The top 5 UK Christmas markets to visit in 2018
1. Manchester Christmas markets, 9 November to 22 December
With almost 300 stalls spread across 10 different zones, Manchester Christmas Market is easily one of the biggest in the UK. It opens on 9 November and runs all the way through to 22 December, with the hub of the action – Albert Square – opening for one extra day on 23 December.
The market itself has a European theme, so you can pick up lots of one-of-a-kind gifts you won’t find on the high street, like hand-crafted jewellery and wooden trinkets. Food-wise, you can expect everything from traditional German bratwurst and giant Belgian waffles, to hearty hog roasts and flavoured mulled wines.
The market also has The Rink at Cathedral Gardens, which runs all the way through to 13 January. It’s open every day apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and it’s where you’ll find most of the family-friendly activities.
2. Edinburgh Christmas markets, 16 November to 5 January
Edinburgh’s European Christmas Market opens for six weeks over the festive period, and completely takes over East Princes Street Gardens in the heart of the city. Crafters, artists and foodies set up shop here from 10:00 until 22:00, in one of Scotland’s longest-running markets.
The circular ice rink at St Andrews Square is close by, as is Santa Land – the family-friendly area – which is also home to a children’s market.
You can also enjoy Light Night which is a free event which encapsulates the true spirit of the festive season. Choirs from across Scotland will also perform at the event on 18 November, with the Christmas Tree switch-on also taking place.
3. London Christmas markets – various dates
When it comes to Christmas markets in London, you’re spoilt for choice this year. On the other side of the Thames there’s another market pulling out all the stops this year at the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival, which opens Mid November and runs until just after Christmas. Plus, there’s a huge market at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, with more than 200 stalls. This one’s open from 22 November to 6 January, and entry into the park is free. If you’re planning a visit, read our guide to all of Winter Wonderland’s best bits.
4. Liverpool Christmas Market, 16 November to 23 December
Liverpool’s Christmas Market will be open to all on Friday 16 November and will be once again outside St George's Plateau outside St George's Hall on Lime Street. You'll be treated to over 40 traditional festive cabins creating that perfect Christmas feeling.
New for this year, there will be a Windmill Bar serving traditional beers and other fancy festive drinks.
5. Birmingham Christmas Market, 15 November to 23 December
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market has been running for more than 15 years and is now the biggest of its kind outside of Germany or Austria. Around 180 stalls will take over Victoria Square and New Street.
As well as Christmas gifts and decorations like hand-crafted wooden toys and delicate baubles, there’s plenty of traditional German food and drink on offer. That means pretzels, schnitzels, stollen and Glühwein are all on the menu at the various stalls, which close every day at 21:00.
If you’re visiting for the day, pay a visit to Birmingham’s Christmas Craft Market while you’re here. It’s over in Centenary Square and it’s packed with one-off creations.
Book your megabus trip to Birmingham. And take a look at all our Christmas ticket options.