Five of the UK’s best Christmas markets

German style toys and gifts are on offer at the Birmingham Christmas Market © Shutterstock

German style toys and gifts are on offer at the Birmingham Christmas Market © Shutterstock

Welcome in the festive season with a trip to a Christmas market. From sipping mulled wine next to spectacular cathedrals, to zipping around on ice skating rinks, there’s never been a better excuse to don your winter jacket, get outside and embrace the Christmas spirit. Read on for our list of the best UK Christmas markets guaranteed to make even scrooges smile.

Winchester: 20 November – 22 December 2017

Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink © Visit Winchester

Winchester Christmas Market and Ice Rink © Visit Winchester

Only an hour’s train ride from London, Winchester sits prettily on the edge of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire. In the centre of town, the imposing Gothic cathedral provides a backdrop to the Christmas market which takes place in the grounds every year. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, its wooden chalets offer a selection of Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods. From mulled wine, to delicate decorations and roasted marshmallows, it’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering (or eating) your way around here.

Bath: 23 November – 10 December 2017

Bath Christmas Market at Bath Abbey, Bath © visitbath.co.uk Copyright: Bath Tourism Plus / Paolo Ferla

Bath Christmas Market at Bath Abbey, Bath © visitbath.co.uk Copyright: Bath Tourism Plus / Paolo Ferla

From the 23 November – 10 December this historic spa city and UNESCO World Heritage site will see over 170 chalets line the streets surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. The market prides itself on supporting local businesses, with more than 85% of stallholders from Bath and the surrounding area. Once you’re fully stocked up on mulled wine and mince pies, make sure you take the time to explore Bath too. Discover the Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent, a curved row of 30 terraced houses set in front of well-manicured lawns, or take a dip in the UK’s only natural thermal spa.

Edinburgh: 17 November – 6 January 2018

Edinburgh Christmas Market © Eoin Carey / Edinburgh's Christmas / Underbelly Ltd

Edinburgh Christmas Market © Eoin Carey / Edinburgh’s Christmas / Underbelly Ltd

If you’re looking for the full festive experience then a trip to Edinburgh is a must. Home to historic streets overlooked by the looming fortress of Edinburgh Castle, Christmas is a time of year which suits the Scottish capital particularly well, especially when topped off with a sprinkling of snow. The city hosts a romantic European-style Christmas Market which takes place in East Princes St Gardens, as well as a Scottish Market in George Street, offering traditional crafts and delicious food and drink. While you’re visiting, make the most out of your trip by sticking around for Hogmanay. Watch the Torchlight Procession pass through Edinburgh’s Old Town on 30 December, before taking to the streets on New Year’s Eve for the famous Hogmanay street party and fireworks display.

London: 10 November – 30 December 2017

Christmas baubles on display at Southbank Centre Winter Festival © Shutterstock

Christmas baubles on display at Southbank Centre Winter Festival © Shutterstock

The capital doesn’t disappoint when it comes to Christmas. For some Thames-side festive fun, head to the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, where you’ll find plenty to boost your Christmas spirit. Mulled wine, stocking fillers and festive food can be found at the Wintertime Market which takes place next to the Royal Festival Hall; however this is just one part of the larger festival which also includes a range of festive shows. These include Slava’s Snowshow, a surreal circus which ends with an incredible blizzard finale which kids will love. Alternatively, perfect your singing voice with Carols at Christmas which takes place at the Royal Festival Hall.

Birmingham: 16 November – 24 December 2017

Birmingham Christmas Market © Marketing Birmingham

Birmingham Christmas Market © Marketing Birmingham

Head to the city of Birmingham between 16 November – 24 December and you’ll find the largest authentic Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Pretzels, bratwursts, schnitzels, and of course plenty of beer, can be found amongst the 120 stalls, and even a singing Christmas moose! You can also get your skates on and zip around on the ice skating rink which can be found within Centenary Square, only a short walk from the Christmas market.

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