9 of the Best Christmas Markets

9 of the Best Christmas Markets
What better way to get into the festive spirit than to visit one of the magical Christmas markets that pop up around this time of year? They’re a great place to pick up some unusual or handmade gifts, eat loads of delicious food and drink lots of mulled wine!

We’ve rounded up 9 of the best Christmas markets in the UK right now. They’re all free of charge to enter so find your nearest one and have a browse after work or at the weekend to start feeling all Christmassy!

1. Glasgow’s Christmas Market 2018

glasgowchristmasmarket.jpgWhat’s there?
As well as hosting plenty of independent markets throughout the city, Glasgow is home to two Christmas markets this year. Indulge in some delicious street food including hog roasts, duck rotisseries, bratwursts and crepes, have a beer or Glühwein at a German bar or have fun choosing some gifts for your loved ones from their artisan and handmade craft stalls. There are traditional fairground rides including a helterskelter and carousel, and you can meet Santa every day at the George Square advent calendar.

Where and when?
The St Enoch Square’s Christmas Market runs from 9th November to 23rd December, 10am to 9pm Monday to Wednesday and 10am to 10pm Thursday to Sunday.

The George Square Christmas Market is easy to find thanks to its 15-metre tree! It runs from 25th November right through to 31st December, 10am to 9pm Monday to Wednesday and 10am to 10pm Thursday to Sunday.

Autism-friendly day
The lovely people at the George Street Market are holding an autism-friendly day on Tuesday 4th December 10am to 6pm with fewer lights, less noise and a warm, quiet space will be available if sensory breaks are needed. There will be a clear map setting out where all the stores are, too. They’re supporting the National Autistic Society Scotland and donations would be very welcome if you have any spare change on the day but entry - as for every other day of the Christmas Markets - is entirely free.

2. Cardiff Christmas Market 2018

winterwonderlandcardiff.jpgWhat’s there?
There are stalls offering all sorts of goodies from ceramics, glassware and jewellery to festive food and drink and Christmassy items for your home. There will be stalls supporting various charities including the Woodland Trust and Greyhound Rescue Wales, and some fantastic gift stalls offering fairy houses and upcycled masterpieces!

When and where?
Find the Cardiff Christmas Market in the city centre along the Hayes, Trinity Street, Hills Street, Working Street and St John Street from 15th November. They’re open 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and Sundays 10am to 5pm. On certain days, the stalls stay open until 7pm for some late night shopping: 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st and 22nd December. The stalls don’t close until 4pm on 23rd December so you have plenty of time to get all your shopping done.

The markets are all outdoors and entry is free. Wrap up warm and treat yourself to some mulled wine!

3. Bath Christmas Market 2018

christmasmarketromanbaths.jpgWhat’s there?
There are over 160 Christmas chalets offering a wide range of magical decorations, gifts, handmade jewellery and more! There are also plenty of stalls selling festive food and drink such as caramelised nuts, mulled wine and hog roasts. The stalls are run by local small businesses so you can buy all you need for Christmas and support local traders at the same time!

When and where?
Running from 22nd November to 9th December you have a relatively short time to get your shopping day booked in so don’t miss out! The Christmas Market is set out in the heart of the town and this year extends into Milsom Street. The decorations in the town are made using recycled plastic bottles and bags made by local primary school pupils and add to the charm of the already-lovely Georgian streets.

4. Edinburgh Christmas Market

christmasmarketedinburgh.jpgWhat’s there?
This traditional Christmas market offers everything you would expect - craft shops, artisan gifts, artists and delicious fare. There’s also a Big Wheel offering views across the city, a carousel and - for the brave - a 60-metre-high Star Flyer ride. You can visit Santa Land, try to escape the Christmas Tree Maze and at St Andrew Square you can try to impress your date (or your children) with your ice-skating prowess!

When and where?
The Edinburgh Christmas Market is located in its usual location on East Princes Street in the heart of the city. The stalls are open every day from 10am to 10pm, starting on 17th November right through to 31st December (closed on Christmas Day and 1st January, open from 12 noon on Boxing Day).

