Top Christmas Markets in the UK

Top Christmas Markets in the UK

Thankfully, as soon as winter strikes, there are Christmas markets galore throughout the UK. Not only do they provide entertainment, food, drink and fun, but they’re also a great way to pick up personal and unique presents for your nearest and dearest.

So, if you’re planning a romantic winter getaway or some pre-Christmas shopping, here are some suggestions for the top Christmas markets to visit in the UK. Plus, check out our top cottages to stay for this Christmas and New Year. You’ll be enjoying a mug of mulled wine and feasting on mince pies in no time. 

Edinburgh Christmas Markets

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is the ideal place for a Christmas market, thanks to its atmospheric setting of bustling streets, Georgian architecture and a stunning castle.

Wrap up and warm your hands around a warm mug of gluhwein in the East Princes Street Gardens or enjoy the magic of a special Christmas tree maze, too. A nativity carol concert, ice skating, big wheel and Santa’s Grotto are the icing on the Christmas cake.

People shopping in the Christmas markets in York

York, England

York Christmas Market is one of the largest in the UK. St Nicholas Christmas Fair is set against the stunning, historic cityscape of York with its historic, cobbled streets adding to the magical atmosphere.

The centre of York is dominated by its Alpine-themed Christmas market in winter, with an array of local sellers stocking goodies such as gin, fudge, chocolates and chutneys. Plus, there are fantastic refreshment stalls where you can buy treats such as hot chocolate with a shot of your favourite spirit for good measure.

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, York’s cosy pubs will also provide a warm welcome.

Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester, England

Manchester offers a different kind of Christmas market. It’s vast and it’s easy to feel as though the whole city is celebrating with one giant festive fair.

Bustling and busy, just like the city it’s set in, the market offers hundreds of stalls stuffed full of crafts and snacks, as well as plentiful pop-up bars, and foodie highlights such as goulash, stollen, and raclette – melted Swiss cheese with pickles and potatoes.

Carousel Christmas fair in Hyde park

Hyde Park, London, England

While there are multiple markets to attend in London, it’s Hyde Park that’s at the heart of the action. It really has it all.

Don your gloves, wrap up in a scarf and explore the English capital’s chilly Winter Wonderland market for six weeks of fun. The park is truly transformed with a giant tree and lights, while fairground rides and Santa himself makes it great pick for those with little ones.

For 2022 you will need to book in advance but it’s well worth the hassle for the ice rink, ice sculpture attraction, Christmas circus, giant wheel, ice slide and rollercoasters. When you’re ready to unwind there’s also a street food ‘village’ and an ice bar.

Winter wonderland Ice rink in Cardiff

Cardiff, Wales

There’s a real local artisan vibe at Cardiff’s Christmas market, where you’ll find around 200 stalls to peruse. Here, the Welsh capital’s very own artists, creatives, crafts folk and makers are showcased splendidly. It’s a fantastic place to pick up locally made gifts including handmade jewellery, ceramics, prints, chocolates and wines.

When you need a pick me up to carry on with your shopping spree, you’ll find plenty of food and drink, from hot roasted nuts to hot roasted meat sandwiches.

Christmas lights in a town in Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, is full of history and drama. So, the town’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, four-day festive market with a Victorian theme fits in beautifully. Stratford-upon-Avon’s streets are adorned with stalls manned by sellers in Victorian-style dress for that bygone era feel for those that like things that little bit quirky.

As if that wasn’t worth making the journey for alone, Stratford is a fantastic place for indulging in Christmas food and drink, or purchasing crafts as gifts.

Winchester Cathedral lit up at night

Winchester, England

For something that’s full of atmosphere and Christmas charm, head to Winchester Cathedral, which makes for a brilliant backdrop to all kinds of festive fun.

The cathedral choir offers concerts and performances throughout December. While, an ice rink, craft village, jazz music and wooden chalets full of seasonal treats, means there’s plenty to see and do to make you feel even more festive.

Christmas lights through Chester town

Chester, England

Another picturesque destination in its own right, the romantic, Roman, walled city of Chester provides the type of Christmas market you’d expect. Nestled in between its town hall and cathedral the market is filled with wooden chalets selling toys, crafts and treats. Peering over the scene is a large Christmas tree that’s covered in lights.

Christmas markets in Birmingham

Birmingham, England

It’s claimed that the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of the biggest outside of Germany. Spread out across the city centre, here you can shop for wooden decorations and traditional wooden toys, whilst feasting on pretzels, gingerbread, stollen and more. Wash it down with a hearty stein of beer or a mug of mulled wine.

There are rides too, plus carols and even a ‘singing moose’, so you will easily get into the festive spirit.

If you don’t find what you need in the market, the famous Bullring shopping district is nearby for even more retail therapy.

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