The Best UK Christmas Markets

By Discover More UK

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There’s nothing like that warm, festive feeling as you see Christmas decorations going up, hear Christmas music in the streets and look forward to the festive cheer (and food!) over the Christmas period!

But while jetting to the European continent has always been a popular choice for Christmas Markets and winter getaways, there are actually dozens of amazing Christmas Markets in the UK which really put on a show! This article pulls together some of the Best UK Christmas Markets from contributors all over the country, to help you pick the best Christmas Markets in the UK to visit this year!

People at Nottingham Christmas Market with an ice rink, large christmas Tree, and large building.
Nottingham – UK Best Christmas Markets

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UK Best Christmas Markets 

Leeds Christmas Market

Despite being smaller than other Christmas markets, Leeds Christmas Market is one of the most established German Christmas Markets in the UK, with its twinkling colourful lights and cosy atmosphere making it special. 

Small food stand lit up in Christmas decorations with a large clock tower in the background.
Leeds Christmas Market

The Christmas market is located in Millennium Square next to Leeds City Museum in the heart of the city centre. It’s usually open from the 8th of November to the 21st of December, although these dates may vary a little from year to year.

It has over 40 wooden stalls where you can find anything from handmade jewellery and beautiful Christmas decorations to winter clothing and toys. If you feel hungry, there is a wide variety of food and beverages options to choose from – traditional German sausages, Greek gyros, churros, and mulled wine served in unique Christmas cups that you can keep as a souvenir by paying a little extra.

In addition to all of these stalls, Leeds Christmas Market also offers a few attractions for the little ones, including the most popular attraction, the Christmas Carousel ride. Also, kids and families can join the Santa’s Breakfast experience that takes place in the Alp Chalet restaurant every Saturday and Sunday throughout December.

The Christmas Market gets very busy, especially during the weekend, therefore, if you want to avoid crowds, weekdays are your best option. 

Apart from Leeds Christmas Market, you may also want to check Harewood House, just outside Leeds, for a unique Christmas experience in which you can see the unique Christmas decorations in the house, visit the magical gardens and much more.

By Cristina of My Little World of Travelling

London Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park

large colourfully lit Christmas Tree in Hyde Park at night time at the biggest UK christmas market
London Winter Wonderland

There’s just something special and magical about visiting an England Christmas Market that gets you into the mood. And Winter Wonderland has all the sparkle and joyous rides to get you into that mood. 

The biggest Christmas Market in the UK and one of the most popular UK Christmas Markets in the heart of London’s Hyde Park. Open from Mid-November to the beginning of January, from 10am to 10pm daily. 

Start the festivities at Winter Wonderland’s magical ice kingdom. Young children will enjoy wandering around the various animals and plant ice sculptures. Can you find the different characters from The Chronicles of Narnia and other movie creatures? 

A Christmas market is not a Christmas market without a skating rink and wooden cabins selling all kinds of crafts and Christmas gifts.  

And guess what? Winter Wonderland has an excellent skating rink and wooden cabins selling some of the most beautiful crafts, gifts, Christmas decorations and candles. You might find a gift for that someone special in your life. 

There’s something for everyone at Winter Wonderland including the giant wheel that offers amazing views out across London and Winter Wonderland below. Rollercoaster rides that get your heart pumping, the funfair rides, delicious food at the Bavarian Market and so much more. 

You must have currywurst and chips (Sausage in curry sauce and chips) from the Bavarian Market. And not forgetting mulled wine, to warm you up on a cold night. 

Tips 

Budget travellers will enjoy free entry into the market. But to enjoy the rides and enter the exhibitions there will be a fee.  

Attractions get busy during certain periods. Purchase tickets for the rides and exhibitions online in advance to prevent delays or disappointment. 

Early evening onwards is the most popular time to visit the market. To avoid fighting through the large crowds, visit early morning or on weekdays.  

Outside food and drink are not permitted within Winter Wonderland.  

This unforgettable Christmas Market will put a smile on your face and leave you with magical memories.  

By Bev & Shams of Bev & Shams Adventures

Nottingham Christmas Market

Nottingham UK Christmas market with windmill
Nottingham Christmas Market

One of the favourite East Midlands Christmas markets and also one of the most underrated Christmas Markets in Britain. Nottingham is home to the famous Robin Hood, but the city also knows how to put on a show at Christmas too.

An aerial view of Nottingham Christmas market at night. With the stalls, buildings and helter skelter visible and lit with lights
View of Nottingham Christmas Market from the Big Wheel

The Nottingham Christmas Market usually runs from the first weekend in December up to Christmas, although you’re best to check their website for the most up to date information each year. The market takes place in the city’s Old Market Square, surrounded by Nottingham’s iconic Council House and red brick buildings which really adds to the cosy festive feeling, making it one of the best Christmas markets East Midlands has to offer.

