Christmas Markets in the UK are some of the best, places like Winchester have often been voted the best Christmas Market in Europe. You know you’re going to get in the festive spirit with these locations.
It’s one of the most popular events during this time of year, with thousands of visitors flocking to see what’s on offer at each location. From traditional German food stalls selling sausages and mugs of steaming hot spiced cider, to French patisseries serving up delicious pastries and cakes, there are plenty of options for everyone. And if you want something more unusual then why not try some local craft beers or wines?
Let’s get in the festive vibe with these 17 Best Christmas Markets in the UK.
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1. Manchester Christmas Markets
Dates: December 8 – December 22, 2021
Launched in 1999 in St. Annes Square, the award-winning Manchester Christmas Markets are some of the best in the northwest. Unlike some, the Manchester markets are stretched out across the town centre and attract millions of visitors annually.
These Christmas markets are the perfect place to meet for a festive mulled wine with friends or if you are looking to purchase the perfect Yuletide gift for that special someone. Even though they are spread out, Manchester is a pretty small town, so it does not take long to get around it.
Other attractions include the mesmerising lights display at Piccadilly Gardens, or why not try out your ice skating skills on the ice rink at Cathedral Gardens?
2. Winchester Christmas Markets
Dates: November 19 – December 8, 2021
Consistently voted one of the UK’s best Christmas markets, Winchester has been voted the second-best place in the UK for its markets which are held in none other than Winchester Cathedral itself.
Let go of all worries by immersing yourself in the hustle and bustle of these lively Christmas markets. German delicacies are aplenty in this place, including succulent Bratwurst hot dogs and raisin and walnut stollen. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it!
3. Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Dates: November 12, 2021 – January 5, 2022
Edinburgh Christmas Markets are one of the most popular in the UK. Known for its festivals, Edinburgh is not shy when it comes to providing for tourists. The Edinburgh Christmas markets not only cater to the public with ample food and drink but fun attractions such as the Ferris wheel and the star flyer can also be enjoyed by couples and families.
While the main markets are based in East Princes Street Gardens – with the breathtaking Edinburgh Castle as the backdrop – there are more along the Royal Mile, which is just a short walk away.
Fancy a romantic, illuminated walk? Then look no further than the Street of Light, whereby 60,000 lights are put on display annually. This happens on George Street or the Royal Mile and is a truly magical sight.
If you have visited Edinburgh city before, you will know that parking can be a nightmare, so our advice would be to use public transport that is reasonably priced and frequent.
4. Bath Christmas Market
Dates: November 24 – December 19, 2021
Known for its beautiful architecture, Bath also has some great Christmas markets where you can feast on tasty potato pancakes and enjoy a delicious mug of creamy hot cocoa.
Each stall is run by an independent business, serving the public with food, drinks or unique handcrafted gifts. The markets are all within walking distance of one another and can be found around the town centre and nearby the stunning Bath Cathedral.
However, the most exciting attraction is the Victorian merry-go-round, which is a hit with both adults and children every year. The town of Bath is known for its stunning architecture, which looks even more magical at Christmas.
5. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Dates: November 19, 2021 – January 3, 2022
If you are celebrating Christmas in London this year, pay a visit to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Here you will find over 100 wooden huts serving visitors the finest German delicacies and festive drinks. Handmade trinkets and ornaments can be purchased if you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift.
Not only is this place blanketed by fairy-lit stalls, but there is also an ice rink, fairground rides, and it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa’s grotto! There is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland, but although entry is free, many of the rides are not, so think ahead and book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Driving to this location can be a bit of a nightmare as the roads in London are particularly busy. Public transport is the best way of getting to Winter Wonderland.
Here’s more London Christmas Markets you can visit!
6. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market
Dates: November 4 – December 22, 2021
The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is known as the largest market outside of Germany and Austria. With over 80 fairy-lit wooden huts, the markets stretch across the city centre, serving visitors freshly baked churros with chocolate and steaming mugs of mulled wine. Handcrafted decorations and framed festive pictures, as well as unique toys and games for children, can be purchased.
The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market is easily one of the best Christmas markets in the UK. Therefore, it is also one of the busiest, particularly over the weekend. If the hustle and bustle isn’t quite your thing, a good tip is to arrive around lunchtime when they are just warming up.
Again, public transport is heavily advised, and the New Street train station is just a few minutes walk from the markets that offer free entry to everyone.
