Occasions & Gifting

The Top 5 Christmas Markets in the UK

The grass has developed a frosty crunch in the morning, the air is crisp, bonfire night is done and dusted for another year and it’s only a matter of time before we begin to hear carols playing on the radio. One thing for sure is, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

With the countdown to the nation’s favourite holiday well underway, we’ve rounded up a list of our favourite UK Christmas markets. There’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than by wrapping up warm, sipping on some mulled wine, inhaling the seasonal aroma of spices and browsing a maze of festive food, drink and crafts stools.

The Bath Christmas Market

Occupied by a wealth of stunning historic buildings and picturesque cobblestoned streets, it only makes sense that Bath would boast one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Britain.

The event has won awards in previous years for being one of the best markets in the country and the organisers behind Bath Christmas Market promise that this year is going to be bigger and better than ever. Located in the streets surrounding the fantastic Roman Baths and the Abbey, the city centre is due to be taken over by more than 200 wooden chalets and stalls, hosting an array of handmade trinkets and tasty seasonal food and drink offerings.

Talking of good grub, if you’ve ever wondered what to do with the leftovers from your Christmas dinner, here are a few of our favourite leftovers recipe tips.

Where to stay:

Not local to the area? Make a short break of it and indulge in an overnight stay at The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa. Situated inside one of Bath’s most iconic buildings, the lavish five-star hotel exhibits Georgian splendour, combined with modern-day luxury. Enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep in one of their plush bedrooms and take advantage of full access to their opulent spa facilities, including a Vitality pool, Blossom Steam Inhalation Room and a heated indoor pool.

Bath Christmas Market is open daily from Thursday 23rd November – Sunday 10th December.

London’s Citywide Celebrations

Come November, London is swarmed with festive attractions, guaranteed to fill visitors with yuletide joy! Watch as the city comes alive with twinkling light displays and vibrant Christmas decorations on an open-top bus tour, which showcases the capital in all its festive glory. Embark on a magical journey through the busy streets of London, witnessing the magnificent window displays on Regent Street, Oxford Street’s dazzling decorations and iconic lit-up landmarks such as The Coca-Cola London Eye, Trafalgar Square and Marble Arch.

In terms of markets, a multitude of different events take place across the city. However, the South Bank Winter Festival and Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland stand as the most popular, attracting hoards of festive shoppers and good-time seekers each year. Set along the bank of the Thames, beneath the Eye, the Winter Festival is the place to pick up artisan gifts or enjoy a festive tipple.

For something truly spectacular, pay a visit to Winter Wonderland and join the crowds of merrymakers as they discover the meaning of festive spirit. Bringing Christmas magic to the heart of  London, the ever-popular attraction boasts a huge selection of fairground rides, an open-air ice rink, a magical kingdom of ice sculptures, an ice bar and much more. The market stalls and delicious choice of food and drink on offer are also big hits!

You can find out a bit more about London’s festivities in our roundup of London’s best Christmas markets.

Where to stay:

If you can’t indulge at Christmas when can you? Make the most out of a visit to the capital by spending the night in a decadent superior king room at the five-star May Fair Hotel. Located in one of London’s most stylish boroughs, it’s guaranteed to be a stay to remember.

Southbank Market is open daily from Friday 10th November – Thursday 4th January and Winter Wonderland is open daily from Friday 17th November 2017 – Monday 1st January.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market

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Germany is renowned for their world-class Christmas markets, but there’s no need to trek across the channel in search of pretzels and Bavarian beers. Over the last decade, Birmingham has become home to the biggest German Christmas market outside of the country itself. Let the feast of bratwursts and glühwein (mulled wine) begin!

Running straight through until Christmas Eve, the festive extravaganza takes over Birmingham’s Victoria and Chamberlain square with live music, fairground rides and a joyous collection of stalls selling traditional goods.

Where to stay:

Don’t go rushing home! Extend the merriment and stay overnight in the Hallmark Hotel Strathallan. Located in convenient distance of the city centre, the hotel provides the perfect stopover for those looking to take part in the festivities.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is open daily from Thursday 16th November –  Sunday 24th December.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets

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It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until there’s a bite in the air and a genuine need for chunky knits and thermals, does it? For the best woolly hat experience, head north to Scotland and visit the beautiful (albeit chilly) city of Edinburgh. The Scottish capital boasts not one, but two fantastic Christmas markets, making it one of the most festive cities in the UK in our books. West George Street Market celebrates all things Scottish, showcasing authentic Scottish goods and local delicacies. On the other hand, the market at East Princes Street Gardens is full to the brim with European crafts stalls and culinary delights. Not to mention Santa Land, which features the famous Christmas Tree Maze, Santa Train and family-friendly rides guaranteed to fill the wee kiddies with festive excitement.

Where to stay:

Make an occasion of it and discover everything the city has to offer with a hotel escape at The Bonham Hotel. Nestled in Edinburgh’s creative West End, the 19th-century townhouse hotel offers a trendy haven for those wanting to explore the historic and culture-packed city.

East Princes Street Garden Market is open daily from Saturday 18th November – Saturday 6th January and George Street Market from Friday 17th November – Sunday 24th December.

Manchester’s European Christmas Market

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Bringing together over 200 traders from all across Europe, Manchester’s European Christmas Market is a truly international affair. The huge market is spread over 10 different locations around the city, but the main hub sits within Albert Square, in front of Manchester town hall. The family-friendly site on Cathedral Gardens is also back for another year, featuring an outdoor ice rink and an exciting selection of traditional fairground rides, including a Victorian carousel, helter-skelter, Ferris wheel and Victorian swing. Generating heaps of festive cheer, the markets are the perfect places to get some Christmas shopping done, grab a bite to eat, or simply soak up the joyful atmosphere with family or friends!

Where to stay:

Forget about the hassle of travelling home, spend the night at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel and enjoy a relaxing break in the dynamic city. The hotel provides the perfect base for exploring Manchester’s collection of lively bars, quirky shops and other attractions.

Manchester’s European Christmas Market is open daily from Friday 17th November – Thursday 21st December.

Stuck for gift ideas? Check out our Christmas gift guide for inspiration! Even more, if you know somebody who deserves to be spoilt, nominate them in our #MerryMemories competition and they could win an extra-special Red Letter Days Christmas surprise!

Images: Adobe Stock Images and Instagram: bathchristmasmarket;  james_clarke75;  discoveredinburgh;  winterwonderldn;  manduian

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