Crafts & Treats: 15 Best Christmas Markets in the UK in 2018
Feeling in the Christmas spirit already? There’s nothing like a stroll down the Christmas market near you to bring the festive atmosphere to life. So, to help you plan another perfect Christmas day out, here’s a little guide to 15 of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
When, what and where - it’s all here!
1. Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
15th November - 23rd December 2018
Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is a festive must-do for anyone who lives in the West Midlands. Every year since 2001, the Birmingham Christmas Market has drawn millions of visitors without fail. Whether it’s the smell of Christmas spices and roasting metre-long german sausage, taking a picture by the huge talking reindeer head, or browsing through the wooden stalls - it’s an experience that brings the whole family together.
Birmingham Christmas Market spreads from the Bullring, all along New Street and up to Victoria Square (where you’ll find the best spot to get mulled wine & hot chocolate). While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to have a look around the Christmas Crafts Market next door - you can never have enough Christmas decorations!
2. Glasgow Christmas Market, Glasgow
9th November - 31st December 2018
Want to know the secret of hosting one of the best Christmas markets in the UK? More is always better - there’s no such things as “too much” when it comes to Christmas! One location wasn’t enough for Glasgow Christmas Market, so it’s spread out in two locations - George Square (25th November – 31st December 2018) and St Enoch Square (9th November – 23rd December 2018).
So what can you do where? If you fancy a bratwurst or perhaps some crispy duck, head out to St Enoch Square and look for the authentic German windmill. Up for Christmas shopping, rides and attractions? There are 50 market stalls to explore at George Square.
3. Cardiff Christmas Market, Cardiff
15th November - 23rd December 2018
If you're looking for a Christmas market near you where you can grab some original last-minute gifts, Cardiff Christmas Market is the one for you.
Craft*Folk has been running the market for the last 20 years, so the event is all about supporting local arts and crafts. Festive wooden figurines, glossy colourful nutcrackers, or maybe a music box? With over 200 individual businesses taking part, there will be plenty to catch the kids’ attention! Of course you'll find food and drinks aplenty, as well. Christmas treats are a must!
4. Christmas by the River at London Bridge, London
29 November 2018 - 02 January 2019
Mulled wine by the Thames with views of London Bridge and Tower of London? There’s no better place to get the full London festive experience than Christmas by the River at London Bridge!
Market stalls will be positioned along Queen’s Walk from London Bridge City Pier to the Scoop at More London. Unlike Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, which is more of a Christmas funfair, this is a full-on traditional Christmas market. Come along for shopping, treats and great atmosphere!
5. Chester Christmas Market, Chester
16th November - 22nd December 2018
Sparkling Christmas tree surrounded by 70 traditional wooden stalls on the picturesque streets of Chester town centre - the Chester Christmas market is exceptionally beautiful, especially in the evening!
Warming up with a hot drink while exploring in the chilly winter weather is one of the best Christmas market experiences, so get the little ones a cup of delicious hot chocolate - it's sure to put a smile on their tiny faces! As for the adults, apart from the usual mulled wine, there’s a special Gin & Ale Bar, so make sure to give it a try.
6. Lincoln Christmas Market, Lincoln
6th - 9th December 2018
Short but sweet! Lincoln Christmas market will last only 4 days but it’s well worth a visit, so we advise you to plan a family day out there in the first weekend of December, even if this isn’t the closest Christmas market near you.
Nestled in the old town square between the medieval Lincoln Castle and the Gothic cathedral, Lincoln Christmas market will win you over with its unique historic character. You’ll feel like you’ve ventured on a magical trip back in time. Don’t forget to get a souvenir to remember the experience by!
7. Bath Christmas Market, Bath
22nd November– 9th December 2018
Speaking of Christmas markets in historic locations, the Christmas fair in Bath ticks all the boxes. Whether you’re a history buff fascinated by the Roman empire, or a total romantic who’s read Jane Austen's works over and over again, Bath is a great place to experience the festive spirit.
Bath Christmas Market is running for the 18th year in a row and in 2018, it will bring over 160 market stalls to the stunning Georgian streets of the city. This year the market is going green, so you’ll have the chance to see unique decoration made from recycled plastic bags and bottles. Who knows, it might give you ideas for DIY arts and crafts with the kids.
8. Belfast Christmas Market, Belfast
17th November – 22nd December 2018
If you love international cuisine, head out to Belfast Christmas Market! German mulled wine, Belgian chocolate, French crepes and Turkish baklava - the flavours of the market will take you on a journey around the world in one awesome Christmas day out.
