12 top Christmas markets in the UK

Christmas, Days out, Family

Posted by Ruth on 11th October 2021

Christmas markets

Whether you’ve been feeling festive since last February or you’re still to get into the spirit of the season, we’ve picked the best Christmas markets across England and Scotland for you to visit this year. 

Find the perfect UK Christmas market to visit below!

Edinburgh Christmas market

Edinburgh's Christmas

20th November - 2nd January

The whole city of Edinburgh comes alive at Christmas, so if you're looking for big Christmas markets, this is the place to visit. A European market is held at East Princes Street Gardens, hosting an array of goods from across the Channel, with quirky crafts and presents on sale. For an authentic experience, the traditional Scottish Market will be on George Street, stocking tempting local produce for enjoyment. Add to these markets the fairs, shows and children’s entertainment scattered throughout the city, and Edinburgh's Christmas is a recipe for guaranteed festive fun. No wonder it's also one of the best places to spend Christmas!

Edinburgh cottages

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas MarketImages courtesy of Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

4th November – 23rd December

Popular with festive fans from the UK and overseas, Birmingham’s traditional Christmas market takes over Victoria Square and New Street and fills it with seasonal cheer. As the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria, it’s one of the best Christmas markets in the UK; you can drink gluhwein, tuck into a bratwurst and pick up some traditional handcrafted gifts for your nearest and dearest, as well as listening to live music from both local and German performers. The market is the star on top of the tree of Birmingham's Christmas offering - you can also ice skate, visit another market at Cathedral Square and watch live music at the underpass near the Mailbox over the festive period. Make sure you visit the iconic Christmas tree in Victoria Square, given to Birmingham by the Frankfurt Christmas Market to commemorate the market's 20th anniversary in 2019. 

Birmingham cottages

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

19th November - 3rd January

The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the pinnacle of London’s festivities, which is saying something as there is a huge amount to choose from! Markets at Southbank, the Tate Modern and Leicester Square all have their perks, but none have quite the impact that the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park has. The variety of thrill rides, market stalls, eateries and attractions, combined with it being a centrally accessible area in London, means that millions of people flock to enjoy the festive vibes, with the footfall rising with every year. The atmosphere is unlike any other, and with so much to see and do, it’s an adventure for the family, friends or couples alike. Open until January, there’s plenty of time to visit, take it all in, and even return for another exploration later in the festive season.

London cottages

Winchester Christmas MarketCredit: Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Christmas Market

19th November - 22nd December

Set in the beautiful grounds of Winchester Cathedral, the market circles around a stage at the centre of the stalls, showcasing a rolling programme of local musicians spanning a wide range of genres to put you in the festive mood. Inspired by the traditional German markets, you’ll have over 100 chalets to explore with a bounty of food and gifts available to purchase, and all stalls are hand-picked by the organisers to ensure a diverse and superior selection of produce. Highly regarded in not only Britain but Europe too, Winchester’s market is a euphoric yuletide experience sure to have you singing carols and tacking up the tinsel in no time.

Winchester cottages

Manchester Christmas market

Manchester Christmas Markets

12th November - 22nd December

Perhaps the biggest in Britain, boasting over 300 traders, Manchester is home to a jolly gigantic Christmas market. The city centre has multiple streets packed with stalls offering a multitude of tantalising food and drink, as well as an extensive range of gifts to buy for loved ones. Each market section has a distinct theme, with Albert Square home to the traditional European market, Brazennose Street hosting a world market, King Street the base for a French theme, and St Ann’s Square accommodating the German market. Add to all of that the family-friendly area at Cathedral Gardens where there will be an ice rink for the first year ever, and craft fayres dotted on other streets, Manchester has to be one of the best places for Christmas markets in the UK. 

Lancashire cottages

Cardiff Christmas market

Cardiff Christmas Market

11th November - 23rd December

A Welsh wintery wonder, Cardiff is home to one of the most famous Christmas markets in the UK. The Christmas market features beautifully decorated stalls and an ever-changing line-up of traders each year. The market will take over The Hayes at the heart of the city centre, filling it with festive cheer and a huge selection of goods to choose from. The organisers handpick which exhibitors will be appearing each year, switching stallholders throughout the six-week market stint to keep the experience fresh and enticing, even for those who have visited before. Meanwhile, in front of City Hall, the Winter Wonderland has an ice rink and fairground rides for the whole family to enjoy. Explore the stunning city of Cardiff at its most joyous, and take in all that the Christmas festivities have on offer.

