We’d all like to scurry over to Berlin or Prague for their famous Christmas markets, but sometimes staying closer to home is simply the reality (well, the reality for our bank accounts 😩). But fear not, the UK offers some amazing Christmas markets where you can truly get into the spirit of the holiday season.
Read on for 12 of the best UK Christmas markets to visit!
OK, it’s touristy, but if you want to be transported into a (fake) snow-covered Wham!-playing rollercoaster festive utopia, Winter Wonderland is for you. It’s got the classic alpine Christmas markets stalls selling everything from slightly overpriced mulled wine to homemade gifts, to traditional Christmas foods (try a Nutella and banana crepe or pork and apple bap). If you fancy getting a little merry, there’s also an Ice Bar and a Bavarian village, rife with German beer and shouts of ‘Prost!’ (German for ‘cheers’, FYI). If you’ve got a bigger group you can even rent an alpine hut complete with food and drinks. Or, have a little skate around the ice rink with a loved one – the options are endless!
Southbank Wintertime Market
This is one of London’s most popular markets on the famous Southbank, with views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and St. Pauls. It’s also famed for its delicious food stalls, Scandinavian decor, and endless alcoholic drinking options (we are in Britain after all 🍻). There is a Finish Rooftop Sauna (yes you read that right) from Queen Elizabeth Hall roof – book your tickets quick as this is sure to be a sell out. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, have a drink of mulled wine, window shop the handmade gifts and catch the winter choirs often performing on the magical Southbank. Definitely try out their Swedish stall for meatballs, or sample a scrumptious cheese toastie washed down with a cider from the Rekordelig tent.
If you want to avoid the “mainstream” UK Christmas Markets, or just fancy something more laid back, then head to Winterville on Clapham Common, which features live music, street food, skating and comedy. There’s even a festive cinema which will screen Christmas classics, as well as a Santa’s Grotto, roller disco and crazy golf – you will definitely fail to be bored here.
Where To Stay In London
If Winter Wonderland is on your agenda, Astor Hyde Park is right next door and close to several of London’s best museums, or St Christopher’s Village is near Southbank if you prefer slightly more low-key festivities. But you can be sure that wherever you are in the capital, it will be full of Christmas lights and festive cheer – we defy even the Grinch not to feel Christmassy in LDN.Check out hostels in London
London isn’t the only place where you can find epic UK Christmas markets. The Manchester Christmas market has 350 stalls (yes, 350!) spread throughout the city and is world famous with several different themes – prepare to be completely immersed in the festive spirit as you walk through the streets lined with alpine chalets. The food is a high point of this market, from German beer, pancakes, goulash and paella – whatever you fancy, you’ll find it in Manc. Plus, there’ll be a huge Santa in Albert Square in front of the Manchester Town Hall in the centre of all the festivities, just in case you weren’t feeling quite jolly enough.
Where To Stay In Manchester
Hatters Hostel on Newton Street in Manchester is at the heart of the action – just 10 minutes walk from Albert Square and in the middle of Manc’s coolest area, the Northern Quarter, offering pub crawls many days of the week.Check out hostels in Manchester
Edinburgh is potentially one of the prettiest cities in the UK, so you can imagine at Christmas it’s just W.O.W. The market is held on East Princes Street up to George Street, and is a utopia of festive jollity with shows, rides, Santa Land, and La Clique Noël, a cabaret/burlesque performance to really get you in the spirit (not family friendly, FYI). Much of the food is locally sourced, and if you fancy something even more traditional there’s also a Scottish themed market on West George Street with traditional crafts and foods.
Where To Stay In Edinburgh
For a beautiful and central location, Castle Rock Hostel is ideal for proximity to the market as well as for gorgeous views of Edinburgh Castle.Check out hostels in Edinburgh
The Frankfurt Christmas Market and craft fair in Birmingham is not only one of the best UK Christmas markets, but also one of the largest German markets outside Germany and Austria. Held in Victoria Square, New Street and Centenary Square, if you truly want to feel like you’re in the streets of Berlin, this is the one for you (the weather should be similar too ❄️). The bratwurst here is fabulous, wash it down with a traditional German beer (or Gluhwein if it’s a little too chilly!) and try a Berliner Pfannkuchen (Berlin doughnut).
With traditional Christmas decorations galore and carol singers round every corner, we challenge ANYONE to not feel festive at this market.
