There are plenty of things to look forward to this Christmas. Whether you like curling up in front of the telly for the latest festive special, or prefer to splash out at a fancy restaurant, there's never a wrong way to spend the holiday.


For those of you who want to brave the cold, there are the much-loved Christmas markets, too. So, in the words of Elton John, welcome to our Christmas market list! We’d like to thank you for being here.

Once the weather's turned colder, there’s nothing better than wandering round Christmas stalls and warming ourselves up with mulled wine and churros with melted chocolate.

There’s always something for everyone at Christmas markets, too, like decoration and present stalls, activities such as ice skating, and plenty of food and drink.

We’ve included the top Christmas markets in the UK and given them 'best for' ratings. So, if you’re looking for amazing food, for example, or the best ice skating rink, you'll know where to go.

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We’ve also taken into careful consideration Forbes Advisor’s most Christmassy destination categories: Christmas shopping opportunity, spend on Christmas lights and decorations, Christmas market reviews, and the likelihood of a white Christmas.

So without further ado, here’s how to have a simply wonderful Christmas market time this winter.

For more Christmas activities, take a look at the best pantomimes, best Christmas experience gifts, and the best West End shows to see this winter.

Best Christmas markets at a glance:

The best Christmas markets in the UK

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for traditional German food

Birmingham Christmas market dates: 2nd Nov 2023 – 24th Dec 2023

'Frankfurt style' Christmas market at Chamberlain square at dusk
Allan Baxter/ Getty Images Allan Baxter/ Getty Images

If you can’t get to Germany or Austria this winter, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market is the next best thing: it’s the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. It has stalls of delicious food such as pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts and roasted almonds, which can be washed down with a pint of Glühwein.

Fancy making your own Glühwein? Check out this BBC Good Food Glühwein recipe

Find out more about Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas market at The BFCM

Edinburgh Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for a white Christmas

Edinburgh Christmas market dates: 24th Nov 2023 to 3rd Jan 2024

Edinburgh, Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Travelpix Ltd/ Getty Images Travelpix Ltd/ Getty Images

Edinburgh Christmas market is back this year and it’s bigger than ever. This winter, the market will span the traditional locations in Princes Street Gardens and The Mound, as well as to new parts of the city centre. Expect arts and crafts as well as food and drink stalls with homegrown Scottish produce, and we’re hopeful the northern city will deliver us a white Christmas.

Thinking of booking a weekend away in Edinburgh this winter? Prices start from £129 at Wowcher

Read what people have said about Edinburgh Christmas Market on Tripadvisor

Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Best UK Christmas market for date night

Nottingham Christmas market dates: 15th Nov 2023 to 31st Dec 2023

The dominant building overlooking the square is the Nottingham Council House, with a Christmas stall beneath
Getty Images/ Flavio Vallenari Getty Images/ Flavio Vallenari

If you need something to fill the void Goose Fair leaves town (if you know, you know), head into the centre for Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland. Located on Old Market Square, this Christmas market has everything from fairground rides to cosy bars, and delicious food to Christmas decoration stalls.

Read what people have said about Nottingham Winter Wonderland on Tripadvisor

London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Best UK Christmas market for ice skating

London Christmas market dates: 17th Nov 2023 to 1st Jan 2023

Christmas themed funfair in Hyde Park with attraction rides and a Christmas market.
Getty Images/ Christopher Heil Getty Images/ Christopher Heil

Soon we'll be singing Happy Xmas (summer is over)! When the photos start rolling in on social media from couples and groups of friends at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, you know Christmas is around the corner.

This huge Christmas market boasts an ice-skating rink, an ice kingdom, a giant wheel amongst other rides, an ice slide, an ice sculpting workshop, and plenty of food and drink stalls.

Buy London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland tickets from £5 at See Tickets

London is home to plenty of exciting things to do this Christmas. Be sure to take a look at the best London experience gifts, top London Christmas shows, and London Christmas events.

Manchester Christmas markets

Best UK Christmas market for variety

Manchester Christmas market dates: 11th Nov 2023 to 22nd Dec 2023

Christmas Market on Albert Square in front of the Town Hall, Manchester, England.
benedek/ Getty Images benedek/ Getty Images

The Manchester Christmas markets span almost the entirety of Manchester city centre, from Victoria to Deansgate, and it includes The Winter Gardens in Piccadilly Gardens. But if you’ve been to Manchester, you’ll know that the city is walkable, and with a German hotdog and mulled wine in hand, you’ll have plenty of fuel to see the whole city.

The Christmas markets run from the 11th November to 22nd December, however The Winter Gardens stay open a little later, until the 3rd January 2024. There’s plenty of bars, food stalls and craft sellers, plus a stage with live music and DJs.

Thinking of booking an overnight stay in Manchester this winter? Check out Manchester Christmas market deals at Wowcher

Bath Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for stepping back in time

Bath Christmas market dates: 23rd Nov 2023 to 10th Dec 2023

Aerial view of Christmas market in historical Bath from Bath Abbey at dusk
Allan Baxter/ Getty Images Allan Baxter/ Getty Images

It’s the fairytale of Bath this winter as the city celebrates its 21st year of hosting a Christmas market. Bath is known for its beautiful Abbey, stunning architecture and old-worldly feel, and during Christmas, you’ll truly feel transported back in time.

