The UK’s Top Christmas Markets
In a recent study, we found out which things Brits love most about winter. Understandably Christmas was high up in the rankings, as well as Christmas markets and comfort food.
With the festive season approaching, what better way to get in the spirit than to visit a Christmas market or two? The European tradition, which arrived in the UK in the 1990s, has become a much-loved addition to the calendar in town centres around the country.
Where can the UK’s biggest and best Christmas markets be found? We’ve collected some of the country’s most famous, as well as a couple you might not have heard of…
Bath (November 23rd – December 10th)
The tiny Somerset city of Bath plays host to over 200 stalls and chalets each year, while warming food and drink can be enjoyed at The Lodge, the market’s pop-up pub in a cosy log cabin. All overlooked by Bath’s spectacular Abbey cathedral, the market forms the perfect picture-postcard scene.
Birmingham (November 16th – December 24th)
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market has the honour of being Britain’s biggest. With a distinctly German theme, visitors can enjoy bratwurst, Bavarian beer and mulled wine. It’s also right next to the city’s Christmas Craft Market, perfect for picking up gifts for the family.
Edinburgh (November 17th – December 24th / November 18th – January 6th)
Edinburgh’s spellbinding Gothic architecture makes it the perfect setting for a traditional Christmas market – and there’s not one, but two in the Scottish capital. Markets are open in Princes Street Gardens and George Street, while there’s an open-air ice rink in St Andrew Square.
Leeds (November 10th – December 24th)
The Leeds Christkindelmarkt has over 40 stores selling a mixture of delicious Bavarian food and drink, as well as toys, clothing and a number of rides for the kids to enjoy. If it’s chilly outside, grab a bite to eat at the Alp Chalet or Kuh Stall, where you can warm up beside a real log fire.
London (November 17th – January 1st)
While there are many local Christmas markets to visit in and around London, special mention has to go to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. As well as the usual craft stalls and food stands, visitors can expect the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, deep-sea adventures in the Magical Ice Kingdom and the thrills of Zippos Circus.
Nottingham (November 17th – December 24th)
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland grows every year, and the 2017 edition includes an Ice Bar (complete with ice sculptures) and ice skating – not to mention a host of handicraft stalls, locally-produced food and musical entertainment. Kids can enjoy the helter-skelter, Santa’s Toy Ride and a carousel.
Rochester Castle (November 25th – December 10th)
Something of a hidden gem as it takes place in the castle’s grounds, rather than a city centre, the Rochester Castle Christmas Market in Kent is a delight for all ages. Within the 12th-century keep, visitors can look forward to mulled wine, live music, a Bavarian village and an extra-special Dickensian Christmas Festival on December 2nd and 3rd.
Leamington Spa (November 19th – December 24th – Sundays only)
Another great option for anyone looking for a lesser-known Christmas market experience, the Leamington Spa Yuletide Fayre features dozens of stalls and unique events. The 2016 version included a spectacular lantern parade, so who knows what’s in store this year.