The UK is home to so many wonderful Christmas markets that it can get tough to narrow down which ones to check out during your visit.
Home to magical sights and sounds wrapped by captivating smells, Christmas markets definitely deserve a place in your itinerary if you’re planning a winter getaway to the UK.
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Whether you’re looking to do some gift shopping or you simply want to dive into the holiday spirit and liven up your winter vacation, Christmas markets are a wonderful way to fully take in the season.
In this post, we share some of the best Christmas markets in the UK where shopping, delicious seasonal treats, and savory mulled wine are guaranteed! These UK family holidays don’t disappoint.
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The Best UK Christmas Markets
1. London’s Winter Wonderland Christmas Market
Set in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland is one of the biggest Christmas markets in London and also one of the longest-lasting ones.
Over one hundred wooden chalets fill the park with all kinds of gifts and stocking fillers that include fantastic jewelry and hand-crafted items, making it one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
Of course, mulled wine, Christmas cakes, mince pies, roast turkey rolls, and other goodies are available everywhere you look! Christmas market foods are one of the best reasons to go!
When you’ve had your fill of holiday shopping at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, you can have fun at the biggest outdoor ice rink in London or enjoy a variety of Winter Wonderland Christmas shows hosted throughout the winter season in the city!
2. Bath Christmas Market
Thanks to the city’s old-world charm and centuries-old architecture, strolling the Christmas Markets in Bath feels like taking a step back in time.
Like most Christmas markets, it is filled with holiday magic and a festive atmosphere that is difficult to beat, which is why we rank it one of the best Christmas markets in Bath. More than 170 wooden stalls decked out in sparkling lights and ornaments offer a huge variety of seasonal gifts, food, and drink in the area surrounding the gorgeous Bath Abbey and Roman Baths.
It is worth mentioning that the Bath Christmas Market is big on supporting local charities, thus providing some free stall rentals for them. They also strive to make their market as sustainable and environmentally responsible as possible. If you are looking for a more nostalgic and less commercial type of Christmas market, Bath is perfect for you.
3. Belfast Christmas Market
Belfast Christmas Market at Donegall Square is one of the most varied Christmas markets in the whole United Kingdom.
With an amazing food court that serves delicious treats from 32 different countries, this market is a great holiday shopping spot but also an amazing gastronomical experience. You can taste all kinds of interesting goodies that range from relatively simple French crepes to more exotic fare like ostrich and crocodile burgers!
The market is home to a Santa train, an Olaf ride, and a vintage helter-skelter, so don’t worry about keeping the kids entertained for a good while if you’re traveling as a family!
Another place to celebrate the festive season in Belfast is Victoria Square. This giant retail center has live music, Santa’s Grotto, and a Christmas Fayre. There are Christmas decorations galore, festive food, and local artists selling the perfect Christmas gifts!
4. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Founded in 2006, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is considered a top winter market in Europe.
With around 112 chalets filled with unique products located in the Inner Close of the stunning gothic cathedral, you’ll find exclusive gifts and stocking fillers amid chestnut and cinnamon aromas and Christmas carols. In addition to high-quality jewelry, crafts, and other carefully chosen articles, great food and warm drinks are available to make it an unparalleled Christmas shopping getaway.
The market was inspired by world-renowned German Christmas markets, so don’t be surprised to find bratwurst sausages being served along with British fish and chips, hot chocolate, and mulled wine in the food stalls.
Also on offer is a fantastic skating rink right on the cathedral grounds, with a cafe bar included. Although you will find amazing products from all over the world, there is a special section for local artisans to display their wares, aptly named the British Crafts Village. A charming nativity scene designed by schoolchildren serves as a reminder of the meaning of Christmas and is also a great photo op!
5. Edinburgh Princes Street Market
The Scottish city of Edinburgh takes the Christmas season celebrations very seriously, and its Christmas markets amplify this statement.
Even though the city proudly hosts several Christmas markets, the biggest Edinburgh Christmas Market is the East Princes Street Gardens. Hundreds of stalls display a wide array of Scottish crafts and knickknacks, as well as delicious food from all over the world. For warmth, sip up some hot spiced wine or hot chocolate as you browse around and take in the stunning Christmas lights and listen to the holiday choirs.
Another great place to celebrate the holidays in Edinburgh is the market at George Street. This is home to Edinburgh’s Christmas ice skating rink, fair rides, and festive treats for the whole family.
6. Nottingham Winter Wonderlands
The city of Nottingham is the proud home of one of the best markets in the UK, with literally something to offer everyone.
Besides the usual holiday decorations and trinkets, small businesses set up shop in the cute Bavarian-style traditional wooden chalets to offer unique products that range from handcrafted gifts to local cheese and even authentic drinking horns! You can also find candles, plants, jewelry, as well as fashion and vintage clothes. As for food, you can warm up with homemade stew, chocolate, and chutneys.
When you’re done shopping, eating, and drinking, head for some merry fun at the fairground attractions, open-air skating rink, and helter-skelter, which happens to double as a bar. You’ll also find an ice bar and a ski lodge bar where you can rest your weary feet and fuel up after hours of shopping. Nottingham Winterlands sure does make it easy to eat, drink, and be merry!
7. Lincoln Christmas Market
Famed for being the oldest Christmas market in the UK, the Lincoln Christmas Market hosts over 200 stalls that offer all kinds of handcrafted goods, seasonal food, warm drinks, and beer.
For after-shopping thrills and some sightseeing, the market fairgrounds offer fun rides and spectacular views of the Lincoln Cathedral, River Witham, and the castle. Be aware that this traditional market is only open four days every year, but if you happen to be in the area during that time, it is well worth checking it out.
8. Manchester Christmas Markets
With nine Christmas markets rolled into one, Manchester is a perfect destination to check out if you want to visit as many markets as possible in a short amount of time.
Being one of the oldest Christmas markets in the UK, Manchester proudly opened its first colorful stalls in 1998, displaying a wonderful variety of gifts, ornaments, crafts, and gastronomic treats from around the world. Today, it proudly hosts more than 300 stalls in nine different sections, each with its own style.
This year, Manchester Christmas has a big surprise waiting for adults and the little ones alike, as it will open up a designated family site for the first time, with fun rides, street theater, and LED lights performers.
9. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Market
The city of Birmingham is home to the biggest German Christmas market outside of Germany. Everything here is authentic, from the German-inspired treats such as spiced glühwein, sausages, pretzels, and beer, to the carved wooden toys and handmade gifts you would expect at the traditional German Christmas markets. We are certain this market may very well make you feel as though you were transported to the heart of Bavaria!
10. York Christmas Market
The medieval town of York during the holiday season offers the perfect place to celebrate. York St Nicholas Fair is an award-winning market, and any visit to the UK during the holidays must include a stop here.
There are over 70 stalls selling unique gifts and holiday food and drink. We recommend walking through the area of Parliament Street and St. Sampson’s Square to soak up the festive fun.
This year the market is adding a traditional Swiss chalet, The Winter Hütte. This is a dining experience from one of Yorkshire’s top chefs and a not to be missed treat if you’re visiting York.
We think these are the best UK Christmas markets for celebrating the holiday season. Offering everything from shopping and ice skating to delicious food and fabulous decorations, these markets are sure to transport you to a magical place and time.