When it comes to experiencing the best Christmas markets in the UK, there's nothing quite like the enchanting allure of these festive havens. Each year, the United Kingdom comes alive with a dazzling array of Christmas markets, offering a symphony of sights, scents, and sounds that define the holiday season. From the aromatic embrace of mulled wine to the twinkle of Christmas lights, this list of the 12 best Christmas markets in the UK (one for every day of Christmas) are the ultimate gateway to festive spirit.

Whether you're on the hunt for unique Christmas gifts or simply seeking to immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere, you're in for a treat. These UK Christmas markets all promise an authentic and heartwarming celebration of the season.

The 12 Best Christmas Markets in the UK

1. Winter Wonderland, London

winter wonderland christmas market london
Location: Hyde Park, London
Anticipation fills the air at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. This enchanting winter wonderland welcomes you with the irresistible aroma of freshly baked treats and the twinkle of the German Christmas market. Families glide joyfully across the largest outdoor ice rink in the UK, laughter echoes through the crisp air, and the atmosphere is truly enchanting. Beyond the Christmas market, explore the refined streets of Kensington or take a leisurely stroll through the iconic Hyde Park, adorned with incredible Christmas lights and decorations. If you're looking for places to stay, the atmospheric Covent Garden area is an excellent choice with great connections to all major London hotspots and for those seeking a touch of glamour to their London trip, why not treat yourself to a night at one of London's best luxury hotels?  You might even consider extending your trip until New Year so you can join in on London's legendary New Year's Eve celebrations and infamous firework display.

2. Bath Christmas Market

crowds of people at the bath Christmas market, one of the best Christmas markets in the UK
Location: Bath, Somerset
Our next UK Christmas market takes us to one of the most romantic destinations in the UK, Bath. During the yuletide, Bath dons a fairytale guise during its Christmas Market, set against the backdrop of the ancient Abbey. The cobbled streets radiate with festive merriment, inviting you to immerse yourself in the exquisite crafts of local artisans while sipping on warmly spiced cider. After you've had the pleasure of exploring one of the best Christmas markets in the UK, you can wander along the picturesque Avon River or step into the historic embrace of the Roman Baths. A trip to Bath during the festive period certainly offers a perfect fusion of history and holiday cheer.

3. Manchester’s Christmas Markets

a woman fries sausages at the manchester christmas market, one of the best in the UK
Location: Various sites in Manchester
Manchester's Christmas markets are a quintessential festive experience spread across several key sites in the city. From the bustling Albert Square, where the grand Town Hall looms overhead, to the charming stalls lining New Cathedral Street and Exchange Square, each location offers its own unique atmosphere. These Christmas markets typically run from mid-November through to late December, allowing plenty of time to soak up the festive spirit.

Visitors to the Manchester Christmas markets can indulge in a wide array of international cuisine, from German bratwursts to Spanish paella, and pick up unique handcrafted gifts from the many stalls. Don't miss the opportunity to sip on warm mulled wine or sample a local craft ale. The Christmas markets also host an array of live performances, making it a lively hub of entertainment and UK Christmas activities. For families, a visit to the Cathedral Gardens site, with its funfair rides and Santa's Grotto, is a must. The markets are conveniently located within walking distance of Manchester's main transport hubs, including Victoria and Piccadilly train stations, and are easily accessible by tram and bus.

4. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

Location: Victoria Square, New Street, Centenary Square, Birmingham
Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market, nestled in the heart of the city, is a vibrant celebration of the festive season. Spanning across Victoria Square, New Street, and Centenary Square, this market transports visitors straight to the heart of Germany. Running from mid-November to late December, it offers ample time to revel in the holiday spirit.

At one of the best UK Christmas markets, the air is filled with the mouthwatering aroma of sizzling sausages, gingerbread, and other traditional treats. Shoppers can peruse an array of unique, handcrafted gifts from the charming wooden stalls. Don't miss the chance to sip on warm mulled wine, a true winter indulgence. Plus, the Birmingham Christmas market is also a hub of entertainment, with live music and performances adding to the lively atmosphere.

