ADVERTORIAL • November 2023

Six reasons why Hanover is a hidden holiday gem

Longing for the true magic of the festive season? Less than an hour and a half by plane from London, laidback Hanover has it all: Christmas markets, some of the best shopping in Germany and even a circus. Discover its many charms this Yuletide…

01 Christmas market

For Christmas market magic

In Hanover’s historic Old Town, the festive scene is set with cheerful, snow-sprinkled wooden chalets, aromas of mulled mead and fresh-from-the-fryer Schmalzkuchen doughnuts. Here, holiday spirits soar, and traditional timber-framed houses sparkle among the Christmas lights. The jovial city has not one, but three merry markets to explore. The one on Marktplatz promises a truly traditional experience, with beautifully decorated stalls and handcrafted wooden toys and gifts that are perfect for scooping up as original presents. Just a short stroll away, a mediaeval-themed market (known as Craftsman Alley) is renowned for its creative offerings and lively atmosphere. And, for a Scandinavian twist, venture to the Finnish village, where specialities include succulent flamed salmon. There’s even a fairy-tale-like Wishing Well Forest and an 18m-high Christmas pyramid.
From 21 November

02 Adventure zoo

For a dazzling dreamland at the Adventure Zoo

Once the animals are tucked in for the night, the enchanting light displays come to life on this 2km outdoor loop at one of Germany’s oldest zoos, dating back to 1865. From glimmering giraffes to luminescent lions and a sparkling Santa in his sleigh, the Christmas Garden leads you through elaborately themed worlds of imaginative illuminations alongside specially composed music created by exceptional artists. This year, never-before-seen installations will add to the magic, as will the traditional snack stands offering festive favourites such as spiced mulled wine or velvety hot chocolate.  
From 17 November

03 Wilderness

For a pinch-me performance at the Palace

Originally built in the 17th century, Herrenhausen (the former summer residence of the Guelph Royal family), is located just 5km north of Hanover’s city centre. The Palace’s grand Baroque-style gardens take centre stage, with the stunning Orangery serving as the venue for a variety of art exhibitions and performances. You won’t want to miss this year’s winter show, Wilderness, performed by the GOP Varieté Theatre Hanover. The extravagant, acrobatic adventure follows a hermit living in the forest and features astonishing bicycle stunts with can’t-believe-your-eyes flair.  
From 17 November 

04 Kropcke

For shopping in style at Kröpcke Passage

Sunlight streaming in through a domed glass roof, elegant marble interiors and warm Mediterranean hues take present hunting to another luxurious level at Kröpcke Passage, one of the largest pedestrian areas in Germany. There’s everything from department stores to chic boutiques, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. For style superstars and beauty buffs, discover glamorous garments, fine fragrances and luxurious cosmetics at Platz der Weltausstellung – where there’s even a dedicated street (Grosse Packhofstrasse) for shoe-aholics. And, for literature lovers, Hugendubel (Hanover’s biggest bookshop) is an unmissable destination.

05 Circus

For flips and tricks at Hanover’s Christmas circus

Imagine a world where it’s easier to walk on your hands than on your feet, and spinning in a ring suspended in mid-air feels safer than walking on the ground. That’s what’s in store at the Christmas Circus’ show, the Grand Prix of Artists. In a large, heated tent at the Schützenplatz, expect festive decorations and fearless displays from award-winning performers from across the globe, including Hangzhou’s Kung Fu Boys, one of whom gained a Guinness World Record for climbing up 15 steps on his head. So, who among them is the greatest? It’s up to the audience to decide.
From 21 December 

06 Monets Garden

For moments of calm at Monet’s Garden

From present hunting to soirée hosting, the holiday hustle can feel exhilarating, and a blissful break from the Christmas prep can boost your appreciation for it all. This immersive, multi-media exhibition at the Schützenplatz arrives just in time for the festive season and explores the masterpieces and mindset of the founder of Impressionism. Intricate installations and projections, paired with sounds and scents, set the colour-captivating scene throughout three experience areas: Monet’s studio, his garden in Giverny and, the grand finale, the artist’s paintings. Here, just observing seems obsolete – it’s about immersing yourself in the scenery and becoming a part of it.
From 23 November

British Airways flies direct from London to Hanover in one hour and 35 minutes. For more information and city break ideas, click here

Photo credits
Christmas Market Hannover (© HMTG/Christian Wyrwa) / Christmas Garden Hannover (© HMTG/Bea Krüttner) / Monet's Garden ( © Lukas Schulze) / Winter Varieté Wilderness (© GOP Varieté) / Catwalk Acrobats 5th Grand Prix of Artists (© Weihnachtscircus Hannover)

This article has been tagged Advertorial, Destination