Christmas markets are full of traditional charm to get you in the mood for Christmas. You can’t escape the Christmas cheer when you have these incredible Christmas markets right on your doorstep in the UK. From the food inspired Christmas market in Padstow to the traditional German Christmas market in Birmingham, there’s so much choice on offer for a short weekend retreat. Here are ten of the best Christmas Markets in the UK….
1: Bath Christmas Market
Voted the UK’s favourite Christmas market in 2017, it’s easy to see why people love getting into the festive spirit in Bath. Against the backdrop of the city’s Roman baths and magnificent 16th-century abbey, over 200 twinkling chalets line the Georgian streets. These little grottos hold many beautiful gifts, from handmade jewellery and cosy hand-knitted socks to tasty gingerbread and cheeses. There really is something for everyone.
For a bustling, atmospheric feel, look around the traditional wooden stalls during lunchtimes and weekends. For a slower, less crowded meander, visit in the mornings or on weekday evenings. Whenever you decide to go, you’ll be delighted by the choirs, carollers and musicians floating their festive tunes across the market.
22 November–9 December 2018
2: Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Located in Winchester Cathedral’s historic Inner Close and surrounded by an open-air ice rink, Winchester’s German-inspired Christmas market attracts over 350,000 visitors a year. With traders selling stollen and mulled wine, delicate glass-work and painted textiles, it’s easy to see why. Though the market has a German theme, British craftsmen are strongly represented.
For a particularly magical experience, visit on Thursday 29 November 2018 to see the beautiful and creative hand-crafted lanterns that will be paraded from the Cathedral to the Outer Close. The parade will end with a fireworks display, adding extra sparkle to your day out.
17 November–20 December 2018
3: Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Birmingham’s internationally-renowned Christmas market is inspired by its twin town of Frankfurt. Banish the winter chill with a mug of warming glühwein and browse the stalls selling wooden toys and Christmas decorations. There are plenty of Bavarian treats on offer too, from bratwurst to brezel.
This bustling market is the biggest outside of Germany and Austria. The twinkling stalls on Victoria Square and New Street will keep you happily occupied for hours – and if you need a break from shopping, why not view Birmingham from above in the Big Wheel or have a skate around Centenary Square’s ice rink?
15 November–23 December 2018
4: Glasgow Christmas Market
With gifts from as far afield as Kenya and Ecuador, Glasgow’s market is a great place to track down stocking fillers with a difference. Painted Russian dolls, Italian nougat, and woollen jumpers from Lapland are also among the highlights. A Bavarian beer house is a further draw. So too is the Glühwein House run by Markus Kochems of the Mosel valley, one of the world’s top wine producers.
5: Belfast Christmas Market
Situated in the beautiful grounds of Belfast City Hall, this market brings yet more exotic colour to your Christmas shopping. Here you can find interesting gifts from all around the world, and sample exotic meats such as alligator, kangaroo and wild boar. Don’t forget to visit the local traders, too.
If you get a bit nippy, escape to Lavery’s traditional Irish bar, listen to the live music, and let a warming glass of glühwein lift your spirits.
17 November–22 December 2018
6: Leeds Castle Christmas Market, Kent
Festive and fortified in equal measure, this Christmas market is held on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the 12th-century Leeds Castle in Kent. This beautiful setting provides the perfect stomping ground in which to browse seasonal gifts, tree decorations, and specialist food and drink. And if you tire of the stalls, the castle is a delight to wander around.
Prepare to be enchanted by the reindeer, birds of prey display, and traditional funfair rides.
24–25 November, 1–2 December, 8–9 December, 15–16 December 2018
7: Christkindelmarkt, Leeds
The city transforms its Millennium Square into a majestic winter village every year, with over 40 traditional chalets displaying gifts from authentic German traders. Add some sparkle to your stocking at the jewellery stands, or fill your boots with bratwurst, goulash and schnitzels.
Don’t miss the Alp Chalet: this atmospheric centrepiece of the market offers a real treat of traditional food and drink, as well as fabulous evening entertainment.
9th November–22nd December 2018
8: Manchester Christmas Market
Stay up north for further festive fun in the city of Manchester, with the main market hub situated in Albert Square, twinkling beneath the town hall. Follow the trail of market stalls through the city centre to find little Christmas gems – including amber jewellery, Belgian chocolate and French soaps. This was the most Instagrammed Christmas market in the UK in 2017, so you’re guaranteed to find plenty of festive photo-ops too.
9 November–22 December 2018
9: Southbank Centre Winter Festival, London
The Southbank Centre is fantastic at any time of the year, but is particularly glorious in the lead up to Christmas. This Nordic-inspired market offers a line of wooden stalls by the river bank, with views of the twinkling Thames and glowing London Eye. You’ll find a plethora of quirky Christmas crafts, and lots of fresh mince pies and spiced cider. And whilst you’re there, you can also head to see the Christmas lights in London.
To round off your day, catch a Christmas concert, traditional choir performance, or a seasonal community show at the Southbank Centre. And there are loads of fun-filled family activities to keep little ones entertained too.
8 December–6 January 2018
10. Padstow Christmas Market
Now in its 11th year, Padstow Christmas Festival is one of the largest events of its kind in the country, attracting tens of thousands of people to the picturesque town. The free-to-attend event has become renowned for its packed Christmas market. Located on Padstow’s harbourside, the market houses more than 100 stalls, showcasing a tempting selection of food and drink, ranging from artisan breads and cakes, chocolates, meats and preserves, as well as award-winning craft beers and locally-produced gin. It also boasts an eclectic array of crafts, gifts and artwork created by artisans from all around the South West. The festival programme also features a host of cooking demonstrations from a Who’s Who of gastronomic A-listers, including longstanding festival champions, Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw. During the weekend the culinary trio will be joined by a whole host of other celebrated chefs, including Nieves Barragán Mohacho, ITV’s Phil Vickery, and Jack Stein, who will all be sharing their cooking hints and tips.