public transport so transport cards are something to look into if you think you’ll be using the transport. Day passes are also available from 7.50 per day. For more information on the public transport systems in Amsterdam then this article is extremely helpful with a list of the best apps to download when travelling to Amsterdam too. 

Where to Stay After One Day in Amsterdam 

Even on a single day trip to Amsterdam, you’re probably going to need somewhere to stay either for the night before or after your day in the city. There are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation in Amsterdam for all budgets. I recommend staying as close to the centre as possible to make the most out your day. The best neighbourhoods to stay in Amsterdam for the location would be either The Old Centrum or Jordaan. De Wallen is the heart of the Red Light District so to avoid noise and especially families may want to avoid staying in this area. I found this blog post by Anna Everywhere really helpful when researching the best areas to stay in Amsterdam. 

Booking.com

Amsterdam Mini-Break Cruise

Another popular way to explore Amsterdam is on a cruise! This how we ended up visiting Amsterdam for just one day. In the UK both P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways both run 2 night 1 day to Amsterdam from Newcastle, UK. We managed to snag our deal on Group-On making our trip to Amsterdam so cheap! I’ll be doing a full review of our cruise with DFDS seaways so make sure you come back for that! The bonus about a cruise is that you don’t have to find accommodation in as you’ll obviously sleep on the ferry on the journey back home. 

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Find out more about Amsterdam mini-cruises here!

I really hope you enjoyed this city guide on how to spend one day in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities and certainly unique. Even though one day in the city may feel like a rush it can definitely be done! I’d recommend two or three days if you can make the time. If you did enjoy this post I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends! If you’re venturing out of Europe to Oceania you might enjoy my posts on Australia and New Zealand.

Happy and Healthy Travels,

Alicia