Pack all your cosy clothes and book yourself a weekend away to experience Christmas in the best and most Christmassy way possible.
Words Amira Arasteh
Whether you’re looking for a European getaway or a UK staycation, we’ve got the top Christmas markets you should think about visiting covered. Perfect for a romantic break or a trip with your friends, these are the markets you don’t want to miss out on.
East Princes Street Gardens: 16th November – 5th January
Ideal for getting that perfect Christmas gift
Be part of the Christmas cheer and sparkle with fun fairground rides and Christmas shows that will get you into the festive spirit in no time. Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, this traditional Christmas market is perfect for picking up your cute and bespoke Christmas gifts. If visiting post-Christmas day, there’s still a variety of arts and crafts stalls with gifts to fill your home all year round.
Bath City Centre: 22nd November – 9th December
The most Christmassy of them all
One of the most aesthetically-pleasing (and dare we say, Instagrammable?) markets in the UK, Bath at Christmas lights up the entire city. With hundreds of sparkling chalets selling quality Christmas gifts, tasty food and drink and a large selection of jewellery, they really make Bath’s market unique this season. Festive food is plentiful, as are glasses of mulled wine and cider.
Victoria Square & New Street: 15th November – 23rd December
If you can’t make it to Germany, this market is for you
The famous Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the best way to get into the Christmas spirit. Known as the best German market outside of Germany and Austria, the market will offer tasty treats such as German Bratwursts, schnitzel, strudels and pretzels. Get merry on beer, gluhwein (mulled wine) and marshmallow-topped, whipped cream-coated hot chocolate – with or without the Baileys! It’s also been named as Birmingham’s Best Outdoor Event, beating their popular Digbeth Dining Club.
In and around Albert Square: 9th November – 22nd December
The UK’s original Christmas market
Located in 10 different spots around the city, with 300 festive stalls selling food, drink and handmade crafts, Manchester’s Christmas market is one you should definitely check out. If London markets have you saying ‘Bah! Humbug!’ as you might want to head north to be greeted by a fabulous selection of European food – we’re talking Dutch pancakes, German beers and Spanish paella – and a six tonne LED-lit up Santa Claus. Does it get better?
Winchester Cathedral: 17th November – 20th December
Pick up some handcrafted gifts in ‘England’s Christmas capital’
High quality and unique exhibitors fill the chalet stalls at Winchester’s Christmas market. Known for its picturesque cathedral setting and ice rink there’s an entire British Crafts Village so make sure you visit the jewellers, painters and textile artists. The market also has a traditional Nativity scene – perfect for group photos and documenting the day on the gram.
Winter Wonderland, London
Hyde Park: 22nd November – January 6th
London’s most impressive fun and festivities
With the Magical Ice Kingdom, ice-sculpting workshops and more, this is London’s biggest festive extravaganza. There are many rides that show London’s skyline (if you can look!), ice-skating and a comedy club, so plenty to get you into the Christmas spirit. Snowglobe-selling stalls, a Bavarian village for all the beer, mulled wine and cider you could ask for and a good old hog roast make Winter Wonderland a must do – even after the 100th time.
St. Nicholas’ Fair, York
Parliament Street: 15th November – 23rd December
For true festive atmosphere
Walk underneath twinkling lights with a cup of mulled cider in hand and find the perfect Christmas gift. St. Nicholas’ Fair also showcases the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village where visitors can peruse handmade crafts by locals. King’s Square is where it steps up a notch with a fairground featuring the classic Helter Skelter and a punnet of hot chestnuts are an absolute must.
Marktplatz: 27th November – 23rd December
One of the largest Christmas markets in Germany
Dating all the way back to 1458, Leipzig has kept the tradition of a Christmas market going strong. With over 250 stalls, this Christmas festivity is not only one of the oldest markets in Germany, but one of the largest as well. Heads up: the 20m high Saxon spruce Christmas tree and the 38m high Ferris wheel are both sure to impress. Who knew Leipzig was the place to visit?
Place de la Cathédrale: 23rd November – 30th December
The Capital of Christmas is just a short flight away
Strasbourg Christmas market is a magical getaway this winter, not only because of its famous Christmas tree and renowned wooden chalets, but also because of the Alsatian culture that is cemented into the festivities. Local families make handmade Advent wreaths, as well as bredele cakes - and you can bet the latter goes down nicely with a mulled wine!
Old Town Square: 1st December – 6th January 2019
If you fancy a post-Christmas Christmas break
See Prague lit up like never before, with the most impressive festivities in the Czech Republic. Walk amongst brightly decorated huts full of locally crafted wooden toys, scented candles, embroidered lace and jewellery. It’s the perfect place to pick up your souvenirs, as well as sampling the local food and drink. If you missed your summer holiday to Prague, definitely consider booking a flight for Christmas.
Tivoli Gardens: 17th November – 31st December
Go to meet Scandinavian Santa
If you didn’t think Tivoli Gardens could get any cuter, visit Copenhagen at Christmas. The perfect Scandinavian atmosphere is created with fairy lights and snow decorating the trees and cute wooden huts in the park. The fairground rides will be up and running for the big kind in everyone’s heart, as well as Santa Claus and his reindeer to make sure everyone enjoys themselves and has a fun festive time.
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