We get festive with the best UK Christmas Markets in the country.
Christmas markets are actually a German tradition from way back the middle ages. Anticipating the Christmas rush, farmers and other producers would set up temporary stalls in village squares, hoping to attract passersby.
It’s easy to see why they’re becoming more popular in the UK. The cute wooden huts, fairy lights and wafting smells of mulled wine and grilled sausages absolutely ooze Christmas.
It seems like all the major UK cities are competing for the top spot in Christmas Markets, so we decided to check them out and report back. Which one will you be going to?
Our favourite UK Christmas markets
Manchester Christmas Market
Saturday 14 November – Monday 21 December 2015
Manchester was one of the first UK cities to jump on the Christmas market bandwagon. Starting in the late 90s, the event has (literally) snowballed, and now features a staggering 300 stalls selling every festive thing you can imagine.
With the gloriously gothic Manchester Town Hall looming in the background, Albert Square is the perfect location to host the event – it almost feels like you’re back in 19th century Germany. The event has grown so large that there’s no spillover to other parts of the city, including St Anne’s Square and The Corn Exchange.
Bath Christmas Market
Thursday 26 November – Sunday 13 December
The beautiful Roman streets of Bath play host to an enchanting Christmas market, with a focus on local products. More than 80% of the 170 stallholders are businesses from Bath and the surrounding area, carefully vetted for quality by Bath council.
New for this year is The Lodge an indoor venue in the style of a rustic snow lodge, located on Stall Street. Take a break from the chilly winter air and visit the lodge for heart-warming food, hot drinks, cakes and locally produced real ales.
Lincoln Christmas Market
Thursday 3 December – Sunday 6 December
Hear ye! Hear ye! Patrons of every order be welcomed to Olde Lincoln Christmas Market.
Set in the city’s medieval square between the imposing Norman castle and magnificent gothic cathedral, Lincoln’s old city centre is the perfect backdrop for the Christmas Market.
With more than 280 stalls there’s something for everyone, from unusual gifts to food and drink from near and far, including traditional Lincolnshire products such as plum bread and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese.
As well as the usual fairground, this year the council have hired a number of buskers to help match the Xmas atmosphere with an equally festive soundtrack.
Winchester Christmas Market
Thursday 19 November – Tuesday 22 December
The Winchester Christmas Market extremely popular, attracting around 350,000 visitors each year. Set in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral, traditional wooden chalets surround a real ice rink to create a truly enchanting winter wonderland.
There’s a big focus on British crafts – Winchester Cathedral carefully select producers from around the country to bring their wares to the market, including jewellers, painters, glass makers and textile artists.
Friday 13 November – Sunday 20 December
The Leeds traditional german Christmas market (Christkindelmarkt) returns for its 14th year in 2015 when Millennium Square transforms into a scenic winter village, featuring 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls decorated with festive greenery and twinkling colourful lights.
There are tons of traditional German goods to sample, including Stollen and Gingerbread and the warming winter drink gluhwein. The Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery provides a warm and cosy place to sit and enjoy authentic German food and drink.
The best London Christmas Markets
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Friday 20 November – Sunday 3 January
For six weeks over Christmas the centre of London is transformed into a magical Winter Wonderland. complete with fairground rides, ice rinks, free live music and – of course – a massive Christmas Market.
More than 200 fairy-lit wooden chalets line the paths and squares of Hyde park, to create a charming Bavarian village in the heart of the Big Smoke. Get your Christmas shopping done early, indulge yourself in the delicious food and drink on offer, then maybe grab a ride on the Ferris Wheel to top of a wonderfully wintery evening.
Christmas at Duke of York Square
Saturday 7 November – Sunday 20 December
For a more opulent Christmas market experience, Duke of York Square, in the heart of Chelsea, offers the best curated selection of fashion, food, beauty and culture.
From early November you can visit Santa at the grotto, then browse the famous Fine Food Market, which features artisanal cakes, the best locally grown farm produce, freshly caught fish and, over Christmas, an array of upmarket festive goodies.
As well as food, designer outlets line the perimeter of the square, featuring the finest haute fashion from the likes of Joseph, LK Bennett and Jigsaw.