Category: Holiday Ideas

Top 10 UK Christmas Markets for a Festive Break

couple looking at Christmas tree outside

Visit one of the UK Christmas Markets and make a festive weekend of it

If the thought of spending hours trawling the internet or high street shops in search of that perfect Christmas gift fills you with dread, why not try something different this year? Growing in number year by year, Christmas markets are becoming increasing popular in the UK and they are the perfect way to find those unusual stocking fillers.

Whilst some traditional markets aren’t going ahead this year, there are still plenty of Christmas fairs, markets and activities to put the fun back into the festive season.

Put the magic back into shopping this Christmas

Our top 10 UK Christmas markets

Lincoln Christmas Market sits in poll position as it instigated the revival of the Christmas market some twenty six years ago and started as a German-style market. Much-loved, this famous Christmas market still has a strong German influence and takes place this year from the 2nd to the 5th December. The setting for the market is enchanting, amongst the cobbles of the cultural quarter of the city, in the medieval square between the impressive Gothic cathedral and Normal Castle. A true festive experience for the whole family with some 250 stalls to browse. See our selection of holiday cottages to rent in Lincolnshire and make a weekend of it.

Another of the country’s largest Christmas markets usually takes place in the beautiful City of Bath. Unfortunately the Christmas Market itself will not be taking place this year, but for anyone who fancies a bit of Christmas sparkle you will not be disappointed. From street entertainment, carol singing and Victorian carousel rides to artisan markets and traditional Christmas celebrations, there is something for all the family in the run up to Christmas in Bath. Find your perfect holiday cottage near Bath.

Night shot of Bath with river in the forefront

    Bath – a magical city for a pre-Christmas break

Whilst the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre is also not taking place this year, there is still plenty of festive fun to be had in this magical town. Enjoy the Winter Makers Market on 7th November, the Christmas Crafts Market on 20th to 21st November or the Cathedral Christmas Market on 25th to 27th November. We have a range of  holiday cottages in Suffolk, close to Bury St Edmunds.

With its strong German influence, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Fair will take place between 4th November and 23rd December so it is ideal for those who leave Christmas shopping until the last minute! Possibly one of the most popular Christmas markets in the country, it has a unique feel that perfectly combines a traditional quaint village theme with the hustle and bustle of the city. You may also like to visit the Festive Gift Fayre that will be held in the NEC between the 18th to 21st November – a popular place for buying unusual and affordable gifts. Both Warwickshire and The Cotswolds are within easy reach of Birmingham and are popular choices for a weekend break.

Lady holding nicely gift wrapped present

    You’re sure to pick up something extra special to give this Christmas

In the heart of the city centre, Bristol is another popular venue with over forty pretty chalet style stalls (plus five hundred shops!) brimming with German goodies including gifts, arts, crafts and culinary delights. The Bristol Christmas Market starts early on the 5th November this year and runs right through to 23rd December. Located in the Broadmead pedestrian shopping quarter, the pretty decorations light up the streets and make it a magical experience for the whole family with an ice skating rink and Santa’s Grotto for the children.

Fireworks going off in the night sky over Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh is a mecca for festive celebrations

The Edinburgh Christmas Market, running from 20th November to 2nd January, is bound to put the sparkle back into the festive season. Edinburgh is a mecca for festive celebrations, shopping and fine dining, and its Christmas markets make the festive season an extra special time to visit. The Highland Village Christmas Market in East Princes Street Gardens offers an eclectic mix of Scottish goodies from woollen hats to delightful delicacies. There really is something for everyone in Edinburgh this festive season! See our selection of cottages in and around Edinburgh and start planning your city break.

If you are staying in a holiday cottage in Wiltshire there is plenty to keep you entertained over the festive season. Get creative and make your own gifts or Christmas decorations in a Christmas Craft workshop or browse the independent shops for a range of locally made crafts and festive gifts. The hugely popular Salibury Christmas markets hope to return next year.

The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is not taking place this year, but if you are staying in a holiday cottage in Hampshire there is plenty to keep you busy during the festive season. Have breakfast with Santa at the Spinnaker Tower, watch Cinderlla at the pantomine at the New Royal Theatre in Portsmouth and even enjoy a festive paddle on the Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities.

Whilst the Medieval Christmas Fayre at Caerphilly in South Wales is also not taking place this year, Caerphilly are hosting a series of food and craft markets in the run up to Christmas in Bargoed, Blackwood, Caerphilly and Ystrad Mynach. With mouth watering food, craft stalls and funfair rides, there will be plenty to eat, buy and keep the family entertained. Browse our selection of holiday cottages in South Wales.

Skipton and the canal with boats on the water

    How about a cosy weekend breakaway before Christmas in Skipton?

Skipton, the gateway to the Dales, makes a fine setting for a Yuletide Festive and Christmas Market. Taking place on Sunday 5th and Sunday 12th December, why not treat yourself to a weekend away in a holiday cottage in the Yorkshire Dales and snap up one of the many winter discounts being offered. It is a perfect opportunity to write the Christmas cards, visit the Christmas Market, relax in front of a log fire and walk off some calories in preparation for the festive feast ahead!

There are numerous other large and small Christmas Markets taking place throughout the country so why not put the fun back into Christmas shopping and combine it with a break away to recharge your batteries before the Christmas madness begins.

