The Best Christmas Markets in the United Kingdom

The 15 Best Christmas Markets in the UK

The sweet smell of mulled wine, the playful sound of Christmas music, and the mesmerizing twinkling of festive lights – a Christmas market is one of the most magical, enchanting, and wonderful places you can be in the run-up to Christmas. As the temperatures drop and the dark nights set in, a little Christmas shopping at a cheery, colorful market is just what you need to lighten your spirits and get you into the holiday mood. 

Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays throughout the UK, and the region really goes all-out with its Christmas markets. Throughout November and December, spectacular castles, formal town halls, and bustling squares are transformed into majestic Christmas markets with a unique atmosphere that suggests almost anything could happen.

There are hundreds of Christmas markets dotted around the UK. To help you get into the Christmas spirit, we’ve put together a list of the absolute best Christmas markets in the UK. Whether you visit just one or all 15, you’re sure to have a spectacular time this holiday season!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Christmas Markets in the UK

15 Festive UK Christmas Markets 

1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Best Christmas Markets in UK: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

London boasts a number of Christmas markets, but the city’s Winter Wonderland is one of our all-time favorites. The huge market covers almost all of Hyde Park and is packed full of activities and attractions you won’t find anywhere else.

One of the highlights of Winter Wonderland is the immense ice skating rink. It’s the largest in the UK and is an incredibly romantic place to skate, especially at night when it’s lit up with twinkle lights and there’s an artist singing sweetly in the center.

When you’ve had enough of ice skating, order a fancy cocktail from the ice bar, learn a new skill at an ice sculpting workshop, or warm up inside a giant tipi with a mug of hot cocoa.

With a giant observation wheel, amazing circus shows, a fun-filled Santa Land, a magical ice kingdom, and an ice slide, there’s loads for the family to get involved with, too. Throw into the mix a traditional market filled with handmade goods, delicious comfort food, and creative drinks, and you’ll never want to leave!

2. Bath Christmas Market

Must Visit UK Christmas Markets: Bath Christmas Market

Step back in time and experience a traditional Christmas at the Bath Christmas Market. One of the most beautiful and festive Christmas markets in the UK, the Bath Christmas Market is spread out all across the town center. It flows through the streets and squares around Bath Cathedral, practically taking over the whole city with its festive spirit.

This spot is a great place to find unique gifts for friends and family. Here the stalls are run by local, independent artisans and chefs who have come together to show off their skills. From delicate tree decorations and handmade gifts to mulled cider and festive treats, you’ll find countless Christmas goodies here.

We definitely recommend you get in line and ride on the Victorian merry-go-round. It’s a beautiful fairground ride with delicately carved and beautifully painted horses. The best part is that both adults and children can enjoy a ride! 

The streets are alive with wonderful carol music at this time of year. There are impressive concerts organized inside the Bath Cathedral, plus independent entertainers and community choirs performing throughout the streets and on open-air stages.

3. Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas Market

Where to Shop UK Christmas Markets: Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas Market

Another great choice if you prefer traditional markets over today’s modern equivalent, the Christmas market in Stratford-upon-Avon is the closest thing you’ll get to living in Victorian times outside of a high school history textbook.

The normally peaceful city streets come to life with colorful stalls run by enthusiastic holders dressed head-to-toe in authentic Victorian gear. From extravagant powdered wigs and oversized top hats to glamorous silk gowns and smart three-piece suits, the stall holders really do look the part!

When you’re done stocking up on festive gifts, snacks, and drinks, head for the old-fashioned funfair. The highlight is a spectacular carousel that really looks like it was plucked from Victorian times.

Whatever type of entertainment you’re into, you’re guaranteed to find it on the market’s stage. From school choirs and theatrical groups to individual artists and DJs, there are loads of performances going on.

As you wander through the city’s streets, you’ll stumble upon even more cool entertainment, such as silver bands, brass bands, and stilt walkers.

4. Belfast Christmas Market

Best Christmas Markets in UK: Belfast Christmas Market

One of the most impressive Christmas markets in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Christmas Market is set on the grounds of city hall and is a fantastic place for foodies.

The incredible food court dishes up all kinds of drinks, snacks, and dishes from 32 nations across the globe. Whether you’re in the mood for Nutella crepes, sugary churros, venison hot dogs, or crocodile burgers, you’ll find just what you’re looking for here.

If you need to warm up, head for one of the heated beer tents. Here you can get out of the cold and huddle by a roaring fire while you sip piping hot mulled wine or ice-cold beer.

A great option if you’re visiting with kids, the Belfast Christmas Market has all sorts of fun activities to keep little ones entertained. There’s a traditional helter-skelter, observation wheel, snow slide, Olaf Frozen ride, busy-bee carousel, and Santa train. There’s also a cute Santa’s grotto that children absolutely love. 

5. Christmas in Leicester Square

Must Visit UK Christmas Markets: Christmas in Leicester Square

If you want to experience a stellar Christmas market in London but don’t want to wait in the long lines that are almost inevitable in Winter Wonderland, head for Christmas in Leicester Square. Just steps away from the Leicester Square tube station, this market features a giant Christmas tree decorated in beautiful twinkling lights.

