The Best Christmas Markets in the UK 2023
Christmas markets are undoubtedly one of the many highlights of the festive season – here are some of our top picks from around the UK.
8 of The Best Christmas Markets in the UK 2023
Christmas markets are one of the most loved traditions of the festive season – and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like the bustling atmosphere of a Christmas market to get you in the holiday spirit.
There are plenty of markets taking place up and down the country this year, so let’s take a look at eight of the best Christmas markets in the UK you can visit in 2023.
1. Birmingham Christmas Market
Set in Victoria Square and New Street, the famous Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is said to be the biggest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, and will this year run from November 2nd all the way to December 24th.
The market is packed with stalls selling delicious traditional German food such as bratwurst, pretzels and schnitzels, which can all be washed down with some tasty gluhwein (mulled wine) or Weissbier (wheat beer). There are plenty of stalls offering all sorts of traditional gifts, including handcrafted decorations, jewellery and toys, plus attractions for all to enjoy, such as the Big Wheel and one of the best outdoor skating rinks in the UK. You’ll also find regular live music at the Bandstand.
2. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is easily one of the largest Christmas markets in the UK. Running for approximately six weeks, from November 17th until January 1st, this festive event is packed full of entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
Winter Wonderland boasts a wealth of attractions, stalls and delicious food and drink. You can skate to live music on the UK’s largest outdoor ice rinks, sit back and enjoy the acrobatic wonders at a circus show, ride on the Giant Observation Wheel, or make your way into the Magical Ice Kingdom to take in the ice sculptures, secret passageways and snow tunnelled slides. You’ll also find rides including a real ice slide and a roller coaster.
Just remember to pre-book tickets and you’ll get a dedicated time slot to arrive, but you can stay as long as you want.
3. Bath Christmas Market
Situated across the city’s picturesque Georgian streets, Bath Christmas Market is regularly voted one of the most popular events in the UK and has been going for over 20 years.
From November 23rd until December 10th, Bath will be transformed into a festive wonderland, with around 170 chalets squeezed into the historic cobbled streets that surround the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Each chalet sells a range of traditional and seasonal gifts, from unique homeware and handcrafted jewellery to Christmas decorations. Plus, be sure to stop at one of the many food stalls and indulge in some festive food and drink, including roasted chestnuts and craft ale.
4. York Christmas Festival
Last year in 2022 it was the 30th anniversary of York’s St Nicholas Fair, and the York Christmas Festival is set to be just as good in 2023. Its famous 75 alpine-style chalets line Parliament Street and St Sampson's Square, offering a wide variety of seasonal food and drink, handcrafted goods, Christmas decorations and artisan gifts.
Soak up the city’s medieval charm as you take in everything this fantastic fair has to offer. Visit York’s Christmas Festival from 16th November to 22nd December.
5. Edinburgh Christmas Market
The city of Edinburgh will be lit up with twinkling Christmas lights from 17th November all the way through to 6th January 2024.
Edinburgh’s Christmas is mainly centred around Princes Street Gardens, with the traditional Christmas market at East Princes Street Gardens and the family fun fair at West Princess Street Gardens. St Andrew’s Square Winter Gardens is where you’ll find Santa, and George Street is home to the ice rink. There’s plenty for all the family to enjoy, from fun fair rides at Santa Land to mulled Irn Bru, vegan pigs in blankets, and Harry Potter-themed gifts. During your visit, don’t skip strolling past Edinburgh Castle. The city’s central monument will feature enchanting light displays throughout December as part of the annual Castle of Light festival.
6. Manchester Christmas Markets
Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester is transformed into a beautifully festive hub of Christmas celebrations. Running from 10th November to 21st December, Manchester’s city centre is the place to be, with bustling stalls lining the streets across six of the city’s squares, including St Ann’s, Exchange Square, King Street, Market Street and Cathedral Gardens.
Last year it was named as one of the most affordable Christmas markets in the UK and is the biggest in the country. And it’s even bigger this year too. In 2023, Manchester’s world-famous Christmas markets consist of over 225 stalls spread across the city centre, selling all sorts of Christmassy treats, gifts, and delicious food, including loaded Korean corndogs and delicious hot drinks. And if you want to stay in the Christmas spirit right up to New Year’s Eve, the markets at Cathedral Gardens are open until 31st of December.
7. Leeds Christmas Market
After a four-year break due to the pandemic, Leeds Christmas Market is back in 2023. And according to the local council, it’s going to be “bigger and better than ever”. The streets of the city will be lined with 120 Bavarian-style market stalls across 13 different locations, including Briggate, City Square and outside The Corn Exchange.
In place from 24th November to 22nd December, you’ll find sellers from Leeds, Yorkshire and across the UK offering all your festive favourites. There are three bar areas – Briggate, Quebec Street (close to City Square) and Dortmund Square – and a programme of family-friendly activities running alongside the market. The traditional markets at Millennium Square and Victoria Gardens are back, as is the ice rink.
8. Brighton Christmas Market
A trip to Brighton isn’t just about sunshine and the beach, it is fabulous and festive at Christmas, too. Running from 17th November to 24th December, Brighton Christmas Market is one of the best in the UK. It’s held at St Peter’s Church Plaza and Richmond Square – two adjoining squares between St Peter’s Church and Valley Gardens.
As well as the traditional Christmas stalls selling unique gifts from across the globe and classic grub like bratwurst and gluhwein, you’ll also find live music from local buskers as well as street artists and performers. Don’t miss the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink and the 32 metre Big Wheel.
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