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An Argyll Christmas: where to go for shopping & Santa!

An Argyll Christmas: where to go for shopping & Santa!
For a different shopping experience this Christmas, why not head to Argyll & the Isles? There are lots of opportunities to shop locally and you’ll find a host of lovely galleries and shops selling hand-crafted items. The region’s festive markets are a great way to pick up unique gifts and local, seasonal produce. So this year, avoid the crowds and enjoy Christmas shopping – Argyll style!

Christmas Markets
Nothing gets you in the festive mood like a Christmas Market, and in Argyll there are plenty to choose from! Often organised by local producers, these markets are a great way to pick up unique Christmas gifts as well as delicious artisan products, local meats and seasonal goodies. The Portavadie Festive Market (26th- 27th November) is a wonderful event in a stunning setting on the banks of Loch Fyne. Browse the stalls selling locally made Christmas cards, arts, crafts, baking, jewellery and more. Make a weekend of it and head to the Creggans Inn for the Creggans Christmas Cracker (27th November). This lovely inn sits at the top of Loch Fyne about a 40-minute drive from Portavadie. With carol singing, festive lunches, stalls, afternoon teas and Christmas cocktails, it’s a ‘cracking’ way to kick off the festive season.

On Kintyre the Malt Barns at Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown play host to the Explore Campbeltown Christmas Market (27th November) with over 60 local craft and food stalls. There will be plenty to keep kids occupied, with Santa's Grotto from 12 to 3pm. Out on Mull, the Craignure Christmas Producers' Market (27th November) features a wide range of island produce including Mull cheese, local pork, beef, venison and lamb, as well as variety of handmade breads, jams, vegetables, cards and crafts.

Head deep into Argyll’s Secret Coast for the Kames Christmas Market (3rd December). Organised by the local allotment group, this annual event is renowned for tables groaning with gorgeous crafts and gifts, artisan breads, local lamb and venison, chutneys, jams, sweet treats and more. Or for something a bit different, cross the ‘bridge over the Atlantic’ to the island of Seil near Oban for the Seil Christmas Craft Fair (4th December). There are Christmas markets on the ‘Bonnie, bonnie banks’ too. Farmers markets are held on the first and third Sunday of every month at Loch Lomond Shores, and December’s markets (4th & 18th) will have a distinctly festive flavour.

Say hello to Santa
Santa has a busy schedule in Argyll & the Isles this festive season! He’ll be making appearances at many of the festive markets and Christmas light switch on events. For an unforgettable Christmas experience, visit Santa’s Enchanted Village and meet his woodland friends at the Bird of Prey Centre at Loch Lomond Shores between 20 November and 24 December. Explore the woodland village and meet Santa in his log cabin. Or how about earning yourself an extra mince pie or two by taking part in a Santa Dash? You’ll find these short festive road runs taking place at events across Argyll, including Dunoon Dazzles and the Helensburgh Winter Festival. The Tobermory Santa Dash takes place on Sunday 18th December. The £5 entry includes your Santa suit, medal and mince pies and mulled wine at the MacDonald Arms Hotel. Register from 11.30am at the Tobermory Lifeboat Station on Mull.

Christmas shopping
Give the high street a miss this year and have a more laid back Christmas shopping experience in Argyll & the Isles. The region is home to some fantastic shops and galleries that showcase the work of local artists, makers and producers. Try Tighnabruaich Gallery on Argyll’s Secret Coast for an exquisite selection of gifts. And if you’re looking for a foodie gift, or something special to serve on Christmas Day, then take a look at Food From Argyll. It showcases Argyll’s food producers, from the region’s smokeries to its meat and game. Who wouldn’t want to unwrap a box of handmade chocolates from the Oban Chocolate Company on Christmas morning? You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to festive drinking. Argyll is home to 14 world-class distilleries and some great micro breweries, including Fyne Ales, the Bute Brew Company, Islay Ales and the Colonsay Brewery. Try Fyne Ales’ Holly Daze, a dark amber ale described as ‘an antidote to Christmas with no strange spices, just a really good stronger beer with a crisp fruity hop flavour and plenty of malt’.

Travel and accommodation
If you’re planning to spend Christmas in Argyll, then you’ll be pleased to hear that many hotels in the region offer special seasonal rates and packages. You’ll need to check ferry timetables if you’re planning to travel on or around Christmas Day.

Take a look at our Events Diary for more festive events in Argyll & the Isles.

Header photo: Festive Market at Dunoon Dazzles.
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Kames Christmas MarketSanta DashFestive Market
Santa at Dunoon DazzlesTighnabruaich GalleryFestive Market
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