Beyond the market, Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre beckons with its wide range of retail options - perfect for Christmas shopping, while Cannon Hill Park offers a tranquil escape just a stone's throw away. For those seeking cultural enrichment, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is also only a short walk from the market.

5. York Christmas Market

christmas decorations glow at night at york christmas market - one of the best christmas markets in the UK
Location: St. Nicholas Fair, York
York's Christmas Market, nestled within the medieval streets, invites visitors to step back in time while embracing the festive spirit. St. Nicholas Fair, as it's affectionately known, is a much-loved UK Christmas event that typically runs from late November to mid-December allowing ample time to explore this top UK Christmas market's offerings. As you wander through the stalls, the air is filled with the comforting scents of spiced wine and roasting chestnuts. The quaint wooden chalets showcase an array of handcrafted gifts, from intricate ornaments to locally-made crafts. The market is a treasure trove of unique finds, making it an ideal destination for doing your Christmas shopping. Beyond the Christmas market, immerse yourself in York's rich history by taking a leisurely stroll along the city walls or visiting the awe-inspiring York Minster, an architectural marvel. The picturesque River Ouse provides a tranquil backdrop to the festivities. The York Christmas market is conveniently located in the heart of the city, within walking distance from York Railway Station. With its medieval charm, rich history, and festive atmosphere, York's Christmas Market promises an enchanting holiday experience in one of England's most picturesque cities. Embrace the magic of the season amidst the cobbled streets and ancient architecture.

6. Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Location: Nottingham City Centre
Nottingham's Winter Wonderland is a festive extravaganza nestled in the heart of the city. Running from late November to early January, this event offers an extended period to soak in the holiday spirit. This top Christmas market in the UK offers an array of festive delights, from charming stalls to delectable artisanal treats. Visitors to the Nottingham Christmas market can browse through unique Christmas gifts and indulge in delicious artisanal cheeses and chocolates. With over 70 Bavarian-style stalls, there's really something for everyone! Beyond the market, Nottingham Castle beckons with its rich history and panoramic views of the city. Take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Trent Embankment, which offers stunning views of the River Trent and the city skyline. Nottingham's Winter Wonderland is one of the largest events in the East Midlands, offering a perfect blend of festive spirit and local charm.

7. Edinburgh Christmas Market

crowds browse the stalls at the Edinburgh Christmas market as the sun sets
Location: East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
Edinburgh's Christmas Market transforms the picturesque East Princes Street Gardens into a winter wonderland. With the stunning Balmoral Hotel and Edinburgh Castle as backdrops, this market offers a truly magical experience.

As you explore one of the best Christmas markets in. the UK, you'll be greeted by a delightful array of stalls offering everything from traditional Scottish crafts to international delights. From mulled Irn Bru to Harry Potter-themed gifts, the Edinburgh Christmas market caters to visitors of all ages. Why not rent ice-skates and try your hand at ice skating on the George Street ice rink? With the infamous Dome Christmas lights twinkling in the distance, it's got to be up there with the most scenic ice rinks in the UK. Once you're finished ice-skating, don't miss the chance to savour a festive beverage inside the stunning venue that's a must for any Christmas lovers visiting Edinburgh.

Don't miss the chance to visit Santa's Grotto on Castle Street, a highlight for families. Beyond the market, the historic Royal Mile beckons with its charming boutiques and captivating history. For a breathtaking view of the city in all its festive glory, consider a short winter hike up Arthur's Seat (just make sure to take a jacket as it does tend to get chilly!).

8. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Location: Winchester, Hampshire
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market - one of the best in the UK
Nestled within the stunning surroundings of Winchester Cathedral, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is a cherished event renowned for its high-quality exhibitors and range of delightful festive treats. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent cathedral, this market transforms the historic precinct into a festive haven. The market typically runs from late November to mid-December, providing an enchanting experience for visitors.

Wander among the charming wooden chalets, where a wide range of handcrafted gifts, including intricate ornaments and locally-made crafts, are on display. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque River Itchen, which adds to the market's idyllic setting.

