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 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 shopping and festive fare 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 2018.
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. 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 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? 22 November 2018 – 6 January 2019.
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 two months of festive activities and pop-ups all under twinkling lights along the Thames, there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
When? Friday 9 November – Thursday 27 December.
Find out more at southbankcentre.co.uk
Christmas By The River
Returning for it’s fifth year in 2018, 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 2018. Last year tge market was open from 11 am until 7 pm, with late night shopping available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 9pm.
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? December 2018 (Exact 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? 15 November – 23rd December 2018
Where? Clapham Common, Windmill Dr, London SW4 9DE
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London, open daily from 10am – 10pm
Best 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.
When? 15 November – 23 December 2018
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? November 9 – December 22 2018
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? 9th November – 22nd December.
Find out more at manchester.gov.uk
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 2nd and Sunday 9th December.
Find out more at welcometoskipton.com
Best 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? End of November – December (Exact 2018 dates to be confirmed)
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? 15th November – 23rd December
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? 16th November – 4th 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 in December. 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? 2018 date TBC
Find out more at visitderby.co.uk
Best Christmas markets in the South
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? 15th November – 16th December 2018
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.
When? Thursday, December 13th, 2018 – 10:00 – 17:00
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 17 November – Thursday 20 December 2018. (Open from 10.30am – 6.30pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10.30am – 8.00pm Thursday – Saturday.)
Find out more winchester-cathedral.org.uk
Padstow Christmas Festival
Now in its eleventh 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? The Padstow Christmas Festival will be opened at 12:00 on December 6 by chef Nathan Outlaw, and then it runs until December 9th.
Find out more at padstowchristmasfestival.co.uk
Best 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 as you shop under the city’s magical Christmas lights. Even Santa will be making an appearance to visit the little ones too.
When? 17th November – 22nd December.
Find out more at visit-belfast.com
Best 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 – 5th January
Find out more at edinburghschristmas.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 Christmas. So leave the kiddies at home and get stuck into some festive drinking.
When? 2018 dates and times TBC
Find out more glasgowloveschristmas.com
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? 2018 dates and times TBC
Find out more glasgowloveschristmas.com
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 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!
When? 17th November – 7th January
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 over 190 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? 15th 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.
When? Thursday 15th November – Sunday 18th November
Find out more Llandudnochristmasfayre.co.uk