Oops, we’re already thinking about it, and so are towns and cities all over the country. And nothing says Christmas like the sweet scent of gingerbread and the twinkling lights of a Christmas market.
Christmas markets are a fab tradition we’ve borrowed from Germany. Come on, where else are we going to get a massive bratwurst sausage and vats of mulled wine? For the last decade or so towering Christmas trees or shiny ice rinks surrounded by wooden stallholder chalets alongside fairground rides and Ferris wheels have been a fixture of many towns up and down the country. With some of them brilliant and others a bit mid, check out our guide to the best of the best.
When: 10th November – 21st December
Boasting 225 stalls throughout the city centre at nine different sites, Manchester is pulling out all the stops. The iconic ski chalets will be taking over the city filled with local artisan vendors great for gift shopping for your mates. Take a spin on the ice rink and a wander through the light trail to finish off your day out.
Manchester Christmas Market
When: 2nd November – 24th December
Cited as the ‘largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria’, Birmingham is the place to be this November. Enjoy live music and as much traditional food and drink (or a proper warm British cuppa) as you can stomach on your walk around the market or take a short break in the food hall if you’ve got too much to carry.
Birmingham Christmas Market
When: 17th November – 21st December
Winchester’s best kept secret tucked away behind the cathedral in the courtyard. The atmospheric lights bouncing off the old stone walls and the cosy winding pathways through the stalls gives Winchester Christmas market a quaint and intimate experience unlike the larger events. But worry not, there is still an ice rink, and plenty to entertain and empty your wallets.
Winchester Christmas Market
Leicester Square, London
When: 9th November – 8th January
Expecting Winter Wonderland? Leicester Square is where the real magic is and even better, it’s free to enter! Wander through London’s tourist district through the glittering lights and get your mates on the fair ground rides. Grab tickets to one of the ‘Spiegeltent’ shows for a unique experience of cabaret, fire breathing, and circus performances.
Leicester Square Christmas Market
When: 17th November – 6th January
The Christmas market in the Scottish capital is a huge hit every year, with free entry, fairground rides, and the iconic Ferris wheel lighting up the skyline. Grab some embarrassing pics of your friends stacking it on the ice rink or using a penguin pusher to keep upright (we won’t judge!)
Edinburgh Christmas Market
When: 9th November – 23rd December
Right in the heart of the city centre is where you’ll find Cardiff’s festive market that has been running for almost 30 years. With plenty of mulled wine stands around the market, your cup never has to be empty as you waltz through the wooden stalls of both returning and new vendors adding to the atmosphere.
Cardiff Christmas Market
When: 16th November – 22nd December
The iconic St. Nicholas Fair returns with its chalets and Christmas decs, with a mix of handmade gifts and extra special treats available. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, there have been some additions including the Winter Hutte and Nutcracker Trail. Get yourselves on a treasure hunt to find the ten nutcrackers hidden around the city to have a shot at a prize or sneak off and get the prize for yourself... we won’t tell!
York Christmas Market
When: 23rd November – 10th December
Whilst the celebrations in Bath are not as lengthy, it doesn’t mean there isn’t just as much fun to be had. The large ice rink is the centre piece atmospherically lit with soft lighting and Christmas tunes, although grab some earmuffs if you’re playing Whamageddon. Watch some street theatre on your walk through the stalls, listen to the choir, and plenty of other great live acts.
Bath Christmas Market
When: 7th November – 31st December
A winter spectacular, with an ice rink, ice bar, toboggan slide, and observation wheel looking out over the Nottingham skyline. Race your friends around the event on the Sky Skate Ice Path and enjoy a hot choccy to recharge. With this much to do, make sure you keep some time free to walk through the Christmas market and enjoy the festive feeling.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland
Chester’s stunning Tudor architecture lends itself to the Christmas market, with lights hanging from the central tree and the wooden chalets glittering. 70 stalls will be set up in the heart of the city filled with handmade goodies to grab the perfect gift. Enjoy one of your fave bevvies from the bar including G&T’s, mulled wines, or a hot chocolate if you’re not feeling the booze.
Chester Christmas Market
When: 16th November – 2nd January
Grab your hats and scarves and head down to Southampton centre late in the evening to watch the half hourly light show against the iconic Bargate monument whilst sipping on a warm drink and demolishing a bratwurst and a pack of churros. Jump on AtmosFear, an adrenaline inducing ride taking you 80ft in the air and spinning you around, totally worth filming your mates on.
Southampton Christmas Market
When: 17th November – 17th December
Exeter’s Christmas market is right next to the cathedral with free entry inside to enjoy the sights alongside the festive atmosphere. Plenty of local west-country food and produce is available as well as those wonderful, handcrafted gifts that are a staple of these markets.
Exeter Christmas Market
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to
Why not make it an overnight stay?
Book your hotel with us here!
All events are fully accessible, with service dogs welcome.
Affordable, convenient and comfy rooms close to the event you're going to.
All the latest places to go and things to do in the UK – straight to your inbox!