Fairy lights galore, mulled wine in hand, and the smell of freshly made waffles in the air - it is fair to say there is nothing more exciting about the run-up to Christmas than the Christmas markets!
Visiting a Christmas market has become a bit of a tradition for us in the UK and, with the country’s most picturesque cities playing host, it can be hard to decide which to attend.
That being said, in this blog, we are going to be running down 10 of the best Christmas markets in the UK, so without further ado, let’s get started!
10. Edinburgh, Scotland
Kicking off the list today we have a stunning Christmas market settled in the heart of the Scottish capital.
Running from 17th November until 6th January, this market is located in the stunning East Princes Street Gardens and has everything you could ever want and need during the Christmas period. From mulled Irn Bru (are you likely to find this anywhere else? Probably not!) to local produce and all the Harry Potter-themed gifts you could wish for, remembering the Big Wheel, Santa Land, and the Christmas tree maze.
It captures all the spellbinding magic this time of year promises! You may even want to stay for the Hogmanay celebrations that take over the city from the 31st of December.
9. York, North Yorkshire
Sitting at ninth, we have arguably one of the prettiest Christmas Markets there is - located in the heart of York!
York is a beautiful city to walk around as it is, but when you add those quaint wooden chalets draped in lights and the vintage carousel, it makes it even more special.
As you make your way around, you’ll have the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire in the air and the opportunity to eat your way around the world with the selection of food stalls. If you’ve shopped and dropped, then rest those legs in front of the cracking open fire and grab a winter warmer in Thor’s Tipi.
Starting in the middle of November right up until a few days before Christmas, yule be sorry if you miss this one and even sorrier if you don’t apply to attend as a trader.
8. Manchester, England
In at number eight on this list, we have the 25th Anniversary Manchester Christmas Market.
Running from the 10th of November to the 21st of December, this year’s market comes packed with over 225 stalls across nine sites throughout the city centre, as well as the annual winter gardens full of thousands of food and drink stalls, the magical Christmas Parade, the Christmas lights trail, the ice skating rink, and much more to keep you entertained this festive period!
As you can probably tell, the Manchester Christmas market is a beautiful sight and family-friendly event that will make all happy tonight – especially those trading because it brings in hundreds of people!
7. Nottingham, East Midlands
Next up on the list today has got to be one of my personal favourites - Nottingham Winter Wonderland.
This wonderland runs from the 7th of November up until the 31st of December and seems only to get far bigger and better as each year rolls around. Located right in the middle of Nottingham’s city centre, Old Market Square transforms into rows of Bavarian-style stalls filled with cheese, chutneys, and chocolates.
Once you’ve sampled all of the food your stomach can manage, you’ll be pleased to know you can wash it all down at the Apres ski bar or burn it off with a few laps around the ice rink!
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is a great place to jingle all the way down to, whether you’re part of the crowd or behind the counter selling something.
6. Birmingham, West Midlands
Moving onto our sixth spot - with its annual Frankfurt Market, Christmas returns to Birmingham!
Running from 2nd November until 24th December, the market is actually the largest and most authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria.
Birmingham’s Victoria Square comes alive as it becomes the home to glühwein, German beer, bratwurst, and pretzels, as well as, live bands, carol singers, and even a singing moose, or as he is more commonly known, Chris Moose. It’s a sight that can’t be missed as, if you walk past his regular patch outside the city center’s Council House, you’ll be treated to a nice serenade.
5. Holkham Hall, Norfolk
Up next on the list today is the Holkham Hall Christmas Market, right in the heart of Norfolk.
Located in the stunning Lady Elizabeth Wing, the market runs over two days from the 9th to the 10th of December, this market is packed full of jewellery, spirits and liquor, baked goods, cheeses and a variety of other foods and drinks for you to sample and purchase.
Also helping you to get in the festive spirit, you’ll be pleased to hear Fakenham Town Band and Nelson’s Shantymen will be playing live music throughout the market with plenty of street food stalls to keep you fuelled and on your dancing feet!
4. London, England
Coming in at number four is perhaps one of the most famous on the list, located right in our capital.
Running from the 17th of November right up until the 1st of January, London’s Hyde Park makes its annual transformation into the magical and much-loved Winter Wonderland.
This winter wonderland is jam-packed full of the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, the world’s tallest wheel, mesmerizing fairground rides, jaw-dropping circus acts, and, most importantly, an ample selection of bars and a street food village, this market ticks all the boxes and won’t just leave kids entertained, but all your big ones too!
Tickets sell out super quickly, so it is worth heading over to their website to claim your tickets today!
3. Chester, Cheshire
Claiming one of the top spots on our list today has got to be the Chester Christmas Market.
With rows and rows of wooden chalets covered in strands of glistening fairy lights and a sparkling Christmas tree, it’s a market for those looking for less commercial and more traditional.
Surrounding the gothic town hall and medieval cathedral, you’ll find everything from tasty treats to last-minute stocking fillers – I’ve been told not to miss Wild Bills' gooey chocolate brownies or the festive cocktails in the Real Ale Bar!
Chester’s Christmas market is an enchanting one that will definitely make it feel like Christmas time in the city! Just make sure you get there in time as it only runs from the middle of November until a few days before Christmas.
2. Bristol, South West England
Coming in at number two, we have the Bristol Christmas Market!
Opening its doors on the 3rd of November until the 23rd of December, the Bristol Christmas market is home to over 35 unique stalls, as well as entertainment and visits from Santa and his elves.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the market, why not book one of the private igloos or Gondolas? Last but not least, if we have any Jager fans reading, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a Jager barn and cider bar!
1. Bath, Somerset
Finishing off the list today after making a gracious return in 2022 - we have the Bath Christmas Market.
Returning to the streets of Bath on the 23rd of November until the 10th of December, Bath Christmas Market remains one of the most popular Christmas Markets in the UK. Featuring over 200 amazing stallholders, charities, and community groups and attracting almost half a million people, I think it is fair to see this market is one you won’t want to miss.
One of the most interesting and arguably special aspects of this market is that local really means local when it comes to this market. Everything you can purchase from the stallholders has been hand-crafted in the Southwest!
The Last Stop!
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed my full rundown on just some of the best Christmas markets starting in a few weeks across the UK!
Which market will you be attending or trying to trade at this year? How many can you squeeze in before the big day? If you do visit any of our choices, I’d love to hear all about the fun you had!
And, before you go, let me wish you a very Merry Christmas (though it may be slightly early) and a Happy New Year!