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Christmas Markets UK

Top 10 Best Christmas Markets in the UK!

Walk in a winter wonderland again as Christmas Market's are back on in 2021!

Filled with pretty gifts, twinkling lights, hot chocolate and festive cheer - visiting a Christmas market this year is a great way of enjoying a Christmas break. Set in some of the country's most idyllic cities and towns, there's nothing more festive than experiencing a Christmas market in full swing! Whether you're shopping for Christmas presents, buying decorations to trim your tree or fancy some festive food with a glass of mulled wine, start planning your ultimate winter getaway with our guide to the top 10 best Christmas markets to visit in the UK. Great for a family day trip or romantic evening out, 'tis the season to be jolly, but remember to wrap up warm because it may be cold outside!


Belfast Christmas Market

1. Belfast Christmas Market - Belfast City Hall

Saturday 20th November 2021 - Thursday 23rd December 2021

After a hiatus last year it's confirmed that Belfast's famous Christmas market will be re-opening its doors in the City Hall grounds once again, from November. A popular destination for a city break, Belfast will be bursting with life this holiday season. A fantastic destination for gift shopping, food and jolly festivities, celebrate Christmas in style with a trip to Northern Ireland's capital city.

Whilst you're in Belfast check out:

  • Belfast's Christmas Trail - On Mondays to Saturdays, from 11th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022 visit Belfast's city centre with the little ones and try and spot the colourful Gingerbread House-themed festive props in shop windows along this magical and free outdoor Christmas trail.
  • Festive Season at Titanic Belfast - Experience a winter stroll along the Maritime Mile and enjoy the festive display of sparkling lights at Titanic Belfast. Take a selfie in front of the twinkling Titanic sign and see the attraction illuminated red after dark.
  • Belfast Zoo - A fabulous festive treat for all the family, on selected dates throughout November and December children can post their letters to Lapland and visitors may even spot Father Christmas travelling about in the zoo buggy. Watch the animals enjoying festive treats and follow a Christmas trail to be in with a chance of winning a cuddly toy.
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Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

2. Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market

Thursday 4th November 2021 - Thursday 23rd December 2021

Bursting with popularity and welcoming visitors from all over the world, Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market is the perfect present for all those on Santa's nice list. The most wonderful time of the year is nearly upon us and once the stalls on Victoria Square and along New Street appear, it'll really feel like Christmas. Offering something for everyone, this is the largest authentic German Christmas market, outside Germany or Austria. Along with traditional gifts, jewellery and toys for sale, enjoy a tempting selection of food and drink, including pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzels, gluhwein and weissbier.

Whilst you're in Birmingham check out:

  • Birmingham Royal Ballet performing The Nutcracker - With shows from 20th November to 11th December 2021, Birmingham Royal Ballet's most magical production returns to Birmingham Hippodrome. Gigantic sets, amazing costumes, 60 dancers and a full orchestra combine to create this festive ballet treat for all the family.
  • Birmingham's Amazing Array of Shops - Visit Jewellery Quarter and pick the perfect gift, or check out the wonderful Christmas displays within Harvey Nichols or Selfridges. Birmingham is a shopper's haven so visit a few stores on your trip.
  • A Choral Christmas - On the 16th, 17th and 19th December 2021, the CBSO's spectacular annual Christmas concert will be held at Symphony Hall. Overflowing with good cheer, seasonal music and magical sounds enjoy the full City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, choirs and performers showcasing feelgood festive favourites.
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Blackpool Christmas Market

3. Blackpool Winter Gardens Christmas Markets Wonderland

Friday 26th November 2021 - Tuesday 2nd January 2022

The aptly-named Winter Gardens will host a fantastic indoor traditional Bavarian-style Christmas Market this year. With a wide selection of festive stalls, family-friendly fairground rides and live entertainment, this will be the perfect winter getaway. Children will love seeing Santa's Grotto complete with his famous Reindeer, this event is guaranteed to be bursting with yuletide family fun.

