Christmas markets are one of my favourite things about the whole festive season. You get to go and grab a cup of hot, steamy Gluhwein or mulled wine, or hot chocolate if you prefer to stay away from alcohol. Then a few seasonal snacks like chocolate apples, mince pies, and other treats beckon. Finally, you get to browse through endless stalls stocked with decorations, presents, warm winter clothing, and anything else you might imagine. Here are the six best I’ve been to in the UK.
This market is huge – it’s actually one of the biggest outside of Germany. It’s a German Christmas Market, which might seem a bit odd given that you’re in Birmingham, but it really works. Tons of wooden stalls pop up, some of them complete with carvings, statues, and even animatronics on their roofs. They sell German-themed food and drinks, and lots of crafts from the country as well.
Similar to Birmingham though smaller, the German Christmas Market in Leeds is a real treat. Right in the city centre, the stalls are very similar to those in Birmingham – though there are enough points of difference that you won’t be bored if you visit them both. It’s usually crowded, and best visited in the evening before you slip off to one of the nearby bars or restaurants for something a bit more sophisticated (though you’re totally allowed to do it in a cheesy Christmas jumper picked up at one of the stalls).
Held in Albert Square, the Manchester Christmas Market is host to over 300 stalls. As always, there are plenty of hot drinks to keep you warm while you browse – whether you fancy something to heat your hands up or something with a bit of a kick. You can add Baileys to most of the drinks on offer! There are lots of vegan and vegetarian food options available too. You can find more Christmas markets here throughout the local area, though I’ve got a few more to recommend elsewhere in the UK!
St Enoch Square is the home of Glasgow’s Christmas stalls, and of course there is lots to choose from. There’s always a really special cheer in the air when you visit a Scottish Christmas Market, and this one is no exception. There’s something about the open, arty, welcoming atmosphere of Glasgow that makes it all the better.
If you’re going to visit a Christmas market in London, I highly recommend Leicester Square. There is another market on the Southbank too, but I always love the atmosphere that comes with being in one of the single most famous locations in the UK. It’s packed with tourists and locals, as well as people from all over the UK who knew this was the place to be for some festive fun.
The last one to sneak into my list has to be Cardiff. We spent a memorable Christmas in Wales recently and Cardiff’s Christmas Market really made the trip all the more special. It is held right in the city centre so it is easy to find, and you’ll be able to grab some local specialities like Welsh cheese!
I could visit Christmas markets all season and not get tired of them. If you feel like you can only manage one or two, however, then I definitely recommend getting yourself to one of the above. They are all cracking – get it? – and will make your festive season just that little bit extra special.