Not a fan of Birmingham’s German Christmas Market? Bored with beer and bratwursts?
Then what about this hidden winter wonderland instead.
The area under Suffolk Street in front of the Mailbox has been turned into a Christmas market where you can eat, drink and shop right up till Christmas.
It’s become one of the city’s festive secrets, even though it’s only a stone’s throw from the German Market in Victoria Square and New Street.
The City Social is running until December 22 and is open from 12pm to 9pm each day.
In the underpass, you can find Christmas chalets selling local food, drink and gifts – and at weekends there is music entertainment from local acoustic artists, DJs and live bands.
As well as sofas and outdoor heaters, you can warm up with a hot chocolate, hot Pimms or Jameson’s warm whiskey cocktails.
City Social Birmingham is organised by AllinAll Hospitality events company, who previously ran it as a three-day event that was part of the Birmingham Weekender.
And this is not the only escape from the German Market, which many complain to be overcrowded and overpriced and not what they want at all.
So what else is there? What other markets are happening in and around Birmingham?
9 OTHER FESTIVE MARKETS TO ENJOY
Festive mini-market at Ice Rink and Big Wheel
WHEN: Until January 7, 2018
WHERE: Eastside Green, New Canal Street, Digbeth, Birmingham
The ice rink and big wheel moved to new home for 2017 because of redevelopment work at their previous city centre location in Centenary Square.
The Ice Lounge, a winter-themed bar that runs alongside the skating rink, has also moved to the new site.
New for this year is a festive mini-market of food and drink stalls – offering some similar items to those at the German Market but also lots of different options including a traditional English Christmas dinner in a Yorkshire pudding.
Kings Heath Christmas Market
WHEN: Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10
WHERE: All Saints Church Hall, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath
Kings Heath is counting down to the big day with a Christmas market is at All Saints Church Hall, Vicarage Road.
It follows the switch-on of the Village Square Christmas lights on December 3.
The free two-day event features art, craft and street food traders, plus a programme of entertainment as well as licensed bars, seating and more. Santa will also be making an appearance.
The market will be on from 10am to 6pm each day.
Solihull Christmas Market
WHEN: Until December 6
WHERE: Mell Square and High Street, Solihull
Soliohull BID announced the return of the Christmas market to Solihull. This year it is in Mell Square and High Street.
There’s hot food and refreshments and more than 60 stalls selling luxury gifts, decorations and much more.
Browse the stalls for seasonal treats and stocking fillers. There will also be weekly entertainment in Mell Square every Saturday up to and including December 16, from Dickensian characters to camels and school choirs.
The market is open friom 10am to 6pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 8pm (bar may be open later) Thursday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday.
Christmas Arts Market
WHEN: December 2, 3, 9, 10, 2017
WHERE: MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston
The free arts market is on from 11am to 5pm on those four dates and features a festive selection of work from designer makers in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.
As many as 3,000 visitors a day are expected at these markets, which take place throughout the MAC building from the ground floor public spaces to the first floor gallery.
Christmas Floating Market
WHEN: December 9 and 10
WHERE: Canal next to Arena Birmingham
The Roving Canal Traders Association says that its Christmas Floating Market is set to return on Saturday, December 9, and Sunday, December 10, from 10am to 5pm each day.
It will be on the canal alongside Arena Birmingham (the former Barclaycard Arena and, before that, the National Indoor Arena), near the National Sea Life Centre.
The floating market was first held in 2015. Last year, there were around 12 narrowboats trading on the canal for nine days.
Great Stone Christmas Market
WHEN: December 14, 2017
WHERE: Great Stone Inn, Church Road, Northfield, Birmingham
This annual festive market is on from 4pm to 8pm and offers hot pork and stuffing baps, a chocolate fountain, Christmas stalls, live music and a free raffle.
The pub is known for the Ice Age boulder that stands outside – it was deposited there by a glacier thousands of years ago although some people wrongly believe it to be a meteorite.
Victorian Christmas Market
WHEN: December 15 to 17
The three-day market is being held in Wolverhampton from December 15 to 17.
More than 100 stalls are expected to fill the streets at the heart of the city with “the colours, sounds and irresistible aromas of Christmas”, say organisers.
It will be located on Wulfruna Street, the Civic Centre Ceremonial car park, St Peterâs car park and the pedestrian area outside the University of Wolverhamptonâs Ambika Paul building.
Festive Food Market
WHEN: December 17, 2017
WHERE: MAC Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham
The MAC is offering shpppers a festive feast, with a range of food and edible gifts from a range of top-quality local, artisan suppliers, from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday, December 17. Admission is free.
Taking over MAC’s foyer area, the market will also extend outside into Cannon Hill Park, offering a truly wintry feel and a welcome alternative to the crowded city-centre markets.
You can find pies, preserves, chocolate, cakes, vegan food, Caribbean cuisine, organic produce, fermented foods and lots more.
Hatton Shopping Village Christmas Markets
WHEN: Weekends until December 17 and every day from December 18 to 22
WHERE: Hatton Country World, Hatton, near Warwick
Hatton Shopping Village, part of Hatton Country World in Warwickshire, is to host its popular Christmas markets every weekend until 17 December 17 and every day from December 18 to 22.
There will be a diverse range of stalls from local suppliers selling gifts. At the weekends visitors can also enjoy carol singing, mulled punch and mince pies.
Carron Smith, marketing manager at Hatton, said: “Weâre delighted to be hosting a number of special Christmas shopping events at Hatton.
“Visitors can spend the entire day at Hatton with shopping, a pub lunch, country walk and then a festive afternoon tea. It sounds like an ideal way to do Christmas shopping and just how shopping should be.”
The Hatton Estate has a range of restaurants and cafes, with food including turkey lunches and a festive afternoon tea with homemade scones, cakes, classic sandwiches, tea/coffee and a glass of prosecco for £10.95 per person (minimum of two people).