Christmas is very nearly here, and with the colder weather soon comes the sound of sleigh bells, brightly lit Bavarian market stalls and the smell of mulled wine at town centres across Britain.

In the famous words of Love Actually, if you really love Christmas… why not make a weekend of visiting the best Christmas markets around. (Or I think it’s something to that effect.)

We’ve come up with what has to be a madcap way to spend a weekend feeling festive without travelling to a real German market, but it has to come with a caveat. Driving in December is very safe if you’re prepared and plan ahead, but as we’ve seen in recent weeks the weather can be surprising so don’t take any risks just to get some mulled wine.

Take this as a guide though, as we talk you through travelling to three of the best markets but some hints to others you might want to add in along the way.