Shimmering lights, mulled wine and lots of festive fun can only mean one thing. Christmas markets in the UK are back and even more magical than the year before. Dotted across the UK’s largest cities, a visit to a Christmas market is more than just a chance to shop, it’s a whimsical day out.
1. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Best for: An authentic German Christmas experience.
Dates: Thursday 4th November – Thursday 23rd December 2021
Known as the largest traditional German-inspired Christmas market outside of Deutschland, is none other than Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market! A truly magical display, it’s unfortunate that it’s only held once a year.
For seven weeks, its quaint market stalls dominant the bustling streets of Birmingham’s city centre. With a range of treats to choose from, try a mug of Glühwein or take home a hand-made wooden toy for any last-minute Christmas presents. If you’re done with shopping, admire the brightly lit West Midlands from the Big Wheel or have a go at skating at the ice rink.
If Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market has got you wondering what it’s like to be at a real German market, find one of the best Christmas markets in Germany here.
2. Edinburgh’s Christmas Market
Best for: Unique gifts you can’t get anywhere else.
Dates: Friday 19th November 2021 – Wednesday 5th January 2022
Gifting each person that visits with something special, Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is a show of stunning stalls. From unique markets at East Princes Street Gardens to a world of whiskies at Johnnie Walker’s Bothy Bar, this market is bursting with novelty gifts that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.
After an afternoon spent shopping, treat the little ones to Santa’s Grotto. If you’re in the mood for something face-paced, then show off your best moves at the oval ice rink. Or, if you’d prefer to take things slow, enjoy breathtaking views of Edinburgh from the Big Wheel.
3. Manchester Christmas Market
Best for: Wholesome, hearty food.
Dates: Friday 12th November – Wednesday 22nd December 2021
This market boasts over 300 beautiful festooned stalls that are adorned in lights and garlands, and wind through the city centre. Tempting you with gifts of all sorts, you won’t be able to resist not stopping at one of these. What’s more, is the food this market is known for. From German bratwurst and Hungarian goulash to old-fashioned hog roast, you’re sure to be spoilt for choice.
4. Southbank Centre Winter Market
Best for: Christmas in the capital.
Dates: Thursday 4th November – Friday 24th December 2021
During the festivities, watch as the Southbank Centre transforms into market selling stalls, special Christmas shows and lots of seasonal delights.
The Nordic-inspired market in London offers a range of quirky Christmas crafts, fresh mince pies and spiced drinks to indulge in. Positioned by the river and with views of the twinking London Eye, the Winter Market surely is a magical experience. For entertainment, stop off at the enchanting Southbank Centre for a Christmas concert or traditional choir performance.
5. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Best for: The prettiest Christmas market you’ll ever see.
Dates: Friday 19th November – Wednesday 22nd December 2021
Known as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, let alone in the UK; it’s unique location, high-quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere makes Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market one of the most whimsical.
It’s no surprise then that market-goers travel long distances to get involved in the festivities. German-inspired but with British craftsmanship at its core, try a slice of stollen with some mulled wine, or marvel delicate glasswork and painted textiles.
Look out for the parade which flows from the cathedral to the outer close. Showcasing beautifully handcrafted lanterns and ending with a fireworks display each day, this parade in Winchester is not to be missed.
6. Belfast Christmas Market
Best for: Treats from around the world.
Dates: Saturday 20th November to Thursday 23rd December 2021
For an exotic Christmas, look no further than Belfast Christmas Market. When you think ‘exotic’, Belfast may not be what first comes to mind. But this Irish gem transforms in the Winter and takes you to the tropics.
Here you’ll be greeted by amazing gifts from across the world and a range of meats from different climates. From alligator, kangaroo and wild boar on skewers, you’re bound to try something new. If it gets too chilly outside, head into Lavery’s Irish bar. Here you can warm yourself up with a glass of spiced wine and enjoy a live band playing Christmas classics.
7. Caerphilly Christmas Market
Best for: Christmas back in time.
Dates: Saturday 4th December 2021
Take in the sights, sounds and smell of Caerphilly Christmas Market. Set in the old market town of Caerphilly, and located within Caerphilly Castle, it feels like Christmas in a time passed.
From traditional funfair rides, street entertainment and 100 food and crafts stalls, for one weekend only, celebrate Christmas how it was meant to be. Though the market is on the smaller side, its stalls are packed with quirky stocking fillers and lots of tasty treats. But with the funfair, live music and choir singing at all hours, there’s so much on offer here in Wales.
8. Bath Christmas Market
Best for: The biggest Christmas shopping extravaganza.
Dates: Postponed until 2022
Sure to get you in the festive spirit is the biggest Christmas shopping extravaganza in Bath. Voted the UK’s number one Christmas market in 2017, is Bath Christmas Market, which consists of 150 stunning chalets dotted across the city’s Georgian streets.
Each chalet holds locally sourced items, ranging from hand-made crafts and jewellery to winter-proof hats and scarves. But much more, are stalls selling some much-desired food and drink. Treat yourself to a mince pie, or two, and savour some well deserved mulled wine. With the sound of choirs, carollers and musicians sounding through the market, it’s a lovely way to spend your evening.
9. Leeds Castle Christmas Market
Best for: Breathtaking views and scenery.
Dates: Postponed until 2022
Marvel seasonal gifts, twinkling trees and mouth-watering food and drink that are bound to warm you up. Featuring a reindeer display, it’s a great place to take the kids and get them to meet Rudolph. Don’t forget Leeds Castle Christmas Market’s funfair rides, which are set to be loads of fun for all the family.
10. George Square Christmas Market
Best for: The finest festive brews.
Dates: Postponed until 2022
With 50 stalls on displays, pick up anything from a painted doll from Russia, a knitted jumper from Lapland or delicious nougat from Italy. Not to mention, George Square Christmas Market boasts a Bavarian beer house and Gluhwein house, making Glasgow the perfect spot for a Christmas brew.