Discover The Most Festive Christmas Markets in the UK
Get in to the festive spirit with our pick of the best Christmas markets in the UK. Matt Perry reveals the highlights…
Throughout Europe, the festive period sees millions attracted to Christmas markets every year. Many visit them seeking quality products created by clever local craftsmen, while others go along to spend time socialising with friends and family sampling delicious street food and drinking mugs of mulled wine.
Christmas markets in the UK have sprung up all over major cities and small towns and have become the pinnacle of Christmas cheer in the lead up to the festive season. We’ve compiled this guide to what we think are the best UK Christmas Markets.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Moving away from the big city and into Hampshire, Winchester’s Christmas Market has a stunning and unique location which has meant its been recognised as one of the top Christmas markets in Europee. With the medieval Cathedral as a backdrop, close to half a million visitors make the trip each year with an assortment of food, drink, crafts and unique gifts for them to indulge in.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland
The market situated in Nottingham has the bragging rights of being the largest Christmas event in the East Midlands. 2019’s annual market has expanded even further with 70 stalls spread amongst the Old Market Square. Not only is the square filled with festive markets with a variety of products, but entertainment is scheduled throughout the December period. Winter Wonderland in Nottingham will also feature an Altitude Bar, Ice Bar and a Helter Skelter Bar for attendees to relax and take in the festive atmosphere whilst having a drink.
During the festive period, Millennium Square in Leeds transforms into a traditional German market with over 40 decorated chalet stalls. The market offers handcrafted toys and accessories along with typical German delicacies. Visitors can also attend the Bavarian styled eatery and the Ski Hutte bar for where authentic evening entertainment will take place. The market area is also scheduling a weekly children’s almost every Sunday morning with face-painting, sing-alongs and arts and crafts activities to enjoy. For those who want an authentic market experience, attending the Leeds Christkindelmarkt is an ideal alternative to flying out to Germany this winter.
Bath Christmas Market
The award-winning Bath Christmas Market is spread out across the picturesque Georgian streets of the city including Milson Street and Abbey Churchyard. The market promises to be a highly-sophisticated 18 day event where over 150 glistering chalets tempting shoppers with products including unique homeware and personalised presents. For the first time, the market is also offering the Bath Christmas Market Experience where visitors will have the chance to try their hand at craft and wreath making before sitting down for a scrumptious two-course Champagne lunch at the Ivy Bath Brasserie.
For the festive period, the Scottish capital transforms into a magical wonderland with plenty of activities and markets to keep families entertained. Edinburgh hosts a variety of things to see and do and this year’s market will see an expansion with a record 163 stalls and bars across the East Princes Street Gardens area. Parents can keep the family entertained at the festive fairground which will include rides and a children’s market full of gifts and toys. With other activities throughout such as fairground attractions and choirs, Edinburgh is looking to be an enchanting city to visit this Christmas.
Christmas Market Bournemouth
For those who can look past the icy breeze during winter periods at coastal towns, Bournemouth is presenting a revitalised alpine market this year. Festive traders will be taking over the square offering the very best local crafts and catering goods. From award-winning local preserves such as chutneys and cheeses, to handcrafted jewellery and clothing, Bournemouth Christmas Market is offering various goodies for shoppers. Bournemouth square will also be home to the two-storey Alpine Lodge Bar which is returning due to popular demand.
Oxford Christmas Market
Located in the heart of Oxford on the historic Broad Street, surrounding what remains of the Castle of Oxford, the Oxford Christmas Market will offer a classic, magical Christmas experience. Entering its 10th year, the market will be offering the best from local market traders from unusual and handmade gifts, to delicious mouth-watering street food. Performances from carol singers and brass bands along with the fresh aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting through the air will see Oxford transform, creating a charming Christmas experience.
Manchester Christmas Markets
Manchester’s award-winning Christmas Markets return offering a range of international products in the heart of the city. Celebrating 20 years, Manchester is split into eight different zones for visitors to explore. The original and most popular market in Albert Square entices with delicious treats such as Great North Pies to hog roasts. Piccadilly Gardens will host its very first market this year with a live entertainment programme and a new bar area styled to represent a giant snow globe. With six other areas to discover as well, Manchester Christmas markets will keep everyone entertained.
Cheltenham Christmas Market
Gorgeous wooden chalets take over The Promenade in Cheltenham in order to provide shoppers with a wide range of Christmas goods, crafts, food and beverages. The market is a perfect place for those looking for last-minute Christmas gifts who visitors who are just after a leisurely drink with friends. Saturday, 23 November will also see Cheltenham’s eccentric light-switch on parade with a production including ghost puppets of Christmas past, present and future, based on the famous Charles Dickens story.
Exeter Christmas Market
Since its arrival, Exeter’s Christmas Market, located on Exeter Cathedral Green has been attracting over 600,000 people. The market, which features a selection of local and continental products, is a prime location for shoppers during the festival period along with the Cathedral on its doorstep, which offers activities such as carol services, concerts and events. Taken inspiration from German markets, the Exeter market is a perfect venue to visit at the epicentre of the Devonshire city.
Leicester Square, London
Located in the heart of the London for a fourth year in a row is Leicester Square’s UK Christmas Market.You’ll find an assortment of stalls each selling a variety of food and drink mostly inspired by the world-famous German markets. On top of this, Leicester Square will be surrounded by entertainment from the likes of Olivier Award-winning variety show La Clique, fire-breathers and cabaret dancers. London is one of the most spectacular cities in Europe to spend Christmas and visiting the capital’s festive markets is a must.