Whilst you're in Blackpool check out:

  • Blackpool's Christmas Lights - From 3rd September 2021 to Monday 3rd January 2022, marvel at more than a million twinkling lamps that make Blackpool illuminations one of the best and most mesmerising free attractions in the UK.
  • Blackpool's Christmas Tree in St John's Square - After visiting Father Christmas at his picture-perfect grotto at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, see the giant twinkling tree in St John's Square, before you shop for last-minute gifts in Blackpool's many stores.
  • Christmas By The Sea - From 19th November 2021 to Monday 3rd January 2022, Tower Festival Headland will be transformed into a striking yuletide village. With an enchanting (and free) outdoor skating rink, simulated snowfalls, a delightful forest and festival light projections shows enjoy a special Santa tram ride in the shadow of the Blackpool Tower at this seasonal themed attraction.
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Edinburgh Christmas Market

4. Edinburgh Christmas Market

Friday 19th November 2021 - Sunday 2nd January 2022

Set to make a triumphant return this year, taking place in the heart of East Princes Street Gardens and set to stretch out over West Princes Street Gardens and George Street, between Castle Street and Charlotte Square. Edinburgh's Christmas festivities will be putting the 'merry' back into the celebrations with a collection of wonderful Christmas markets. Visitors look set to expect a large variety of yuletide stalls, family fairground rides and attractions, including a brand new ice rink. There's a Christmas Tree Maze to explore as well as Santa's Grotto, and with over 60 stalls expected to join Edinburgh looks set to be the perfect destination for a family staycation full of festive fun this year.

Whilst you're in Edinburgh check out:

  • Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens - Little ones will love a festive fairground with 6 child-friendly rides and a children's market full of wonderful toys and gifts, so don't forget to grab a wee present whilst you're there.
  • Edinburgh's Hogmanay - One of the greatest celebrations and the ideal way to spend a New Year's break, when it comes to welcoming in the New Year Edinburgh certainly knows how to put on a show. Experience an enchanting torchlight procession, the famous Hogmanay street party, lively ceilidh and spectacular firework displays to celebrate the ending of a fantastic year and the start of the next one.
  • Kings Theatre - Along with a choice of touring West End productions, local amateur operatic and theater productions, take the children to see the popular pantomine this Christmas at this outstanding and treasured venue for performing arts.
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London Christmas Market

5. London Hyde Park Christmas Market

Friday 19th November 2021 - Monday 3rd January 2022

Winter Wonderland is back! Immerse yourself in true Christmas spirit and leave the 'humbugs' at home as Hyde Park is planning to make its jaw-dropping return. One of London's largest Christmas markets, this Winter Wonderland will be overflowing with festive goods, unique gifts, jewellery, arts and crafts and spectacular food to put the spring back into your festive step. One of the best Christmas markets in the UK, there's great family activities including rides and attractions that children of all ages will love. There's a traditional fairground for younger children, complete with a carousel and helter-skelter and there's thrill-seeking roller coasters too. There's even exciting daytime Circus shows including 'Zippos Christmas Circus', as well as ice skating and of course Santa will be waiting in his Grotto, in Santa Land for your little ones.

Whilst you're in London check out:

  • The best places to go ice skating in London - Skate at the Natural History Museum, the Tower of London, Somerset House or Hampton Court Palace. Throughout the festive season there will be ice rinks dotted throughout London for the whole family to enjoy as you slideeee into Christmas.
  • Marvel at Windsor Castle's Christmas decorations - Situated just outside of London, visit the spectacular Castle once it's been given the royal festive treatment that's fit for a Queen. See the magnificent 20-ft high Fir tree in St George's Hall as it's decorated with stunning iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments.
  • Be dazzled by London's Christmas lights - Take a sparkly night-time Christmas lights bus tour and gaze at London's spectacular festive lights throughout the Christmas holiday.

If parking in London during the festive season is a concern, check out Holiday Extras guide to parking in London.

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Manchester Christmas Market

6. Manchester Christmas Market - The Winter Gardens NEW to 2021!

Friday 12th November 2021 - Monday 3rd January 2022

Along with familiar Christmas markets dotted across six city centre squares throughout Manchester from Friday 12th November to Wednesday 22nd December 2021, Manchester is keen to make up for missed celebrations with a brand NEW family-friendly attraction. See Piccadilly Gardens, in the heart of this fantastic city, transformed into the magical Winter Gardens with festive bars, food stalls and unique craft trinkets for sale. There's also a stage with exciting live music and DJs throughout the yuletide season. A perfect winter getaway you can enjoy the long winter evenings with delicious food and drink from scrumptious Dutch Frites and Greek Gyros to warm cookie dough puddings!

