Got that festive feeling yet? We have. So here are the 5 best Christmas markets in the UK. You're welcome.
You don’t have to hop on a ferry to experience the festive joys of European Christmas markets. Here are 5 of the best Christmas markets in the UK. Bring on the mulled wine… *hic*.
Manchester Christmas market
The first city to bring the traditional continental Christmas market tradition to UK shores, it remains the biggest in the country. The centrepiece is a 16m high windmill in the grounds of the medieval cathedral, providing the ultimate backdrop for sipping on warm Gluhwein and tucking into a bratwurst or two. Mixing traditional fare from Germany and France, as well as locally-sourced arts, crafts and handmade toys (hence, a gazillion gift ideas).
Best for: Scale. Spanning nine sites across the city, it has more stalls than any other Christmas market in the UK (over 300). Forget day trips, you’ll want to spend the whole weekend here.
Open: Friday 14 November – Sunday 21 December
European Christmas Market, Albert Square: 10.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00am – 6pm Sunday
Opening times for all other markets: November 10.00am – 7.30pm. December 10.00am – 8.00pm.
Frankfurt Christmas market, Birmingham
Attracting more then five million visitors a year, you might want to get in early to escape the crowds at this authentic European market when it hits the midlands. But spanning almost a mile from the Frankfurt market in Victoria Square to the Christmas Craft fair in Centenary Square, you won’t be short on inspiration. A good spot for traditionalists, you could sort your entire tree decor and stock up on gifts for your nearest and dearest in one warm, fuzzy, festive trip. Foodies will especially love the continental offerings and the smells as you wander from stall the stall.
Best for: Crafters. If you’re the Etsy-loving, sewing machine-using crafty type then this is the festive playground for you to get and swap gift ideas.
Open: November 15 – December 22
Edinburgh Christmas market
Don’t miss the opening ceremony (Friday 20th November) where 600 local performers will put on a show across a number of stages on George Street for Light Night. With 106 stalls providing a selection of foods, drinks and crafts, there’s also a Scottish market where you can snap up traditional Scottish produce. Two must-dos for you: The Paradiso Speigletent has a programme of world-class entertainment, headlined by Scotch and Soda, the world-renowned circus show. Secondly, the Christmas Tree Maze at Santa Land. Endless fun, even for grown-ups. This year, for the first time there is also the Virgin Money Street of Light which features 26 arches of installations of 60,000 lights all running along the Royal Mile.
Best for: All the fun of the fair. With a new ice rink, bigger-then-ever Santa Land and the return of the carousel and helter skelter, it’s the stuff of childhood dreams.
Open: 20th November – 4th January 2015
With a cabaret, club nights courtesy of the Bugged Out Weekender and Shit Faced Shakespeare supplying the laughs, Winterville is 2015’s most alternative Christmas market. There’s also family nights (erm, family raving anyone?), a Santa’s Grotto and a food hall with brisket-beauties served up by Smokestak, buttermilk by Mother Clucker and chocolate by Bad Brownie you’re guaranteed to have a wonderfully weird time.
Best for: A festive girl’s night out. This is the hipster Christmas market de jour and it’s hitting east London’s Victoria Park for the first time this year. Think Lovebox, but with added tinsel and Santa hats.
Open: 26th November – 23rd December
Bath Christmas market
Set in the historic streets surrounding Bath Abbey, it’s worth a trip to just for the stunning West Country backdrop, then you probably want to focus on the shopping. With scores of new stallholders joining for 2015, expect one of the largest ranges of jewellery, ceramics, glassware, handmade toys, clothing and crafts, all from local makers and independent craftspeople. If it’s a truly British country market you’re after (and some of the finest locally-sourced cheese and wine, you’re likely to stumble across this Christmas) Bath is where it’s at.
Best for: Foodies. The local produce and selection of West Country ciders, wines, cheeses and meats will have you stocking up your fridge until long into the new year.
Open: 26th November – 13th December