Windsor is home to the historic Windsor Castle and the picturesque River Thames. The Christmas markets in this charming city are an extension of the elegance that permeates Windsor’s streets, providing a festive and sophisticated shopping experience.
In this guide, I’ll share all the details you’ll need to explore the Windsor Christmas Market and related events, including 2023 dates, opening times, locations and local specialties.
Christmas in Windsor is a time of festive celebration that resonates with the town’s royal heritage.
Many buildings, including Windsor Castle, are illuminated with pretty lighting, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that draws both locals and tourists to participate in the seasonal festivities.
Windsor Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas markets in Windsor and Christmas at Windsor Castle are known for their unique setting and festive ambience.
Christmas at Windsor Castle provides an opportunity to experience the royal residence adorned with Christmas decorations, including a themed Christmas tree.
A short drive away, Cookham Christmas Market in Maidenhead offers another charming shopping experience, while the Windsor Christmas Shopping Fair features a diverse array of artisan products.
The Artisan Christmas Fair at The Windsor Guildhall showcases handcrafted goods and provides a chance to meet the makers.
For those looking to enjoy some winter activities, Windsor on Ice at Alexandra Gardens is the place to go, with its ice rink attracting skaters of all levels.
1. Christmas at Windsor Castle
Windsor Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 23rd November 2023 to 2nd January 2024.
Location: Windsor Castle.
Opening times: Thursday to Monday: 10am to 8pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: This is a paid event. Tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date and Chrismas Lantern Procession: 23rd November 2023 at Castle Hill.
Santa: Yes, at Santa’s Grotto.
Ice skating: Yes, at Windsor on Ice, Alexandra Gardens.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Unique royal setting; a fusion of historic charm and festive cheer.
Specialities: Freshly baked mince pies; locally sourced mulled wine; artisanal Christmas pudding; Windsor’s speciality shortbread biscuits.
Where to stay: Macdonald Windsor is a popular hotel, 2-minute walk from Windsor Castle.
Hotels near Windsor Christmas Market
Staying close to Windsor Castle is ideal for those wanting to be in the heart of the festive activities in Windsor.
The area surrounding the castle provides easy access to the Windsor Christmas Market, shopping fairs, and the ice rink at Alexandra Gardens.
Macdonald Windsor Hotel stands out as a convenient and eco-friendly accommodation option due to its proximity to Windsor Castle and its commitment to sustainable practices.
To help you plan your festive adventures, explore my guide featuring the best Christmas markets in England, that includes dates and location details.
Location of Windsor Christmas Market
2. Windsor Christmas Shopping Fair
The Windsor Christmas Shopping Fair is a well-established event that takes place in a heated marquee, providing a warm and elegant setting for festive shopping.
With around 150 exhibitors, the fair is rich in a variety of products and specialties, ranging from Christmas gifts and arts and crafts to fashion and beauty.
Visitors can explore and purchase sustainable bamboo products, candles and diffusers, paintings, artisanal rum and spirits, handmade wooden crafts and Christmas cards under one roof.
It’s an opportunity to find unique gifts and enjoy the holiday spirit.
Windsor Christmas Shopping Fair dates: 18th to 19th November 2023.
Location: Royal Windsor Racecourse.
Opening times: 10am to 3:30pm
Admission: Adults £5.00. Concession. £4.00. Under 18: Free. Discount for online tickets.
3. Artisan Christmas Fair
The Artisan Christmas Fair in Windsor is set to be a festive extravaganza hosted in the elegant council chamber with over 20 of Windsor’s finest local businesses offering a variety of unique gift ideas.
Visitors can explore handcrafted jewellery from Earth Angel, hand-sewn gift items from Xander Wilds Design, handmade ceramic and pottery homeware from Karen Bolt Ceramics, scented soy candles from William West Candles, and other diverse gifts, including framed local photographs, paintings of local scenes, crochet home decor and handmade soaps.
Alongside shopping, there will be festive activities such as wreath making and creative Christmas craft activities for children, supported by the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum team.
On Friday, guests can enjoy a paid bar serving mulled wine and other drinks on the Corn Market outside the Guildhall, accompanied by live music from Windsor Upper Schools Choir, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Artisan Christmas Fair dates: Likely dates: 16th to 17th November 2023.
Location: Windsor Guildhall.
Opening times: Thursday: 11am to 5pm. Friday: 11am to 8pm.
4. Cookham Christmas Market
The Cookham Christmas Market in Maidenhead is a celebrated event, bringing together a fantastic selection of local small craft businesses for a distinctive shopping experience.
With a focus on supporting the local charity, The Baby Bank, the market showcases an array of artisanal products and unique finds.
Building on the previous year’s success, the market aims to recreate the magical atmosphere that made it a highlight of the festive season in Cookham.
Visitors can expect a warm and community-driven environment, making it an ideal destination for picking up special gifts and enjoying the spirit of Christmas.
Cookham Christmas Market dates: Likely date: 25th November 2023.
Location: Pinder Hall, Maidenhead.
Opening times: 10:30am to 4pm.
Admission: Adults: £3.00 (includes a donation and a fruit mince pie). Children: Free.
For valuable resources and handy information to make the most of your visit to Windsor, I suggest turning to the City of Windsor visitor information guide – a comprehensive, user-friendly platform designed with city explorers in mind.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Windsor at Christmas.
Opt for Public Transport or Walking: Windsor is a compact city with well-connected public transport services. You can easily minimise your carbon footprint by opting for buses or trains or, better yet, exploring the city on foot, especially when heading to the Christmas market.
Reduce Food Waste: At the Windsor Christmas Market, the array of delicious food can be tempting, but remember to only buy what you can eat.
Embrace Ethical Shopping: Many stalls in Windsor’s Christmas markets sell handmade or locally produced goods. By choosing these over mass-produced items, you’re supporting local businesses and reducing the demand for cheaply made products that often have a high environmental cost.
Incorporate More Plant-Based Foods in Your Diet: Windsor’s Christmas events offer vegetarian or vegan food options. Trying these broadens your culinary experience and promotes a more sustainable diet, reducing the environmental impact associated with meat production.
Choose Accommodation Powered by Renewable Energy: Some hotels in Windsor, like the Macdonald Windsor, are committed to using renewable energy sources. By staying at such establishments, you’re supporting the shift towards more sustainable energy.
Christmas at Windsor Castle takes place from 23rd November 2023 to 2nd January 2024. The Christmas places dates vary but are listed in the guide.
The Christmas markets across Windsor and Maidenhead and Windsor Castle have special events throughout Christmas and into the New Year.
Windsor’s winter temperatures typically range from 2°C to 8°C. It’s always wise to check the weather forecast before you visit and dress appropriately.
A winter visit to Windsor will bring you a mix of rich history, vibrant markets, and an impressive royal backdrop. I encourage you to enjoy the city’s offerings, including locally made goods and traditional cuisine, for a truly distinct experience. Don’t forget to wrap up warm!
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Windsor, United Kingdom. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.