We’ll level with you: Edinburgh is a busy little city during the festive season. Whilst we’re enchanted by the light displays and festive pop-ups, there’s a part of us that secretly longs for a Christmas with adequate phone service and a change of scenery. So it’s no wonder that we cast occasional envious glances towards these charming Christmas markets in the UK, who bring festive cheer to the people without having to endure Princes Street. Edinburgh, we’ll be back soon!
1. Bath Christmas Market
The gorgeous Georgian streets of Bath will be filled will those adorable wooden huts once more. Immensely popular, and limited to a shorter run because of it, local businesses flock here to sell their wares. There’s also a cracking hog roast to be had and an ice rink nearby, making this market one to circle on your calendar. Running from November 24 to December 11.
2. Blenheim Palace Christmas Market
Churchill’s ancestral home gets in on the UK Christmas markets game with a dreamy offering. Whilst the ubiquitous wooden chalets appear once more, you don’t often see them with a drop-dead gorgeous stately home as a backdrop, and they’re filled with all kinds of festive curiosities and treats. Blenheim Palace also runs a charming Christmas lights trail and new for 2022 you can explore the Palace rooms, each one exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises, making it doubly worthy of a visit this winter. The Christmas Market runs from November 18 to December 18.
3. Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market
Get ready to celebrate Exe-mas in true West Country style. This lovely UK Christmas market takes place on Cathedral Green, right in front of the historic Exeter Cathedral. They champion local producers, so the stalls are packed full of regional crafts and gifts – and the food village isn’t one to miss. Most importantly, you won’t find a better-mulled cider anywhere else. Running from November 18 to December 18.
4. Manchester Christmas Markets
Now, we couldn’t do a Christmas market list without including our very own, could we? Spanning pretty much the whole city centre, Manchester Christmas Markets is an annual highlight – even ranking in a list of the best Christmas destinations to visit in Europe. Consisting of market hubs across St Ann’s Square, Market Street, King Street, Cathedral Gardens and Piccadilly Gardens, guests can try out fantastic local street food (including Porky Pig’s famous Yorkshire Pudding wraps), shop incredible festive gifts and even see the city’s huge light-up Santa, who pops up somewhere new every year.
5. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Birmingham’s market is the biggest and perhaps the best of UK Christmas markets, with a distinctly Germanic connection. In fact, it’s the biggest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, so it’s a Pretty Big Deal. Even better, the construction work that took over Victoria Square these past few years have been completed in the nick of time, meaning the market is back to its brilliant best, with more bratwurst and Glühwein that you can shake a schnitzel at, as well as taking over New Street too. Plus it runs for the longest amount of time out of all the Christmas markets in the UK, so you’ve got plenty of time to visit. Runs from November 3 to December 23.
6. Nottingham Winter Wonderland
Nottingham’s yearly Christmas market/funfair is back for 2022, and it bears a few similarities to London’s Winter Wonderland. There’s an ice rink and ice bar, which are located in the Old Market Square alongside a big range of food and craft stalls, and an observation wheel and toboggan slide to add some irreverent fun. No surprise, then, that it’s regularly named as one of the best UK Christmas markets. Nottingham Winter Wonderland runs from November 15 to December 31.
7. Edinburgh’s East Princes Street Gardens Market
Edin-brrrr may be breezy this time of year, but there’s a warm welcome waiting on Princes Street. Crafts, gifts, and culinary treats are housed in their row of huts, which is more than enough to ensure a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay. This year sees the return of festive favourites including the Edinburgh’s Christmas Wheel, traditional Christmas markets, Santa Land, and a spectacular new Ice Rink attraction, as well as an all-new Santa Experience and programme of free festive events and activities in West Princes Street Gardens. Runs from November 25 to January 3.
8. London’s Winter Wonderland
London’s Winter Wonderland is pretty unmatched, thanks to its huge Bavarian fairground that’s like a playground for grown-ups. In addition to the rides, guests can enjoy plenty of delicious food stalls (crepes, Baileys hot chocolates and Brats included!), alongside a massive beer hall with live entertainment, a huge ice rink, 70s disco-themed bar, an even bigger (and better) ice slide for 2022 and a whopping Ferris wheel with spectacular views of the capital. London’s Winter Wonderland runs from November 18 to January 2.
9. Lincoln Christmas Market
A quaint market taking place in the traditional city of Lincoln, a potter through this lovely Christmas market is sure to spark some festive spirit, with over 200 stalls around the Medieval Square to wander around. Purchase locally-made produce, indulge in festive waffles, and enjoy plenty of cultural entertainment. This Christmas market in the UK has grown from just having 11 stalls to now around 150, plus it is also one of the shortest so get booking that trip to Lincoln ASAP! Running from December 1 to December 4.
10. Liverpool Christmas Market
Located outside St George’s Hall and William Brown Street, Liverpool Christmas Market offers a cosy tipi bar filled with mulled wine and other festive tipples, alongside a ski lodge, karaoke cable cars, a Windmill bar and tons of lovely gift stalls. In addition to that, guests can enjoy a Bavarian grill and plenty of sweet treats, too. Runs from November 19 to December 24.
11. Bristol Christmas Market
Taking over the centre of Bristol every single year, the annual Christmas Markets offer festive fun for all the family – with over 40 lovely stalls to browse with gifts, seasonal produce and more to explore, as well as tasty Bavarian food, festive tipples, and live entertainment from Santa and his gang. Additionally, guests can also seek refuge in the Jäger Barn Barm, which is complete with heated seats and plenty of warming drinks or book one of the private igloos or ski gondolas. Running from November 4 to December 23.
12. York Christmas Market
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of St Nicholas Fair, which has been a staple in York’s streets during the festive period since 1992. The famous alpine chalets will line Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square creating a festive wonderland, with an array of local traders and artisan products on show. From luxury stationary to Yorkshire Pudding beer, there are lots of unique gift ideas at this market. Brand new to York Christmas Market for 2022 is a traditional Swiss chalet, The Winter Hütte, which offers a ‘Swiss with a Twist’ dining experience from one of Yorkshire’s best-known chefs, the Michelin-starred Andrew Pern. York Christmas Market runs from November 17 to December 23.