Date of Publication: 20 November 2019
Planning on visiting the UK for a Christmas market this year? Take a look at Oxford Summer Courses' top 12 Christmas markets to visit in the UK!
1. Winter Wonderland, London
When: 21 November – 5 January
Delve into a festive paradise in one of London’s most famous green spaces, Hyde Park. The market is home to the world’s tallest transportable Ferris wheel, an illuminated Ice Kingdom and the UK’s largest open air ice rink.
Winter Wonderland is one of the largest Christmas markets, meaning there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Sample some festive favourites at a variety of bars and food stalls, enjoy jaw-dropping circus acts and even watch the arrival of Paddington on Ice!
2. Winter Fair, Cambridge
When: 7 December
This year, thousands of people will descend upon the famous Mill Road in Cambridge as it transforms itself into a bustling Christmas market. With traditional Morris dancers, choirs and other street performers, there is plenty of lively entertainment to get the 10,000 visitors buzzed with festive cheer. This year, there is even a ‘Fair is Nature’ parade, for children and schools to get involved and celebrate the season together. But don’t miss it – The fair runs for one day only!
3. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
When: 7 November – 23 December
Visit Victoria Square in Birmingham during the Frankfurt Christmas Market and discover the largest authentic German Christmas market in the UK. With 80 stalls on offer, there are a variety of German treats and personalised gifts to choose from; think schnitzels, bratwursts and glühwein. There’s also a fantastic festive atmosphere in the Square, with a bandstand in the centre which will feature a selection of live music and carol singing.
4. Southbank Winter Festival, London
When: 8 November – 5 January
If you want to avoid the hectic-ness of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland but still want to visit a Christmas market, then Southbank’s Winter Festival is a great one to discover. Lasting well into January, the festival doesn’t just centre around Christmas shopping, with plenty of free events for families and adults to enjoy. With comedy clubs, live music nights and even the astounding Black Beauty on stage, there are plenty of immersive shows for you to enjoy indoors.
5. Chriskindelmarkt, Leeds
When: 8th November – 21 December
Explore Leeds Millennium Square during the festive period and discover their iconic Christkindelmarkt German Christmas market. With 40 traditional wooden chalets, you can browse through a variety of hand-made gifts and festive decorations, or even take a ride on the popular Christmas Carousel.
There’s also plenty to eat with a range of authentic German food-stalls, and even an Alp Chalet restaurant in the centre of the market – a Bavarian-style eatery with live evening entertainment.
When: 8th November – 21 December
During the festive period, Christmas Markets will be popping up across various locations in Manchester, meaning locals will never be too far from the 300+ variety of decor, gift, food and drink stalls and chalets. With the main thrust of the markets being in Albert Square, visitors can then follow a festive trail which will lead them through a variety of continental markets; French, German and World Christmas markets to name a few.
When: 21 November – 22 December
Set amongst the iconic Winchester Cathedral, the Christmas Market here is regarded as one of the best in Europe. With more than 100 chalets to choose from, visitors can discover a range of hand-picked gifts, food items and drinks that aren’t available anywhere on the high street.
8. The Victorian Christmas Festival, Portsmouth
When: 29 November – 1 December
Only around for 3 days, visitors must plan a speedy travel back in time to the Victorian Christmas Festival in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard. With 2019 marking 20 years since the first market was held here, this year will be its biggest ever, with over 120 market stalls selling a variety of festive treats, there will also be an abundance of Victorian street performers and even the chance to meet Father Christmas!
When: 16th November – 5th January
Similar to Manchester, visitors can enjoy a spread of festive market stalls across the Scottish capital between East Princes Street Gardens and George Street. Offering a variety of traditional Scottish and European-inspired markets, there is plenty for people to get excited about this season!
When: 17 November – 21 December
Nestled amongst the grounds of Belfast City Hall will be a popular range of gifts, crafts and food chalets from stallholders across Europe. Visitors can enjoy a magical experience, shopping under the city’s magical Christmas lights and may even catch a sneak glimpse of Santa himself!
When: 15 November – 23 December
With over 190 exhibitors lining the streets this year, Cardiff’s Christmas market will be taking over the city’s pedestrian area in November. Supporting local businesses, the city has announced that over 90% of stall holders in 2019 will be small Welsh businesses.
When: 5 December – 21 December
Last but not least, we couldn’t have compiled a list of the best Christmas markets without mentioning the beautiful city of Oxford.
This December, the city of dreaming spires will once again fill the historic Broad Street with festive cheer as the Oxford Christmas market returns. With the sound of Christmas carol singers to ignite the atmosphere, and the aromas of cinnamon and mulled wine in the air, visitors will discover a variety of handmade gifts, colourful decorations and brightly-lit wooden chalets.