As one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, every inch of the market is adorned with stunning Christmas decorations. It’s an amazing place to snap festive pictures for your Instagram account. You’ll also find loads of food stalls selling amazing dishes and snacks from all over the world.

With smoky bratwurst, sweet mulled wine, fluffy roasted chestnuts, and classic eggnog, you definitely won’t be leaving hungry. As you’d expect, the market is also full of fantastic stalls laden with wonderful handmade gifts.

The highlight of Christmas in Leicester Square is the Spiegeltent, which hosts remarkable shows put on by incredibly skilled and talented performers. The shows change each year, so check the website to find out what’s going on during your visit and to snap up tickets.

6. Frankfurt Christmas Market

Where to Shop UK Christmas Markets: Frankfurt Christmas Market

Despite what the name may suggest, the Frankfurt Christmas Market is held every year in Victoria Square and New Street in Birmingham. It’s the biggest German market outside of Austria and Germany and is just as captivating as any of the original ones.

Everything here, from the food and drinks to the entertainment and music, has a distinct German flair. Gorge on delicious bratwurst, hearty soft pretzels, and German beer before watching some German bands and carol singers fill the air with a festive atmosphere.

Although the food and drinks are definitely the highlights of the market, it’s a great place to go shopping, too. Here you can pick up handcrafted wooden decorations, stunning crystal lamps, exquisite glass baubles, and unique jewelry. 

One thing that makes the Frankfurt Christmas Market stand out is Chris Moose, the Christmas moose! He delights everyone who passes by his spot in front of the Council House with fun, festive songs.

7. Southbank Center Winter Market

Best Christmas Markets in UK for Shopping: Southbank Center Winter Market

Close to the London Eye, you’ll find one of the coolest Christmas markets in the UK – the Southbank Center Winter Market. The excellent location is the big reason we’re such fans of this market. You can nibble your festive treats and sip your seasonal drinks with the River Thames, the London Eye, and Westminster as your remarkable backdrop.

If you’re into sweet, fruity drinks, head for the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge. This huge food and drinks venue serves all kinds of hot and cold cocktails made from cider. You’ve got to try one made with the new Rekorderlig spiced plum cider – it tastes amazing! You’ll also find plenty of yummy Swedish food available and a photo booth so you can take fun pictures with your travel buddies.

If you’re not in the mood for cider, there are plenty of other places to eat and drink. The Southbank Center Winter Market is brimming with pop-up bars, food stands, cafes, and restaurants where you can dig into everything from gourmet grilled cheeses and truffle burgers to Dutch pancakes and vegan duck wraps.

8. Bristol Christmas Market

Must Visit Christmas Markets in UK: Bristol Christmas Market

The Bristol Christmas Market is a relaxed event held in the city’s Shopping Quarter in Broadmead. It may be on the small side, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sensational.

This festive market is made up of 40 one-of-a-kind stalls overflowing with seasonal delights, handicrafts, and artisan goods that are perfect for wrapping up and giving to friends and family.

To make sure you’ve got enough energy to finish your Christmas shopping, you’ll also find plenty of food and drink stalls where you can refuel with festive cookies, sweet churros, overloaded crepes, mulled wine, and hot cocoa.

If the crisp British air gets to be a little too much for you, you can head inside the Jäger Barn Bar to warm up with some delicious fireside cocktails. Or, if you’re celebrating a special occasion, you can book one of the igloo pods and have a private party while keeping cozy.

At the center of the Christmas market stands a dazzling Christmas tree. It’s always beautifully decorated and provides a wonderful focal point for everyone there!

9. Piccadilly Gardens Christmas Market

Top Christmas Markets in UK: Piccadilly Gardens Christmas Market

Each year, Manchester gets into the festive spirit by hosting a staggering nine Christmas markets in the run-up to the holidays. Out of all these fantastic markets, our favorite is definitely the one in Picadilly Gardens.

At this time of year, the big green space is transformed into family-friendly winter gardens where you’ll find plenty to keep everyone amused. The gardens are dotted with yuletide bars serving locally-brewed beers you won’t find anywhere else, festive food stalls dishing up all kinds of amazing German sausages, and craft stalls loaded with cute gifts and trinkets.

If you’ve had enough festive eats and want to try something a little different, you won’t be disappointed. The Piccadilly Gardens Christmas Market hosts international pop-up food stalls where you can treat yourself to everything from Dutch frites and Greek gyros to creative cocktails and cookie dough desserts.

To keep the party going, there’s also a big stage with live artists and bands, plus a great lineup of DJs. The entire place is decorated with mesmerizing twinkling lights, and there’s even a covered marquee where you can seek shelter if the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

10. Blenheim Palace Christmas Market

Best Christmas Markets in UK for Shopping: Blenheim Palace Christmas Market

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, is an interesting place to visit at any time of year. But if you’re in the area in November or December, you’ve absolutely got to visit to check out the Christmas market.