The market really evokes the European Christmas Market fell, with over 40 wooden chalet-style stalls selling a range of products, food and crafts from local Nottinghamshire traders. There’s also the Altitude Bar, a popular Ice Bar and the huge French-inspired après-ski style wooden lodge called Sur La Piste. Here you can enjoy mulled wine and warm food with fur blankets and cosy chalet decor or after-work drinks with European beer.

For the kids, don’t miss the range of funfair rides and the ice rink which returns every year and is open throughout the day – it’s much quieter to enjoy during the weekdays if you have young children who’d like to skate at a slower pace!

The much-loved 32m observation wheel is an amazing vantage point over the city and the market and here you can really enjoy the spectacular size of the 18m Christmas Tree which is usually brought in from Norway each year.

Nottingham is one of the must-visit Christmas markets in the Midlands and will be sure to leave you feeling festive!

By Discover More UK

Oxford Christmas Market

Old buildings in Oxford city centre during winter.
Oxford Christmas Market

Definitely one of the lesser-known or lesser-visited Christmas Markets in England, due to the fact that it only runs for around 10 days each December – usually covering two weekends in the month.

But if you’re looking for Christmas Markets in south east England, Oxford is well-worth visiting just to experience the historic university city in all its festive glory!

The market itself takes place on Broad Street, surrounded by the beautiful University buildings of Balliol College and Trinity College, just around the corner from the world-famous Bodleian Library and Bridge of Sighs.

With local traders, craft stalls and handmade goods from all over Oxfordshire, you’re reminded that you’re in one of the oldest cities in the world as the beautiful historic buildings surround you and traditional choirs from the colleges sing in the streets.

Of course while you’re in Oxford, don’t miss the opportunity to see the High Street lit up with Christmas lights, visit the famous colleges like Christ Church or New College and enjoy the many eateries in the city including the rooftop views of the City of Spires at Varsity Club, or the chic new venues on the roof of the Westgate Shopping Centre.

Top Tip: parking in the city is notoriously limited and expensive. Park at the Seacourt Park & Ride for a short 10-minute bus ride to the city centre.

By Discover More UK

London Southbank Christmas Market

The busy street of the Southbank, London UK Christmas market with food kiosks.
Southbank Christmas Market

If you’re looking for the best Christmas markets in the UK, you have to add Southbank Christmas Market to your list. Located in the heart of London, just below the London Eye, this market offers a huge variety of Christmas stalls and activities.

Southbank Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas Markets in London and usually runs from mid-November to early January and is open every day from 10am to 10pm. If you can, try to visit on a weekday, as it’s usually less busy. Try going also when the sun starts to set so that you can see the market light up and enjoy the beautiful London Christmas lights.

You will find a huge variety of food stalls, from Christmassy ones like mulled wine and cinnamon pretzels to halloumi fries and mac & cheese. There are also loads of stalls selling unique handmade Christmas gifts, ranging from candleholders to jewellery and everything in between.

Southbank Christmas Market is the best place to go if you want to taste delicious street food, purchase unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs, and sip on warm mulled wine while taking in some of the most iconic London sights.

This market really has a strong Christmas vibe, but with the London Eye towering above it, it’s still undeniably London and completely unique to experience, not just a generic market that could be anywhere in the UK but one of the best Christmas Markets in England.

By Greta of London Dreaming

Bristol German Christmas Market

Bristol’s German Christmas market is open daily from November 5th to December 23rd. The stalls are open from 10 am – 7 pm and the bar/food are available until 10 pm. The market has stalls selling unique handcrafted items, sweet treats and since it’s German-themed there are plenty of Bratwurst and German beer on offer too! 

You can grab a beer, mulled wine or hot chocolate in the central Jäger Barn Bar, where you’ll also be able to catch live music performances and even try your hand at the fun winter sport of curling! You may even spot Santa and his reindeer there at certain times too. 

The market is centrally located in the Broadmead shopping district, which makes it super easy to get to as it is just a short walk from the city centre, the city bus station and Temple Meads train station. 

There are over 50 stalls so there will definitely be something for everyone. The market is a perfect place to find a unique Christmas gift for your loved ones.

Top tip: Visit after sunset when all the pretty Christmas lights will be twinkling above you to add to that festive feeling. And if you get too cold then you can grab some of the amazing food that is on offer and eat it in the heated seating area in the Jäger Barn Bar.

