Christmas markets in the UK are a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit and provide festive fun for all the family.
When the countdown to Christmas commences, an annual tradition for many is to visit the best UK Christmas markets. And we've rounded up 33 favourites below. A festive family day out, it's a fab chance to get some of your shopping done whilst tucking into a mince pie and a glass (or two) of mulled wine.
Christmas markets in the UK today are SO much more than just shopping and Christmas food (opens in new tab). There's ice rinks, fun fares and entertainers galore to keep the kids happy. Plus beer tents are set up for adults to enjoy live music and a cheeky Stein after stocking up on top Christmas toys 2021 (opens in new tab) and treats.
Best Christmas markets in England 2021
1. Winter Wonderland 2021 - London
Dates: 19 November 2021 – 3 January 2022
One of the best UK Christmas markets is the infamous Winter Wonderland. Hyde Park is usually transformed into Winter Wonderland with festive themed stalls, rides and an ice rink. A celeb favourite right in the centre of London, visitors can indulge in a mulled wine in the Bavarian village and sample German sausage delicacies. There are even rides (including a ferris wheel) and pop-up pubs!
2. Winter Market at the Southbank Centre 2021 - London
Dates: 4th - 24th December 2021
The Southbank Centre’s Christmas market is always at the top of our favourite list. You can enjoy 20 days of festive activities and seasonal pop-ups all under twinkling lights along the Thames and there’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy.
Find out more at Southbank Centre (opens in new tab)
3. Christmas by the River 2021 - London
Dates: 16th November 2021 - 2nd January 2022
Returning for it’s eighth year in 2021, explore the twinkling wooden cabins at this traditional Christmas market which stretches along The Queen’s Walk. Your view will overlook iconic London landmarks including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London.
Find out more at Tudor Markets (opens in new tab)
4. Bath Christmas market 2021
Dates: 25th November to 19th December 2021
Bath’s yuletide market has taken on a worldwide reputation over the last 19 years and with 200 stalls you can see why. The wooden chalets that line up outside the stunning Bath Abbey, sell everything from festive foods and bespoke jewellery to handmade Christmas decorations and cosy knitwear. The surrounding streets are filled with a constant stream of atmospheric music and carols while the smell of winter spices and mulled wine makes this the perfect winter paradise.
Find out more at Bath Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
5. Manchester Christmas market 2021
There are over 300 stalls to browse in nine different locations throughout the city, as Manchester is transformed into a chalet lined city of Christmas dreams! Foodwise, there’s everything from French Profiteroles to Hungarian goulash and Spanish Paella, so even the fussiest of eaters will find something to sink their teeth into.
Find out more at Manchester City Council (opens in new tab)
6. Nottingham Christmas market 2021
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is one of the largest festive events in the Midlands and rolls into town every year complete with an ice rink, rides, Narnia themed bars and an epic food hall. A perfect destination for a festive family day out, there is also a great night life and entertainment scene in the evenings. Just don’t drink and skate!
Find out more at Nottingham Winter Wonderland (opens in new tab)
7. Leeds Christmas market 2021
Over forty wooden chalet stalls take over Leeds’ Millennium Square for their annual Christkindelmarkt every festive season. With traditional handcrafted toys, jewellery and cards you’ll be crossing things off that ‘to buy’ list in no time. If you can find a sitter for the kids, head to the infamous beer tent at the centre of the market for a giant stein of beer and some live entertainment.
Find out more at Christkindelmarkt Leeds (opens in new tab)
8. Chester Christmas market 2021
Dates: 18 November 2021 - 22 December 2021
Located in the city's beautiful Town Hall Square (just opposite the cathedral) is where you'll find Chester's cracking Christmas market in 2021. A huge sparkling Christmas tree centrepiece is surrounded by 70 traditional wooden chalets boasting handmade crafts, jewellery and sweet treats galore. Finish your trip with a hearty hog roast and a warming mulled wine. This is Christmas come early.
Find out more at Chester Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
9. Birmingham Christmas market 2021
Dates: 5th November to 23rd December 2021
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK (and also apparently the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany). The annual event practically takes over the centre of the city! Mulled wine, live music and traditional German foods are on offer while you roam the stalls for artisan goods, arts and crafts. Bratwurst anyone?
Find out more at Birmingham Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
10. York Christmas Festival 2021
Dates: 18th November to 23rd December 2021
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped straight into a Dicken’s novel when you stroll around this quintessentially British, magical Christmas market. With local produce, arts and crafts sold on the Victorian stalls accompanied by the sounds of carol singers, it will even get the family Scrooge in the festive mood.
In fact, a few years ago, York was voted the UK’s most festive city, so where better to celebrate the special season?
