You don’t have to visit Germany to experience traditional Bavarian festive markets; there is now a wide range of Christmas markets that pop up in towns all around the UK. People travel for miles to experience these festive fairs, which often draw in huge crowds in the lead up to Christmas. These are the very best Christmas markets in England to get you into the holiday spirit.
The Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the largest German market outside of the country itself with over 200 traditional stalls selling everything from trinkets to glühwein (mulled wine). The heart of the market is situated in Victoria Square with a cosy, wintery village complete with warming food (such as pretzels, schnitzel and roasted nuts) and drink, fairground attractions for children and plenty of seating so you can sit and soak up the festive atmosphere. Nearby on Chamberlain Square, you will find more tasty treats alongside a variety of handmade crafts, perfect for gifts.
Manchester’s Christmas markets bring visitors from around the globe to the city throughout November and December. The main hub is the German market on Albert Square where many traditional stalls sell handmade gifts and decorations – don’t leave without trying one of its frankfurter sausages. Other markets are scattered around the city centre, from Spinningfields to Cathedral Gardens, offering festive wares from other European locations alongside local handicrafts. With hundreds of stalls, Manchester’s assortment of Christmas markets is the perfect place to find a gift for even the most discerning of recipients.
If you want to visit a picturesque festive market that’s more Olde Worlde England than German, head to York. Every winter, the St Nicholas Fair takes over Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square and Coppergate, with stalls spilling onto Shambles. This quaint market mainly offers locally produced gifts such as crafts and edible treats, maintaining a strong Yorkshire theme throughout. The market is the perfect destination for visitors to the UK who want to see a traditional English Christmas market; a day wandering through these charming stalls would melt the heart of Scrooge himself.
You won’t struggle to find a wonderfully festive market in London, with an abundance of large and small markets scattered across the capital. Hyde Park’s ostentatious Winter Wonderland is obviously the jewel of the crown, offering plenty of entertainment and food stalls for the whole family to enjoy. But if you want to avoid the hectic crowds and wander further afield, you’ll discover gatherings of old-fashioned wooden stalls in every neighbourhood. London’s vast number of Christmas markets offer everything you could need to enjoy the season, from food markets in Kings Cross Square to the Southbank Centre’s traditional Christmas market.
Boasting an impressive array of handmade goods that are predominantly made in the local area, Bath hosts one of the most popular festive markets in the country. Over 150 stalls line the streets around the Roman Baths, selling everything from seasonal food and drink to local crafts, fashion and ceramics. With one-of-a-kind items of all sorts, the Bath Christmas Market is the place to pick up that special holiday gift.
Make sure you don’t miss Lincoln’s festive market, which is as fleeting and magical as Christmas itself. It may be one of the most short-lived festive markets in the country, with the stalls only appearing for four days around the holidays (in 2019, it’s on from 5-8 December), but its reputation indicates that it’s also one of the best. Based around Norman Square, 250 stalls spring up overnight offering food, drink and gifts galore. Alongside the wooden huts, there’s plenty of entertainment, including a Ferris wheel and live music.