By Jade of Travel Across the Borderline

Birmingham Christmas Market

Possibly the best German Christmas Market in England, if you’re hunting for Christmas markets in West Midlands cities, then Birmingham cannot be missed.

Pinnable image with 4 images of UK christmas markets at night time with text that reads, UK Christmas Markets to visit this year

In fact, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is actually the largest Christmas market outside of Germany and if you’re looking for a European Christmas Market experience in the UK, this is it!

The market in Birmingham usually opens the first weekend of November until the end of December.

Don’t miss the opportunity to eat authentic Bratwurst and enjoy Glühwein, although if beer is more you thing, then don’t worry, of course there are authentic German beers on offer too!

With Christmas rides, food stalls and a musical programme to enjoy, there is so much going on to put you in the Christmassy spirit as you wander around the 80 market stalls.

Around 5 million people visit the Birmingham Christmas Market each year, so you can expect it to be busy! But try visiting at dusk in the mid-afternoon, at this time the market is not at its peak crowds but the lights are on and it still feels incredibly magical!

By Discover More UK

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Photo of Edinburgh Christmas Market by Ross Sneddon on Unsplash

An iconic Scotland Christmas Market and one that absolutely cannot be missed if you’re visiting the Scottish capital during the festive period!

Edinburgh is host to an array of Winter Festivals during the Christmas time, including their Edinburgh Christmas winter wonderland, which sees the city turned into a magical festive experience, and also Edinburgh Hogmany with is a sensory experience like no other, with music, light displays, fireworks, choirs singing, amazing food and a wonderful cosy atmosphere.

The Edinburgh Christmas Market runs from late November to January and hosts a fair, children’s activities, countless food stalls and stands selling items from local Scottish businesses. There’s also an ice rink and a crafts market on George Street.

Don’t miss the opportunity to sample Scottish cuisine alongside the must-try mulled wine and mulled cider. Or enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel to see the city from above.

Without a doubt, Edinburgh Christmas Market should be added to your UK bucket list!

By Discover More UK

Aberdeen Christmas Market

Aberdeen’s Christmas market may not be the largest or most well-known one in the UK or even Scotland but it’s cute and there are plenty of things to do. 

The market usually takes place in front of Marischal College which is an impressive building with beautiful spires making it the perfect backdrop for the Christmas Markets. The market is open every day from noon until around 8pm and sometimes longer on the weekends. It usually opens in late November and stays open until just before New Year. 

If you’re looking for Scotland Christmas Markets that are a little different, Aberdeen is beautifully decorated at this time of year with lots of Christmas lights you can come and see after you go to the market. Like most Christmas markets Aberdeen has a nice combination of little stalls with snacks, delicacies and gift items.

There are also some rides most years although they’re not very large. Once or twice a week you can even pet reindeer and miniature ponies at the Christmas market. This is a tradition in Aberdeen and is especially popular among kids and families. Definitely make sure to pack your camera. You won’t want to miss this event!

In addition to the Christmas markets at Marischal College, there is usually a smaller one close to the Union Square Shopping Centre with some food stalls and an outdoor bar.

By Victoria of Guide Your Travel

Manchester Christmas Market

A road with a large Christmas kiosk lit up in Christmas lights during the day.
Manchester Christmas Market

The city of Manchester has a really chilled vibe and its Christmas Market is no exception as one of the best English Christmas Markets North West England has to offer.  

There are market stalls all around the city so if you’re wandering and exploring you’ll likely come across something worth checking out. However, the main action tends to be around Albert Square which is just next to the Town Hall in the centre of the city.  It’s easily reached on foot from the train station or by using the city’s tram network.  

You’ll find traditional Christmas food from all around the world, plenty of sweet treats and of course you’ll be able to sample the Gluhwein or English ales and beers.  The markets generally consist of food and drink stalls and handmade gifts to buy.  What makes it a great place to visit is the chilled atmosphere where everyone is having a great time.

Manchester’s symbol is the worker bee so you’ll find all sorts of items with the bee adorning it so if you’re looking for a gift that represents the area then be sure to look out for some bees!

Top tip: try and take a train to Manchester so you can really enjoy the markets, the festive drinks and the whole day without worrying about car parking and driving which can be difficult in the city.  There are loads of trains from many destinations to the city so getting in can be really easy. 

By Kirsty of Lost in Landmarks

Bath Christmas Market

Image of a cobbled square in Bath, filled with wooden market stalls and Georgian buildings in the background
Bath Christmas Market in Abbey Green

Bath Christmas Market is in the city of Bath. This is in Somerset in the southwest of England and is easily reached from London by train. It opens for 25 days in late November and early December and the stalls are all open from 10am. Finishing times vary during the week but the earliest is 6pm. In 2021 the market is open from the 25th  November to the 19th December.

