Dive into the UK’s merriest Christmas markets in 2023!  Your festive adventure starts here. Where will you go first?

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

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.

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5 Quick Tips For Visiting Christmas Markets

Five simple tips for making the most of your Christmas market visit:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Map of UK Christmas Markets for 2023

With Christmas markets dotted across the UK, you’re bound to find one nearby come December.

Check out the map below for inspiration of which Christmas markets to explore.  Scroll down for details of 13 of the best Christmas markets in the UK.

1. Bath Christmas Market

Shoppers Watching A Light Show On The Abbey Facade With A Christmas Tree In The Foreground at Bath Christmas Market.

Light Shows & Christmas Tree at Bath Christmas Market. Image Credit: Bath Christmas Market.

Summary:

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

Dates

23 November – 10 December 2023

Location

Bath Christmas Market, around Bath Abbey, Bath BA1 1LT

Where To Stay

4* boutique townhouse The Queensberry Hotel offers a wonderfully central base for exploring Bath Christmas Market and the rest of this fabulous Georgian city.  For families, the Hiding Space – Trim Street Apartments are a great option too.

Whilst You're There

Take some time out to relax at Thermae Bath Spa.  Or take a trip out of town to the nearby Mendip Hills to meet Santa in his cave grotto at Wookey Hole Winter Wonderland and visit year-round Christmas shop Old Rowlands in the heart of Cheddar Gorge

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More Information

Further information about Bath Christmas Market.

2. Belfast Christmas Market

Family eating treats from the Christmas market amongst the stalls at Belfast Christmas Market.

Family Enjoy Local Treats at Belfast Christmas Market. Image Credit: Belfast Christmas Market

Summary:

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

Dates

18 November – 22 December 2023

Location

Belfast Christmas Market, Belfast City Hall, Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS

Where To Stay

Try Ten Square Hotel (which overlooks City Hall) for a central location and comfortable stay – you can simply roll out of the bed to the market!  If you’re looking to splurge, 5* The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast is just up the road.

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. 

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More Information

Further information about Belfast Christmas Market.

3. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

Ornate wooden chalets decorated with fairy lights at Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market with crowds browsing the stalls.

Ornate wooden chalets at Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market. Image courtesy of Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd.

Summary:

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

Dates

2 November – 24 December 2023

Location

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, Victoria Square and New Street Birmingham, B1 1BB

Where To Stay

Historic Grand Hotel Birmingham is positioned a stone’s throw from the Christmas Market in the shadows of Birmingham Cathedral.  Families may find the apartment layout at Staycity Aparthotels Birmingham Jewellery Quarter convenient. 

Whilst You're There

Catch a festive performance at Birmingham Symphony Hall or take a glide on the rink at Ice Skate Birmingham by Centenary Square.  Alternatively, stock up on festive goodies, see the Santa show, & discover more about the history of our national favourite at Cadbury World.

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More Information

4. Cardiff Christmas Market

Shoppers browse the alpine chalets at Cardiff Christmas Market.

Shoppers browse the alpine chalets at Cardiff Christmas Market. Image Credit: Craft*folk.

Summary:

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

Dates

9 November – 23 December 2023

Location

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.

Whilst You're There

Tour the sacred halls and pitch of the Principality Stadium – you can even meet Santa too!  For history buffs, Cardiff Castle is a must. 

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More Information

Further information about Cardiff Christmas Market.

 

5. Chester Christmas Market

Shoppers strolling amongst traditional chalet stalls behind a canvas of fairy lights at Chester Christmas Market.

Shopper stroll the stalls under a ceiling of fairy lights. Image Credit: Celynnen Photography.

Summary:

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

Dates

17 November – 21 December 2023

Location

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.

Whilst You're There

Join one of the Christmas events at Chester Cathedral, or take an illuminated Christmas lights stroll with Lanterns & Lights at Chester Zoo.  Alternatively, head out of town to The Ice Cream Farm where there’s a host of festive activities on offer.

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More Information

Further information about Chester Christmas Market

6. Edinburgh Christmas Market

View across the Christmas market in Edinburgh at night-time, with traditional chalet stalls, and a ferris wheel with Edinburgh's skyline behind.

View Over Edinburgh’s Christmas Market. Image Credit: Robin Mair & Unique Assembly Ltd.

Summary:

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

Dates

17 November 2023 – 6 January 2024

Location

Across the centre of Edinburgh, including East & West Princes Street Gardens, St Andrew Square Winter Garden, George Street West & Castle Street.

Where To Stay

For somewhere unique and rather special, try The Witchery by the Castle in the heart of the old city.  For a more modest budget, Motel One Edinburgh-Princes is well located near the Christmas markets on Edinburgh’s famous Princes St and right next to Edinburgh Waverley train station.

Whilst You're There

Be sure to visit the city’s two year-round Christmas shops – The Nutcracker Christmas Shop & Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe.  For Harry Potter fans, the free Potter Trail walking tour of the city is a must! 

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More Information

Further information about Edinburgh’s Christmas Market.

7. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland London Christmas Market

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Image credit: Jolly Festive

Summary:

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

Dates

17 November 2023 – 1 January 2024

Location

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

Where To Stay

For something rather special, try 41, just the other side of Buckingham Palace which offers 5* service in a small boutique hotel environment.  For a more modest budget, Hotel 63 to the north of Hyde Park is perfectly located a stroll across the park from Winter Wonderland.

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.

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More Information

Further information about London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

8. London Southbank Winter Market

Shoppers strolling amongst the stalls at Southbank Centre Winter Market with the River Thames behind and a boat passing by.

Shoppers browse the stalls at Southbank Centre Winter Market. Image Credit: India Roper-Evans.

Summary:

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

Dates

2 November – 26 December 2023

Location

Queen’s Walk, Southbank, London, SE1

Where To Stay

For exceptional views across the river to Big Ben, try the London Marriott Hotel County HallWilde Aparthotels by Staycity in Covent Garden make a perfect choice for families in a fabulously central location.

Whilst You're There

Catch a show from the huge array on offer for the Southbank Winter Festival, with everything from a jazz take on festive classic The Nutcracker to Christmas Actually and Bluey’s Big Play. Or cross the river to skate at Somerset House.

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More Information

Further information about London’s Southbank Winter Market.

9. Manchester Christmas Market

Christmas decorations for sale on traditional alpine chalet stall at Manchester Christmas Market. Large snowman and various spice and citrus decorations and tabletop wooden houses.

Christmas Decorations For Sale at Manchester Christmas Markets. Image Credit: Marketing Manchester.

Summary:

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

Dates

10 November – 21 December 2023

Location

Manchester Christmas Markets, Various Locations In And Around Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1AF

Where To Stay

5* Hotel Gotham is perfectly located in the middle of the city within easy walking distance of all the markets.  For a more modest budget, try Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange.

Whilst You're There

Take a spin on the ice at Skate Manchester’s seasonal rink. Visit one of the many nearby illuminated Christmas light trails or even take a trip on the Churnet Valley Railway’s Polar Express

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More Information

Further information about Manchester Christmas Markets.

10. Newcastle Christmas Market

Crowds sitting or standing and chatting at Moosenwirt alpine bar under a large canvas tent and roof of fairy light chains with fir trees in the centre of Newcastle's Christmas Markets.

People enjoying a drink under the fairy lights at Moosenwirt in Newcastle. Image Credit: Moosenwirt.

Summary:

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

Dates

19 November – 23 December 2023

Location

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

Be sure to pay a visit to the Moosenwirt, Alpine Bar & Village, with its firepits, igloo domes and local acoustic performers in the heart of the Christmas markets.  If you can peel yourself away, the Northern Lights Newcastle illuminated light trail promises an evening of festive fun and memories.    

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More Information

Further information about Newcastle Christmas Market.

11. Nottingham Winter Wonderland Christmas Market

A giant ferris wheel dominates the horizon at Nottingham Winter Wonderland with the Sky Skate ice trail behind, various traditional chalets and illuminated buildings to the fore.

The giant ferris wheel dominates the skyline at Nottingham Winter Wonderland. Image Credit: Nottingham Winter Wonderland.

Summary:

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

Dates

7 November – 31 December 2023

Location

Winter Wonderland Nottingham, Old Market Square, Nottingham, NG1 2DT

Where To Stay

A stone’s throw from Old Market Square, Park Plaza Nottingham works well as a base for exploring both Nottingham Winter Wonderland and the city more generally.  Families may also like the Heritage Mews Nottingham aparthotel with its selection of accommodation for various size groups. 

Whilst You're There

Take a glide on the city’s renowned Sky Skate ice trail in the sky.  Or catch the Dick Whittington panto at the Theatre Royal with Shane Ritchie and Dr Ranj.

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More Information

Further information about Winter Wonderland Nottingham Christmas Market.  

12. Winchester Christmas Market

Man stirs huge copper pot of gluhwein with long wooden pole at Winchester Christmas Market

Stirring the Gluhwein at Winchester Christmas Market. Image Credit: Jolly Festive

Summary:

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

Dates

17 November – 21 December 2023

Location

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.

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More Information

Further information about Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market.

13. York Christmas Market

Summary:

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

Dates

16 November – 22 December 2023

Location

York Christmas Festival, Parliament Street, York YO1 8SG

Where To Stay

You’ll be hard pushed to find a better location and setting than that at The Grand, York positioned just inside the City Walls.  If that’s not quite in price range, Hampton by Hilton York Piccadilly also makes a great base for exploring this historic city.

Whilst You're There

Pay a visit the city’s two year-round Christmas shops – The Nutcracker Christmas Shop on The Shambles & enormous German store Käthe Wohlfahrt.  And you can’t go wrong with a visit to York’s Chocolate Story. (There’s even chocolate making with Santa on offer!)

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More Information

Further information about York Christmas Market.

Which do you this is the best Christmas market in the UK?  What other destinations should we add to the wish list?!

Can’t wait until the markets start?  Check out these year-round Christmas shops in the UK.

Click here for more Christmas activity ideas to enjoy out and about.

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