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Group of friends enjoying a Christmas market

2018 Christmas Markets: where to go in the UK, when

Nothing says Christmas quite like a festive market, and there are some amazing Christmas markets happening all over the UK this winter. Wrap up warm, book a coach ticket to save you driving (two words: mulled wine) and hotfoot it to these destinations ASAP. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

Birmingham German Christmas Market, until 23 December


Birmingham’s Frankfurt-style festive market is huge – the city’s offering is the biggest outdoor Christmas market in the UK, and the largest German market outside Germany and Austria. It all happens in Victoria Square and along New Street, and there’s a new Christmas market and grotto inside Birmingham Cathedral this year. Plus, the floating Christmas market is one not to miss as this city has more canals than Venice, after all.

 

Leeds Christkindlmarkt, until 22 December


Another traditional German affair, Leeds Christmas market is one of the best out there for kids. Millennium Square will once again be filled with more than 40 traditionally decorated wooden chalets selling everything from handmade decorations to German food, and there’ll be children’s rides and a weekly kids’ show for younger visitors. Plus, Santa will be in residence during breakfast at the Alp Chalet on weekend mornings, so the kids can get their Christmas requests in to the big man himself.

 

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Edinburgh Christmas Market, until 5 January 2019


Edinburgh’s Christmas market takes over East Princes Street Gardens again this year, and was voted the best Christmas market in the UK for 2018. Shop for Christmas gifts, stop for a hot toddy at the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar on the Mound, and test your balance at the ice rink off George Street. While you’re in town, stay for New Year’s Eve if you can – Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations are epic.

 

London Christmas Markets, until 6 January 2019


London does Christmas markets like they’re going out of fashion, but Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is probably the most famous of the capital’s Christmas offerings. It’s got the UK’s biggest ice rink, an ice bar, and some rather cool karaoke huts. But if you’re mostly in it for the food, try Southbank Winter Festival instead. It runs until 27 December along the river by the London Eye, and the street food stalls are always first-rate.

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Cardiff Christmas Market, until 23 December


Hand-crafted creations are the focus of Cardiff’s Christmas market, which spills out on the streets of St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes. There are an impressive 200-odd stalls selling everything from handmade jewellery to hand-carved wooden gifts and hand-stitched quilts, with a focus on local artisans and indie businesses. You can even commission something bespoke if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind Christmas present.

Manchester Christmas Market, until 23 Dec


Head straight to Manchester this season for all the Glühwein and goulash you can manage. The Christmas market spreads right across the city centre, from the arts and crafts market on Exchange Street to the French Christmas market on King Street and the German market in St Ann’s Square. There are hundreds of stalls with a distinctly European vibe, and a free Metroshuttle bus you can hop on and off to get to key parts of the city.

 

Get to any (or all!) of the above with us, using our journey planner at the top of the page.