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Edinburgh Christmas market

10 of the most magical Christmas markets in the UK

Hot chocolate, twinkling grottoes, handmade gifts... you can’t beat a classic Christmas market. Check out our pick of the best outside of London

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Anna Bonet
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson
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There’s nothing more quintessentially Christmassy than a good ’ol festive market. Need to buy your mum a suitable stocking-filler? Christmas market. Fancy a boozy, mulled-wine-filled evening with your mates? Christmas market. Keen to show off your excellent (!) ice-skating skills? Christmas market.

The UK has an abundance of dazzling destinations that come alive with festive cheer once a year, glittering with everything from cosy grottoes and wholesome gift stalls to your favourite Christmas songs. We’re not just talking about London’s Christmas markets and Winter Wonderland, either (although they’re definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been). We’re talking about the cobbled streets of York and the majestic castle surroundings of Edinburgh. Don’t know where to start? Here is our pick of the best Christmas markets in the UK. Hey, if you’re lucky, you might even get a bit of snow. 

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Best Christmas markets in the UK

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Frankfurt Market, in the Brummie city centre, is one of the largest German Christmas markets held outside of Germany or Austria. How this came to be we’re not quite sure, but we’re glad it did because it’s pretty damn special. Taking place across Birmingham’s main squares, it’s the best place in Blighty to enjoy an authentic bratwurst, washed down with some gluhwein. Frohe weihnachten!

When: Nov 3-Dec 23

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Nottingham, Robin Hood’s famous stomping ground, transforms into a Christmas Winter Wonderland every festive season, featuring a glowing ice rink, a helter-skelter and snowy alpine ski lodges. There’s also a sparkling Christmas market, with around 70 wooden stalls surrounding a huge glittering Christmas tree. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your very own festive fairytale.

When: TBC

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The majority of what’s on offer at Cardiff’s Christmas market is made locally by small Welsh businesses, so when browsing the stalls here, expect to come across hand-stitched red dragons, wooden love spoons and cushions with the word ‘cwtch’ (there’s no exact translation, but it basically means a cuddle) on them. But there’s all your textbook Christmas market content in there too, including mulled wine, fairy lights and even a Winter Wonderland, complete with an ice rink, down the road.

When: Nov 10-Dec 23

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Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market

On the grounds of Winchester’s medieval cathedral sits more than 100 chalet-style stalls selling all of your festive favourites. Trees are illuminated with colourful lights and there’s even an open-air ice rink in the grand cathedral courtyard if you want to don your skates and do your best Torvill and Dean impression. You can’t get much more jolly than that.

When: Nov 18-Dec 22

Edinburgh Christmas Market

The Scottish capital is magical all year round, but a Yuletide visit is a must. Edinburgh’s Christmas markets take place at East Princes Street Gardens and are a spectacular setting to munch a hog roast and sip on hot cider. It’s pretty chilly up here come December, so you might even get a sprinkle of snow to make you feel extra Christmassy.

When: Nov 19-Jan 3

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