Dreaming of mulled wine, mince pies, and colourful fairy lights? Then Christmas markets are the place to go, and the UK has some of the best around. As a fond English tradition, the beautiful and bustling Christmas markets can be found in some of the most spectacular cities. A day out at the Christmas market can be perfect for a festive family day, a superb shopping spree, or just an opportunity to try out some of the delicious food and drinks on offer.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, 18 November to 2 January
This market is a must-see attraction in London. The UK’s largest outdoor ice rink can be found here, as well as an ice bar and plenty of festive food stalls. There are fairground rides, beautiful fairy lights, and even the opportunity to hire a karaoke hut. Entrance to the Winter Wonderland is free of charge, although the attractions inside the market do have a cost. Stroll among over 100 charming wooden market huts as you search for the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
South Bank Christmas Markets, 3 November to 26 December
This Christmas market is only open until Boxing Day, so make sure to take a trip before the New Year. Situated on the riverside, close to the London Eye, the South Bank Christmas Market is known for the street food market vendors who will be offering festive delicacies through November and December. As well as the traditional wooden huts housing Christmas gifts galore, there are adorable little igloos that can be booked to enjoy warming drinks and tasty festive food.
Birmingham Christmas Market, 5 November to 23 December
Birmingham hosts the biggest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. It is an unmissable experience, with gluhwein, German beer, and bratwurst all available to enjoy alongside the cheerful sound of carol singers and live music. A particularly unique aspect of this market is the singing Christmas Moose, who can be seen in front of the Council House in the city centre, serenading shoppers as they browse the market stalls.
Manchester Christmas Market, 8 November to 19 December
Manchester hosts not just one Christmas market, but eight of them across the city centre. This multitude of festive fun brings together more than 300 stalls, selling delicious food, gorgeous gifts, and creative crafts. The heart of the markets can be found in Albert Square. Visitors head to Manchester for this festive treat from far and wide.
York Christmas Market, 17 November to 23 December
With its pretty historic streets, York is transformed into a winter wonderland. The traditional wooden chalets are decorated with beautiful twinkling lights and a vintage carousel is the perfect touch to creating a wonderful atmosphere. Roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate are available to enjoy as you take a leisurely stroll around the market. Check out the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village for local Yorkshire produce. When you’re ready to take a break from shopping, the impressive Thor’s Tipi is a great place to have a rest and a hot drink.
Norwich Christmas Market, 25 November to 28 November
This market is only open for a few days during the festive period, but it is well worth a visit if you can travel to Norwich during this weekend. Food and crafts are central to this lovely festival, which has an emphasis on local businesses and produce. It is held in the large glass building opposite St Peter Mancroft, which is Norwich’s oldest medieval church. Take a look at the homemade pottery, jewellery, artwork, and ales to find an ideal Christmas gift for the special someone in your life.
Edinburgh Christmas Market, 13 November to 3 January
Edinburgh is a great place to go for a weekend city break all year round, but it becomes even more special during the Christmas season. The city hosts a number of different festive markets at various locations around the centre. Choose from the European Market in the Mound Precinct, the Children’s Market in the Princes Street Gardens, and the Scottish Market in George Street. For fans of fairground fun, check out the Big Wheel or the Star Flyer. You may even be persuaded to stay longer in Edinburgh to take part in the world famous Hogmanay street party celebrations for New Year’s Eve, which can be found in and around Princes Street.
Visiting a Christmas market this month? Book your parking space here.