Christmas markets are a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit and provide festive fun for all the family. Now the countdown to Christmas has commended, what better excuse to visit some of the best UK 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 UK Christmas Markets are SO much more than just shopping and festive fare these days – there’s ice rinks, fun fares and entertainers galore to keep the kids happy while you stock up on Christmas toys and treats. We’ve rounded up our pick of the best UK Christmas markets by region for 2018.
BEST UK CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2019:
Best UK Christmas markets in London
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
One of the best UK Christmas markets is the infamous Winter Wonderland. Hyde Park will be transformed into Winter Wonderland again this year with festive themed stalls, rides and an ice rink. A celeb favourite right in the center of London, visitors can indulge in a mulled wine in the Bavarian village and sample German sausage delicacies. There are even rides (including a ferris wheel) 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? 21st November 2019 – 5th January 2020.
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 nearly three months of festive activities and pop-ups all under twinkling lights along the Thames, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
When? November 2019 – January 2020 (exact dates TBC).
Find out more at southbankcentre.co.uk
Christmas By The River
Returning for it’s sixth year in 2019, 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.
When? Awaiting dates for 2019 – but it’s expected to run between November 2019 and January 2020.
Find out more at londonbridgecity.co.uk
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London, open daily from 10am – 10pm
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? 2019 dates to be confirmed
Find out more at Greenwichmarketlondon.com
This year Winterville, the alternative answer to all of your Christmassy and magical prayers, returns to Clapham Common after a couple of years in East London. The pop-up festive town offers something a little different than your classic Christmas cliches and if you’re looking for an event that’s as fun for kids as it is parents, this could be it!
When? 2019 dates to be confirmed
Where? Clapham Common, Windmill Dr, London SW4 9DE
Best UK Christmas markets in the North
York Christmas Festival
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped straight into a Dicken’s novel when you stroll around this quintessentially British, magical Christmas 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.
In fact, in 2017, York was voted the UK’s most festive city, so where better to celebrate the special season?
When? 14th November – 22nd December 2019
Find out more at visityork.org
Over 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 off that ‘to buy’ list in no time. If you can find a sitter for the kids, head to the infamous beer tent at the center of the market for a giant stein of beer and some live entertainment.
When? 2019 dates to be confirmed.
Find out more at leeds.gov.uk
There are over 300 stalls to browse in nine different locations throughout the city, as Manchester is transformed into a chalet lined city of Christmas dreams! Foodwise, there’s everything from French Profiteroles to Hungarian goulash and Spanish Paella, so even the fussiest of eaters will find something to sink their teeth into.
When? 9th November – 22nd December.
Find out more at visitmanchester.com
Skipton Christmas Market
Sample seasonal delights and do a spot of Christmas shopping during these festive fun times and this famous Christmas market in the Yorkshire Dales. 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 1st December to and Sunday 8th December, from 10am.
Find out more at welcometoskipton.com
Darlington Christmas market
This year, Darlington in County Durham is hosting a three-day Christmas market, offering street food, artisan crafts, as well as music and entertainment. It’s free entry, but because it’s only happening over three days, we reckon the place will get pretty busy!
When? Thursday 5th December – Saturday 7th December 2019, from 4pm – 9pm on Thursday and 10am – 7pm on Friday and Saturday.
Find out more at eventbrite.co.uk
North Shields Victorian Christmas market
Named as one of the ‘most popular events in the North of England, this North Tyneside market is home to over 100 different stalls, selling seasonal crafts and gifts, as well as the classic Christmas food, and fairground rides for the kids – so there’s something for the whole family.
When? 7th – 8th December 2019
Find out more at visitnorthtyneside.com
Best UK Christmas markets in the Midlands
Nottingham Winter Wonderland
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? 14th November – 31st December 2019
Find out more at nottinghamwinterwonderland.co.uk
Birmingham Christmas market
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK (and also apparently the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany) 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? 7th November – 23rd December 2019
Find out more at germanchristmasmarketbirmingham.com
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 in over 100 different stalls. With the sprawling Chatsworth grounds around you too, there’s plenty to make a fun filled family day out.
When? 15th November – 3rd December 2019.
