Christmas is coming! So what better excuse to get stuck into some of the UK’s best Christmas markets?
It’s a fab chance to get some of your shopping done while you tuck into a mince pie and a glass (or two) of mulled wine. And Christmas Markets are SO much more than just markets these days – there’s ice rinks, fun fares and entertainers galore to keep the kids happy on your festive day out. We’ve rounded up our pick of the best Christmas markets around the UK by region for 2017.
Best Christmas markets in London
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
Hyde Park will be transformed into Winter Wonderland again this year with festive themed stalls, rides and an ice rink. Visitors can indulge in a mulled wine in the Bavarian village and sample German sausage delicacies. There are even rides and pop-up pubs! Make it a date night and go for a drink at the Ice Bar or book tickets to Zippos Circus for a day out the kids won’t forget.
When? 17 November – 1 January.
Find out more at hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Wintertime at Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre’s Christmas market is always at the top of our favourite list, but this year it’s going to be better than ever. With over two months of festive activities and pop-ups, there’s plenty to be getting stuck into.
When? 10th November – 4th January.
Find out more at southbankcentre.co.uk
Christmas By The River
Returning for it’s fourth year, explore the twinkling wooden cabins at this traditional Christmas market which stretches along The Queen’s Walk. Your view will overlook London icons including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London.
And definitely drop by the Christmas By The River bar located at the centre of the market for mulled wine, festive cocktails and craft beers.
When? 30th November – 3rd January Find out more at londonbridgecity.co.uk
Christmas market in Greenwich
Feel the festive glow as historic Greenwich Market lights up for Christmas. The market is open every day in the run-up to Christmas. Set within a world heritage site, the covered market showcases more than 150 stalls selling crafts, jewellery, fashion, beauty, antiques, art and more, as well as festive street food and drinks to get you in the Christmas spirit.
When? 27th November – 24th December Find out more at Greenwichmarketlondon.com
Best Christmas markets in the North
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped straight into a Dicken’s novel at York’s St Nicholas Market. With local produce, arts and crafts sold on the Victorian stalls accompanied by the sounds of carol singers, it will even get the family Scrooge in the festive mood.
When? 16th November – 22nd December.
Find out more at visityork.org
Forty wooden chalet stalls take over Leed’s Millennium Square for the annual Christkindelmarkt this festive season. With traditional handcrafted toys, jewellery and cards you’ll be crossing things of that ‘to buy’ list in no time.
When? 10th November – 24th December.
Find out more at leeds.gov.uk
There are over 300 stalls to browse in locations throughout the city as Manchester is transformed into a chalet lined city of Christmas dreams! Foodwise, there’s everything from French Profiteroles to Spanish Paella, so even the fussiest of eaters will find something to sink their teeth into.
When? 10th November – 20th December.
Find out more at manchester.gov.uk/markets
Skipton Christmas Market
Sample seasonal delights and do a spot of Christmas shopping during these festive fun times. The whole town has a Christmassy feel and as well as stalls selling local crafts and products, there’s a whole host of live music on offer too. Plus, Santa’s Reindeer will be putting in an appearance too!
When? Sunday 3rd and Sunday 10th December.
Find out more at skiptonevents.co.uk
Best Christmas markets in the Midlands
Grab your skates because Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is rolling in to town complete with an ice rink, rides, Narnia themed bars and food hall – all perfect for a festive family day out. Just don’t drink and skate!
When? 17th November – 24th December.
Find out more at nottinghamwinterwonderland.co.uk
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK and practically takes over the centre of the city. Mulled wine, live music and traditional German foods are on offer while you roam the stalls for artisan goods, arts and crafts. Bratwurst anyone?
When? 16th November to 24th December (except for Christmas Day).
Find out more at birmingham.gov.uk/frankfurtmarket
The beautiful country estate is transformed into a winter wonderland with live music from string quartets and brass bands while filling the airwaves while you browse for Christmas goodies. Plus there’s an extra special touch this year as the state rooms are being transformed into scenes from Wind in the Willows. The kids will love it.
When? 17th November – 5th December.
Find out more at chatsworth.org
Derby Night Market
Get all your Christmas shopping done in one special evening as the European Night Market trend hits Derby this month. You’ll be spoilt for present choice from 200 different stalls in the streets of the Cathedral Quarter and city centre selling everything from crafts, vintage wears and decorations. And there’s plenty of food and drink on offer to keep you going and live music to keep things festive too.