9. Glasgow Christmas Market

Location: St Enoch Square, Glasgow
Glasgow's Christmas Market is a true winter wonderland, captivating hundreds of visitors each year with its festive charm. Located in St Enoch Square, this UK Christmas market invites you to fully immerse yourself in the holiday spirit.

Indulge in the delightful scents of festive treats, from traditional German bratwursts to delectable sweets. Beyond the market, the striking Glasgow Cathedral stands as a testament to the city's rich history. For a bit of retail therapy, the Buchanan Galleries offer a diverse range of shopping options. We recommend booking accommodation in Glasgow's charming West End, where you can explore boutique shops, stop by local cafes and visit top attractions like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

10. Leeds Christkindlmarkt

Location: Millennium Square, Leeds
Leeds Christkindlmarkt brings a taste of Germany to Yorkshire, creating a festive haven in the heart of Leeds. Meander through the wooden chalet stalls, where you'll find an array of unique Christmas gifts and traditional arts and crafts. Afterwards, consider a visit to the historic Leeds Corn Exchange, a unique piece of architecture that houses an eclectic mix of independent shops. For a tranquil winter escape, take a leisurely walk along the scenic Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

11. Cardiff Christmas Market

cardiff christmas market sign hanging off one of the christmas stalls at the market
Location: City Centre, Cardiff
Located in the heart of the Welsh capital, Cardiff's Christmas Market is a vibrant celebration of local talent and creativity. The market showcases a diverse range of handmade crafts and unique Christmas gifts, providing a platform for local artisans. Its proximity to Cardiff Castle, an imposing medieval fortress, adds a touch of historical grandeur. Running from late November to late December, it offers a dynamic blend of cultural heritage and festive cheer, making it a must-visit Christmas destination for those seeking an authentic Welsh Christmas experience.

Why not combine your visit to the Cardiff Christmas market with a stay at a top spa hotel in Wales? That way you can fully unwind in the serene surroundings of the spa after your busy day shopping at the market.

12. Cambridge Christmas Market

a street in cambridge during christmas time
Location: Market Square, Cambridge
With its stunning backdrop of the historic city, Cambridge's Christmas Market is a delight for all ages. Browse the charming stalls offering a variety of handcrafted gifts, festive decorations, and delicious food and drink. Beyond the Christmas market, Cambridge is a lovely place to explore and soak up the festive atmosphere, especially if you're seeking a romantic UK staycation.

Which of the best Christmas Markets in the UK will you visit?

These top UK Christmas markets, each with its distinct ambiance and unique features, promise an unforgettable Christmas experience - and you don't even need to buy a plane ticket. From historic cathedrals to vibrant city centres, they also offer a diverse range of attractions for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the magic of the season after they've left the Christmas market. And if you just can't choose which UK Christmas market to visit, why not visit them all?

Buy Hotel Vouchers for A Meaningful Christmas Gift

christmas lights in london at night
Looking to transform your visit to these enchanting Christmas markets into an extraordinary festive getaway? Consider gifting your loved ones a gift voucher for hotels. These versatile hotel vouchers offer the perfect opportunity to plan a UK staycation near the heart of the holiday magic.

With Hotelgift, you can select from a carefully curated collection of handpicked hotels, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay just moments away from the bustling markets. Whether it's a charming boutique hotel in Paris, a cosy cottage in the Cotswolds, contemporary stay in the heart of Glasgow, or a historic inn in the heart of Cambridge, a gift voucher for hotels provides a wide range of options to suit every preference.

Plus, when you buy hotel vouchers as a Christmas gift, you're not only offering the chance to experience the festive markets in all their glory, but also providing the flexibility to tailor the stay to individual tastes and schedules. It's the perfect way to turn a day trip into a memorable Christmas holiday, creating cherished moments for your loved ones.

Embrace the magic of the season and turn your visit to these Christmas markets into an extended celebration with a personalised gift voucher for hotels. Your loved one will surely be blown away by this incredible Christmas gift voucher that will empower them to get some much needed R&R in an incredible setting.