Nothing says Christmas quite like a festive market full of independent treats, and the tempting aroma of mulled wine in the air. The good news is that, after a pretty sparse Christmas 2020, the Christmas market is back. Here are ten of our favourites, in no particular order.
Blenheim Palace Christmas Market
Blenheim Palace, once the Oxfordshire home of Winston Churchill, has a renowned Christmas market with over 70 artisan traders set in its stunning Great Court.
In addition to the market, treat yourself to a walk along their beautiful after-dark Christmas Lights Trail or watch their production of The Nutcracker set in the state rooms.
The market is open daily from 19th November – 19th December and free to enter with a pre-booked ticket.
Car parking, the Trail and The Nutcracker are chargeable. See their website for ticketing information.
Manchester Christmas Markets
Why settle for one Christmas market when you can walk around six? Manchester’s Christmas markets include a large variety of stalls and activities that have popped up around the city. This year, activities include the ice rink in Cathedral Garden, live entertainment (including children’s shows every night) and plenty of food and drink.
The main hub is in the Winter Gardens at Piccadilly, where you’ll find food stalls, vendors, and a stage for entertainment. For the foodies, the food truck ‘Porky Pig’ has returned with their famous Yorkshire pudding wraps, attracting queues down the street!
Free to enter, and open daily from 12th November – 22nd December. The winter gardens at Piccadilly will run until 2nd January. Use this handy map to made sure you find the festive hotspots.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market, held in the historic Cathedral grounds, is recognised as one of the best in Europe.
Inspired by German Christmas markets, it has hundreds of vendors in authentic wooden chalets selling all kinds of treats and gifts. It’s no surprise that it attracts 400,000 visitors each year.
Free to enter, and open daily from 9am to 5pm (12pm to 3pm Sunday) from 19th November – 22nd December.
Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market returns to Victoria Square for 2021 and remains the largest and most authentic German Christmas market in the UK.
Enjoy the huge number of stalls offering traditional gifts and delicious German food like stollen, schnitzels or bratwursts, plus a wide range of live music. A firm family evening out favourite.
Free to enter, and open 10am to 9pm daily from 4th November – 23rd December.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
One of the biggest Christmas markets in London, Winter Wonderland remains very popular, and was sorely missed in 2020.
Winter Wonderland features a full-sized fair, with plenty of rides and rollercoasters, and their giant wheel, where you can relax and enjoy beautiful view of London.
In addition to 100’s of wooden cabins selling handmade, unique gifts and treats, there’s also a whole range of other activities including their outdoor ice rink, Christmas shows and music concerts to choose from. It is very easy to spend most of the day and evening here as the site covers 350 acres, so wrap up warm.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, you now need to book a ticket prior to arrival, however these are only £5 or £7.50 each, or free if you purchase £20 of ride tickets or food in advance. From 19th November to 3rd January.
St Nicolas Fair, York
Enjoy beautiful York at Christmas time! York’s St Nicolas Fair is another very popular market. Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square are lined with wooden chalets selling all kinds of unique products, and a vintage carousel in Kings Square!
It is worth stopping off at Shambles Food Court which offers a whole range of food including some delicious international street food.
Free to enter, and open 10am to 6pm Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to 8pm Friday and Saturday, from 18th November – 23rd December.
Lincoln Christmas Market
The 11th century Lincoln Cathedral provides an impressive backdrop to Lincoln’s Christmas market. with up to 280 stalls selling a wide variety of German-themed products.
It was the first traditional German Christmas market in the UK, starting in 1982 with just 11 stalls. Council leaders took inspiration from its twin town, Neustadt, in Germany and replicated the market in Lincoln. Its German roots are still strong, and vendors from Neustadt sell a variety of German food, drink and crafts.
Free to enter, however visitors are encouraged to park in the Park and Ride service. Opening hours vary on each day, from 2nd – 5th December. Check the website for updates.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market boasts a whole range of activities, fairground rides, concerts and stalls across several sites. As well as plenty of vendors selling a wide range of gifts and crafts, entertainment includes an ice rink, the Big Wheel, Santa’s grotto, bumper cars and a Nativity carol concert.
It is free to attend the Christmas Market in East Princes Street Gardens, the Light Night Installation, and the Nativity Carol Concert, however some events are chargeable.
Different events are on daily from 20th November – 4th January.
Winter Wonderland, Nottingham
Set in two locations – Old Market Square and Trinity Square – Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland boasts a variety of stalls, food trucks and entertainment.
So where to head to first? In Old Market Square, you’ll find the Christmas market, the observation wheel, a carousel ride, and a Helter Skelter. Refreshments including mulled wine can be had at their Après Ski bar. Over in Trinity Square there’s a winter village with festive bars, alpine igloos and much more.
Many of the activities continue until 11pm daily. The free Christmas Market is open daily from 11am until 6.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 10am to 8pm Friday to Sunday from 15th November – 31st December.
Bristol Christmas Market
Set in Bristol’s city centre, Bristol’s Christmas market includes over 50 stalls offering a whole array of handmade and unique gifts and crafts in traditional wooden chalets. We are told that Santa and his reindeers will be making appearances in December, so an ideal day out for the family.
Visit the (heated) Jager barn bar for mulled cider or hot chocolates with a shot of Baileys, or if the hustle and bustle gets too much, why not book yourself an igloo to relax in?
Open daily from 5th November – 23rd December.
If you attend any of these markets, please do tag us on Facebook, we would love to know whether you agree. Wherever you go, we hope you have a wonderful time!