Dive into the UK’s merriest Christmas markets in 2023! Your festive adventure starts here. Where will you go first?
As the winter chill creeps in, you know what time it is – Christmas market season! Whether you’re sipping mulled wine, savouring delectable treats, or hunting for that perfect handcrafted gift, Christmas markets have a way of sprinkling North Pole magic into the air.
We’re sharing our top picks for the UK’s most delightful Christmas markets in 2023. From charming traditional affairs to vibrant, twinkling extravaganzas, these markets are the ultimate festive experience. So, grab your cosiest scarf and gather your nearest and dearest as we head out on a yuletide adventure.
Join us as we uncover the Best UK Christmas Markets that are bound to leave you feeling merry and bright!
Looking for more activities to enjoy? Click here for other fun ideas.
5 Quick Tips For Visiting Christmas Markets
Five simple tips for making the most of your Christmas market visit:
- Pick Your Time Carefully. Christmas Markets are popular events. A trip earlier in the morning or mid-week will almost certainly offer a quieter shopping experience. Whilst an evening visit is likely to be more atmospheric and will allow you to enjoy the festive light displays.
- Bring A Bag. Whether for storing your purchases or excess clothes if the weather changes, a bag will always come in handy. Rucksacks are particularly helpful so you can keep your hands free.
- Watch your Valuables. Sad as it is, these busy events with lots of people and distraction makes Christmas Market shoppers easy targets for pick pocketers. Don’t let your festive spirit be ruined; minimise what you bring with you and keep a close eye on the items you do.
- Think Footwear. With high footfall and inclement weather pavements around the Christmas Markets can often be wet and slippery. Wear your comfiest, warm, waterproof, high-grip shoes.
- Do a Little Research. Take the time to do a little research before your visit so you know what’s on, where and when. In the hustle and bustle of the market, it’s easy to miss a stall you’d wanted to visit or live entertainment you would have enjoyed.
1. Bath Christmas Market
Nestled right in the heart of this World Heritage City, Bath Christmas Market transforms the city centre into a festive wonderland. Over 200 stallholders line the Georgian streets in traditional chalets to share their artisan crafts, gift inspiration, and seasonal food and drink. Many of these are local businesses selling UK-designed and made items.
Visit Father Christmas in his Grotto at Milsom Place, take a winter wonderland spin on the ice at Bath On Ice’s seasonal rink, or listen to one of the many live music performances on offer daily during the market.
Visiting Bath Christmas Market
23 November – 10 December 2023
Bath Christmas Market, around Bath Abbey, Bath BA1 1LT
2. Belfast Christmas Market
Belfast Christmas Market returns for 2023, offering a delightful mix of international cuisine and handcrafted goods. Set against the stunning backdrop of Belfast City Hall, the market is perfect for day-trippers, coach parties, and city shoppers.
Enjoy hot Glühwein, hearty hog roasts, Belgian chocolates, baklava, and more at the food court. The kids can meet Santa in his magical grotto, ride a vintage carousel, or enjoy the helter-skelter. Shoppers will delight in the selection of goodies on offer, including several of St George’s Market traders joining the fun! It’s an enchanting festive experience filled with Christmas cheer.
Visiting Belfast Christmas Market
18 November – 22 December 2023
Belfast Christmas Market, Belfast City Hall, Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS
Whilst You're There
Visit the city’s iconic Titanic Museum to learn more of the famous story in the place where it all began (you could even join their magical Christmas experience and visit the Elves’ Workshop). Or take a bus tour & discover the city’s history.
3. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market
Filling the city with festive aromas and holiday spirit, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is a beloved annual tradition for locals and visitors alike. As the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria, it offers a wide array of traditional gifts, foods, and drinks. Enjoy live music in Victoria Square and find unique presents, from handcrafted decorations to toys and jewellery. There’s plenty to tempt your tummy too! Savour pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, and roasted almonds while sipping on gluhwein or hot chocolate.
Indeed, the gluhwein traditions are strong at this market, with each stall/bar offering a different experience. Victoria Square boasts a ski chalet-style bar and a famous singing moose. On New Street, there’s a giant Christmas pyramid and an advent calendar-themed stall, as well as a drinks stall with a roof Glockenspiel playing Christmas tunes. In traditional German Christmas Market style, specially decorated mugs and glasses are provided, with a deposit refund upon return. New designs are released annually, often kept by visitors as souvenirs.
Top tip: exchange your dirty glass for a clean one before you leave to save getting hot chocolate all over your bag! Simply ask at any drink stall.
