Originating in Germany, Christmas markets are now a staple Christmas tradition across the world, growing in popularity every year. There’s nothing quite like strolling through stalls full of quirky crafts and gifts, sampling festive food, sipping mulled wine and ice skating to get you in the Christmas spirit.
If you’re looking for a festive day out or need to pick up presents for hard-to-buy-for family members, here are the best favourite Christmas markets across the UK and Europe, as judged by us.
Christmas markets in the UK
- Bath’s Christmas Market
- Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Edinburgh’s Christmas Market
- Manchester’s Christmas Market
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Bath’s Christmas Market
Dates: 28th November – 15th December
Located in the centre of Bath, each chalet contains a number of locally sourced artisan products, including personalised presents, handcrafted jewellery and a selection of unique festive-themed products and decorations.
Food and drink stalls are also scattered throughout the cobbled streets, providing a constant smell of mulled wine and mince pies – perfect on a cold winter day.
The market sits at the foot of Bath Abbey, which is covered in hundreds of sparkling Christmas lights – it couldn’t be a more picturesque day out.
Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
Dates: 7th November – 23rd December
Widely known as the German market, the Frankfurt Christmas market is an annual outdoor extravaganza held in the centre of Birmingham every year since 2001.
Known as the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria, its stalls line the streets for almost seven weeks, which include traditional German festive treats like Bratwursts, Stollen and Pretzels, not to mention the numerous bars where a stein of beer is a must have.
Back by popular demand, an ice rink is set to return to this city in the West Midlands this year as well, to coincide with the market. There are a number of other Christmas markets scattered around Birmingham, so if you want to get into the festive spirit, it’s one of the best cities to visit.
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market
Dates: 16th November – 4th January
Showcasing local business and talent, the romantic market creates a personal experience for each visitor with the best shopping and attractions Edinburgh has to offer, including Santa’s Grotto, an oval ice rink and a ferris wheel with remarkable views across the capital.
Another unmissable festive event is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay; no Scottish winter is complete without watching the torchlight procession pass through the city’s old town, followed by the infamous Hogmanay street party and fireworks display on New Year’s eve.
Manchester’s Christmas Market
Dates: 8th November – 22nd December
Taking place in Albert Square, the heart of Manchester, this Christmas market is the biggest festive event in the city, hosting a bundle of food, gift and craft stalls from over 300 traders. Expanding each year, the market will fill Piccadilly Gardens for the first time in 2019, along with rows of stalls up Market Street into the main square.
With the city centre turning into a hub for family-friendly festivities, the city hosts several attractions coinciding with the market, including a skating rink and ice village. It’s the second year the village has been a part of the celebrations, this year themed with mystical beasts and royal regalia. An ice bar, Santa’s grotto and incredible ice sculptures will also feature, making this Christmas market an experience like no other.
If you’re in the north and looking for a festive day out, the Manchester Christmas market will be sure to surpass all of your expectations.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Dates: 21st November – 5th January
Perfect for all ages, the free-to-enter event has a number of attractions for families, including rides, live shows and of course, the UK’s largest open-air ice rink. For those aged 18 and above, multiple German beer tents, karaoke stations and even an ice bar can all be found in the park.
The popular event gets bigger each year, with multiple new attractions every festive period. This year, visitors can enjoy the world’s tallest transportable Observation Wheel, a number of new shows and an incredible new programme of comics at the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club.
Christmas markets in Europe
- Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt, Vienna, Austria
- Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, Berlin, Germany
- Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague, Czech Republic
- Christmas in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg, France
Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt, Vienna, Austria
Dates: 15th November – 26th December
There are dozens of Christmas markets throughout Vienna, but the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt definitely takes the top spot. As Vienna’s biggest and busiest Christmas market, there are plenty of stalls to keep you busy all day long, with over 150 stands and an ice-skating trail.
Hosted in the City Hall square, this delightful Christmas market is right in the heart of the city and attracts more than 3.5 million visitors each year.
Direct return flights run from Manchester airport from £77.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, Berlin, Germany
Dates: 25th November – 31st December
Germany is the home of Christmas markets, especially Berlin. There are so many in and around the city, but our favourite has to be the Gendarmenmarkt market. Located in front of the Konzerthaus, the market is popular for its unique handmade products and is authentically German in every aspect. With a number of large tents, visitors can watch over craftsmen’s shoulders as they create the gifts displayed throughout the stalls.
As the most atmospheric in the city, the Gendarmenmarkt market provides a variety of festive entertainment throughout the day, from fire-eaters to gospel choirs.
You can get return flights from Bristol to Berlin from just £50.
Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: 30th November – 6th January
Held throughout the holiday period, including Christmas day, Prague’s Old Town Square Christmas Market is the best in the city. Visitors can browse the many stalls on offer to try traditional Christmas treats whilst listening to carols – it can’t get more magical than this.
It’s the perfect place to try new things if travelling, with popular Czech food and drink on sale, including large hams roasted on spits (Pražská Šunka), honey wine (Medovina) and chimney cakes (Trdelník).
Direct return flights from Prague from London start at £40.
Christmas in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Dates: 16th November – 5th January
Brightening the dark winter days, Christmas in Tivoli Gardens is one of the most picturesque Christmas markets out there. Visitors can explore around 60 stalls that sell such a wide variety of products even the fussiest person will find something they love. Along with a number of handmade gifts and food and drink stalls, the market displays several entertainment attractions, with the most popular being the Tivoli Youth Guard’s illuminated parades march.
Decorated with more than 70,000 baubles and thousands of Christmas lights, the garden creates the perfect Nordic Christmas.
Direct return flights run from London Stansted for just £30!
Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg, France
Dates: 22nd November – 30th December
The Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to the 14th century. The city, often considered the ‘capital of Christmas’ invites tourists and locals alike into a festive experience like no other – with over 300 wooden chalets set up around the city centre, to entertain all ages.
Spread throughout the city, this market is focused around the Cathedral square and is the perfect destination for any Christmas shopping getaway.
You can travel directly from London St Pancras to Strasbourg by Eurostar from £100.