7. Belfast Christmas Markets
Dates: November 20 – December 23, 2021
Known as Northern Ireland’s main Christmas market, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The adorable Alpine huts keep customers satisfied by serving up tasty treats and drinks. There are even two large heated beer tents for those who want to sit down and enjoy a stein of beer or glühwein (mulled wine).
If that isn’t enough, there are also fairground rides for both adults and children to enjoy before visiting Santa in his grotto. The Belfast Christmas Markets are erected outside Belfast City Hall, which is a remarkable building on its own. In fact, once you have finished at the markets, why not take a tour of the City Hall for free?
8. Southbank City Centre Christmas Markets
Dates are yet to be confirmed, but they usually run from mid-November to early January.
What could be better than enjoying tasty treats and hot beverages whilst overlooking the Thames? Get yourself down to the Southbank City Centre Christmas markets to experience it for yourself!
Spend the evening perusing the authentic wooden stalls for a new Christmas tree decoration, or maybe you are meeting up with friends for a festive tipple. Book a meal at The Jimmy Lodge Snow Globes, which can accommodate up to 10 people, so you can fine dine under the stars. There is always the rustic, vine-covered pergola at Applebee’s Fish, where friends and family can meet up for a well-deserved meal and a catch-up.
Don’t forget to get a selfie with the gigantic Christmas tree before you leave!
9. York St Nicholas Christmas Markets
Dates: November 18 – December 23, 2021
Without a doubt, York is one of the most beautiful towns in the UK. With its cobbled streets and quaint timber-framed houses, York rakes in its visitors all year round, particularly during the festive period.
The York St Nicholas Christmas markets are spread out along Parliament Street and all the way down to St Sampsons Square. Here you will find numerous Alpine-style chalets serving nothing but the best festive food, drink and gifts.
If you are a real foodie, then the York Christmas markets will not disappoint. Many stalls offer a choice of local cheeses, jams, chutneys and don’t forget to warm yourself up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate (you deserve that extra shot of Baileys!).
The vintage funfair in King’s Square is great fun if you have children, with the helter-skelter and the merry-go-round being a top favourite! Strategically placed next to the funfair is a vendor selling mulled wine and cider if you fancy treating yourself to a little tipple!
10. Leeds Christkindelmarkt
Dates: November 6 – December 18, 2021
Held annually at Millenium Square, Leeds Christkindelmarkt is one of the most established Christmas markets in the UK. Draped in twinkling fairy lights and festive decor, the square is transformed into a magical winter wonderland.
Authentic wooden huts serve visitors with the finest German and Scandinavian delicacies as well as handmade jewellery, toys and unique Christmas tree decorations.
You can’t leave without calling in for Breakfast with Santa, of course! Book in at Alp Chalet to dine with him before burning the calories off with a walk around the fairground rides. Breakfast with Santa is a ticketed event, so an early booking is highly recommended.
11. Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market
Dates: December 9 – December 12, 2021
‘To be, or not to be. That is the question.’
Take a step back in time by visiting the award-winning Victorian Christmas markets. Located in the hometown of William Shakespeare, the Christmas markets cover several streets across the town centre and boast over 300 stalls. Each trader is dressed head-to-toe for the occasion in traditional Victorian garments. Enjoy your day by perusing the markets which sell festive treats and gifts suitable for all. A community craft fair will also be held at the town hall on Sheep Street if you are feeling creative.
Last year, the Victorian Christmas markets had over 100,000 visitors, so arrive before lunchtime if you want to browse in peace! The opening times differ depending on which day you plan your visit, but they are roughly open between 10 am and 8 pm.
12. Cardiff Christmas Market
Dates: December 11 – December 23, 2021
The Cardiff Christmas Market is one of, if not the best in Wales. Get that festive feeling by indulging in delicious chocolate treats along with a cheeky mulled cider. Why not? It’s Christmas! Traditional welsh cakes can also be purchased along with ceramic goods and homemade gifts.
A visit to the Gingerbreadmun House is a must. Treat the children to a sweet gingerbread man decorated with colourful icing and smiley faces. This can be found outside Cardiff Central Library. Santa’s Grotto is also worth a visit at the Black Tower at Cardiff Castle, a 13th-century landmark.
Getting to the markets is easy as there are plenty of places to park your cars, such as local Park and Ride locations or an NCP. Alternatively, the bus and train services run frequently if you want to stay for a hot toddy or two!
