Christmas markets are one of the many magical events that sweep the country throughout the festive period. The iconic wooden chalets bringing roast chestnuts and handcrafted Christmas gifts to our streets while stately homes and castles host their own artisan Christmas fairs.
So, when do Christmas markets start? Well, lots of Christmas markets have already begun and will go on throughout the whole of November and December with a lot finishing just before Christmas Day. We've rounded up the best places to go for Christmas markets in the UK, from Scotland to Southampton; you're bound to find a Christmas market near you.
There are plenty more opportunities to help you get in the festive mood at Christmas – check out our hub page for gift inspiration, decorating ideas and everything you need to get you in the yuletide spirit.
1. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, London
When is it on? Thursday 21 November – Sunday 5 January 2020
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park promises to be a truly fabulous event. With over 100 fairy-lit Bavarian style wooden chalets, at you can easily get all your Christmas gifts sorted from beautiful jewellery, accessories, clothing, handmade crafts, traditional Christmas decorations, delicious Christmas treats. Hyde Park is also home to the UK's largest outdoor ice rink, set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under a canopy of sparkling lights.
2. York St Nicholas Fair, Yorkshire
When is it on? Thursday 14 November – Sunday 22 Decemeber
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Christmas markets are the perfect place to get your Christmas shopping sorted. You can buy everything from Christmas decorations and homewares to hand-crafted jewellery, trinkets, clothing and a gifts.
There is also whole host of sweet treats like candied nuts, lebkuchen (a sugar coated gingerbread) and Schaumkuss (delicious marshmallows covered in chocolate), as well as tankards of beer or mugs of hot chocolate and mulled wine for you to enjoy while you browse the stalls.
York St Nicholas Christmas market is no different, as its magical cobbled streets are brought to life with the scent of spiced mulled wine and twinkling fairy lights.
Meander through the streets and explore 100 traditional-style chalets packed full with Christmas gifts, decorations and festive delights.
3. Birmingham German Market
When is it on? Thursday 7 November – Monday 23 December 2019
Often considered the best German Christmas market in UK, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is certainly the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. Birmingham’s Christmas Market brings the city to life with more than 120 wooden chalets lining the streets. Flock to the market with family and friends to buy traditional gifts, such as handcrafted wooden decorations and pretty glass baubles, and to sample food like bratwursts, schnitzels and roasted almonds. There will be live music and events held at Victoria Square.
4. Edinburgh Christmas Market
When is it on? Friday 17 November – Saturday 5 January 2020
With a range of rides, attractions and traditional market stalls, Christmas
in Edinburgh promises to be a winter wonderland. Spreading across George Street and Princes Street Gardens, the romantic festive market offers a unique shopping experience with crafts, gifts and gastronomic surprises. There's so much to do for all the family that you will be literally spoilt for choice.
5. Bath Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 28 November – Sunday 15 December
Set against the stunning Bath Abbey, Bath Christmas market returns with more than 200 chalets winding throughbthe Georgian streets. The market prides itself on locally produced, handcrafted gifts and festive foods – ideal for a spot of Christmas shopping.
6. Southampton Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 14 November – Sunday 23 December
One of the Christmas highlights of Southampton Christmas market is ‘Flying Santa’, who takes to the skies over the city centre. There’s also an ice rink and 40 independent stallholders offering delights like sweet gingerbread hearts, candied fruit and handmade gifts.
7. Nottingham Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 14 November – Tuesday 31 December
Meander through the market stalls of the Nottingham Christmas market, largest event in the East Midlands, pull on some ice skates, check out the double-decker winter bar and head to the helter-skelter for a fun-packed festive extravaganza this Christmas.
8. Vegan Winter Festival, Essex
When is it on? Saturday 14 Decemeber
Discover the Christmas festival with an ethical difference at Essex's Vegan Christmas festival. Browse over 80 fantastic stalls selling Christmas food and gifts, plus enjoy exciting cookery demonstrations, inspirational talks, interactive workshops, yoga, a wide range of free food samples to try, and children’s activities running throughout the day. Entry £3.
9. Cardiff Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 14 November – Monday 23 December
For over 20 years, Cardiff Christmas Market has wound its way through the main pedestrian streets of the city centre. Warm your hands around a hot mulled wine as you discover the delights of more than 200 eclectic exhibitors, including local artists and craftspeople offering original pieces from jewelry to woodwork, as well as seasonal food and drink stalls.
10. Oxford Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 5 December - Saturday 21 December 2019
Established in 2009, the Oxford Market will once again fill the historic Broad Street with its quaint wooden stalls selling myriad beautiful handcrafted gifts and ornaments. Local bands and choirs will perform a variety of carols throughout the market, ensuring that everyone is in the Christmas spirit.
11. Skate at Somerset House in London
When is it on? Wednesday 13 November – Sunday 12 January 2020
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the grounds at Somerset House will again be transformed into a huge ice-skating rink as Skate returns this November. Glide around the rink against the backdrop of a sparkling 40ft Christmas tree.
Then when you've tired yourself out on the ice, explore the Fortnum and Mason Christmas arcade, full of all sorts of festive treats including gourmet dining in Fortnum’s Lodge, Baileys Hot Chocolate in hand at the Skate Lounge and lots of opportunities for seasonal shopping. For more details or to book visit somersethouse.org.uk.
If you're a night-owl with a love of skating, then you'll love the all-nighter skating session on 7th December. One site-wide ticket gets you access to a timed ice skating session (usually £17) on the hour from 23.00 to 07.00. Book tickets here.
12. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
When is it on? Thursday 21 November – Sunday 22 December
Every year nearly half a million visitors visit Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, the traditional wooden chalets set the scene in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close, with a stunning real ice rink at the heart. Hand-picked exhibitors, many selling British-made goods, will be nestled among an array of food and drink stalls.