Essential guide to the best Christmas markets in the UK 2018

Stock up on gorgeous gifts, marvel at the dazzling decorations and breathe in the delicious aromas of mulled wine and cinnamon spice that waft through the air: it’s time to get into the holiday spirit by visiting Christmas markets full of festive fare.

Christmas markets date back to German-speaking parts of mediaeval Europe and would herald the start of Advent, brightening up the lives of villagers during gloomy winter days and nights. They’re a relatively recent addition to the UK but are now an established part of our Christmas calendar. From the streets of London to the cathedrals of Bath and Winchester and the historic squares of Glasgow, every year our towns and cities are transformed into fairytale versions of themselves.

Here are some of the UK’s best Christmas markets for seasonal shopping and Yuletide fun.

Bath Christmas Market

More than 180 stalls and chalets line the city’s pretty Georgian streets between the Roman baths and the 16th-century abbey. From clothing and handmade jewellery to unique homeware and artisanal food and drink the market is packed with delightful Christmas gifts.

Dates: 22nd November – 9th December.

Birmingham Christmas Market

For more than 15 years Birmingham Christmas market has been the tinsel-covered showpiece of the city’s Christmas celebrations. This Frankfurt-style Christmas market in Victoria Square and New Street features stalls selling an assortment of toys, jewellery, handcrafted decorations and much more. For eats, there are bratwursts, schnitzels and roasted almonds among other delights.

Dates: 15th November – 23rd December.

Bristol Christmas Market

Bristol city centre comes alive with more than 50 stalls selling crafts, unique gifts and seasonal goodies. Marketgoers are entertained with live music in the Jäger Barn Bar and an ice curling station gives visitors the chance to play the winter sport of Bavarian curling. During December Santa and his reindeer drop in for visits.

Dates: 9th November – 23rd December.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh’s East Princes Street Gardens in the city centre is full of Christmas cheer with a market that is bursting at the seams with brightly coloured stalls. Vendors sell a rich assortment of arts, crafts, gifts and gastronomic delights. Other attractions include a big wheel and a carousel.

Dates: 17th November – 5th January.

Glasgow Christmas Market

Glasgow hosts two Christmas markets, in St. George Square and in St. Enoch Square. Both serve up a festive holiday atmosphere with gifts and gourmet treats.

Dates: St. George Square Christmas Market, November 25th – December 31st and St. Enoch Christmas Market, 9th November – 23rd December.

Leeds Christmas Market

Leeds Christmas Market is also known as the Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market, a nod to the Germanic roots of this annual shopping tradition. Millennium Square in the heart of the city hosts more than 40 beautifully decorated wooden chalets featuring toys, jewellery, decorations and German specialties. Visitors can also enjoy traditional German food and drink in bars and a Bavarian styled eatery. Among the other popular market attractions are themed children’s rides and a carousel.

Dates: 9th November – 22nd December.

London Christmas Markets

London has a clutch of Christmas markets all over the capital that are ripe for exploration. They include:

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

The largest of the capital’s four Royal Parks goes Christmas crazy with a dizzying range of festive delights such as Christmas markets, fairground rides, ice skating and family shows.

Dates: 23rd November – 6th January.

Southbank Centre Wintertime Market

This riverside Christmas market treats visitors to Christmas carols and stalls filled with sweet treats, gifts and festive produce.

Dates: 9th November – 27th December.

Winterville

Seasonal good times are guaranteed at Winterville, a pop-up Christmas village on Clapham Common that encompasses an ice rink, crazy golf, the Backyard Cinema, comedy shows, a fairground and a Christmas market.

Dates: 15th November – 23rd December.

Nottingham Christmas Market

One of the best Christmas markets for gifts, stocking fillers and fun is the Nottingham Christmas Market at Nottingham Winter Wonderland. This is a Bavarian-style Christmas market with rows of wooden chalets festooned with fairy lights that sell artisan cheeses, homemade chutneys, jewellery scents, toys, local homemade stews and much more. Other big draws are an ice rink and a French ski lodge.

Dates: November 15th – December 31st.

Sheffield Christmas Market

A world of wintry wonder awaits visitors to Sheffield Christmas Market. The city’s main shopping area welcomes more than 50 cabins with unique gifts and seasonal food offerings to cater to all tastes. Among the other highlights are the Sleigh Bar, a traditional German sausage grill and Santa’s Grotto. Every child who visits Santa receives a gift.

Dates: 14th November – 24th December.

York Christmas Market

York Christmas Market is also known as St. Nicholas Fair and it is a picture postcard collection of more than 100 traditional style alpine chalets. There is fabulous food, gifts galore and plenty of festivities. Nearby is a fairground with an old-fashioned Helter Skelter.

Dates: 15th November – 23rd December.

Discover the Magic of the UK’s Best Christmas Markets

With the season nearly upon us where better to get into the spirit of things than a Christmas market. Whenever and wherever you decide to go, you can look forward to hearty food, great locations, imaginative gifts, a joyous Yuletide atmosphere and more shopping opportunities than you can shake a sleigh bell at.

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