From London to Edinburgh and Brighton to Leeds, here is a round-up of this winter’s top Christmas markets…
The countdown to Christmas is officially on. Alongside stocking up on the best advent calendars out there (or the best beauty advent calendars for you make-up obsessives), there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than browsing around the best Christmas markets (with a cup of mulled wine in your hand, obviously).
Whether it’s a weekend day out with the family or a post-work festive browse, here are our top 10 picks for the best Christmas Markets in the UK…
Best Christmas Markets London
Southbank Centre Winter Market
Not only does this market boast London’s best views (Parliament, Big Ben and St. Pauls), it’s also famed for its Scandinavian decorations, festive food stalls and mulled wine. This year there’s even a Rekorderlig Winter Lodge selling Swedish treats and hot cider cocktails. Browse the wooden cabins lining the river and see if you can catch a performance from one of the pop-up choirs or circus acts.
Open: Friday 11 November – Wednesday 25 January (10 am – 10pm)
Hyde Park’s famous Winter Wonderland is returning this November, so expect it to be bigger (and busier) than ever. Aside from your standard Christmas market stalls, the park features a Bavarian village and the Ice Bar. There’s even an ice rink, fairground rides and a Christmas Circus. This year, they’re also bringing over a special performance of Cinderella on Ice with an exciting cast made up of world-renowned skaters. Another new addition will be The Magical Ice Kingdom’s Deep Sea Adventure, a mystical experience that’ll take you past mermaid grottos, Poseidon’s throne and meticulously crafted ice and snow sculptures that have to be seen to be believed.
Open: Friday, 17 November – Monday, 1 January, 10am – 10pm (closed on Christmas Day)
Camden Christmas Market
Open every Thursday, this market offers an alternative to the classic kitsch festivals. Shop here for edgy Christmas décor – from handmade fairy lights to vintage ornaments – there’s even a brass band and a ‘Selfie Tree’.
Open: 17 November — 22 December (12pm – 9pm)
Best Christmas Markets Birmingham
Frankfurt Christmas Market
Birmingham is hosting the country’s largest outdoor market for the 12th year running, promising 190 stalls selling hand crafted toys, tree decorations and glassware – not to mention an ice rink and a Ferris wheel. Food-wise you can expect all of the German festive classics: bratwursts, gluhwein, pretzels, and roasted almonds.
Open: Thursday 17 November – Thursday 29 December
Christmas Floating Market
For a more unique (and relaxing) experience, visit the floating markets in Birmingham. Twelve narrow boats will float along the river, stopping off to sell wooden pieces, knitwear, Christmas cards and sweets to riverside shoppers. Located along the stretch of water nearby the Barclaycard Arena, it’s a great way to go hunting for last-minute presents.
Open: Saturday December 9 – 10, 10am – 5pm
Christmas Craft Markets
The Mac is opening its doors this year to the Christmas Craft Markets, exclusively selling and showcasing work by Birmingham and West Midlands-based designers. Head here for homemade gifts – expect everything from jewellery and candles to handbags and tree decorations.
Open: Saturday 3 December – Sunday 4 December, Saturday 10 December – Sunday 11 December (11am – 5pm)
Best Christmas Markets Manchester
Manchester Christmas Markets
With ten different bases throughout the city, the world-famous European Christmas Market winds its way through Manchester’s chalet-lined streets. Here you can browse handmade crafts, jewellery, toys, clothes and a truly European selection of food – we’re talking Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella, German beers, Dutch pancakes and even French profiteroles. It all culminates in bustling Albert Square, where a six tonne Santa made of LED Christmas lights will oversee the festivities below.
Open: Thursday 10 November – Tuesday 20 December (10am – 9pm)
A&B Mega-Fair Christmas Special
For one day only, the A&B mega-fair at Sound Control will be your one stop shop for all things vintage, punk, and neo-Victorian. Shop clothing, accessories, jewellery and artwork from a wide variety of exhibitors, but unlike your average traditional Christmas market, this one also features twisted cabaret, aerial acts and DJ sets.
Open: Saturday 17 December
Didsbury Artisan Market
If you’re into the whole ‘source, grow, make’ motto, you will love the Didsbury Artisan Market. Shop original and unique Christmas gifts from ethical fair-trade producers selling the very best of seasonal local farm produce – everything from hand-crafted cheeses to artisan bread.
Open: Sunday 27 November and Sunday 18 December
Best Christmas Markets Edinburgh
The European Christmas Market
East Princes Street is hosting the city’s biggest Christmas market. Head here for bespoke festive gifts from local crafters and artists, plus gastronomic treats from churros to gingerbread. Plus it’s perfect for families, with fairground rides and a Santa Land.
Open: Saturday 19 November – Saturday 7 January (10am – 10pm)
The Scottish Market
West George Street will once again be hosting the Scottish Market: a winter showcase of the best craft, food and drink that Scotland has to offer. Look out for locally produced goods, festive snacks and live entertainment.
Open: 26 November 2016 to 24 December 2016
BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS LEEDS
Despite being based in Millennium Square, Christkindelmarkt is as traditional as German Christmas markets come, with festive greenery, carousel rides and wooden chalet stalls where authentic German traders showcase their handcrafted goods. The German delicacies on offer include gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, goulash, schnitzel and gingerbread – not to mention, there’s even a brand new après-ski bar.
Open: Friday 11 November – Sunday 18 December
Leeds Hidden Christmas Market
Brand new this year, the Hidden Christmas Market promises more than just shopping. You can expect live acts, surprise performances, craft stations – not to mention, locally sourced festive food stalls and a bar full of mulled wine and champagne cocktails.
Open: Friday 16 December
BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS BRIGHTON
Brighton Christmas Market
Straying from the traditional Christmas market, Brighton’s local artists will instead be opening up their homes over this three weeklong pop-up. Visitors will have a chance to view local art, attend workshops and purchase crafts directly from the artist. With over 56 houses and 450 artists, you’re bound to find something for the whole family.
Open: Saturday 26 November – Sunday 11 December (weekends only)
Brighton Christmas Market
Jubilee Square will be hosting its annual Christmas market, with over twenty chalets of handcrafted gifts and a wide selection of festive food. Expect live art showcases, street theatre, exhibitions, community events, and outdoor screenings.
Open: Friday 18 November – Saturday 24 December