Top 10 UK Christmas Markets
The UK Christmas Market scene has really taken over the last few years, with most major cities and towns hosting European style markets in the run up to the big day. If you want to get out of the big city and do a little Christmas shopping at a more laid back pace then here is our rundown of the best UK Christmas Markets.
1. Lincoln (4th-7th December)
One of the most popular UK Christmas markets, Lincoln attracts over 200,000 visitors each year due to its picturesque setting and unique stalls. Over 250 stalls offer everything from tree decorations and mince pies to leather bags and handmade jewellery. The stalls sit in the quaint medieval square with its surrounding cobbled streets, which give the place its unique identity. With street food aplenty plus entertainment from buskers, a trip to Lincoln is a great pre-Christmas treat. You can also visit the impressive Gothic Cathedral that acts as a backdrop to the market.
2. Chester (20th November-14th December)
With over 70 stalls set in a traditional European style wooden market, a trip to Chester Christmas Market will certainly get you in the festive spirit. Local and international crafters and food producers gather in the small chalets to offer everything from handcrafted stockings to luxurious glassware. The city itself is very picturesque and steeped in heritage so make sure you grab a ticket for a walking tour, where you can explore Roman ruins and climb the cathedral tower.
3. Portsmouth (28th November -30th November)
Set in the historical docklands, Portsmouth’s Victorian Christmas markets take you back in time to get behind the true meaning of Christmas once again! Sample traditional Hampshire fair and buy unique gifts for your loved ones whilst listening to your favourite Christmas carols and drinking mulled wine. Children get the opportunity to meet Santa and history buffs can head to the Marie Rose museum for a culture fix amidst all the shopping.
4. Harrogate (27th November-30th November)
With over 200 stalls in the centre of Harrogate, this Christmas market grows each year. With dedicated food, drink and craft marquees there is plenty to see and do aside from shopping. There are music bandstands to entertain you and a fairground for children. If you cannot find all you need in the market itself, Harrogate is home to lots of independent boutiques for presents that are different from the norm.
5. Grassington (29th November, 6th +13th December)
Held over 3 Saturday’s Grassington steps back in time to host a fabulous Dickensian themed festival. With sparkling Christmas lights set up around the village and residents donning traditional Victorian costumes, you will feel like you are in a different world, only the gruel being replaced with hot mince pies and fragrant mulled wine! The village is adorned with street entertainers to keep you smiling whilst you shop for unique gifts for all the family.
6. Edinburgh (Market dates TBC but festivities begin 23rd November)
Many of you will be heading to Edinburgh, for the annual Hogmanay celebrations, but the winter festivities begin late November with Christmas markets and winter wonderland activities. Hundreds of stalls line the streets underneath the mound, stretching from the National Gallery to St Andrews square, where there is a dedicated children’s market. The square is also home to the Scottish Market where you can sample and buy local products. It is well worth staying for at least two days here, so you get a chance to visit the famous Edinburgh Castle and experience the historical city’s cultural highlights.
7. Belfast (15th November-21st December)
Belfast hosts an annual continental market that attracts thousands of tourists and locals each year. Situated in the beautiful City Hall Gardens, the annual Christmas market gives you a big Irish welcome and will guarantee to provide you with lots of gift opportunities. Along with traditional German Gluhwein and Bratwurst Stands, there are also Irish bars in the food and drinks hall, for a little R&R in between shopping sprees. The market also has a great grotto for the little ones, with a unique chance to talk to Santa himself!
8. Swansea (29th November-22nd October)
The popular green and red wooden chalets make a welcome return to Swansea city centre this year, with lots of fun promised for all of the family. With over 40 stalls of hand crafted goods, fine foods and unique Christmas gifts, you will not be panic buying a pair of socks for dad this year. A giant snow globe will welcome families, with a great opportunity to get your photograph inside for a fab family photograph. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays see the streets light up with singers and entertainers to warm you heart on cold winter nights.
9. Salisbury (27th November-20th December)
Whilst the Salisbury Christmas market offers a host of European goods, its main focus is to celebrate all things British. With hundreds of independent stalls that offer unique and individual gifts, it is a refreshing way to shop if you are looking to avoid the chains. But local focus does not mean they do not embrace worldly offers and this year they celebrate ‘ Christmas Traditions from around Europe’, with special themed days for St. Andrew’s Day, St. Lucia Day and St. Nikolaus Day. The market is set around an impressive Christmas tree that stands proud in the town centre, alongside Santa’s grotto for the little ones.
10. Leeds (14th November-20th December)
If you are looking for THE most traditional German Christmas market head to Leeds for the annual Christkindelmarkt! With traditional wooden stalls, a small fairground and gallons of Gluhwein, this is one of the most established Christmas Markets in the UK and deservedly so. This market has a warm festive feel with the popular Frank-furter Scheune, Kuh Stall and Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery providing just as much fun as the shopping, Bratwurst anyone? Of course, it is not all about food and fun, there are lots of hand crafted gems to be had and did we tell you about the mulled wine?