13. Nottingham Christmas Market
Dates: December 4 – December 24, 2021
Overlooked by a 32-meter high observation wheel, the Nottingham Christmas market is the largest in the East Midlands. With over 70 Bavarian-style wooden chalets, there is something for everyone, including continental food, local cheeses, handcrafted wooden toys and home accessories.
The stalls stretch out across Old Market Square, Long Row and Smithy Row so visitors can browse the market without feeling too crowded. The 18-meter high Christmas tree is always a firm favourite and creates an exciting, festive atmosphere. There are also a variety of small rides for the young ones to enjoy – that should tire them out!
Although there may be a small mug deposit to pay if you fancy a beverage, entry is free. If visiting by car, there are plenty of multi-storey car parks that can be found dotted around the town. Nottingham also has a main train station, as well as two bus stations and a reliable tram network.
Due to the pandemic, the event has been scaled down, so do not hesitate to check out the website for full details.
14. Chester Christmas Markets
Dates: November 18 – December 22, 2021
The Chester Christmas markets are one of the best in Cheshire. Celebrated in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from Chester Cathedral and Chester Town Hall, the markets boast 70 wooden fairy-lit chalets. Everything from succulent Yorkshire pudding wraps and hot toddies is sold here, including stocking fillers and authentic festive gifts.
Have a pit stop at the Real Ale bar for a hot mulled wine before tucking into a tasty hog roast barm. The cathedral city of Chester is a beautiful place, so feel free to explore the cobbled streets to work off all of those mince pies!
Getting around Chester is simple with its well-connected trains and frequent buses; there really is no need to take the car. However, if driving, there are many park and ride locations as well as multiple car parks. Entry to the market is completely free. It is open daily but with differing closing times. From Thursday to Saturday, the market closes at 8 pm. From Sunday to Wednesday, the markets close at an earlier time of 6:30 pm.
15. Lincoln Christmas Market
Dates: 2nd – 5th December 2021
Open for just three days, this traditional market is located in the stunning Cathedral Quarter. Browse over 200 Bavarian-themed huts selling a wide selection of continental delicacies, hot beverages and plenty of handcrafted Yuletide gifts and accessories.
Based between the gothic cathedral and the magnificent Norman Castle, the Lincoln Christmas markets make for the perfect day out with the family.
Why not make a pit stop to St Paul-in-the-Bail, a 12th-century church that offers children the chance to write and decorate letters to Santa Claus. The finished product is then posted into the Christmas Postbox, where its destination is none other than the North Pole itself!
If you have time, take a walk along Lincoln Castle with its illuminated walls. This event runs from 6 pm to 9 pm and offers visitors the chance to wander through mesmerising displays of twinkling fairy lights with refreshments to follow afterwards on the castle grounds.
16. Rochester Christmas Markets
Dates: Yet to be confirmed
The breath-taking view of the 11th century Rochester Castle should be enough to persuade anybody to visit the Rochester Christmas markets!
This Kent-based market attracts over 130,000 visitors every year and can be found in Rochester’s Castle Gardens. Scour the stalls for authentic handmade gifts before treating yourself to a juicy hot dog followed by a delicious mug of hot chocolate. The markets coincide with the infamous Dickensian Victorian Festival, where costumed characters entertain visitors with carol-singing and parades.
The opening days and times are still yet to be confirmed. You can keep up to date by visiting this website.
17. Norwich Christmas Markets
Dates: Yet to be confirmed.
Norwich takes the festive season very seriously, so instead of just one market, it holds several across the city, all on the same weekend. The Norwich Global Christmas Market is the largest and is located in The Forum, where only the finest authentic handcrafted gifts and paintings can be purchased.
Step outside the doors and enjoy churros with chocolate and festive mince pies before slurping on a hot mug of mulled cider (that’ll keep your hands warm!). The Norwich Christmas Fayre can be found over at the cathedral, where, unfortunately, more indulging is required.
Looking for meat-free choices? Look no further than the Vegan Christmas Market held at Open Norwich, where the tastiest of vegan treats can be enjoyed – all cruelty-free, of course.
One of the most anticipated attractions is, of course, the Tunnel of Light which is one of the largest in Europe. This 45-meter spectacle consists of 57,000 LED bulbs and over five miles of cabling. Pretty impressive, huh?
Other events worth checking out are the Norwich Castle projections, where the Norwich BID team showcases a new projection each year. So wrap up warm and enjoy the show! Or perhaps you fancy getting crafty with festive wreath making at the Maids Head Hotel, in which a festive brunch – along with a mandatory glass of fizz- is included in the price.
Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.