The best UK Christmas markets to visit on a road trip

The festive season is drawing ever closer, which means you might be planning a trip to one of the many Christmas markets dotted around the UK. Whether you’re looking for a special handcrafted gift for a loved one or a warm mulled wine to wash down your mince pie, there are plenty of destinations guaranteed to provide some festive cheer. After all, a road trip with loved ones might be all you need to get into the Christmas spirit.

With that in mind, we’ve provided a rundown of some of the best Christmas markets to visit this winter.


Edinburgh is a popular tourist destination at this time of year – not just for its world-famous Hogmanay celebrations, but also for its huge Christmas markets. Recently named the most popular Christmas market in the UK, it hosts over 60 stalls, a ferris wheel, ice rink and double carousel. Running from 20th November – 4th January, this year’s market will be split across East and West Princes Street to make it more Covid-safe.


The smell of mulled wine and delicious food will once again fill the air in York this winter. Known for its medieval charm, St Nicholas Fair will be home to a fine array of Yorkshire produce with crafters and makers set to showcase their work at the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village. Meanwhile, along Parliament Street, you’ll find more traditional Christmas gifts under the charming alpine chalets – selling everything from handmade gifts to delicious treats. Taking place between 18th November and 23rd December, York is renowned for its festive atmosphere at this time of year.


Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is the biggest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. Known to attract millions of visitors each year, it has grown from just 24 stalls in 2001 to 180 this year, covering New Street, Victoria Square and Centenary Square. Boasting an extensive range of authentic Bavarian cuisine, as well as beautifully handcrafted gifts and stocking fillers, you can expect to find decorations, handcrafted jewellery, carved wooden toys, sausages, beer and pretzels as well as handmade crafts, soaps and candles by local artisans, alongside a range of unique and quirky items imported from around the world. The market takes place from 4th November – 23rd December this year.

Winchester Cathedral

Set in the shadow of Winchester Cathedral, Winchester’s Christmas market is often dubbed one of the best in Europe. Also inspired by traditional German markets, you can saunter around 112 different chalets filled with unique and high-quality exhibitors, selling an impressive range of seasonal treats. Known to attract over 400,000 visitors each year, this year it will return with an ice rink – visitors are advised to check any event updates before making the trip. It runs from 19th November – 22nd December.


Situated right in the heart of Albert Square, Manchester hosted the UK’s first ever Christmas market in 1999 and has grown ever since – now attracting more than nine million visitors a year. Spread across ten different sites, there really is something for everyone – with over 300 stalls offering food and drink from all over the world, as well as finely crafted gifts. This year, there will also be a designated family area for the first time which will host LED light performers, magicians and street theatre. Set in the middle of the buzzing city centre, it runs from 12th November – 22nd December.


London’s spectacular Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is back for another year with even more entertainment than ever before. Running from 19th November to 3rd January, organisers are promising over 100 rides and attractions, as well as over 200 chalets for Christmas shoppers. Home to the UK’s largest ice rink, -10C ice bar, a buzzy alpine-themed pop-up restaurant, fairground rides and endless street food stalls, you could easily spend the entire day here.


Running from 15th November – 31st December, Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland is largest event in the East Midlands – guaranteed to spread festive cheers with its many Bavarian-style stalls, an Après ski bar and children's fairground rides. This year, the event has been expanded with jewellery, scents, fashion, retro style, eco art, Lego art, fair-trade, continental food and more. And the best bit? It’s free entry.

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