Visiting Birmingham Christmas Market
2 November – 24 December 2023
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, Victoria Square and New Street Birmingham, B1 1BB
4. Cardiff Christmas Market
Continuing a nearly 30-year tradition, Cardiff Christmas Market returns once again to the pedestrian heart of Cardiff City Centre. Organised by Craft*folk, this is a market committed to showcasing quality artists, crafts people and food and drink producers.
With an exceptional level of handcrafted skill on display, visitors can enjoy chatting directly with talented artisans as they explore silver jewellery, wooden gifts, artwork, fused glass, ceramics, quilts, textiles, and more. As well as plenty of returning stallholders, you’ll find lots of new faces showing their displays at the Taster Stalls in Trinity Street.
The market’s beautifully decorated wooden stalls line the pedestrian streets around St John The Baptist City Parish Church, creating a festive and vibrant atmosphere with plenty of seasonal food and alcohol producers to tickle those tastebuds too.
Visiting Cardiff Christmas Market
9 November – 23 December 2023
Cardiff Christmas Market, in and around St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street and Hills Street, Cardiff City Centre, CF10 1GL
Where To Stay
Centrally positioned, Hotel Indigo – Cardiff offers a comfortable base from which to explore both the Cardiff Christmas Markets and the city’s many other activities and points of interest.
5. Chester Christmas Market
Chester’s Christmas Market returns to Northgate Street for 2023. This market hosts 57 independent traders in traditional wooden chalets, offering a variety of unique and handcrafted gifts, including pottery, local food, woolly hats, jewellery, Chester Christmas candles, and Bethlehem-made decorations.
Twinkling lights adorn the market, creating a festive atmosphere. Shoppers can enjoy a warm drink and spot of people-watching at the Christmas Market Bar. There’s plenty of festive spirit and memory making to be had in the heart of Chester this year!
Visiting Chester Christmas Market
17 November – 21 December 2023
Chester Christmas Market, Northgate Street (between Chester Cathedral & Town Hall), Chester CH1 2HA
Where To Stay
The Hotel Chester resides in a prime location just south of the city’s cathedral with a selection of rooms and apartments each with kitchenette facilities.
6. Edinburgh Christmas Market
With Hogmanay playing just as big a part in the festivities here as Christmas, Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations continue into 2024! And there’s festive spirit to be found across the whole city.
East Princes Street Gardens is home to the main Christmas village with its traditional market stalls offering a wide range of gifts and decorations as well as some more unusual Scottish takes on festive fare. Think mulled Irn Bru and deep-fried mince pies …!
Head to West Princes Street Gardens for the family-friendly zone with its illuminated walk, fun fair rides, and the Ross Bandstand where community events will keep the party going across four key weekends. Santa’s back in town with a special grotto tucked away in St Andrew Square Winter Garden where children can enjoy magical storytelling and write their letters to post too. And don’t forget the alpine ice rink and double carousel in George Street too.
Visiting Edinburgh Christmas Market
17 November 2023 – 6 January 2024
Across the centre of Edinburgh, including East & West Princes Street Gardens, St Andrew Square Winter Garden, George Street West & Castle Street.
7. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland London Christmas Market
Part festive theme park, part traditional German Christmas market, there really is something for everyone at London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
Brimming with vibrant entertainment, the event caters to all ages. You’ll find the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom featuring intricate ice sculptures, and an ice-themed bar. Thrill-seekers can race down a real ice slide and enjoy numerous roller coasters. The park also hosts Zippos Christmas Circus and Santaland for a meeting with Santa. Amid the excitement, there’s also a traditional-style Bavarian Christmas market with 100+ chalet stalls offers gifts and street food.
One word of warning: you’ll have to pay to get in – a post-covid change which at least does help manage crowd control at this hugely popular venue.
Visiting Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
17 November 2023 – 1 January 2024
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Whilst You're There
Take a stroll through the centre of London to enjoy the city’s famous Christmas light and shop window displays. Then head to the London Palladium to join Peter Pan for the West End’s panto extravaganza, with Jennifer Saunder, Julian Clary, and a whole host of other household names.
8. London Southbank Winter Market
Bask in the festive atmosphere at the Southbank Winter Market, where you’ll find pop-up bars, street food vendors, and talented craft artisans.
The southern side of the River Thames will once again be lined with classic alpine-style chalets as Southbank Winter Market returns for 2023. Stay warm with mulled wine or hot chocolate as you explore unique gifts, jewellery, and handmade decorations.
It won’t be hard to keep your tummy in good spirits either, with truffle burgers, duck wraps, Thai dishes, as well as a host of winter classics on offer. Satisfy your sweet tooth with treats such as Dutch pancakes and chocolate-dipped fruits.