Cardiff cottages

York Christmas Market

York St Nicholas Fair

18th November – 23rd December

The historic streets of York never look better than when all lit up at Christmas, and so the St Nicholas Fair is an excellent time to visit this wonderful city. One of the top Christmas markets in the country, you can be transported to a wintery wonderland as you discover the alpine chalets lining Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. The Shambles also plays host to events, including the food court where you can dine on festive fare from all over the world.

York cottages

Oxford Christmas market

Oxford Christmas Market

9th - 19th December

Among the city of dreaming spires, Oxford's Christmas Market is world-renowned. Located right in the heart of the city, the decorations ignite the streets next to the Sheldonian Theatre and Oxford University. Wander Broad Street to view the wooden shelters filled with festive embroideries, patisseries packed with delectable macaroons, unique geometric pendants and much more. This is a fantastic destination for pre-Christmas spending, offering a jovial atmosphere, carousel rides and carol singing to boot. A charming market within a picturesque city makes this the perfect location to get excited about a magical Christmas.

Oxford cottages

Lincoln Christmas market

Lincoln Christmas Market

2nd - 5th December

Not every Christmas market can claim a spectacular view whilst on a shopping spree. Within the confines of the Cathedral Quarter in the centre of Lincoln lies the Lincoln Christmas Market. Watch Lincoln Cathedral and the home to the 1215 Magna Carta, Lincoln Castle, come alive with the spirit of Christmas. The overpowering landscape of two of Britain’s most prestigious monuments really does present the perfect setting to pick up a festive bargain. Mosey around stalls lined with unusual gifts of food and drink from all parts of the world - there are even lots of fairground rides to keep the children occupied whilst you shop-til-you-drop! Enjoy musical merriment, flavourful foods and the stunning sights of the dramatic city.

Lincoln cottages

Norwich tunnel of lightCredit: VisitNorwich

Norwich Tunnel of Light

16th November – early 2022

It’s not strictly a UK Christmas market, but we couldn’t miss this "fine city" off our list! The historic city of Norwich is lit up at Christmas, with more festive events than you can shake a candy cane at. Walk through the tunnel of light which is bedecked with 57,000 light bulbs, see the medieval castle illuminated with delightful projections and then enjoy some family fun at the traditional panto at the Theatre Royal. A festive fair is running at the Forum from the 25th – 28th November, too, while you can also enjoy dining in an igloo, follow a Christmas crown trail and watch live street performances. 

Norwich cottages

Stratford upon Avon Christmas MarketCredit: Mark Kaiser

Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market

9th – 12th December

One of the more traditional Christmas markets in the UK, Stratford-upon-Avon steps back in time for its Victorian Christmas Market. Spanning Waterside, Bridge Street, Henley Street, High Street and Meer Street, this seasonal event sees stallholders dressed in Victorian costumes and selling a whole range of wares, with the market culminating in a traditional funfair with a carousel. For a taste of Christmas past, this market is not to be missed.

Stratford-upon-Avon cottages

Ludlow Medieval Fayre

Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre

27th and 28th November

Welcome to the best medieval show in the land! Over the last weekend in November, Ludlow presents a hoard of Christmas purchases within the confines of a medieval setting, Ludlow Castle. Involving knights in combat, music, theatre and puppets, carolling, archery, sword-fighting and authentic historical goods, this market is a must see! Not only does it offer over 100 stalls of gifts but it boasts an array of fares, with exhibitors all dressed in historical finery. You don’t get much more medieval than that!

Ludlow cottages

Make this Christmas an extra-special one

If you're looking for a holiday for the Christmas period, take a look at our beautiful Christmas cottages for a festive break! You'll find cosy cottages, coastal apartments and charming country houses adorned with tinsel and perfect for your Christmas celebrations.

Stay somewhere special this Christmas

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.