Find out more at York Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
11. Winchester Christmas Market
Winchester’s lovely market and ice rink has been running every Christmas for 13 years. There’s over 100 stalls to choose from selling Christmas goodies and seasonal food and drink. The bustling market in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral is still due to go ahead this year for 2021.
Find out more at Winchester Cathedral (opens in new tab)
12. Exeter Christmas Market
Dates: 18 November – 18 December 2021
This quaint market is held in the heart of Exeter on the Cathedral Green. With just 50 stalls, it’s a little more intimate than the rest, but that just means there’s a great selection of local food and produce on offer alongside the usual Christmas market essentials.
Find out more at Exeter Cathedral (opens in new tab)
13. Skipton Christmas Market
Sample seasonal delights and do a spot of Christmas shopping during at this famous Christmas market in the Yorkshire Dales. The whole town has a Christmassy feel and as well as stalls selling local crafts and products, there’s a whole host of live music on offer too. Plus, Santa’s Reindeer normally put in an appearance too!
Find out more at Skipton Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
14. Brighton Christmas market 2021
Dates: 26th November - 31st December 2021
A new Christmas market in the UK for 2021 that's by the sea? We're in! Brighton Christmas Festival and Market promises to be the biggest and brightest winter attraction in Sussex this year. With over 150 festive stalls, the festival includes entertainment, live shows, a fairground and a unique opportunity to visit Santa’s Workshop. Plus we can't wait to take a trip to the Après Ski zone, and enjoy a mulled wine or two.
Find out more at Brighton Christmas Festival (opens in new tab)
15. Liverpool Christmas market 2021
When last year's Christmas market in Liverpool was cancelled due to the pandemic, Mayor Wendy Simon promised that a "substantially expanded" market for 2021. And she's not wrong either, with Liverpool's market moving to a brand new location this year - St Johns Gardens and William Brown Street. Further details are yet to be released - but can you expect the same festive fun as previous years - mulled wine, karaoke cable cars and Ferris Wheel.
16. Bristol Christmas market 2021
Dates: 5 November - 23rd December 2021
Head to Bristol for all the fun and festivities this Christmas. Located in the heart of the City Centre, the market returns with over 50 unique stalls, plus a sighting or two of Santa and his reindeer. Visitors can also enjoy heated seating, delicious drinks and live music in the extra-special Jäger Barn Bar. The perfect end to your trip no doubt.
Find out more at Bristol Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
17. Lincoln Christmas market 2021
Dates: 2nd - 5th December 2021
You'll have to be quick if you want to indulge in the best of Lincoln and their Christmas market this December, which runs exclusively over one 4-day weekend. Think festive food, a HUGE ferris wheel and the chance to take in all the fun of the fair. It's one not to be missed.
Find out more at Lincoln Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
18. Chatsworth Estate Christmas market
Dates: 6 November 2021 - 9 January 2022
The beautiful country estate is transformed every year into a winter wonderland. With a different theme each year, there is always live music from string quartets and brass bands filling the airwaves while you browse for Christmas goodies in over 100 different stalls. With the sprawling Chatsworth grounds around you too, there’s plenty to make a fun filled family day out.
Find out more at Chatsworth Estate (opens in new tab)
19. Rochester Christmas market 2021
Dates: Sat 27th and Sun 28th November. Fri 3rd, Sat 4th, Sun 5th, Fri 10th December 2021.
Explore a stunning winter wonderland amongst Rochester's beautiful castle gardens. Back for 2021, you can expect a funfair, plenty of stalls with one-of-a-kind treasures plus a Bavarian food village with live music.
Find out more at Medway Council (opens in new tab)
20. Leeds Castle Christmas market 2021
Enjoy a festive day out with the family at Kent's picturesque Leeds Castle. Watch the kids let loose at the fair and explore the castle grounds, whilst you shop for your Christmas presents and trinkets amongst 70 of their traditional wood chalet stalls. Expect mulled wine and lots of delicious food too.
Find out more at Leeds Castle (opens in new tab)
21. St Albans Christmas market
The St Albans market is on almost every day of the year, but it usually has a festive makeover for the month of December. Enjoy mulled wine from various pop-up bars, and gift shopping at over 100 stalls. It spans the entire length of the main high street, so you’ll have plenty to browse during an afternoon in the Hertfordshire city.
Find out more at Enjoy St Albans (opens in new tab)
22. Cirencester Christmas Market
Dates: Saturday 4th - Sunday 5th December 2021
Christmas in the Cotswolds couldn’t be more fun with Cirencester’s annual Advent Festival. With market stalls, music and live entertainment getting everyone into the Christmas spirit, the evening culminates in the turning on of the Christmas lights by a special celeb. Cirencester always run various different markets throughout December too, including an arts and crafts market, and a farmer’s market for all your delicious food needs.
