A Guide to the UK’s Christmas Markets

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Often when we think of Christmas markets, we think about Germany’s offerings, or those of Easten Europe. However, the UK has some of its own very twinkly markets in the run up to Christmas. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest and the best, so you’ll be soaking up that festive spirit in no time at all.


London is different to other UK cities in that it has several Christmas markets, rather than one central festive hub. Perhaps the most famous is Winter Wonderland, which runs from the 19th November to the 3rd January, and sees rides shuffled up against traditional market stalls, and a rather rowdy beer hall. It’s incredibly busy, so we recommend arriving early so as to best explore. Elsewhere in the capital, you’ll find Baileys hot chocolates and craft goods on the Southbank, and an upmarket affair from Selfridges.


This year, the centre of Christmas in Manchester is Picadilly Gardens (for the first time ever). They run from the 12th November through until the 3rd January, and at this hub you’ll find bars with covered seating serving up local beers, and a stage where musicians will perform live, before DJs spin tunes later on. Elsewhere in the city, there are Yorkshire pudding wraps in Exchange Square, and an ice rink in Cathedral Gardens – so there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.


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Birmingham boasts the largest traditional German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, with stalls sprawled across Victoria Square and New Street. These wood-clad stalls serve up an array of hearty foodie treats from bratwurst, to shnitzels, and some seriously sweet treats to chase them down with. Elsewhere, those looking to pick up some Christmas presents will find ornate hand-crafted toys and leather goods to peruse. During the week there are live music performances at lunch time and in the evening, while the music plays all-day-long on the weekends on the stage in Victoria Square. The markets run from the 4th of November until the 23rd December.


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Between the 20th November and the 4th January, Edinburgh’s city centre becomes a winter wonderland with the central hubs in both West and East Princes Street Gardens. The traditional Christmas markets take place in East Princes Street Gardens, and here you’ll find gluhwein to sip on and stalls selling local goods. Over in the west, the focus is on those all important festive activities. Santa’s Grotto lives here, as does a Christmas tree maze, and a candy cane bungee ride. It’s sure to help little ones, and big kids alike, get into the Christmas spirit. This year, after dark, the Mound will be lit up with oscillating snowflakes, created by the local artist Hannah Ayre.


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Over in Belfast, the Christmas Markets take place in the grounds of City Hall from the 20th November. Here, you’ll be able to find festive foodie treats from across the globe. You’ll find those tiny Dutch pancakes, alongside Spanish paella and of course that all important Gluhwein (German mulled wine). It’s not all about the food though, a vintage helter skelter creates a charming focal point, alongside a chance to get your heart racing of course. A carousel provides some entertainment for the less daring among us too.


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Get set to get into the festive spirit!