Where To Stay In Birmingham
Brum is pretty huge, and Birmingham Central Backpackers has one of the best locations in the city. It’s a 15 minute walk from Victoria Square (the heart of the market), and the central train station. The hostel also offers free breakfast, has a super cosy common room, and is also just a few minutes walk from the huge Bullring shopping centre for those last minute gifts.Check out hostels in Birmingham
Bath is a beautiful city all year round, and even more so in the festive season. This market is extremely local, with over 80% of their chalets being owned by businesses from the South West of England. From cheese to candles, this is a truly stunning market with 200 chalets along the beautiful Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. If the architecture wasn’t enough for you, there’s a classic apres ski bar with mulled wine, and don’t miss a sample of the delicious donuts from The Gourmet Donut Company.
Where To Stay In Bath
Bath Backpackers is ideally located within walking distance to the Roman Baths, in a characterful building which includes a basement ‘party dungeon’ – oo er.Check out hostels in Bath
The beautiful city of York plays host to one of the loveliest Christmas markets in the UK, St Nicholas Fair. There’s a distinct medieval theme here, with Victorian crafts and gifts available, and with the medieval walls being lit up by Christmas lights, it’s a truly magical atmosphere. Located on Parliament Street, St. Sampson’s Square and Coppergate, the traditional Scandinavian style chalets have locally produced wine, and the Small Business Christmas Market showcases handcrafted gifts. Check out Thor’s Tipi for a tipple (all that shopping can be strenuous, ya know?!).
Where To Stay In York
The Fort Boutique Hostel is ideally located near the gorgeous York Shambles and York Minster, and a few minutes walk from the central train station.Check out hostels in York
Just an hour from London, Winchester Christmas Market is situated outside the gorgeous cathedral along with an open air ice rink. This is a traditional market offering the classic Christmas fare, as well as a nativity scene and handcrafted Christmas gifts. Be sure to check out the cheese and sourdough toasties *drool*. Gorgeous choirs can frequently be heard against the stunning backdrop of the cathedral – as you listen to the angelic hymns, you’ll truly feel in the festive spirit.
Where To Stay In Winchester
Two Bare Feet is a gorgeous and modern hostel that can even be rented in its entirety if you’ve got a big group. It’s ideally located, being a few minutes walk from the train station and Cathedral Square.
This is one of the largest Christmas markets in EUROPE 😱, attracting up to a quarter of a million visitors each year. It’s best done as a day trip from Nottingham, a one hour train ride away. Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter plays host to four days of festive fun, with over 280 stalls, including an Artists’ Christmas Village that showcases work from local artists. Don’t miss the Medieval Bishops’ Palace, a unique setting that will transport you back to ye olde Yuletide. After all that walking take a rest in Thor’s Tipi Bar, comprising of two canvas tipis with an open fire and cosy furs, serving local draft ales, mulled wine, and more.
Where To Stay In Nottingham
Igloo Hybrid Hostel has a super high rating from customers, and is located in the heart of the city at a 1 minute walk from the town square and 5 minutes from the station, meaning it’s quick to hop on a train to the markets.Check out hostels in Nottingham
Christkindelmarkt Leeds is another market that will transport you straight to the fairy-tale streets of Germany at Christmastime. Carousels, lights, and mistletoe transform the urban space of Millenium Square into a charming winter village. It’s the perfect combination of European and UK Christmas markets. Traditional European foods are on offer such as goulash, gingerbread, bratwurst, stollen, and gluhwein, and there’s an apres ski bar for Christmas drinking. For some less full on merriment (but still super festive, ofc) visit Leeds Kirkgate Market for carols, record fairs and vintage items.
Where To Stay In Leeds
Art Hostel is a unique design hostel right in the middle of the city centre and just a 10 minute walk from Millennium Square at the heart of the Christmas markets.
Brighton is a gorgeous place to be at Christmas – you can’t beat wandering through the beautifully decorated The Lanes with the sound of the sea in the background as you clutch a hot mulled wine. Brighton’s market is on Jubilee Square in the North Lanes, with a whole range of traditional Christmas foods on offer from 20 cute Christmas chalets. There will also be exhibitions, outdoor screenings and live art, all with a real sense of community spirit – which is what Christmas is all about, right?!
Where To Stay In Brighton
Grapevine North Laine is right near The Lanes and only 5 minutes walk from Brighton train station, meaning it’s right next to the markets and other attractions such as the Komedia comedy club and The Dome Theatre.Check out hostels in Brighton
How many of these UK Christmas markets have you visited? Any other hidden gems we’ve missed? Tell us in the comments! 👇