With their cheerful decorations and traditional Christmas food and gifts, UK Christmas markets are one of the must-see attractions during the holiday season. Forget about all the commercial shops in the high street – visiting one of these cosy Christmas markets really gets you into the festive spirit. We’ve picked five of our favourites and compiled a Christmas market guide so you can sample the best they have to offer. Enjoy!
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market –Ends December 22nd.
Why not kick off the Christmas season with a visit to the largest German Christmas market in the UK? The Birmingham market has over 180 stalls, carol singers performing every day, a carousel and helter-skelter for the children and all the traditional Christmas food and drink you need to keep you warm and well-fed. The market is so big it feels like a small village within the city and Birmingham offers a free Meet & Greet service for visitors arriving by coach.
There is convenient parking at The Mailbox, which is only 2 minutes walk away from the centre of the Christmas Market.
South Bank Centre Christmas Market – Ends December 24th.
Enjoy the atmosphere of this Christmas Market by the river, with easy access to nearby attractions in central London. Browse through the hand-crafted toys, jewellery and gifts, eat authentic German sausages and traditional German bread, washed down with some traditional German beer. Choirs from local offices and schools perform every day at 1.30pm and 7pm. There’s plenty of time to appreciate the atmosphere too, as the market is open from 11am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday. The market is easily accessible by public transport, and is right next to the London Eye where you can get a bird’s eye view of London.
The nearest tube station is Waterloo and you will find the market at the South Bank Centre.
Bath Christmas Market – Ends December 9th.
Set against the backdrop of historic buildings and located half a mile between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, this time of year sees the once ten-a-penny shopping area transformed into a glorius Christmas market. This has been filled with over 120 vendors selling colourful Christmas wreaths and plenty of handmade chocolate and gifts. Circus performers liven up the market and visitors can hear carol services at the Abbey.
Lincoln Christmas Market –December 6th to December 9th.
The Lincoln market has the cathedral on one side and the castle on the other and over 250 stalls set around the medieval square; making the market look like a film-set. The first year it opened, the market only had 11 stalls, now over 150,000 people visit the area to taste some of the classic Christmas food including mince pies and plum bread. Opening times are: Thursday 6th -12pm to 9.30pm, Friday 7th – 8th 10am to 9.30pm, Saturday 8th – 10am to 9.30pm, Sunday 9th – 10am to 7pm.
It’s impossible to park near the Christmas Markets so it’s best to leave your car at the Lincolnshire Showground, north of Lincoln on the A15, then use the Park & Ride service. Pre-book your tickets here or pay on the day. The charges are per car and cost £12 -£15 depending on the day you visit, with Saturday being the most expensive.
Edinburgh Christmas Market – November 26th to January 4th.
Edinburgh Christmas Market is a combination of different markets including the German market where you can find traditional food and drink. In the Highland Christmas Village market located underneath the Edinburgh Wheel, you will find Scottish produce and an opportunity to warm yourself with delicious hot chocolates and mulled wines. If you’re on a hunt for fresh local produce, you’ll want to head down to The Edinburgh Farmers market on the castle terrace. Here you’ll be able to peruse a selection of meat, fish, fruits, jams, liqueurs and bread. St Mary´s Christmas market will keep the children entertained with activities, music and carol singing giving parents a chance to look through the various arts and crafts on offer.
Meanwhile, The Ethical Christmas Fair lets you enjoy buying original gifts that are ethical and sustainable including food, wine, jewellery and gifts.
The times and dates vary for each market so make sure you check before you set off. Don’t forget to have a good look at everything that’s going on and make the most of your Christmas Market trip!