They may not be in the second city, but that doesn’t mean these UK Christmas markets aren’t great!
We’ll level with you: Manchester is a busy little city. That only gets worse at Christmas time, and whilst we’re enchanted by the light displays and festive pop-ups, there’s a part of us that secretly longs for a quieter Christmas. So it’s no wonder that we cast an occasional envious glances towards these charming UK Christmas markets, who bring festive cheer to the people without having to endure Market Street. Manchester, we’ll be back soon!
The gorgeous Georgian streets of Bath will be filled will those adorable wooden huts once more. Immensely popular, and limited to a shorter run because of it, local businesses flock here to sell their wares. There’s also a cracking hog roast to be had, making this market one to circle on your calendar. See more here.
Churchill’s ancestral home gets in on the UK Christmas markets game with a dreamy offering. Whilst the ubiquitous wooden chalets appear once more, you don’t often see them with a drop-dead gorgeous stately home as a backdrop, and they’re filled with all kinds of festive curiosities and treats. Blenheim Palace also runs a charming Christmas lights trail (until January 1st), making it doubly worthy of a visit this winter. Find out more here.
Don’t be fooled by the name – this one is not, we repeat NOT, in Leeds. In fact, it’s in Kent, roughly 225 miles southeast of Leeds, and held on the grounds of the stately Leeds Castle. Unlike the rest, this one is strictly a weekend affair, running for four consecutive weekends. You’ll find the usual suspects from the festive food and drink world, along with a Victorian carousel and a big wheel. Visit their website for more information.
Get ready to celebrate Exe-mas in true West Country style. This lovely UK Christmas market takes place on Cathedral Green, right in front of the historic Exeter Cathedral. They champion local producers, so the stalls are packed full of regional crafts and gifts – and the food village isn’t one to miss. Most importantly, you won’t find a better-mulled cider anywhere else. More information here.
Now, we couldn’t do a Christmas market list without including our very own, could we? Spanning pretty much the whole city centre, Manchester Christmas Market is an annual highlight – even ranking in a list of the best Christmas destinations to visit in Europe. Consisting of market hubs across Albert Square, Market Street, King Street, Cathedral Street and Piccadilly Gardens, guests can try out fantastic local street food (including Porky Pig’s famous Yorkshire Pudding wraps), shop incredible festive gifts, check out the wonderful light sculpture trail, and even see the city’s huge light-up Santa, who pops up somewhere new every year. Find out more here.
Birmingham’s market is the biggest and perhaps the best of UK Christmas markets, with a distinctly Germanic connection. In fact, it’s the biggest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, so it’s a Pretty Big Deal. Even better, the construction work that took over Victoria Square and Centenary Square these past two years have been completed in the nick of time, meaning the market is back to its brilliant best, with more bratwurst and Glühwein that you can shake a schnitzel at. More information here.
Nottingham’s yearly Christmas market/funfair is back for 2019, and it bears a few similarities to our very own Winter Wonderland. There’s an ice rink and ice bar, which sit along with a big range of food and craft stalls, and a helter-skelter adds some irreverent fun. No surprise, then, that it’s regularly named as one of the best UK Christmas markets. Here’s the information.
Edin-brrrr may be chilly this time of year, but there’s a warm welcome waiting on Princes Street. Crafts, gifts, and culinary treats are housed in their row of huts, which is more than enough to ensure a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay. Get the information here.
London’s Winter Wonderland is pretty unmatched, thanks to its huge Bavarian fairground that’s like a playground for grown-ups. In addition to the rides, guests can enjoy plenty of delicious food stalls (crepes, Baileys hot chocolates and Brats included!), alongside a massive beer hall with live entertainment, a huge ice rink, a 70s disco-themed bar (new for 2021) and a whopping Ferris wheel with spectacular views of the capital. Find out more here.
A quaint market taking place in the traditional city of Lincoln, a potter through this lovely Christmas market is sure to spark some festive spirit, with over 200 stalls around the Medieval Square to wander around. Purchase locally-made produce, indulge in festive waffles, and enjoy plenty of cultural entertainment. Find out more here.
Locals look forward to Leeds’ Christkindelmarkt every single year, and for good reason. Combining the city’s love for drinking and dining with tons of traditional stalls, fairground rides and Christmas cheer, the market spans across Millennium Square, bringing a winter-inspired village that’s filled with Bavarian food and drink, seasonal gifts and toys, as well as an Alp Chalet restaurant where kids can meet Santa and the grown-ups can enjoy mulled wine, beers and more. Get more information here.
While Glasgow has Edinburgh’s globally recognised Christmas market to contend with, it’s still a market well worth a visit. The traditional markets bring gifts, food and festive drinks to St Enoch Square and George Square, alongside the beloved Helter Skelter, ferris wheel and even a daily advent calendar where passers-by can enjoy festive treats. More information here.
Relocating to St Johns Gardens and William Brown Street for the first time ever this year, Liverpool Christmas Market – which formerly called St George’s Hall home – offers a cosy teepee bar filled with mulled wine and other festive tipples, alongside a ski lodge, karaoke cable cars, a Windmill bar, a Gin Tin, and tons of lovely gift stalls. In addition to that, guests can enjoy a Bavarian grill, a Yorkshire Pudding wrap stall, and plenty of sweet treats, too. Find out more.
Taking over the centre of Bristol every single year, the annual Christmas Markets offer festive fun for all the family – with over 50 lovely stalls to browse with gifts, seasonal produce and more to explore, as well as tasty Bavarian food, festive tipples, and live entertainment from Santa and his gang. Additionally, guests can also seek refuge in the Jäger Barn Barm, which is complete with heated seats and plenty of warming drinks. Find out more.