Whilst you're in Manchester check out:

  • Winter Funland - Great for children, check out this spectacular family attraction and visit the UK's largest indoor fairground. At Winter Funland, there's Dodgems, carousels and helter skelters as well as a gigantic real ice skating rink and magical Christmas Circus. There's bundles of Christmas fun to keep the whole family entertained.
  • Drive through a Christmas winter wonderland - Take an enjoyable winter drive through a magical wonderland where you can find elves, see real reindeers and catch a glimpse of Santa's grotto in snow-covered surroundings, all from the comfort of a car.
  • Put on your skates at Skate Manchester - Making a magical return to winter 2021, visit the bigger than ever real ice rink at Cathedral Gardens. Topped with a roof so you can skate in all weathers, enjoy this attraction with all the family.
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Nottingham Christmas Market

7. Nottingham Winter Wonderland Christmas Market

Mid November to 24th December 2021 – dates are yet to be confirmed

Nottingham can't wait to deliver a Christmas spectacular with all the trimmings with a return of one of the largest Christmas markets in the East Midlands. One of the most popular winter events in Nottingham, the Winter Wonderland is a traditional German style market with wonderful Christmas food, mulled wine and decorations for sale, as well as all that you would expect to see in a German Christmas market. One of the best romantic nights out at Christmas, there will be artisan cheese, chutneys and delicious locally made stews to warm your heart this winter.

Whilst you're in Nottingham check out:

  • Winter Craft Fair at Southwell Minster - The popular Winter Fair is back on 6th November 2021, with around 60 stalls selling a wide range of festive goodies and there will be an excellent mixture of returning favourites and new stallholders.
  • Christmas at Belvoir Castle - Crafted by Belvoir Castle's amazing award-winning designers, experience an enchanting and colourful Regency Christmas during the Christmas at Belvoir experience. Brand NEW for 2021 is the themed experience 'Enlightened'. See the grounds transformed into a magical illuminated light trail for visitors and embrace the mesmerising lights on a perfect winter getaway.
  • Nottingham's shops - Find a colourful mix of stylish independent retailers, specialist boutiques and big brand favourites lining the streets. Also, visit the city's premier shopping destination, Victoria Centre, which is bursting with designer labels and a great destination for picking up those last minute Christmas gifts.
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Oxford Christmas Market

8. Oxford Christmas Market

Thursday 9th December 2021 – Sunday 19th December 2021

Making a show-stopping return to the heart of the city on historic Broad Street, Oxford Christmas market looks set to fill the city with festive joy once again. For a magical Christmas experience sip mulled wine and smell the scent of cinnamon in the air, with the sounds of choirs singing festive favourites at this spectacular winter event. Browse amongst the many market traders selling unique and handmade gifts, as well as radiant decorations.

Whilst you're in Oxford check out:

  • The Story Museum - Based in the city centre on Pembroke Street, the museum offers 4 different gallery spaces including The Whispering Wood, Enchanted Library, Treasure Chamber and Small Worlds. Children will love visiting the Story Museum at Christmas as it celebrates the festive season with 'Suddenly a Star' a magical show for children aged 5 years and over, and their families that's filled with music and song.
  • The Oxford Covered Market - Officially opened in 1774 this magnificent market in Oxford is home to numerous traders selling a captivating variety of goods including breads and cakes, meats, cheese, gifts and flowers. Perfect for buying all you need to keep loved ones happy over the Christmas period.
  • Oxford's Christmas Light Festival - From Friday 19th to Sunday 21st of November 2021 is a 3-day festival of Arts, Culture and Community. Celebrating the season in true Oxfordian style there'll be street artists, music and dance performances as well as excellent light and sound installations in the city centre. With well over an incredible 100 events taking place over the weekend, there's no better place to spend a Christmas break this year.
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Stratford Upon Avon Christmas Market

