We’ll level with you: Glasgow is a busy little city. That only gets worse at Christmas time, and whilst we’re enchanted by the light displays and festive pop-ups, there’s a part of us that secretly longs for a change of scenery. So it’s no wonder that we cast occasional envious glances towards these charming Christmas markets in the UK, which bring festive cheer to the people without having to endure Buchanan Street. Glasgow, we’ll be back soon!
Birmingham’s market is the biggest and perhaps the best of UK Christmas markets, with a distinctly Germanic connection. In fact, it’s the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, so it’s a Pretty Big Deal. It’s also the UK’s longest, providing seven weeks of festive cheer on New Street and Victoria Square, so you’ve got plenty of time to visit. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the ultimate place to visit if you’re after traditional gifts or Christmas snacks – with more bratwurst and Glühwein that you can shake a schnitzel at, as well as taking over New Street too.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market runs from November 2 to December 23.
The gorgeous Georgian streets of Bath will be filled will those adorable wooden huts once more. Immensely popular, and limited to a shorter run because of it, local businesses flock here to sell their wares. There’s also a cracking hog roast to be had and an ice rink nearby, making this market one to circle on your calendar.
Running from November 23 to December 10.
Churchill’s ancestral home gets in on the UK Christmas market game with a dreamy offering. Whilst the ubiquitous wooden chalets appear once more, you don’t often see them with a drop-dead gorgeous stately home as a backdrop, and they’re filled with all kinds of festive curiosities and treats. Blenheim Palace also runs a charming Christmas lights trail and you can explore the Palace rooms, each one exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises, making it doubly worthy of a visit this winter.
The Christmas Market runs from November 17 to December 17.
Get ready to celebrate Exe-mas in true West Country style. This lovely UK Christmas market takes place on Cathedral Green, right in front of the historic Exeter Cathedral. They champion local producers, so the stalls are packed full of regional crafts and gifts – and the food village isn’t one to miss. Most importantly, you won’t find a better-mulled cider anywhere else.
Running from November 17 to December 17.
Spanning pretty much the whole of Manchester city centre, Manchester Christmas Markets is an annual highlight – even ranking in a list of the best Christmas destinations to visit in Europe last year. With the town hall undergoing renovations, it will take place across multiple locations in Manchester. But there will still be tons of food traders, gift stalls and pop-up bars this season. Keep an eye out for the city’s huge light-up Santa too, who pops up somewhere new every year!
Manchester Christmas Markets runs from November 10 to December 21.
Nottingham’s yearly Christmas market/funfair is back for 2023, and it bears a few similarities to London’s Winter Wonderland. There’s an ice rink and ice bar, which are located in the Old Market Square alongside a big range of food and craft stalls, and an observation wheel and toboggan slide to add some irreverent fun. No surprise, then, that it’s regularly named as one of the best UK Christmas markets.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland runs from November 15 to December 31.
Edin-brrrr may be chilly this time of year, but there’s a warm welcome waiting on Princes Street. Crafts, gifts, and culinary treats are housed in their row of huts, which is more than enough to ensure a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay. This year sees the return of festive favourites including Edinburgh’s Christmas Wheel – Scotland’s largest Ferris wheel – over 70 traditional Christmas markets, and a selection of rides including a Helter Skelter and the Starflyer. Your little ones can also travel through an illuminated winter wonderland on the Santa Train!
Runs from November 17 to January 6.
Staying in Scotland, Glasgow Christmas Fairs is a 2-4-1 deal as they take over Glasgow city centre. The first to start is St Enoch Square Christmas Fair on November 17, with over 50 wooden chalets, Santa’s runaway train, bungee trampolines, a trail funhouse and a helter-skelter, there’s a lot to enjoy. But the festive cheer kicks up another notch when the George Square Christmas Fair launches on December 1, with an ice rink, plus even more food and entertainment.
St Enoch Square Christmas Fair runs from November 17 to January 3.
George Square Christmas Fair runs from December 1 to January 7.
Couldn’t do a Christmas market roundup without mentioning of one the capital’s finest, could we? London’s Winter Wonderland is pretty unmatched, thanks to its huge Bavarian fairground that’s like a playground for grown-ups – home to over 200 rides! In addition to this, you can enjoy plenty of delicious food stalls (crepes, Baileys hot chocolates and Brats included!), alongside a massive beer hall with live entertainment, a huge ice rink, 70s disco-themed bar, an even better ice slide for 2023 and a whopping Ferris wheel with spectacular views of the capital.
London Winter Wonderland runs from November 17 to January 1.
Taking over Broadmead, Bristol Christmas Market offers festive fun for all the family – with over 35 lovely stalls to browse for traditional gifts, seasonal foods and more. Meanwhile, the Jäger Barn Bar will be stocked with German Glühwein and boozy hot chocolates. This year, the market will also be home to Christmas Igloos and Ski Gondolas – which guests can book out to enjoy Bratwurst platters, charcuterie boards, cheese boards, and festive tipples. You can also expect multiple appearances from Santa himself, as well as elves on stilts and performances from Christmas choirs.
Bristol Christmas Market runs from November 3 to December 23.
Located outside the stunning backdrop of St George’s Plateau and William Brown Street, Liverpool Christmas Market offers a cosy tipi bar filled with mulled wine and other festive tipples, alongside a ski lodge, karaoke cable cars, a Windmill bar and tons of lovely gift stalls. In addition to that, guests can enjoy a Bavarian grill and plenty of sweet treats, too.
Liverpool Christmas Market runs from November 18 to December 23.
Much like Bath, York is an evergreen city of charm, but it really amps up the magic at Christmastime. After last year’s 30th Anniversary celebrations of St Nicholas Fair, the iconic alpine chalets will return to Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square in 2023. Creating a festive wonderland, with an array of local traders and artisan products on show, expecting everything from luxury stationery to Yorkshire Pudding beer. You’ll find some pretty unique gift ideas at York Christmas Market!
York Christmas Market runs from November 16 to December 22.
13. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Situated on the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, this is easily one of the more stunning UK Christmas markets. With more than 100 chalets – home to everything from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine – you’re guaranteed to find something special. The 1000-year-old cathedral itself is also the hub of the city’s Christmas celebrations. Head inside for Christmas services and carolling concerts, while on November 24, stick around for the annual Lantern Parade.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market runs from November 17 to December 23.
14. Chester Christmas Market
Over 50 traders make up Chester Christmas Market as the Town Hall Square is transformed into a winter wonderland. Some of the traders include The Bethlehem Shop, which stocks hand-crafted Nativity scenes, and the Macaroon Stall. But you pick up anything from mulled wine and hog roast baps to handmade jewellery and clothing. At the heart of the market sits the iconic Christmas tree, surrounded by Alpine-style chalets and sparkly fairy lights. Making this one of the loveliest Christmas markets in the UK.
Chester Christmas Market runs from November 17 to December 21.