Find out more at chatsworth.org
Best UK Christmas markets in the South
St Albans Christmas market
The St Albans market is on almost every day of the year, but it’s had a festive makeover for the month of December. Enjoy mulled wine from various pop-up bars, and gift shopping at over 100 stalls. There will also be music and entertainment while you browse, on the St Albans Christmas Stage. It spans the entire length of the main high street, so you’ll have plenty to browse during an afternoon in the Hertfordshire city.
When? 15th – 24th December 2019.
Find out more at enjoystalbans.com
Bath Christmas market
Bath’s yuletide market has taken on a worldwide reputation over the last 18 years and with 200 stalls you can see why. The wooden chalets that line up outside the stunning Bath Abbey, sell everything from festive foods and bespoke jewellery to handmade Christmas decorations and cosy knitwear. The surrounding streets are filled with a constant stream of atmospheric music and carols while the smell of winter spices and mulled wine makes this the perfect winter paradise. The Abbey Hotel, which is right next door to the market, is also laying on an Après-ski bar this year, so you can pop in and put your feet up by the fire while enjoying a festive cocktail in the warmth if you get tired of shopping!
When? Bath Christmas market runs from 22nd November – 9th December
Find out more bathchristmasmarket.co.uk
The Après-ski bar at the Abbey Hotel next to Bath Christmas Market
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? Saturday 16th November – Thursday 19th December 2019
Find out more at exeter-cathedral.org.uk
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. Cirencester always run various different markets throughout December too, including an arts and crafts market, and a farmer’s market for all your delicious food needs.
When? Begins 30th November 2019
Find out more at cirencester.gov.uk
Winchester Christmas Market
This year is the 12th 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 the bustling market in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral promises to be as special as ever.
When? Saturday 21st November – Sunday 22nd December 2019 (Open from 10.00am – 6.30pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10.00am – 8.00pm Thursday – Saturday)
Find out more winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Padstow Christmas Festival
Now in its twelfth year, this coastal Christmas market attracts tens of thousands of people to the picturesque harbourside town of Padstow in Cornwall. The popular Christmas Market is free to attend and will house more than 100 food, drink and crafts producers from across the West Country, showcasing everything from artisan breads, cakes and cheeses to award-winning craft gins and ales, and an eclectic range of gifts and artwork. There’s also live music, a lantern parade, Santa’s grotto and huge fireworks display over the harbour.
When? 5th – 8th December 2019
Find out more at padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk
Best UK Christmas markets in Northern Ireland
Belfast Continental Christmas Market
The grounds of Belfast City Hall will be transformed into a Christmas shopping destination again this Christmas, offering food and wares from all over Europe. You’re sure to find (and taste!) something special this festive season – such as Dutch pancakes and French crepes – as you shop under the city’s magical Christmas lights. Even Santa will be making an appearance to visit the little ones too.
When? 20th November – 22nd December 2019.
Find out more at visit-belfast.com
Best UK Christmas markets in Scotland
Edinburgh Christmas market
There’s more than one market to choose from in the Scottish capital, from East Princes Street Gardens to George Street. 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? 16th November 2019 – 4th January 2020
Find out more at edinburghschristmas.com
Aberdeen Christmas Village
Returning to the Broad Street area for the third time, this Christmas market is set to be one of the highlights of the festive season. It’s got shed-loads of activities on offer, including an open-air ice rink, a silent disco, a Santa’s grotto, and of course, the all-important festive food and drink.
When? 21st November – 3rd December 2019 (opening times vary)
Find out more at aberdeeninspired.com
Perth’s International Christmas market
Watch in awe as the city of Perth transforms into a Winter Wonderland this festive season. It’ll be full of wooden chalet stalls, with extended opening hours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
When? Friday 16th November – 2nd December 2019
Find out more on the Facebook page.
Glasgow Christmas Markets
In a lovely village setting, there are two Christmas markets in Glasgow this year – one in St. Enoch square, and the other in George Square. Expect lots of delicious global cuisine and charming artisan gifts and products.
When? 10th November – 29th December 2019.
Find out more peoplemakeglasgow.com
Best UK 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 with lots going on at Museum Park too. Plus there’s artisan cheese to try and specialities from local food sellers. You can even stop and watch the art of glass blowing! Santa will be stopping by at his grotto too, on Portland Street.
When? 15th November – 22nd December 2019
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 tons of 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? Thursday 4th November – Monday 23rd December 2019
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.
When? Thursday 14th November – Sunday 17th November 2019
Find out more Llandudnochristmasfayre.co.uk