9. Stratford-Upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market Festival

Thursday 9th December 2021 – Sunday 12th December 2021

Celebrating its fourth annual and award-winning event, Stratford-Upon-Avon has one of the best Christmas markets the UK has to offer. Taking place on Waterside, Bridge Street, Henley Street, High Street and Meer Street, this fabulous themed event is a traditional Victorian Christmas market with stall holders dressed in splendid Victorian costume. Any fan of literature would be happy to experience this magical Dickensian-style treat. Visitors can look forward to a traditional funfair too with a carousel situated at the bottom of Wood Street and on the Rother Street market area. Along with gifts, the delightful stalls will be selling scrumptious street food and drinks.

Whilst you're in Stratford-Upon-Avon check out:

  • Stratford-Upon-Avon's Christmas Lights - Considered to be one of the finest displays in the UK, Stratford will be switching on it's sparkly lights at a ceremony taking place on Thursday 25th November 2021 and they'll continue shining until early January and are well-worth a look.
  • Late Night Festive Shopping on Bridge Street - Taking place every Thursday from 11am-7pm from 25th November to 23rd December 2021, experience retail therapy that's out of this world. Christmas Shopping Thursday markets are located on Bridge Street, the most popular trading location in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Home to a number of famous shops, restaurants and cafés, witness this magnificent town come to life at Christmas time.
  • The Shakesperian Atmosphere - Though none of Shakespeare's plays were set at Christmas, there's no reason why you can't feel the festive vibes with a stroll around Stratford-Upon-Avon. Feel the winter chill in the air as, in between your hunt for Christmas treasures in the vibrant mix of high street shops, you relax in Shakespeare's surroundings in this beautifully picturesque bustling market town.
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York Christmas Market

10. York Christmas Market - St Nicholas Fair

Thursday 18th November 2021 – Thursday 23rd December 2021

Situated at Parliament Street and St Sampson's Square, the enormously popular St Nicholas Fair will be bursting into life again in 2021 with wintry alpine chalets stocked with unique products, stocking fillers, special gifts and divinely delicious treats. Sip mulled wine as you slip through to Shambles historic Market where local indie traders are selling a wide variety of goods, from mouth-watering cakes to incredible hand-crafted trinkets. Take your taste-buds on a journey around the world in the Shambles Food Court with Thai food, Moroccan wraps and tempting burritos. A great Christmas market for all the family, there's even a vintage carousel on Kings Square!

Whilst you're in York check out:

  • Christmas in Narnia at Castle Howard - Experience an enchanting time as you see the lavishly decorated interiors of Castle Howard as it's transformed by an icy spell into a mystical land that's always winter. Ideal for little ones and family of all ages, enjoy outstanding dramatic installations, lighting and soundscapes. Marvel at the magnificent 25-foot Christmas tree in the Great Hall, decorated with over 3000 baubles. The magical winter world of 'Christmas in Narnia' is a breath-taking attraction just waiting to be explored. So take a step through that wardrobe!
  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas at York Mansion House - A unique Christmas treat for the whole family, a collaboration with York Cocoa Works will deliver a Georgian inspired, chocolatey Christmas delight. Take a chocolate trail and discover the history of chocolate making in York with a festive tour around York's iconic building. Make your own edible Christmas decorations and sip a sumptuously luxurious hot chocolate, this getaway is perfect for anyone with a sweet-tooth.
  • Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York - Making a welcome return this winter, the popular outdoor ice rink, vintage funfair with family-friendly rides and Santa's Grotto will be open from Friday 19th November 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022. The centrepiece will be a glittering 30-ft high Christmas tree surrounded by wintery trees, log cabins and a magical viewing platform which sets up a perfect yuletide experience for all ages to enjoy. There's even a cosy alpine-themed après-skate café 'The Chalet' which overlooks the ice rink and is a great way of watching the skaters glide past as you indulge in the perfect hot chocolate or Christmas treat.
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*All details correct as of October 2021. Dates and availability are subject to change.
Holiday Extras A-Z

Holiday Extras

"On that trip I learnt something very important. Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless. Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts. By the time the plane was airborne I’d forgotten England even existed."

Alex Garland, The Beach