One of the best UK Christmas markets, the one inside Blenheim Palace is made up of cute wooden chalets dotted all over the Great Court. We recommend starting your visit by heading to the stalls to sample amazing craft vodka, nibble on creamy local cheeses, and buy unique gifts for friends.

When you’re in a festive mood, head for the whimsical Illuminated Trail. This path twists and turns throughout the gardens and is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights. For the best experience, we definitely recommend you visit after dark.

If you’d prefer some indoor entertainment, head inside Winston Churchill’s birthplace. Here you can watch the Nutcracker performed in the State Rooms.

11. Winter Wonderland Nottingham

Where to Shop UK Christmas Markets: Winter Wonderland Nottingham

Just a few steps away from the Old Market Square, you’ll find Winter Wonderland Nottingham. This traditional Christmas market has a distinctly Bavarian vibe, with around 70 stalls selling the usual festive food, drinks, and gifts.

The dramatic focal point of the market is the amazing Christmas tree which towers 18 meters into the sky. It stands in the middle of the Old Market Square and really makes this place feel festive.

For even more magical views, enjoy a ride on the giant observational wheel. This huge wheel whisks you 33 meters into the sky. From up here, you can see for miles and admire the many twinkling Christmas lights which illuminate the city’s streets.

If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, the traditional carousel may be more your style. Or, if you’re in the mood to relax, retire to the après ski-themed pop-up bar and order yourself a winter-inspired cocktail.

12. Cardiff Christmas Market

Festive Christmas Markets in UK: Cardiff Christmas Market

Cardiff Christmas Market is huge and spills out over St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street, and the Hayes. It’s been running for almost 30 years and has transformed from a small affair into a huge celebration that incorporates 200+ winter-themed stalls.

What makes the Cardiff Christmas Market one of the best Christmas markets in the UK is that it tries to keep things as local as possible. The stalls here showcase the finest work of Cardiff’s craftspeople and artists.

From handmade stockings, customized decorations, and prints of what Cardiff looked like years ago to tempting fruit wines, homemade blondies, and hot roasted nuts, there are so many great things here that you’ll want to buy it all.

Many of the people running the stalls are actively making their sweet treats and artistic creations as you shop, so you know for sure they’re handmade and you can appreciate their craft. Visitors are encouraged to ask the stall owners more about their creations, and you can even ask for one-of-a-kind items to be made just for you.

13. Chester Christmas Market

Must Visit UK Christmas Markets: Chester Christmas Market

Boasting one of the most magical and enchanting settings possible, the Chester Christmas Market is wonderfully positioned in front of the medieval cathedral and the Victorian gothic town hall. It’s made up of 60 wooden cabins bursting with all kinds of tempting treats.

If you’re not sure what to fill up on, we recommend the hearty meat pies from Roberts Country Fayre. And if you’re looking for the perfect gift, you should stop by Josh Johnson Ceramics and pick up a piece of art.

In previous years, the market has boasted a unique installation. Known as the Roving Moon, this unique piece of art is a giant moon created by artist Jessica Rost from recycled materials. It bathes shoppers below in a gentle, subtle light – just like the real moon!

Roving Moon was incredibly popular before, so there’s a really good chance they’ll incorporate it into this year’s market.  

14. East Princes Street Gardens Christmas Market

Top Christmas Markets in UK: East Princes Street Gardens Christmas Market

Edinburgh puts on some of the most festive Christmas markets in the UK. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite! If we had to, we’d choose the one on East Princes Street Gardens, thanks to the imposing Edinburgh Castle creating an amazing backdrop.

Due to popular demand, this Christmas market is expanding. Now it doesn’t just cover the East Princes Street Gardens. It also spills out into George Street between Charlotte Square and Castle Street, as well as in West Princes Street Gardens.

Here you can browse an almost never-ending choice of stalls dishing out festive drinks, delectable food, handmade crafts, and all kinds of sweet treats. While eating and drinking are a big part of the celebrations, there’s something even better than the market.

If you’ve got little kids, they’ll love the fairground. Here you can glide over a gorgeous ice rink, see for miles from the top of a Ferris wheel, and fly through the sky on the star flyer ride. There’s also a whimsical Santa’s grotto where your smallest ones can meet St Nicholas himself!

15. York Christmas Festival

Festive Christmas Markets in UK: York Christmas Festival

For amazing photos you’ll want to show everyone and anyone, add the York Christmas Festival to your UK Christmas market bucket list. Spread out over many different streets and squares covered in decorations from top to bottom, this Christmas market is about as close as you can get to a winter fairytale in real life.

Here you can walk through rows and rows of wooden chalets draped in colorful decorations and twinkling lights as the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts floats through the air. Even if you don’t feel like buying anything, just walking through this part of the city is guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit.

For an extra bit of fun, head to King’s Square, where you can ride a vintage carousel. If you don’t want the party to end, carry on to Shambles Market and Food Court, where you can indulge in delicious street food from all over the world. 

And there you have it! These are our picks for the best Christmas markets in the UK. What are your favorites?



  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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