Feet in Christmas knitted socks in front of roaring fire

Visit a Christmas market and make a weekend of it in a cosy cottage. The perfect start to the Festive Season.

If  you have visited a Christmas market that you could recommend, please leave your comments below.

12 thoughts on “Top 10 UK Christmas Markets for a Festive Break

  1. gill stovold

    The historic town of Ludlow annually hosts a superb Christmas Fayre. Set in it’s castle grounds, there are over 100 stalls selling seasonal gifts and craft-work. The event this year will be held on the weekend of 24 & 25 November.
    Ludlow is a glorious town, set within stunning Shropshire/Herefordshire border scenery. It’s architecture,together with interesting shops and superb eateries make it a great place to visit any time of the year.

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  2. Hollie

    I love to go to a Christmas market in the festive run up as it really starts Christmas for me and puts me in the festive mood. Leeds Castle in Kent is having a Christmas market this year on 24-25 November (2012) and will have stalls in a marquee where you can buy gifts, food, drink and stocking fillers. Have previously gone to the one at Rochester Cathedral but believe it is not on this year which is a shame. It is also worth looking out for your local farmers market during December as you can get some great local produce at the best of times but particularly so during the run up to Christmas. Lille is another a great place to visit before Christmas – really pretty and some great French delicacies to be had – under an hour and a half on Eurostar so ideal for those living or staying in London or Kent. Happy Christmas shopping 🙂

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  3. Jane Davies

    Stratford on Avon has late night markets with diverse food and craft stalls, every thursday in December. The town has some pretty Christmas lights, and a range of local shops also stay open – plus there are many lovely local restaurants. There is usually free parking for the Christmas markets too! This year the lights will be switched on by the Mayor on Thursday 22nd November at 4.30pm. All welcome!

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  4. MaryAnn Griffiths

    The pretty Victorian seaside town of Llandudno in North Wales is holding its Christmas Fayre from 15-18 November. Specialising in Welsh produce including meat products, vegetables, jams, cheeses and cakes and a variety of crafts this will be one of the more unusual markets of the season. There is also the added attraction of the splendid Victorian tram ride to the top of Orme’s Head too. I do love a Victorian Christmas!

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  5. Debbie

    Norwich is a great city to visit in the run up to Christmas with plenty of markets happening weekdays as well as weekends. Visit Norwich website have pulled together a list of some of them. There’s a Christmas Farmers market at The Forum, 22 November for all those scrummy food goodies; The Assembly House Christmas Fair on 24/25 November, held amongst beautiful Georgian Architecture; The Christmas Craft Fair at Castle Mall, 3 – 23 December has lots of locally produced crafts and finally I love the sound of this one, The Craft Fair and Enchanted Evening at Norwich Castle on 7 December. “Celebrate the magic of winter this Christmas as we transform the Castle Keep into an atmospheric winter woodland scene. For the first time ever, see live owls in the Keep. Families can help us create a fabulous winter wonderland, and make your own birds to fly on a giant zip wire. Listen to storytelling under the tree, and marvel at our magician’s tricks.”

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  6. Emma

    Ulverston have their Dickensian Christmas Festival 24th/25th November 2012, wonderful day out for all the family with children’s rides and traditional fairground, Christmas market, lots of free music and entertainment. The atmosphere is lovely and the costumes fabulous. A real treat.

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  7. Karen Marshallsay

    Upottery has their village Christmas Market in the village hall on 1st December if you want a real village event. There is also Blackborough Christmas Artisan Market on 16th November which will have some fabulous one off gifts all made by local people in and around the Blackdown Hills..
    Not a Christmas market but Sidmouth late night shopping evening always gets me in the Christmas spirit……great shops with carol singers, hog roast, warm chestnuts, mulled wine and lots of “tasters”, a great atmosphere. This is on Friday 7th December this year.
    I’m sure there are many more around Devon but these are all local to us in Upottery, Honiton.

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  8. Jean Baylis

    Visit Forester’s and Keeper’s Cottages for a pre-Christmas short break and take a lovely stroll around Crane Lake to a 16 day Christmas Market in the beautiful forest setting of Moors Valley Country Park. Choose from a range of locally sourced food and gifts for those special treats, original present ideas and stocking fillers. If you intend to buy more than you can carry, you may prefer to drive the short distance and park in the forest, you never know, you may share the car park with a certain sleigh and reindeer! See the link for Moors Valley Country Park on the home page of our website http://www.foresterscottages.co.uk we offer 4/5* home from home cottages with short break offers and discounts for couples. Full central heating, gas, electricity, linen, towels, free wi-fi and lots of start off essentials are included, along with a Warm Welcome.

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  9. Sonia Kempsey

    High in the Cumbrian North Pennines in Alston, you can enjoy a weekend full of fine crafts, arts, food & music at its Annual Craft Fair on 25th-26th and 27th November. There you can buy a wide range of Christmas gifts lovingly made by craftsmen and designers who live in the North Pennines, with everything from pottery to knitwear and jewellery to artwork as well a fresh locally produced food and drink. There is always a lively and vibrant atmosphere at the Craft Fair with delicious food served in the Chaos Café and talented local musicians providing an excellent backdrop of live music throughout the weekend. You can browse Alston’s unique speciality shops for further Christmas inspiration, and grab a coffee or bite to eat when you need warming up in one of the welcoming cafes or pubs. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit!

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