Christmas is just around the corner and according to a recent survey, over half of Brits will have started their Christmas shopping already. If you’ve yet to buy your first present, one of the many Christmas markets taking place across the UK could be the perfect place to start.
Getting Into the Christmas Spirit
Christmas markets aren’t just ideal for picking up those last-minute gifts. Whether you’re meeting up with friends and family or just in need of some festive cheer, the UK’s Christmas markets offer delicious food and drink, live entertainment and a wonderfully merry atmosphere to help you get into the Christmas spirit.
Which Christmas Market Should I Visit?
In the UK, we’re spoiled for choice for Christmas markets to visit as up and down the country, towns and cities are transformed into winter wonderlands. Many of the UK Christmas markets can easily be reached by train too, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic jams or finding somewhere to park.
Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire is the seat of the Duke of Marlborough and also the site of a magical Christmas market. Every year, the Great Court is filled with traditional wooden chalets selling everything from artisan cheese to handmade knits. There’s also an illuminated light trail, and the palace’s interior has been transformed to retell the story of Sleeping Beauty. If you haven’t yet got your tree, you can even pick up one of the estate-grown Christmas trees and take a little bit of Blenheim’s magic home with you. The Christmas markets at Blenheim run every day from 17th November to 17th December.
Birmingham Christmas Market
To enjoy the biggest German market outside Germany and Austria, you need to visit Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market. From November 2nd to Christmas Eve, Victoria Square is transformed into a traditional German Christmas market, complete with a big wheel, an ice rink, and of course all the bratwurst and glühwein you can eat and drink! One of the bars even has a famous singing moose (Chris Moose) that’s not to be missed!
Not only is Glasgow Winterfest a great way to start feeling Christmassy, but it also raises funds for Power over Poverty, helping Glaswegian families to pay their utility bills. Running from November to January, the markets will blend traditional festive fun, such as an ice rink, fairground rides, and gift stalls, with a more sedate, peaceful space, including a sensory and quiet zone, a silent disco and choirs performing carols.
Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Edinburgh is well worth a visit any time of year but Christmas in this ancient city is even more special. With markets throughout the city centre, there’s something for everyone. Children can hear stories from Santa in St Andrew’s Square, and daredevils can take a ride on the Big Wheel in East Princes Street Gardens. The markets run from 17th November until 6th January, and if you time your visit right, you can even enjoy a traditional Ceilidh in honour of St Andrew’s Day or join in with the city’s Hogmanay festivities.
Padstow Christmas Festival
For a Christmas market experience with a difference, why not visit this food festival by the sea? Here you’ll find celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth giving cooking demonstrations, while market stalls showcase locally produced food and drink including Cornish cheese, delicious preserves and handcrafted chocolates. You can also pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts, such as handmade jewellery or fine art prints.
London’s Christmas Markets
If you find yourself in the capital this Christmas season, London’s Christmas markets are a must-see. The famous Southbank Centre Winter Market can be found alongside the Thames where you can pick up delicious warming treats to enjoy while you’re sightseeing. Meanwhile, Pexmas, Peckham’s Christmas Market showcases small businesses from the area, selling everything from preserves to scented candles and ceramics.
St Nicholas Fair, York
York becomes even more magical during its famous St Nicholas Fair that runs from 17th November until December 22nd. Along with traditional Christmas markets, you’ll find festive buskers and a vintage carousel, as well as gifts galore in York’s historic shopping street the Shambles. If all the merriment gets too much, there are plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat or a warming drink of mulled wine or hot chocolate and soak up the atmosphere.