Christmas markets to explore in UK

Christmas markets are one of England’s favorite traditions, with twinkling lights, mulled wine, a festive atmosphere, and fantastic gifts. A visit to a Christmas market in one of the country’s most picturesque cities is equal parts shopping experience and destination discovery. Begin planning your ultimate winter getaway with our guide to the best Christmas markets in the country, all of which are ideal for a family day trip or a romantic night out.

Birmingham Christmas Market

Victoria Square, Birmingham


Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, a city tradition, is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. On its 80 stalls, expect a fine selection of traditional, personalized gifts and products, as well as schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein, and weissbeer. Another big draw is its bandstand location in Victoria Square, as well as the live music and carol singers that add to the festive shopping atmosphere.

Visit Ice Rink Birmingham for outdoor skating and the Big Wheel Experience, or go to Wightwick in Wolverhampton for a traditional Victorian Christmas.

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Manchester Christmas Markets

Albert Square, Manchester


From mid-November, the latest edition of the Manchester Christmas Markets will take over locations across the city, ensuring that visitors are never far from festive gifts and delicious food and drink stalls selling traditional bratwurst, hog roast, paella, and much more. There will be over 300 stalls and chalets spread throughout the city, with Albert Square serving as the hub of the markets. Following the trail, visitors can purchase jewelry, toys, plants, bags, homeware, and fun, quirky gifts at a variety of markets, including a French market, a German market, a World Christmas market, and a dedicated Arts & Crafts market.

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Leeds’ Winter Favourites

Leeds, Yorkshire


In Leeds this Christmas, you’ll never be more than a six-minute walk from a festive activity. Indulge at the Chow Down Winter Village, which features local street food vendors, a rooftop curling club, and a heated ski lodge; shop for Christmas gifts at an independent Christmas market in the iconic Leeds Corn Exchange, and visit the speciality markets at Kirkgate Market (one of the largest indoor markets in Europe). There are also festive events and markets in Millennium Square, Briggate, and Cookridge Street, where you can ride a Christmas carousel.

Check out the Trinity Leeds Shopping Centre’s Après Ski Bar for snow flurries and hot chocolate, as well as the Leeds Wheel of Light for the best views of the city.

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Rochester Christmas Market

Rochester, Kent


With over 130,000 visitors per year, this Kent-based market is sure to fill a few stockings. You can browse a variety of chalet-style stalls selling everything from Fairtrade clothing to dog toys and homemade jams in Rochester’s Castle Gardens. And don’t forget to stop by the Bavarian food village for some bratwurst or churros (very German, we know!) before going on some good old-fashioned fairground rides. The market also coincides with the Dickensian Christmas Festival, where you can enjoy Victorian treats, meet costumed characters, and listen to some open-air carolling.

Also, wear your 19th-century ball gown to the Mistletoe Ball, which is part of the Dickensian Christmas Festival.

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Southbank Winter Festival

Southbank Centre, London


The popular Winter Market returns to London’s Southbank Centre, joining a variety of family shows and festive fun as the banks of the River Thames transform into a winter wonderland. Strings of lights and cute illuminated wooden cabins line the South Bank, selling everything from quirky to traditional Christmas gifts, as well as mince pies, spiced cider, and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Make sure to take a selfie in front of the massive Christmas tree!

Check out the Southbank Centre’s fantastic performances, which range from Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol to live Philharmonia Orchestra performances of hits from films like Elf, Love Actually, and The Night Before Christmas.

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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park, London

hyde park

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which transforms one of London’s most spectacular parks, provides a festive paradise in the heart of the city. There’s something for everyone to enjoy here, with the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom, and an array of thrilling fairground rides, as well as the UK’s largest open air ice rink and plenty of bars and food stalls. Visit over 100 charming wooden chalets for one-of-a-kind gifts, festive decorations, and culinary delights, and don’t miss the jaw-dropping circus acts and creative ice sculpting workshops.

Check out the festive window displays at Hamleys, Selfridges, and Harrods, as well as the capital’s festive lights on Regent’s Street and Oxford Street.

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Norwich Christmas Markets

Norwich, Norfolk


Norwich can’t have just one Christmas market, so it has several. With festive events beginning at the end of November, there is essentially a Christmas market taking place every weekend until the big day itself. The Forum’s largest event, the Festive Fair, spills onto the pedestrianised amphitheatre opposite Norwich’s most complete medieval church. Browse stalls selling handmade East Anglian crafts, art, food, and drink to live Christmas music, and don’t miss the street food.

Also see The Tunnel of Light, Norwich’s most popular Christmas attraction, The Assembly House’s Nutcracker-themed afternoon tea, and the magical festive illuminations on Norwich Castle.

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York Christmas Market

Parliament Street, York


At York’s award-winning Christmas fair, soak up the medieval charm. Alpine-style chalets take center stage on Parliament Street, offering a variety of festive decorations, foodie treats, and traditional Christmas gifts. Head to the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village for local Yorkshire produce, and for all the fun of the fair, ride the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. You’ll be thirsty after all that excitement, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for a glass of mulled wine and a cup of hot chestnuts.

Check out the Grand Opera House or York Theatre Royal for pantomime, or skate around a 30-foot-high Christmas tree at the York Designer Outlet.

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Winchester Christmas Market

Winchester Cathedral


Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best, thanks to its unique location in the shadow of a celebrated English icon. Over 100 chalets house hand-picked exhibitors selling unique gifts that visitors won’t find on the high street, such as hand-crafted decorations and festive treats, as well as craft beer and mulled wine.

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Lincoln Christmas Market

Cathedral Quarter, Lincoln


This four-day Christmas market opens its doors in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter for a limited time. Hundreds of wooden stalls will sell a variety of unique festive trinkets, as well as a wide selection of hearty food, drink, and fairground rides. When the market is in town, shops across the city stay open later, giving you plenty of time to get all your gifts. Visit the Lincoln Christmas Maker’s Market as well to browse the wares created by local artists and craftspeople.

Check out the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair for all things foodie, the glittering lights at Belton at Christmas, and the EPIC Christmas Party at the Lincolnshire Showground.

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