When? 16th November.
Find out more at visitderby.co.uk
Best Christmas markets in the South
Exeter Christmas Market
This quaint market is held in the heart of Exeter on the Cathedral Green. With just 50 stalls, it’s a little more intimate than the rest, but that just means there’s a great selection of local food and produce on offer alongside the usual Christmas market essentials.
When? 16th November – 17th December.
Find out more at heartofdevon.com
Cirencester Christmas Market
Christmas in the Cotswolds couldn’t be more fun with Cirencester’s annual Advent Festival. With market stalls, music and live entertainment getting everyone into the Christmas spirit, the evening culminates in the turning on of the Christmas lights by a special celeb.
When? 2nd, 16th and 17th December.
Find out more at cirencester.gov.uk
Winchester Christmas Market
This year is the 11th anniversary of Winchester’s lovely market and ice rink, and it’s set to be more exciting than ever. There’s over 100 stalls to choose from selling Christmas goodies and seasonal food and drink. This year there’s even a Ice Rink Cafe, so you can watch the kids whizzing around from the comfort of a heated seating area overlooking the rink.
When? 20th November – 22nd December.
Find out more in christmasinwinchester.co.uk
Best Christmas markets in Northern Ireland
Belfast Continental Christmas Market
The grounds of Belfast City Hall are transformed into a Christmas shopping destination for the 12th year this Christmas. Offering food and wares from all over Europe, you’re sure to find (and taste!) something special this festive season. Even Santa will be making an appearance to visit the little ones too.
When? 19th November to 22nd December.
Find out more at visit-belfast.com
Frock around the Clock
This magical Christmas Vintage and Handmade Fair has stalls of handcrafted and upcycled fashion, home wares and collectibles, textiles, décor, jewellery, sweet treats, toys, art, photography and much more at Belfast Castle.
When? 13th December Find out more at belfastlive.co.uk
Victorian Christmas Market
Take a step back in time at the Victorian Christmas Market at Ballance House and enjoy a glass of delicious mulled wine whilst browsing the craft stalls for gifts. Kids can visit Santa in The Parlour before treating themselves to a delicious mince pie in the Tea Barn.
When? 5th December Find out more at theballancehouse.com
Best Christmas markets in Scotland
There’s more than one market to choose from in the Scottish capital with traditional Scottish, European and special children’s markets all taking place throughout the city over the festive season, so even the wee ones will have a market to be excited about.
When? 18th November – 7th January.
Find out more at visitscotland.com
Glasgow Christmas Market
Continental beers and wines are the flavour of the month at Glasgow’s Christmas market as it lands outside the St. Enoch Centre this month. So leave the kiddies at home and get stuck into some festive drinking.
When? 10th November – 22nd December.
Find out more at whatsonglasgow.co.uk
George Square Market
Nestled in Glasgow the George Square Market is crammed full of fun and fairy tale sights. The live entertainment is scheduled to be out of this world, while tasty treats are set to turn even the grouchiest of grinches into an elf. Lots of laughs can be had on the fairground rides, too.
When? 26th November Find out more at Georgesquaremarket
Best Christmas markets in Wales
Swansea Christmas Market
Pop down to Swansea’s Oxford Street for your shopping fix alongside some fabulous festive entertainment throughout the season. Plus there’s artisan cheese to try and local specialities such as seaweed gin. You can even stop and watch the art of glass blowing!
When? 24th November – 21st December.
Find out more at swanseachristmas.com
Cardiff Christmas Market
Cardiff’s Christmas market will be taking over the city’s pedestrian area this year, with 192 exhibitors lining the streets. With over 90 per cent of the stall holders being small Welsh businesses, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re shopping local. Pop down for a glass of wine and hot welsh cake – you know you want to.
When? 10th November – 23rd December.
Find out more at cardiffchristmasmarket.com
Llandudno Christmas Fayre
Enjoy a festive feast local food, handmade gifts and arts along with craft demonstrations. There’s a distinctly Dickensian charm to the proceedings, which also includes the World Bara Brith Championships, a hotly-contested tournament to find the champion baker of Wales’ speckled tea time favourite.
16th – 19th November
Find out more at: Llandudnochristmasfayre.co.uk