Fancy a meeting with Santa? Take the kids to Santa’s Grotto for a special experience with the Man in Red. Also, if you drop your letter to Santa in the post box at the market by Tuesday 18 December, you'll receive a letter back from him.
9. Leeds Christkindelmarkt 2018, Leeds
9th November - 22nd December 2018
If you live in Yorkshire, this should definitely be on your list of local Christmas markets to visit in 2018. Millennium Square in Leeds will be entirely taken over by a traditional German Christmas market where you can taste authentic German delicacies and buy handcrafted toys, jewellery and decorations.
Up for something unusual? Santa will be stopping for breakfast at the Alps Chalet every Saturday and Sunday from 24 November until 22 December, so bring the kids over and meet Father Christmas. Having the Big Man himself at your breakfast table is something the little ones will remember for a long time.
10. St Nicholas Christmas Fair, York
15th November - 23rd December 2018
St Nicholas Christmas Fair is another Yorkshire gem you shouldn't miss out on. It’s all about local produce. Fancy supporting the local craftsmen? You’ll find them in Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village at the Christmas market. If you don’t find all the last-minute stocking fillers you need, stop by The Judge's Lodging for some original gift ideas at the Small Business Christmas Market.
Think the kids would fancy a pack of aromatic roast chestnuts? Take them to the St Sampson’s Square rustic Yorkshire Barn. That’s where you’ll find the all-important mulled wine as well.
11. Manchester Christmas Market, Manchester
9th November - 23rd December 2018
With 300 beautiful Yuletide stalls spread across the city centre, Manchester has easily one of the best Christmas Markets in the UK. International food and drinks, traditional gifts, festive entertainment - you name it, they’ve got it.
Get ready for another shopping tour around the world! From enjoying Hungarian goulash for dinner to buying French soap as a last addition to the Christmas gifts for the family - you’re sure to find something extraordinary to make your trip to the xmas market extra special.
12. Norwich Christmas Market, Norwich
7th - 23rd December 2018
If you’re after a festive fair in a cultural location in the East, the best Christmas market near you is in Norwich. Prepare for a magical experience as you walk through a tunnel of twinkling lights into the market via the historic Gentleman’s walk. It’s the perfect spot for a festive family photo!
Browsing picturesque chalets for handmade gifts and sweets; the sound of Christmas carols coming from St Peter’s medieval church; wonderful smell of winter spices and hot food in the air - it doesn’t get much better that this when it comes to Christmas markets!
13. Edinburgh Christmas Market, Edinburgh
17th November 2018 - 5th January 2019
We can’t have a list of the best Christmas Markets in the UK without mentioning Edinburgh Christmas Market. Big, bold and colourful, this epic Christmas fair is bound to get the whole family in the festive mood!
East Princes Street Gardens will be absolutely buzzing with market stalls, fairy lights and lots of fun fair rides. The traditional Big Wheel will be joined by festive themed thrill rides, such as The Yeti which will make you feel like you’ve just faced an avalanche...and you’ll immediately want to do it again (advance booking required for this ride)!
14. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, Winchester
17th November – 20th December 2018
The Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral is a great place to take the kids - the market stalls are all built around an outdoor ice skating rink, so you can put on your skates and go for a spin before warming up with a hot drink.
Explore British Crafts Village to discover unique handmade items from all over the UK. We’re sure you’ll find some great gifts there! Don’t miss the opportunity to stop by the Nativity Scene at its special chalet and take a photo to remember the special moment. It’s an awesome way to make the story of Christmas come to life and entertain the kids.
15. Chatsworth Estate Christmas Market, Bakewell
16th November - 4th December 2018
You didn’t think we could miss out the awesome Christmas market at Chatsworth House, did you? Especially, after the public recently rated it as the best Christmas market in the UK! Over a 100 stalls, filled with festive goodies, traditional gifts and decorations are waiting to be explored, so grab the kids and go.
Want to enjoy a bit of mulled wine? You don’t have to drive there - the Christmas market is so popular that local bus companies organise special transport to the event. But if you’re driving anyway, there will be additional parking spaces and regular shuttles to take you from the parking to the market. No worries, you’re sure to get there!
Found this article helpful? Here are a few more guides to help you plan awesome Christmas holidays with the kids:
Best Christmas days out | Top outdoor rinks in the UK | Best Santa’s Grottos near you | Best lantern festivals near you | Making a DIY letter to Santa | Fireworks displays near you