It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and one of the best bits about it – a good old Christmas market.
Mulled wine, handmade gifts and festive cheer are just some of the top reasons to grab your hat and scarf and wrap up warm for a cosy festive night of fun.
We’ve all heard of the favourites such as Bath Christmas Market and the dazzling delights in London. But there are a few hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
So, where should you head this year to soak up the festivities? Take a look at some of our top picks of the best Christmas markets in the UK…
Victorian Christmas Market, Stratford-upon-Avon
For a festive market with a twist, head to Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. The Victorian Christmas Market serves up a winter wonderland with a slight difference – a historical theme. Stallholders don traditional clothing to give it that authentic feel. Plus, there’s a traditional funfair, perfect for keeping the kids occupied.
With over 300 stalls, there’s something for everyone. So, grab a mulled wine and mince pie, and shop arts, crafts, gifts and seasonal trinkets under twinkling Christmas lights.
Dates: 8-11 December
Padstow Christmas Festival, Cornwall
After a few years away, Padstow Christmas Festival is back with its weekend of festive fun and foodie delights. This is the place to go if you’re looking for some Christmas treats for the dinner table this year. The festival focuses on – you guessed it – food, and it’s backed by big names in the business, such as Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth.
You will find everything from West Country ales to delicious cheese for a scrummy Christmas day feast. There are even demonstrations on how to cook popular festive favourites. So, you won’t have to worry about a dry turkey on the big day.
Dates: 1-4 December
Frost Fayre, Glastonbury
Glastonbury in Somerset offers a magical feel to Christmas with its annual Frost Fayre – another of the UK’s best Christmas markets. The town comes alive with local suppliers and artisans showcasing their wares. Plus, there’s plenty of food and drink to enjoy at the farmer’s market.
A visit to the town at Christmas wouldn’t be complete without fairies and elves, and you may just spot some as you shop. Santa and his helper may also make an appearance just in time for the kids to share their Xmas list.
Date: 26 November
Nottingham Winter Wonderland, Nottinghamshire
Rivalling other big city festivities is Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland. The city is kitted out in full Christmas gear from its market stalls for the perfect gift – to the chalet bars ready to welcome you for a bite or eat. Don’t forget to wrap up warm if you’re heading to the Ice Bar, it’s certainly a must-see experience.
Alongside gifts and food, grab your skates and head to the brand-new Sky Skate. This elevated terrace offers views above the market while you glide on by. The ice rink is also back, and it’s bigger than before!
Dates: 15 November – 31 December
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, Hampshire
With over 100 chalet-style stalls sitting within the grounds of the city’s cathedral, this market is a truly magical experience for all ages. Every year sees handmade gifts, local food and drink and festive experiences inspired by the famous German markets.
As you wander the stalls, trees are illuminated with beautiful lights, and the aroma of mulled wine fills the air. In the courtyard, there’s also an ice rink, so if you’re feeling brave, head to the rink and show off your skills.
This market is loved by people far and wide, that’s why it’s often recognised as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Dates: 18 November – 22 December
Saundersfoot Coastal Christmas, Wales
Throughout December, Saundersfoot in Wales is home to festive events and activities perfect for the whole family. A variety of cheerful cabins dot the streets with gifts and goodies, ideal for pressies. Why not join extra special events such as the Lantern Parade, Tunnel Lights and the impressive firework display.
Staying for New Year celebrations? Head to the beach on New Year’s day for the annual sea swim – it’ll certainly shake off the previous night’s indulgences!
Saundersfoot is one of the best places to enjoy a magical Christmas, and you’re right by the seaside too. What’s not to love?
Dates: 2 December – 1 January
Plymouth Christmas Market, Devon
On Plymouth’s Piazza, you’ll find a unique and vibrant celebration of the festive season at its Christmas Market throughout December. The area is packed with Devon artisan stalls, all with a range of gifts, goodies and treats perfect for presents.
A selection of live music acts entertain the crowds, so get in the festive spirit and sing along to your favourites. Then grab a mulled wine to warm the cockles at the open-air bar and soak up the atmosphere of the season.
Dates: 1 – 18 December
Yew Tree Barn Christmas Market, The Lake District
For a charming Christmas market experience, a visit to the Lake District is a must. This quaint festive event is in the hamlet of Low Newton in Cumbria and welcomes visitors to sample local artisans, makers and stallholders from the area.
Live music from pianists and jazz musicians provides festive cheer throughout the day. There’s also delicious food and drinks from local vendors. Entry is £4 for adults, and kids go free, with a portion of proceeds going back to community interests.
Dates: 2-4 December
Book a Christmas market cottage break with kate & tom’s
Christmas markets are a great time to celebrate the season with loved ones. There are hundreds of festive events throughout England and Wales, so you’re spoilt for choice when planning a Christmas break. If you want to make the festive period even more special, why not book a cottage break close to your favourite market?
At kate & tom’s, we have a beautiful selection of Christmas holiday cottages, perfect for visiting the best Christmas markets in the UK. Browse our collection and pick your own winter wonderland.