Book an overnight stay in Bath from £259.95 £99 at Wowcher

Find out more about Bath Christmas market at Bath Christmas Market

Newcastle Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for atmosphere

Newcastle Christmas market dates: 18th Nov 2023 to 24th Dec 2023

A small group of young friends have fun and carry each other on their backs whilst walking through the Xmas market in Newcastle upon Tyne.
SolStock/ Getty Images SolStock/ Getty Images

Newcastle Christmas market is fantastic for the whole family: it brings together local vendors and breweries with the farmer’s market, and there’s a Santa’s Grotto where Santa Claus will make a very special appearance after travelling all the way from the North Pole.

Thinking of booking an overnight stay in Newcastle this winter? Book an overnight stay from £69 at Wowcher

Padstow Christmas Festival

Best UK Christmas market for food

Padstow Christmas market dates: 7th Dec 2023 to 10th Dec 2023

Christmas lights in Padstow
Getty Images/ RMAX Getty Images/ RMAX

This Padstow Christmas Festival may just be on for a few days, but it sure does pack a lot in. Based on previous years, you can expect celebrity guests like Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw, cooking demonstrations, a fantastic food market, and a brilliant firework display.

Find out more about Padstow Christmas Festival at Padstow Christmas Festival

Belfast Continental Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for the whole family

Belfast Christmas market dates: 18th Nov 2023 to 22nd Dec 2023

Belfast City Hall at night
Roger Bradley/ Getty Images Roger Bradley/ Getty Images

Located at Donegall Square in Belfast, this continental Christmas market has something for everyone (and we mean everyone). The food court is home to cuisines from 32 nationalities from around the world, so expect everything from crêpes and pancakes to ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers.

There’s also plenty to keep the kids entertained, like a vintage helter-skelter, a Santa train, an Olaf ride and more.

Fancy making your own crêpes? Here’s how to make crêpes with BBC Good Food

If you’re travelling to the Northern Irish city, why not make a few days of it? Book a central Belfast Christmas market stay for just £89 at Wowcher or check out cheap flights at Expedia.

Cardiff Christmas market

Best UK Christmas market for size

Cardiff Christmas market dates: 9th Nov 2023 to 23rd Dec 2023

Cardiff Civic Centre, City Hall at Christmas.
Getty Images/ David Williams Getty Images/ David Williams

Cardiff has been running a successful Christmas market for over 30 years. Every time the festive season rolls around, the Welsh streets are packed with nearly 200 stalls, all showcasing the work of independent craftspeople and businesses. There's also a Winter Wonderland area with rides, games and a big wheel, and the fabulous Christmas in Bute Park light trail, which leaves you feeling transported to another world.

Shop events in Bute Park at See Tickets. Or, book an overnight stay in Cardiff from £144 £99 at Wowcher.

How to travel to Christmas markets on a budget

best christmas markets uk and europe
Prague's Christmas market is a must-visit. Getty / Westend61

Now that you've picked the Christmas market of your winter wonderland dreams from the list above, you'll need to figure out how to get there. Driving is always an option, but with the cost of petrol and potential traffic jams, taking public transport is possibly the simplest way to get to your destination.

How to get cheap train tickets

Unlike Chris Rea, we have no desire to sit in traffic. So we’re taking public transport to a Christmas market this year, primarily trains.

Train operators offer timetables 12 weeks in advance, so it's best to book tickets as close to this 12 week window as possible.

Railcards are a fantastic way to save money on train tickets; they help you save up to ⅓ of the cost, with an average saving of £142 per year. There are Railcards for lots of different people, from the 16-25 Railcard and Senior Railcard, to Two Together Railcard and Disabled Persons Railcard.

For more top tips on how to travel on a budget, check out our how to get cheap train tickets article.

Buy a Railcard from £30 at Railcard

Buy train tickets at Trainline

How to get cheap coach tickets

Travelling by coach is one of the team’s favourite ways to get around the UK. It’s cheap, there’s a toilet, and hardly anyone travels by coach (probably because it adds time to your journey in comparison to taking the train) so you usually have two seats to yourself.

In our experience, Megabus is the cheapest coach company to use, especially if you’re booking tickets last minute. Megabus travels between over 90 intercity destinations across the UK, and there’s the option to reserve your seat, too, just like on a train.

Buy coach tickets at Megabus

Christmas market breaks

If you’re travelling from city to city for a Christmas market, you may want to consider an overnight stay. Plus, if you haven’t visited that city before, it’s a great way to pack in some sightseeing.

Wowcher and Airbnb are great places to look for overnight stays in your chosen city. Wowcher usually offers an overnight stay at a top four star hotel, plus breakfast, whereas with Airbnb, you can choose what kind of home you'd like for the night.

Check out Christmas market breaks 2023 at Wowcher

Book an overnight stay at Airbnb

If you’re planning on venturing further afield, for example to somewhere in Europe, and EasyJet offer Christmas market packages, too.

Shop Christmas market breaks at

Shop Christmas market breaks at EasyJet


For more fun things to do this winter, stay up to date with our Going Out section where we have the best Christmas light trails and the best pantomimes in the UK.