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Christmas markets: Your guide to the UK’s best Christmas markets

There’s nothing to get you in the festive mood quite like the magical lights of Christmas markets.

Thankfully they’re back this year and if you’re wondering where and when, we’ve got everything you need to know in our pick of UK Christmas markets 2021.

Southbank Winter Festival, London

4 November – 24 December 2021

The popular Winter Market returns to London’s Southbank Centre alongside a range of family shows and festive fun on the banks of the River Thames.

All along the South Bank are strings of decorations and cute illuminated wooden cabins selling Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional, as well as mince pies, spiced cider and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate.

Don’t forget to check out the fantastic performances available at the Southbank Centre, from Christmas concerts and choir performances to a children’s retelling of Black Beauty and circus entertainment with Circus 1903.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market

4 November – 23 December 2021

As the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria, it is the focus of festivities in Birmingham each year and stands as a firm favourite on the cities calendar.

While Carollers sing and whirl you away with traditional festive songs and jazz music, relish in the deliciousness on offer like the German Bratwurst and Brezel, chocolatey crepes to sweeten your palette, and mulled wine or German beer to complete the night.

Manchester Christmas Markets

12 November – 22 December 2021

Since 1998 Manchester’s markets have been attracting thousands of visitors to the city centre each year, with more than 300 festive stalls and chalets across the city centre.

Follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, across locations such as Albert Square and Cathedral Gardens, tempting you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, and amazing food and drink.

European and local producers offer everything you could imagine, and don’t miss out on the traditional bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast.

Cardiff Christmas Market

11 November – 23 December 2021

The Cardiff Christmas Market will return to the pedestrianised streets of Cardiff city centre and feature a range of exhibitors.

Stroll through St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes to see a plethora of traders and pick up some unique gifts for friends and family.

Don’t forget to spoil yourself with the local crafts and produce on either too!

Christmas at Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire

13 November – 23 December 2021

Throughout the Christmas season Waddesdon Manor throw several festive events to get you in the Christmas spirit, including a Christmas Fair with over 70 hand selected artisan stalls selling festive décor, great gifts, and tasty food.

Also, the ground’s gardens will bring the landscape to life with a sparkly after dark light display.

St Nicholas Christmas Fair, York

18 November – 23 December 2021

An array of local businesses, handmade gifts and seasonal treats will be available in one of the 68 festive alpine chalets across Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square.

York will also be decorated once again with lights, creating the perfect backdrop for your Christmas market experience.

THOR’S tipi will be back for its sixth year on Parliament Street serving traditional ‘Winter Warmers,’ such as mulled wine & luxury hot chocolate, all in a twinkly, Christmas style tipi with real log fire.

To top it off, King’s Square will host the much-loved Vintage Carousel throughout the festive season.

Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market

18 November – 18 December 2021

Winding lanes, Bavarian-style chalets, local traders and live entertainment fills the Exeter Cathedral and its surroundings with that favourite festive feeling.

The market is in the heart of the city, surrounding the landmark cathedral.

There will be a line-up of carol services, concerts, events and tours, amongst the local craftspeople and traders selling unique gifts and decorations, as well as global cuisine and festive treats.

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

19 November – 22 December 2021

Recognised as one of the best in Europe, renowned for its unique location, and handpicked high-quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets and attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.

The pretty wooden chalets are situated in the Cathedral’s historic Inner Close surrounding an ice rink.

Christmas Market at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

19 November – 19 December 2021

Blenheim Palace’s Great Court will be transformed into a seasonal market, with traditional wooden chalets full of festive treats from over 50 designer-makers and artisan food and drink producers.

Filled with a variety gifts to tick off of your Christmas list and tempting treats to taste and take home, it’s the perfect addition to a Christmas day out at Blenheim Palace.

Belfast Christmas Market

20 November – 23 December 2021

This year the food court at the market with bench style seating makes a welcome return, as does the vintage Helter Skelter, offering stunning views right across the market, and the much-loved carousel.

Support for local food and craft has increased with a number of St George’s Market traders joining in the festive fun. Some local favourites will also be returning including Pappas Minerals and Tapitas, Rossi’s Ice Cream and the incredible social enterprise Outside In who will be donning their tinsel and Santa hats to help the homeless.

