The John Lewis ad is taking over our televisions. The lights have been switched on at Oxford Street. Shop window displays are looking decidedly festive. The best Christmas markets in the UK are in full swing.
This can all only mean one thing: Christmas is rapidly approaching.
And what better way to immerse yourself in all the baubles and tinsel than by spending an afternoon or evening perusing one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
But where are the best Christmas markets in the UK you ask? Fortunately for you we’ve got it all wrapped up in this definitive list. We’ve even included a couple of stocking fillers at the end for you too.
When Christmas rolls into town you can be sure London is one of the premier cities across the world that knows how to play host. With a variety of fairs, grottos and markets you’ll never be far from some seasonal inspiration.
It’s only right we start with Hyde Park’s tribute to everything Christmas – Winter Wonderland. The epic coming together of German beer hall, Bratwurst stalls, fairground rides, traditional chalets and family entertainment make it the perfect spot to indulge in all things Christmas.
Other notable Christmas markets and celebrations are at Leicester Square; Wintertime at Southbank Centre; Winterville, which debuts this year at Clapham Common, or for somewhere off the beaten track and away from thronging crowds look out for London Bridge City Christmas Market.
Please check individual Christmas markets for dates & opening times
Now part of yearly traditions almost as much as the turkey, Manchester’s European Christmas market has cemented itself as one of the best Christmas markets in the UK. The Christmas market at Albert Square provides a bustling atmosphere with a healthy side of festive cheer that even the Grinch would find hard to be grumpy at.
Discover a mouth-watering array of food as wafts of Bratwurst, strudels and hog roasts fill the air, then wash it all down at one of the myriad beer halls, gluhwein houses or mulled wine stalls. If you fancy getting a head start on your Christmas shopping then you’ll find a variety of festively adorned stalls selling everything from traditional European handcrafted items to jewellery gifts.
10th November – 21st December (open daily 10am – 9pm daily)
The traditional and romantic Christmas market in the heart of Edinburgh serves up a unique shopping experience with its fair of crafters, artists and gift shops. For those who want to get into the Christmas spirit even more, you can delight in the seasonal gastronomic surprises on offer!
There is also a fantastic calendar of free events, shows, rides and attractions making it the perfect Christmas day out for the whole family.
18th November – 6th January (open daily 10am – 10pm)
With a reputation as possibly being the best Christmas market in the UK, the famed Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market is an explosion of everything festive and will truly put you in a festive mood. Each year Birmingham city centre comes alive with the German Market, signalling the start of all things Christmas.
With traditional gifts, live music and some German-inspired food and drink halls you can expect everything from pretzels and schnitzels to bratwurst and roasted almonds, all washed down with a warming gluhwein or tasty weissbeer.
16th November – 24th December (open 10am – 9pm daily)
York’s spectacular Christmas market display is back for another year. Meander through the magical market stalls of St Nicholas Fair that will conjure your festive spirit. Chalets adorned with twinkling fairy lights set the Christmassy tone as you’re led through Scandinavian-style stalls by the aromas of mulled wine and mince pies.
After ambling through the cobbled streets where you’ll find handcrafted gifts and a variety of other stocking filler gift ideas to get you inspired, sample local Yorkshire fare at the famous Shambles Market. Once you’ve had your fill, take some time to relax around a roaring log fire at the cosy Thor’s Tipi that serves everything from hot chocolate to spiced mulled wine.
16th November – 22nd December
As an added bonus we’ve also included two of the best Christmas markets located near our UK resorts. So, if you’re lucky enough to be spending ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ at either CLC Duchally Country Estate or CLC Trenython Manor – you can find these quaint, Christmassy markets right on your doorstep.
Only a short drive from CLC Duchally Country Estate you’ll find a bustling hive of festive celebration at the City of Perth Winter Festival. The city centre experiences a total transformation that runs throughout November and December right through to Chinese New Year in February – expect an extravaganza of markets, shows, family events and cultural events.
3rd November – 10th February (various dates and times)
Eden Project (Trenython Manor)
Okay, so not strictly a market but what would Christmas be without a visit to Father Christmas himself (and a few of his elves!) at the Eden Project. About a 15-minute drive from CLC Trenython Manor is a magical world of festive cheer and sparkle. Explore St. Nick’s cosy camp and hear a tale brimming with Christmas magic and splendour.
Kids also have the chance to meet some of the elves as they make their final preparations for the big day, before getting to meet the enchanting Father Christmas himself.
25th November – 4th December (Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays); 8th December – 24th December (daily)