The Bath Christmas markets are centred around the main square of the city close to the Roman Baths and then extends towards the Thermae Spa down the smaller streets. Each company has their own small wooden chalet that is illuminated with lights, and you will find everything from glassware and pottery to unique knitted gifts. There is also a good mix of seasonal food that is often locally sourced. To help smaller companies they also have pop-up stalls so if you are visiting then make sure you buy when you see something as they may not be there for a return visit.

While Bath Christmas Market doesn’t have any big attractions like a skating rink, they do have choirs, street entertainers and bands that perform. You will bump into these performances as you wander throughout which makes it a little bit magical when you start to hear an unexpected choir as you approach.

Bath Christmas Market is best visited by train, making it one of the top Christmas markets in UK cities to visit with ease. The station is a very short walk from the market, and it means that you can sample all the Christmas beverages without worrying about how to get home! The city can be very busy at weekends, so it is much better to visit the market early before exploring the rest of Bath city.

Also in Somerset: Discover Things to do in Wells

Suzanne of Meandering Wild 

York Christmas Market

A shrubbery wall which reads 'Merry Christmas, Love York' in red neon lights
Welcome sign at York Christmas Market

Located in the city centre along Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, York Christmas Market is a huge event, with all the usual local business and craft stalls, great food and warm drinks.

Don’t miss the Thor’s Tipi bar for cosy drinks, although the queue is down the street on weekends so try to visit on a weekday if you can!

Explore the Shambles while you’re here and don’t miss the local artisan stores for ideal Christmas gifts and stocking fillers.

The York Christmas Market is open every day of the week from 10am until 6pm on Sunday-Thursday and until 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

You can reach the Christmas Market in York just a 15 minute walk from York Train Station.

By Discover More UK

Cambridge Christmas Market

Narrow street with shops while it is raining.
Cambridge Christmas Market

Cambridge is one of the cities in the UK that has that fairytale feel to it. This is undoubtedly increased during Christmas time, when the whole town looks like it has come out of a snowball souvenir and is one of the best Christmas Markets England has to offer! The Cambridge Christmas market is one of the main events of the city, one that people impatiently wait for during the whole year. It’s located in the historical Market Square, right in the city centre. This makes it easily accessible from all over Cambridgeshire with trains and buses that drop you in or close to town.

The Christmas markets in Cambridge are an intricate labyrinth of stands from the best farmers, cooks, and artisans in the area. You can browse up to 60 different booths of many different kinds! On one hand, you will find precious arts and crafts, characterised by colourful jewellery, bright red Christmas decorations, and evergreen vintage clothing. On the other, you will be delighted by the delicacies that the Cambridge market has to offer. Warm crepes, lush hot chocolate, and local teas. Right by the square, you can also find a spot-on Italian café called Cipriani that makes Sicilian specialities. It’s the perfect place to warm up in case you get cold!

Not entirely convinced yet? Try hitting Cambridge’s own Winter Wonderland at the North Pole Festival. Parker’s Piece Park becomes an array of winter games, including a huge pop-up ice rink that makes everyone go crazy from the 1st of December! It’s completely free to enter and will make for a great day out. 

Plus, let’s be honest, Christmas markets are the perfect excuse to buy all your Christmas presents in one spot. Originality and authenticity guaranteed! 

By Marta of Temporal Globe

Summary: Top UK Christmas Markets

Whether you’re looking for the top Christmas Markets in England, surprising Christmas Markets in Scotland or Christmas Markets north east England has to offer, this list should give you plenty of festive inspiration for the best UK Christmas Markets to visit this year!

Pin this for later to help you plan your future trip!

Pinnable image with four images showing different christmas market scenes in the UK. Text reads, the best United Kingdom Christmas Markets
Pinnable image of Manchester Town Hall UK with Christmas Market stalls in the foreground

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7 thoughts on “The Best UK Christmas Markets”

  1. Thanks for sharing this! It couldn’t have come at a better time because this will be the first year that I’ll be in the UK during the holiday season 🙂 Can’t wait to visit some of these!

    Reply
  2. I love Christmas Market Season! The Nottingham Christmas Market looks so charming! I went to the London one years ago and wasn’t that impressed so I need to try more of the smaller ones!

    Reply
  3. Oh wow, I’d want to visit each of these! Going to a Christmas Market is one of the best holiday experiences. Top on my list would be the Southbank, Oxford, Manchester and Edinburgh!

    Reply
  4. Manchester and Edinburgh are my two favourite Christmas markets in the UK. I’ve also been to Bath, but I haven’t been to any in London yet – those are next on my list!

    Reply

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