As well as even more local flavour, the Market still offers something a little bit different with 32 nationalities from all over the world bringing all sorts of unusual foods and gift ideas: crêpes from France, Dutch pancakes, Belgian chocolates, an exotic selection of ostrich, wild boar and crocodile burgers, giant bratwurst from the iconic Schwenkegrill, Spanish paella and sweets from Italy.

Glasgow Christmas Markets

21 November – 23 December 2021

Glasgow’s beloved annual festive market returns to St Enoch Square this year.

Browse the traditional festival chalets festooned with goods from traders around the globe and Scotland, as well as stalla serving piping-hot food and drink.

Christmas Fair and Fine Food Market, Burghley

25 – 28 November 2021

England’s greatest Elizabethan house hosts a luxury gift fair and seasonal food market, all in a picture postcard setting with the magnificent Tudor house as a backdrop.

The Christmas event at Burghley usually features more than 100 exhibitors with festive chalets and stalls spread across a larger area to give visitors more space and choice.

As well as the heated marquees packed with Christmas ideas, there will also be seasonally decorated log-cabin type stalls.

Burghley’s popular pop-up Christmas Shop will be open during the event, while Burghley’s Orangery Restaurant has festive menus, including a popular Christmas Afternoon Tea.

Swansea Christmas Market

26 November – 21 December 2021

The popular Swansea Christmas Market returns to Swansea city centre this year.

Enjoy a range of traditional trade stalls, crafts and street food vendors all selling festive wares this holiday season.

Browse a brilliant selection of unique gifts, tempting treats and beautiful decorations for yourself, or your loved ones and then stop for a post-shop mulled wine in their festive bar area.

Pensthorpe’s Christmas Market, Norwich

28 November 2021

This popular Christmas market is back in Pensthorpe’s magical courtyard, and is attended by the region’s best food and drink suppliers, artists, and craft makers.

The market is the perfect spot to escape the bustling high streets at Christmas time and finish your festive shopping right by the beautiful national park.

Discover bespoke creations, creative gift ideas and delicious treats made from boutique producers, many of whom are from the local area.

Lincoln Christmas Market

2-5 December 2021

Lincoln’s German-inspired Christmas market was among the first of its type in the UK and has grown to become one of the largest.

One of the oldest and most popular markets around, market stalls line the streets around the city’s stunning Cathedral, whilst twinkling lights lead visitors through Castle Square to Victorian themed traders selling a wide range of festive food and drinks alongside handmade crafts and stocking fillers.

Victorian Christmas Fayre, Worcester

2 – 23 December 2021

The traditional Victorian Fayre will be back from December 2 to 5, with unique traders in place across the city centre alongside music and street entertainers.

For the first time, there will also be a month-long yule market in the city centre, with 30 wooden chalets in place– all dressed and lit to add to the festive atmosphere, bringing a touch of Bavaria to Worcester’s own seasonal traditions.

The special Christmas market stalls will be in place from December 2 to 23.

Haverfordwest Christmas Farmers’ Market, Pembrokeshire

3, 10, 17 and 23 December 2021

This is the Christmas market for all your fresh produce, festive trimmings and gift ideas this year.

Here, you’ll find local producers and artisan food products that are not found anywhere else.

Hotwalls Studios Christmas Market, Old Portsmouth

4 – 5 December 2021

Open Studios featuring Hotwalls artists, plus loads more, including market traders on the parade ground, The Traders Keep in the Square Tower, live music and festive refreshments.

The Hotwalls Studios make up Portsmouth’s exciting creative quarter, with 13 studios built inside a famed heritage location.

Wrapped Up Food and Gift Christmas Fair, Hampshire

5 December 2021

This festive fair will be held at The Lights Theatre in Hampshire, and include a wide range of gift, craft and food stalls, alongside seasonal drinks and food offerings to keep you going through your Christmas shopping list.

Plus, it is a free and family friendly event.

Beverley Festival of Christmas, East Yorkshire

12 December 2021

The hugely popular Beverley Festival of Christmas is set to return to the cobbled streets of this medieval minster town.

Over the years the event has grown from a small market to one of the largest Christmas Festivals of its kind in the UK.

At its heart are traditional Victorian Christmas Markets selling everything from festive food and drink to arts and crafts.

The historic market town is the perfect setting for the traditional Victorian fairground, while the streets come alive with live music, dancing, Victorian street entertainers and last, but by no means least, Santa on his sleigh drawn through the town by reindeer in the Christmas Parade.

Carol singers, hot roast chestnuts, mulled wine and mince pies complete the picture-perfect Christmas scene.

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