Festive Christmas Markets in the UK

Do you want to inject a bit of fun into your Christmas shopping experience? Do you fancy being serenaded by carol singers while you enjoy a glass or two of your favourite German beer? What better way to kick-start your festivities than with a visit to one of the UK’s magical Christmas Markets.

Conjuring up images of mulled wine, ginger-bread houses and snow-topped log cabins, Christmas Markets originated in Germany in medieval times. They are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with people travelling far and wide to visit them.

They are a festive alternative to shopping-centre stress, with hand-crafted gifts, tempting food treats and Christmas entertainment for all the family. Here are five of the best Christmas markets in the UK…

Manchester’s Festive Markets

If you want 300 authentic European and UK craft market stalls then the best UK city to visit is Manchester, with its magical Christmas markets which dominate the entire city centre. Frommer places Manchester’s festive markets in the top 10 in the world.

St Ann's Square Manchester

Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham

The Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is held from the 15th November until 22nd December at the following locations: Victoria Square, New Street, Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square.

frankfurt christmas market

This huge market attracts visitors from all over the UK and Europe and is the largest and arguably the most authentic outdoor Christmas Market in the country. Picturesque wooden chalets offer a selection of hand-crafted goods such as jewellery, Christmas decorations and wooden toys. Visitors can also sample German delicacies such as bratwurst, pretzels, stollen and gingerbread.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is fast becoming one of London’s top attractions. It takes place in Hyde Park from 23rd November until 6th January 2013. With Europe’s largest outdoor ice rink, a circus and fairground rides galore, there is more than enough to keep the whole family entertained.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London

Take a stroll around the marketplace, where 100 festive wooden chalets provide a selection of jewellery, crafts and clothing. An additional market area stocks Christmas decorations in every shape and size. There are bars and restaurants to suit every taste, providing somewhere warm to escape the hustle and bustle. Eating options include traditional German fare, hog roasts and fish and chips.

The City Hall Grounds

The City Hall Grounds is home to Belfast’s Christmas Market, running from 17th November until 20th December. The gardens are transformed into a picturesque Alpine village with dozens of market stalls selling unusual gifts from all over the world, including items from Peru and Mexico.

City Hall market
Also available are gastronomic treats from across the globe, including French crepes, Belgian chocolates, Spanish paella and a giant German bratwurst. Those with a taste for adventure can sample ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers.

This year, shoppers will be entertained by a choir, who will perform Dickensian carols in authentic Victorian costume. Younger visitors can enjoy a spin on the merry-go-round or pay a visit to Santa.

Leeds Christkindelmarkt

One of the most established Christmas markets, Leeds Christkindelmarkt, is being held once again in Millennium Square from 9th November until 16th December, offering unique gift ideas and speciality food and drink, the square is transformed into a scenic winter village complete with log cabins and traditional wooden chalets.

Christkindelmarkt in Leeds
A Bavarian show band will perform each evening and you can feast on a plate of goulash, washed down with a glass of schnapps, at the authentic Alp Chalet Restaurant.

St Enoch Square

St Enoch Square, in the heart of the city centre, is the venue for Glasgow’s Traditional Christmas Market from 16th November until 23rd December.

The German Market.
Sample a glass of Gllhwein or enjoy a warming hot chocolate as you browse the rustic cabins and stalls. From scarves, jewellery, hats and purses to chutneys, cheeses and waffles, there are treats to tempt the whole family. Round off your festive shopping trip with a gourmet burger, hog roast or traditional French Crepe.

If you are planning on making a trip to one the Christmas Markets then why not check out some of the great UK hotel deals available at TravelSupermarket


  1. Stacey Burnaroos says

    I’m absolutly loving all the fantastic Christmas bazzar and Christmas scene pix on your Web site lately, makes me want to visit in December for sure!! Ahh someday, but you are giving me such wanderlust for the homeland which would have been my own IF only my wonderful parents hadn’t immigrated. Oh well, they did it to better their lives after the war and you can’t blame them. But I do know in my heart, Wales is where I was suppose to to be, well my heart is there anyway, and I do have family all around Britain to visit thank goodness!! Merry Christmas !!!

  2. R Stickler says

    When we were stationed in Germany, I really looked forward to the Christmas markets every year. When we went to the UK last fall, I was hoping we would be able to see at least some of the traditions leading up to Christmas. Alas, October was too soon. Maybe next time we’ll try for midNovember!

  3. says

    The Lincoln Christmas market is the best one where I live, some great little stalls but the weather was atrocious last year! They close down the town centre and flood it with fairy lights and baubles which makes a nice walk down to the wharf (provided it’s not pouring down)!

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