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Top UK Christmas markets for 2021

With wall-to-wall seasonal traders, twinkling fairly lights and mulled wine aplenty, Christmas markets are a brilliant way to get into the festive spirit in the run-up to 25 December. And in the UK, we’ve got no end of amazing Christmas markets in cities up and down the country – from traditional affairs to more modern markets. After being cancelled last year, lots of markets are back with a bang in 2021. We’ve rounded up the very best of the best, from Bournemouth all the way up to Glasgow, so you can get that Christmas shopping sorted.

Sheffield Christmas Market

Where: Fargate and Town Hall Square, in the city centre.

When: Selected days of the week from 12 November to Christmas Eve.

What: Sheffield Christmas market is run by a small independent company and celebrates all things Sheffield, with more than 80% of traders hailing from the local area. It was cancelled last year but it’s back for 2021 with local traders selling their wares in more than 50 log cabins. There’s also a cosy Alpine Bar and loads of foodie treats like traditional German sausages, chimney cakes and churros. It’s free to enter and there’s a Santa’s grotto if you’ve got your heart set on seeing the big man in red.

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Bristol Christmas Market

Where: Broadmead, Bristol’s shopping quarter.

When: From 5 November to 23 December.

What: Beneath the twinkling lights of a giant Christmas tree in the city centre, Bristol’s Christmas Market lines up more than 40 stalls where you can find the perfect gift for that hard-to-please person on your list. Plus, because it’s in the city’s shopping quarter you’ve got lots more Christmas shopping options right on your doorstep. When you’re done splashing the cash, relax in the Jäger Barn Bar or book a private igloo pod for you and your friends. After all that shopping, you’ve earned it.

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Glasgow Christmas Market

Where: St Enoch Square.

When: 21 November to 23 December.

What: Glasgow Christmas Market is usually spread across St Enoch Square and George’s Square, but the latter has been cancelled this year. That means St Enoch Square will play host to many of the usual festive traders and foodie treats that both markets are famous for. On the subject of food, this one is a must-visit if you’re craving a culinary adventure. There’s everything from Thai noodles to Belgian waffles, Dutch pancakes and German bratwurst, and you can wash it all down with a mug of good old-fashioned gluhwein.

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London Christmas Markets

Where: literallyall over the capital.

When: various dates from 17 November to 2 January.

What: You’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas markets in London this year. All the big-name markets are back, so you can choose an area of the city to focus on, or market-hop between them. There’s a massive market at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which also has the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink – so if you fancy a skate you can do both in one hit. Leicester Square hosts its own Christmas market, there’s another on the South Bank where you can ride the London Eye, and Christmas By The River – one of the prettiest markets you’ll find – is back by the water’s edge at London Bridge.

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Manchester Christmas Markets

Where: six sites across the city.

When: 12 November until 22 December.

What: Manchester’s Christmas market is one of the UK’s biggest, so much so that it’s spread across six city centre squares this year. St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street and King Street have a huge range of stalls with a foodie focus, while Market Street is great for handmade finds and Cathedral Gardens is the family-oriented area. There’s an ice rink here, and loads of light sculptures all over the city. The markets run alongside The Winter Gardens in Piccadilly Gardens, which is the hub of all things Christmas and runs until January 3rd.

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Bournemouth Christmas Market

Where: Bournemouth town centre – the Alpine Bar is in Bournemouth Square, next to the Obscura Café.

When: From 19 November to 2 January.

What: Fancy a Christmas market on the coast? Then get yourself down to Bournemouth’s Christmas market. Alongside an Alpine market bustling with traders and foodies, there’s a magical Christmas tree wonderland that lines up more than 100 twinkling trees all the way down to the seafront. And on top of that there’s a two-story Alpine lodge where you can kick back with a mulled cider, a Stein of Beer, or a steaming mug of hot choc. Wonderful.

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