5. Birmingham Christmas Market 2018

birminghamchristmasmarket.jpgWhat’s there?
Birmingham’s famous German Christmas Market is back for another year. It’s the largest outdoor market in the UK and the largest German Christmas Market other than those held in Germany and Austria. Get your teeth into some bratwursts or pretzels, glug some Glühwein or German beer and have fun choosing some unusual Christmas gifts and decorations. Wooden toys, felted bags and crystal tree baubles are amongst the many and varied handmade goods on offer at very reasonable prices.

When and where?
The German Market at Birmingham runs from 15th November to 23rd December, 10am to 9pm every day. Find it all along New Street and in Victoria Square.

6. London Christmas Markets 2018

londonchristmasmarket.jpgWhat’s there?
There are several Christmas markets in London. Amongst the biggest and best is the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, where you’ll find over 200 wooden cabins filled with festive fare including gifts, jewellery, crafts and tempting food. There is an outdoor ice rink, a giant Big Wheel and Christmas performances.

Another London Christmas Market to look out for is the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival complete with cuisine from all over the world, a circus and artisan gifts to choose from. There will also be choir performances so you can listen to all your favourite traditional Christmas songs whilst you shop!

Other famous London Christmas Markets worth a visit include: Leicester Square Christmas Market; London Bridge City’s Christmas by the River; Kingston’s Christmas Market, Greenwich Christmas Market and Clapham Common’s Winterville.

All the markets are running from now until Christmas, some run until the New Year, and all are free to enter (though charges may apply for certain activities).

7. Manchester Christmas Market 2018

What’s there?
Manchester hosts an award-winning Christmas Market every year and this year looks set to be the best yet! With food stalls offering a range of goodies from all over the world, Christmas gifts for all the family, jewellery and crafts, you can enjoy the atmosphere and come home with plenty of stocking-fillers (and a full tummy). There is also an ice village where you can meet Santa and wander through a wonderland of ice sculptures and arctic animals. You can take home your very own collectible souvenir Christmas mug (which can be used at any of the drinks stalls), which this year features a rather charming reindeer nose!

When and where?
Manchester Christmas Market 2018 runs from 9th November to 22nd December, opening 10am to 8pm every day. The markets are spread throughout the city and you’ll find Christmas Markets at:
  • Albert Square (closes 9pm each day, and is open 23rd December too)
  • Cathedral Gardens
  • The Corn Exchange
  • Exchange Square
  • Market Street
  • New Cathedral Street

For an international Christmas Market, check out:

  • German Christmas Market at St Ann’s Square
  • French Christmas Market at King Street
  • World Christmas Market at Brazennose Street

8. Leeds Christkindelmarkt 2018

christmasmarketleeds.jpgWhat’s there?
This is a fabulous traditional German Market offering tempting food such as bratwursts, pretzels, chocolate-coated marshmallows and chocolate-dipped fruit as well as German beers and Glühwein. It’s a relatively compact market, with around 40 stalls, but the wide variety of gifts, crafts, toys and decorations on offer mean you won’t go home empty-handed. There is a vintage carousel and other fairground rides, and an Alp Chalet, Ski Hutte and Kuh Stall in which you can eat and drink to your heart’s content. On the weekends, children can have breakfast in the Ski Hutte, chat to Santa’s helpers and then meet the big man himself when he visits each table to hand out gifts. On Sundays there is even more family entertainment to enjoy, in the form of balloon-modelling, crafts, facepainting and singalongs.

When and where?
The Leeds German Market 2018 runs from 9th November to 22nd November in Millennium Square (near Leeds General Infirmary). It's open 10.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays from 10.30am to 7.30pm.

9. Cheltenham Christmas Market 2018

christmasmarketcirencester.jpgWhat’s there?
Another compact and cosy Christmas market, there are around 40 wooden chalets offering glassware, crafts, toys, food and drink.

When and where?
This one is only around until 15th December, so book a date in your diary to make sure you don’t miss out. Find it outside House of Fraser on The Promenade; stalls are open from 9am Mondays to Saturdays and from 10am on Sundays.

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