UPDATED DECEMBER 2017
For cheerful carols and yuletide goodies, the festive season isn’t complete without a visit to a quaint Christmas market. You’ll find every gift you need among a raft of foodie treats and unique handcrafted gifts, as well as being able to stop off to listen to Christmas choirs, try your hand at ice skating, and sup on mulled wine along the way. So, to stock up on stocking fillers and get in the festive spirit, we’ve whittled down the best UK Christmas markets…
This year, in preparation for the festive season, Belfast’s City Hall gardens will be transformed into a delightful village setting for its annual Christmas market. Shoppers can stroll through the many stalls, sampling an array of delicious Christmassy treats – think luxurious Belgian chocolates, elegant French tarts, cheese and moreish German sausage – as well as rifling through various clothing items, crafts and festive decorations.
Daily until 23rd December, Belfast City Hall Grounds
Edinburgh will be hosting a glut of Christmas markets this year, running from December right through until the New Year. The European Christmas market runs until 6th January and will be filled to the brim with arts, crafts, gifts and gastronomic delights, whilst the Scottish Market in West George Street will showcase some of the best Christmas craft, food and drink that Scotland has to offer.
European Christmas Market, open daily until 6th January 2018, East Princes Street Gardens; Scottish Market, open daily until 24th December, West George Street
Christmas is a busy time of year, so if you can’t hop over to Frankfurt to stock up on goodies, head to Birmingham’s German market instead. As the largest German market held outside Germany and Austria, you’ll find everything from mulled wine and beers to mouth-watering meats and pastries, and everything in between. Soak up the village atmosphere then wander through to Chamberlain Square where you’ll find a variety of handmade gifts from local artists.
Daily until 24th December 24th 2017, Victoria Square and New Street
If you really want to get in the festive spirit, London’s vast collection of Christmas markets are bound to get you in the mood. Of course, there are many to choose from, but the best of the bunch to put on your radar include the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and the fabulous Monocle Christmas Market in Marylebone. Look forward to ice skating rinks, fairground rides, twinkling fairy lights, delicious festive fare, and a whole heap of unique arts, crafts and gifts.
Various dates and London locations
The heart of Oxford’s city centre will be filled with the sound of singing choirs and glorious festive goodies at the Broad Street Christmas market. Stock up on handmade gifts, colourful decorations and the sample the cinnamon-infused mulled wine.
Daily until 17th December 2017, Broad Street
Real Food Christmas Market, Kings Cross
Add a gourmet touch to this year’s festive spread with a selection of artisanal treats at the Real Food Christmas Market, in Kings Cross. Serving up only the very the best in high quality, handmade foods, find everything from succulent smoked meats and Christmas cheeses to luxurious chocolate boxes and festive puds.
13th – 22nd December 2017, Kings Cross Square
With endless rows of quaint wooden chalets selling all kinds of festive wares, the York St Nicholas Fayre is guaranteed to bring magic and merriment to this year’s Christmas shopping spree. Feast your eyes on locally-made handmade trinkets and unique stocking fillers, then cosy up next to the roaring log fire with a hot chocolate or steaming mulled wine.
Daily until 22nd December 2017, St Nicholas Fair
Stacked with a wonderful selection of artwork, collages, posters and photographic prints, Cardiff’s Christmas market is the place to head if you’re looking to add an artistic touch to this year’s gift collection. As well as arts, there will also be children’s toys and clothes, glassware, ceramics, knitwear and jewellery. Plus, both Santa and the Gruffalo will make a welcome appearance.
Daily until 23rd December, Cardiff City Centre
Manchester plays host to several Christmas markets, each with a different theme, so you can take your pick from French, German or a mix of the two, at the European market in Albert Square. There are some wonderful boutiques and food joints in Exchange Square, whilst on Brazennose Street there are plenty of arts and crafts, fab jewellery, leather goods and artisan food stalls, as well as some fairground rides in Cathedral Gardens.
Running until 21st December 2017; main market hub is based in Albert Square, in front of Manchester Town Hall
Glasgow will be getting into the Christmas spirit in two locations this year – George Square and St Enoch Square, where there’ll be everything from Bavarian beers and mulled wine to festive gifts and family funfair rides. Warm up with a hot toddy, devour hearty hog roasts then sit back and soak up the live Christmas-themed entertainment.
St Enoch Christmas Market running until 22nd December 2017; George Square market running until 29th December 2017
With over 100 quaint wooden cabins, an ice skating rink and endless stalls serving up sizzling German fare, Winchester plays host to one of the largest Christmas markets in the south of England. Stock up on everything from handmade jewellery, local artwork, artisan food and vintage wooden toys, to give your Christmas a traditional touch.
Running until 22nd December 2017, The Close
Positioned in the heart of Leeds – Millennium Square – this German Christmas market offers over 40 different stalls and an array of festive delicacies including bratwurst sausages, goulash and schnitzels. There are free children's activities every Sunday between 11am and 1pm, including face painting and games, and for mums and dads, there’s a chalet-style Ski Hutte bar with music, cocktails and an alpine après vibe.
Running until 24th December 2017, Millennium Square