From London to Edinburgh, here’s our pick of the best UK Christmas markets to visit this year for gifts, festive food and live music, too.
After an involuntary year off for most markets as a result of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, Christmas markets — a festive season staple — are currently making a triumphant return across the country.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Billed as ‘the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria’, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market offers a range of traditional goods and a tempting selection of food and drink — as demonstrated by the heady aroma of mulled wine, schnitzel and spicy sausage. A perfect spot for Christmas shopping too, with everything from handcrafted decorations and leatherwork to toys, jewellery and more. Open until 23 December 2021. Open now until 23 December 2021.
The Christmas Market at Blenheim Palace
Set within traditional wooden chalets, the market offers a variety of irresistible gifts, unique works by a range of designers and tempting treats for foodies. Visitors to Blenheim Palace can browse stalls selling ceramics, textiles, stationery, toys and much more. Inside the palace each room has been transformed for Christmas, with inspiration coming from the story of The Nutcracker, while outside you’ll also find the Illuminated Trail with lights, lasers and larger-than-life illuminations. Running between 19 November and 19 December 2021.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
In East Princes Street Gardens, you’ll find alpine-style chalets where local artisans will be selling there wares alongside bespoke products from further afield and lots of tasty treats for you to enjoy or to gift. This is only a small portion of Edinburgh’s Christmas offering this year, as much of the Scottish capital transforms into a winter wonderland with an ice rink, Ferris wheel, Christmas tree maze, Santa’s grotto to be found as well as an array of festive events to enjoy. Opening on 20 November 2021 and closing on 4 January 2022.
Southbank Centre Winter Market
Open until Christmas Eve, at the Winter Market you can shop an array of artisanal products for anything from stocking fillers and big gifts to festive decorations and Christmas cards, while walking alongside the River Thames with lights twinkling around you. There will be plenty of food and drink pop ups from London venues too, with the promise of truffle burgers and gourmet cheese toasties along with winter classics like fondue, bratwurst, eggnog and mince pies. Wash it down with mulled wine, a hot toddy or a festive cocktail (or two). Open now and closing on Christmas Eve.
York Christmas Festival
The St Nicholas Fair will be made up of wintry alpine chalets on Parliament Street and St Sampson’s square selling an assortment of festive products, while the historic Shambles Market is dedicated to locally produced arts and crafts. There’s a food market too featuring Christmas classics alongside world food, and you’ll find a vintage carousel in Kings Square. Open from 18 November to 23 December 2021.
Manchester Christmas Market
Returning across six city squares, the Manchester Christmas Market is back with an almost never ending offering of food and drink throughout. In St Ann’s Square you’ll find craft sellers alongside food stalls, with even more food and drink in Exchange Square. New Cathedral Street there’ll be high end shoemakers, local vegan skincare products, jewellery, more food and drink and over on King Street, even more food and drink but all to a French theme. Market Street will have an array of local traders and the Cathedral Gardens returns again as the family area with an ice rick, entertainment and (you guessed it) more food and drink. Open from 12 November until the 22 December 2021, with the Winter Gardens in Piccadilly Gardens open until the 3 January 2022.