7 of the best Christmas Markets in the UK

Ho-Ho-Ho!

Sorry, is it too soon for festive jollity?

We think not!

Christmas shopping can be stressful but if you let yourself be seduced by the glittering fairy lights, Santa’s grottoes (all housing the real Father Christmas of course) and the warmly welcoming aroma of mince pies, gingerbread and maybe even a hot toddy or two it doesn’t seem so tough.

Of course there are spectacular markets across Europe which are very tempting but home-grown has its own appeal. Here are a few of the biggest and best Christmas Markets up and down the country. If your favourite’s not here, drop us a line in the comments.

Bath Christmas Market

We love Bath and at Christmas time it becomes rather special with 180 stalls lining the streets around the historic Roman Baths and beautiful Abbey. This year the market’s going green so watch out for decorations made from recycled plastic bags and bottles.

Grab a photo by the Christmas tree at Bath Christmas Market ©nicksmithphotography.com
Bath Christmas Market stalls © bathtourism.co.uk
Wander through the market and discover the magic of Bath at Christmas © bathtourism.co.uk

Open from Thursday 28 November to Sunday 15 December 2019

On Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets local makers, designers and businesses offer everything from unique home-ware to personalised presents, Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewellery and more.

Throughout the market, there’ll be tasty food to satisfy any appetite and aromatic mulled wine to warm the cockles of your heart (or anywhere else alcohol reaches!)

For more details see their website

And read about what we think are the unmissable sights of Bath all year round.

Winchester Christmas Market

The historic Cathedral Close is home to an open-air ice-rink surrounded by dozens of wooden chalets with everything from elegant jewellery to gifts and decorations. You won’t go hungry or thirsty either with stalls selling mulled wine, bratwurst, mince pies and stollen.

Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink © Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink © Winchester Cathedral
Market stalls at Winchester Christmas Market © Winchester Cathedral
Market stalls at Winchester Christmas Market © Winchester Cathedral

Open from Thursday 21 November to Sunday 22 December 2019

The market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and attracts around half a million visitors each year. All the exhibitors are hand-picked for their interesting and often unique products, many of which can’t be bought on the high street. More details on Winchester Cathedral’s website 

London – Southbank Centre Winter Market

Eat drink and be merry beside the River Thames with seasonal goodies, sparkling lights, mulled wine and a real festive feeling. A host of pop-ups will keep foodies happy too.

Traders from around the world bring an array of handmade goodies and delicious street food to the riverside with stalls offering Asian, Indian and Greek cuisines, traditional winter favourites like raclette and bratwurst and sweet treats.

Winter market at the Southbank Centre © Southbank Centre Winter Market
Eat, drink and be merry beside the River Thames at the Winter Market © Southbank Centre Winter Market
Southbank Centre Winter Market © India Roper-Evans / Southbank Centre
Southbank Centre Winter Market © India Roper-Evans / Southbank Centre

Open from now until Sunday 22 December 2019

And you might like to pop back for their New Year’s Eve Spectacular when the world-famous Royal Festival Hall is transformed with five floors of themed club nights, seven bars, two live acts, twelve DJs, eight dance lessons, and outdoor spaces offering the perfect view of the UK’s largest annual fireworks display.

More details of the market and events on Southbank Centre’s website 

London – Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland

This is arguably the capital’s biggest festive draw. Entrance to the Wonderland itself is free but you have to pay for the attractions. And there are plenty to chose from.

Stroll through the market stalls at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland © IMG
Stroll through the market stalls at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland © IMG
Toasting marshmallows over the firepit at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland © Stephen Frak IMG
Toast marshmallows over the firepit © Stephen Frak IMG

New this year are Peter Pan on Ice, the Teletubbies Christmas Show, Ice Sculpting Workshops, and a Comedy Club and the ice-rink’s even bigger this year.

You’ll need to book early for the most popular attractions.

Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park on Thursday 21 November 2019 and runs til Sunday 5 January 2020.

Full details on their website 

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Get in the Christmas spirit with a traditional market in the heart of the city.

East Princes St Gardens is the romantic setting with crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises.

Edinburgh Christmas Market, Princes Street © Digital Triangle Creative Ltd
Edinburgh Christmas Market, Princes Street © Digital Triangle Creative Ltd
Market stalls at Edinburgh Christmas Market © Lloydsmithphotograph.com
Market stalls at Edinburgh Christmas Market © Lloydsmithphotograph.com

Open Saturday 16 November 2019 to Saturday 4 January 2020.

And while you’re there look out for the Winter Windows display – a magical pathway of stained-glass windows on the theme of kindness. You can see them in West Parliament Square near St Giles Cathedral, Great Michael Rise in Newhaven, North Street, Ratho, the Royston/Wardieburn Community Centre in Pilton and St Patrick Square. More details on their website 

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market

Birmingham plays host to the largest German-inspired Christmas fair outside of mainland Europe. The whole market is European in flavour so expect pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, and roasted almonds which can be washed down with traditional glühwein, weissbeer or tasty hot chocolate.

Birmingham Christmas Market ©Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd
Birmingham Christmas Market ©Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd
Birmingham Christmas Market and lights ©Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd
Birmingham all lit up for Christmas ©Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd

Open Thursday 7 November to Monday 23 December 2019

The market is a firm fixture in the city’s annual calendar and signals to locals and visitors  alike that Christmas is just around the corner. All the details on their website 

Manchester Christmas Markets

Not one, not two but eight different locations for more than 300 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spread across the city centre.

Birds eye view of Manchester Christmas Market © Mark Waugh
Birds eye view of Manchester Christmas Market © Mark Waugh

They run from Friday 8 November to Saturday 21 December 2019 with the market in Albert Square opening for an extra day on Sunday 22 December.

Manchester Christmas Market © Mark Waugh
Manchester Christmas Market, Exchange Square © Mark Waugh

Follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and beautiful bonsai to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.

And don’t miss the food and drink – Manchester’s Christmas Markets offer bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, a Spanish paella or an old-fashioned hog roast. More details on their website

Happy shopping!

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