Visiting London Southbank Winter Market
2 November – 26 December 2023
Queen’s Walk, Southbank, London, SE1
9. Manchester Christmas Market
Back for its 25th year, the Manchester Christmas Markets are a festive draw for locals and visitors alike. With 220 stalls across nine locations, you’ll find an array of treats, crafts, decorations, and unique gifts. The markets are known for their diverse international food offerings, from German Bratwurst to Korean hotdogs and the famous Yorkshire Pudding Wrap.
Don’t forget to grab an official Manchester Christmas Market mug for a small deposit, perfect for sipping your way through the market. You’ll also discover illuminated sculptures throughout the city centre, perfect for those selfie moment. Plus, Festive Sundays are set to return, with different events each week including roaming puppets, supersized penguins and illuminated bands.
Visiting Manchester Christmas Markets
10 November – 21 December 2023
Manchester Christmas Markets, Various Locations In And Around Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1AF
10. Newcastle Christmas Market
Following on from the success of last year when the city was awarded the title ‘The UK Capital of Christmas 2022’ by JOE, there’s sure to be plenty of Christmas cheer on the streets of Newcastle for 2023.
Newcastle’s Christmas Market returns with its traditional alpine chalets spanning Grey’s Monument, Grainger Street, and this year Old Eldon Square too. The market features local, independent traders offering unique Christmas gifts and delightful hot chocolate.
The Grainger Market is a one-stop shop for festive food and gifts, with over 100 local traders under one roof in addition to performances, choirs, live bands, and even Santa’s Grotto. Last but not least, don’t miss the Quayside Sunday Market, a historic riverfront event, offering everything from food and fashion to handcrafted jewellery, ceramics, and art.
Visiting Newcastle Christmas Market
19 November – 23 December 2023
Newcastle Christmas Market, around Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 5AF
Where To Stay
In a prime city centre location and just five minutes from the train station, Maldron Hotel is an ideal hotel base from which to explore the Christmas activities on offer in Newcastle this year.
Whilst You're There
11. Nottingham Winter Wonderland Christmas Market
Festive spirit is high at Nottingham Winter Wonderland 2023! Independent traders take over Old Market Square with products from artisan cheeses to handmade chutneys, mead, jewellery, and fashion. The Sky Skate elevated ice trail returns for a second year alongside the seasonal ice rink, toboggan slide and observation wheel.
When it comes to dining, all-glass rooftop bar Altitude offers panoramic views as you eat whilst the cosy atmosphere of ski chalet-style bar Sur La Piste will take you away to the Swiss mountains with its raclette cheese and hanging kebabs. Or head to the Ice Bar, complete with ice sculptures, or Helter Skelter Bar for more festive atmosphere as you sip.
Visiting Nottingham Winter Wonderland
7 November – 31 December 2023
Winter Wonderland Nottingham, Old Market Square, Nottingham, NG1 2DT
12. Winchester Christmas Market
Regarded as one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, Winchester Christmas Market is located within the cathedral grounds in the heart of this historic city.
Handpicked vendors fill the classic wooden chalet stalls. With festive lighting, Christmas carols, and the delightful scent of mulled wine and cinnamon in the air, the market offers a truly immersive holiday shopping experience. Festive treats are certainly not in short supply with traditional gluhwein stalls and everything from New Forest shortbread to award winning scotch eggs, handmade brownies and toffee vodka!
Visiting Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
17 November – 21 December 2023
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, Winchester SO23 9LS
Where To Stay
Just over five minutes’ walk from the Christmas Market, Hotel du Vin Winchester offers a comfortable home from home as you explore this historic city.
Whilst You're There
Be sure to explore the City’s iconic cathedral, perhaps taking in an advent service whilst you’re there. Take a stroll through the beautiful city centre for more Christmas shopping. Or head out of town to see the Christmas lights of Glow at Marwell Zoo and take a steam train ride with a difference with the Watercress Line’s Steam Illuminations.
13. York Christmas Market
Immerse yourself in York’s medieval charm this Christmas as the famous alpine chalets return once again, creating a festive wonderland of local traders and artisan products.
The air is filled with the enticing aroma of spiced mulled wine and tasty treats. Take a leisurely stroll through the St Nicholas Fair. Discover fine Yorkshire goods at the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village or traditional Christmas gifts on Parliament Street. Head to Kings Square for fairground fun, including a thrilling slide down a Helter Skelter. And don’t forget to savour the festive delights at the St Sampson’s Square rustic Yorkshire Barn, featuring hot chestnuts and warming mulled wine.
Visiting York Christmas Market
16 November – 22 December 2023
York Christmas Festival, Parliament Street, York YO1 8SG
Windsor Great Park is awash with festive colour once again as Windsor Illuminated Christmas lights trail returns to the park for 2023!
Discover the biggest and best Christmas fairs across the UK. Find the craft fair nearest you & get your Christmas shopping underway!
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