Find out more at Cirencester Council (opens in new tab)
23. Harrogate Christmas Fayre 2021
Dates: 3rd - 12th December 2021
A new Christmas market is set to take over Harrogate for 9 days this December and you won't want to miss it. Operated by Market Place Europe (who also put on Belfast and Glasgows festive markets), the new event will feature up to 45 traders from countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, Spain and Italy, plus local businesses.
Find out more at Visit Harrogate (opens in new tab)
24. North Shields Victorian Christmas market
Named as one of the ‘most popular events in the North of England’, this North Tyneside market is home to hundreds of different stalls, selling seasonal crafts and gifts, as well as the classic Christmas food, and fairground rides for the kids – so there’s something for the whole family.
Find out more at Visit North Tyneside (opens in new tab)
25. Plymouth Christmas Market 2021
Dates: 2nd - 19th December 2021
Be enchanted by Plymouth's beautifully lit and jam packed Christmas market 2021 - taking over the city for 17 days in December. Situated in the city centre piazza, there's plenty of opportunity for Christmas shopping. And you're sure to snap up something special from one of the many artisan gift stalls. After you've shopped till you drop - rest those weary legs with a festive tipple or two at the cosy open-air bar.
Find out more at VisitPlymouth (opens in new tab)
26. Darlington Christmas Market 2021
Darlington in County Durham hosts a three-day Christmas market, offering street food, artisan crafts, as well as music and entertainment. It’s free entry, but because it’s only happening over three days, we reckon the place will get pretty busy!
Find out more at Darlington Market (opens in new tab)
Best UK Christmas markets in Scotland 2021
27. Edinburgh Christmas Market 2021
There’s more than one market to choose from in the Scottish capital, from East Princes Street Gardens to George Street. With traditional Scottish, European and special children’s markets all taking place throughout the city over the festive season, so even the wee ones will have a market to be excited about.
Find out more at Edinburgh's Christmas (opens in new tab)
28. Belfast Continental Christmas Market
Dates: 20 November - 23 December 2021
The grounds of Belfast City Hall are transformed annually into a magical Christmas shopping destination. The Belfast Christmas market is famous for offering food and wares from all over Europe. You’re sure to find (and taste!) something special any festive season – such as Dutch pancakes and French crepes – as you shop under the city’s magical Christmas lights. Even Santa makes an appearance to visit the little ones too.
Find out more at Visit Belfast (opens in new tab)
29. Aberdeen Christmas Village
Aberdeen Christmas Village traditionally takes place in the Broad Street area of the city. It’s got shed-loads of activities on offer, including an open-air ice rink, a silent disco, a Santa’s grotto, and of course, the all-important festive food and drink.
Find out more at Visit Aberdeenshire (opens in new tab)
30. Glasgow Christmas market 2021
In a lovely village setting, there are two Christmas markets in Glasgow most years – one in St. Enoch square, and the other in George Square. Expect lots of delicious global cuisine and charming artisan gifts and products
Find out more at Marketplace Europe (opens in new tab)
31. Perth’s International Christmas market
Watch in awe as the city of Perth transforms into a Winter Wonderland every festive season. The market is normally full of wooden chalet stalls and there is a magical Christmas Lantern Parade set to the sound of carol singers performing festive classics.
Find out more at Visit Scotland (opens in new tab)
Best UK Christmas markets in Wales 2021
32. Swansea Christmas Market
Dates: 26th November - 21st December 2021
Pop down to Swansea’s Oxford Street for your festive shopping fix this year. Browse the stalls and enjoy some fabulous festive entertainment throughout the season with lots going on at Museum Park too. Plus there’s artisan cheese to try and specialities from local food sellers. You can even stop and watch the art of glass blowing! Santa will be stopping by at his grotto too, on Portland Street.
Find out more at Swansea Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
33. Cardiff Christmas Market
Dates: 11th November - 23rd December 2021
Cardiff’s Christmas market will be taking over the city’s pedestrian area again this year, with tons of exhibitors lining the streets. Organisers have promised ‘another exciting and eclectic mix of both new and returning exhibitors’ so there will be something for everyone. With over 90 per cent of the stall holders being small Welsh businesses, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’re shopping local. Pop down for a glass of wine and hot welsh cake – you know you want to.
Find out more at Cardiff Christmas Market (opens in new tab)
Emily Stedman is the News Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things royal, entertainment, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things celebrity and royal, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.
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