In the words of Slade: It’s Christmaaaaaas (soon)! If your inner elf is gagging for a festive day out then look no further than the UK high street, because there are some truly beautiful Christmas markets cropping up already.
Whether you’re planning on getting some unique gifts for the fam or you’re only in it for the Glühwein (we won’t judge), there appears to be a market for all eventualities.
Mooch through the picturesque streets of Edinburgh and Bath, peruse a unique craft market in Cardiff or get lost in one of Manchester’s many markets that are taking over the city.
Excited yet? Here’s where you should visit.
Bath Christmas Market
We’re excited for: This year there will be 160 stalls with 99 per cent of products handmade. There’ll be wooden jewellery, knitted accessories, painted ceramics, glass gifts, skincare and, of course, food. There’ll be a piano to play on for impromptu sing-songs and decorations made from recycled plastic bags and bottles.
On each Saturday, Queen Square will host a Festive Family Artisan Market where families can part in activities including festive storytelling, arts and crafts workshops and watch glass-blowing demonstrations.
Open from: 22 November to 9 December.
Location: Chalets will be stationed up Milsom Street in the north of the city centre.
Southbank Winter Market, London
We’re excited for: There are two new food and drink pop-ups at this year’s Southbank’s Winter Market. Bar Under the Bridge is basically the foodie equivalent of heaven, serving up cheese-themed food (think charcuterie and cheese boards, croque monsieur and baked camembert) alongside cocktails such as ‘Blood Orange Paloma’ and ‘Prosecco Fred’.
There’s also The Circus Bar, in front of Royal Festival Hall, which comes complete with sizzling fire-pits and serves up baguettes filled with hot-smoked salmon and juicy steak, which you can wash down with spicy mulled cider and wine.
Other than that, it’s business as usual with stalls offering a diverse array of cuisines from around the globe and traders selling handmade festive goods.
Open from: 9 November to 27 December. On Sunday through to Thursday, it’s open from 11am to 10pm, while on Friday and Saturday it’s open until 11pm.
Location: Queen’s Walk, under Hungerford Bridge.
Cardiff’s Crafty Christmas Market
We’re excited for: The arts and crafts-themed market will be home to new and returning sellers this year with lots of handmade products on offer from small, local businesses. There will be 200 stalls in total selling a mixture of arty bits – think bespoke silver jewellery, wooden gifts, original artwork and handmade quilts – alongside seasonal food and drink.
Open from: 15 November to 23 December. Stalls will be open from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and will close an hour earlier on Sundays. There will also be late night sessions (until 7pm) on 13, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 23 December.
Location: St John Street, Working Street, the Hayes, Hills Street and Trinity Street in one of the main shopping pedestrian areas in Cardiff City Centre.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
We’re excited for: The food offerings of hot Glühwein, schnitzel and spicy sausage which always go down a treat (plus the hot waffles, which are unmissable). The Frankfurt Christmas Market is also home to a selection of stalls selling traditional toys, ornaments and gifts.
The market’s bandstand will feature performances every day from a range of groups, including local acts and choirs on Saturdays and Sundays, and the annual Family Day, when traders offer a range of one-day discounts, will take place on Sunday 9 December.
Open from: 15 November to 23 December, 10am-9pm daily.
Location: Victoria Square and New Street, Birmingham.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
We’re excited for: Last year this was voted the best Christmas market in the UK and for good reason. The Edinburgh market along East Princes Street Gardens is easily one of the prettiest. This year there’ll be locally sourced and homemade gifts, as well as festive food and drink, and fun rides for the kids including the Big Wheel and Star Flyer. For grown-ups, the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar will provide the perfect nightcap before heading home – choose from a variety of whisky cocktails and hot toddies.
Open from: 17 November to 5 January, from 10am-10pm.
Markets open at 1pm on 17 November, close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed on Christmas Day (25 December), and will open at 12pm on 26 December and 1 January.
Location: East Princes Street Gardens. (Plus, see the handy map below!)
We’re excited for: More than 40 traditional wooden chalets selling toys, decorations and delicious German food (check out the Alp Chalet Bavarian styled eatery, the Kuh Stall and the Ski Hutte). There’ll also be a Christmas Carousel and other children’s rides, plus every Saturday and Sunday morning (from 24 November until 22 December) kids can join Santa for breakfast in the Alp Chalet.
Upon arrival children and their families will be greeted and escorted to their tables by Santa’s little helpers and enjoy a buffet style breakfast before Father Christmas pays a special visit to each table and presents a gift to the children.
Open from: 9 November to 22 December. Open from 10.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7.30pm on Sundays.
Location: Millennium Square.
Manchester’s Christmas Markets
We’re excited for: Manchester is the king of Christmas markets, attracting millions of festive visitors each year. The market on Albert Square will see an impressive injection of gastronomic re-invention this year, from a brand new Amsterdam Frites stall boasting 30 different toppings and sauces over triple cooked fries, to Zouk – a traditional curry house with two new curries every day, along with a range of veggie and vegan options.
There’ll be a Birdie photo booth at St Ann’s Square, as well as a new Bubble Waffle bar. Meanwhile Cathedral Gardens will reprise its role as the family-friendly area where younger visitors can escape the crowds and enjoy some free festive activities.
Ice Village will also be open with an ice cavern, ice sculptures, frozen ice bar and, of course, an ice rink! Aside from that there’ll be hundreds of stalls selling handmade goods, crafts and delicious food.
Open from: 9 November to 22 December, with the market in Albert Square opening for an extra day on 23 December.
Locations: There are Christmas markets situated at Cathedral Gardens, Market Street, Exchange Square, Corn Exchange and New Cathedral Street. There’s an arts and crafts market on Exchange Street, a French Christmas market on King Street, a German Christmas Market at St Ann’s Square and World Christmas Market along Brazennose Street. Phew.