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The best Christmas markets to visit in 2023

Our list of the best Christmas markets across the UK that should be on your list of places to visit this Winter.

It might only be September but already there are hints that Christmas is just around the corner.  And one thing for certain is that there will be traditional Christmas markets popping up in towns and cities close to you.  

From German themed markets next to cathedrals to quaint, carefully curated experiences in the countryside, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite Christmas markets across the UK…  you can almost smell the Glühwein.

Edinburgh Christmas market

Scotland’s capital is busy all year round but it’s in the final run up to Christmas that it takes on a new persona and becomes rather magical.  Built in the centre of the city in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh’s Christmas market somewhat mirrors the street layout of the Old Town, with a labyrinth of softly lit wooden huts, funfair rides and exhibitors lining the pathways.  The ferris wheel next to the Scott Monument is definitely worth a ride, affording spectacular views over the New Town out to the Firth of Forth.  Wrap up warm if you’re planning to visit of an evening.

Where:  East Princes Street Gardens, Parliament Square and Castle Street

When:  17 November to 6th January


Bath Christmas market

As a city renowned for its Georgian splendour, Bath spares no effort when it comes to creating a Christmas market that is equally as eye-catching.  Running between the Roman Baths and the Cathedral quarter, the market is a great place to find a quirky or individualistic present, and the food stalls which accompany the retailers do a fine trade in mulled wine and rustic, homemade food.  The market can be incredibly busy at weekends, so if you can find time during the week, you’ll find that there is a little less ‘hustle and bustle’.

Where:  The Cathedral quarter

When:  23 November to 10 December


Exeter Cathedral Christmas market

Having lived in Exeter, this particular market is very close to my heart and it is an absolute gem of a location.  Set on cathedral green in the city centre, Exeter’s Christmas market is a melting pot of homemade artisans and delectable street food fitting for a chilly winter’s night. There are over 100 festive chalets, with many West Country producers showcasing exquisite designs, and a Light of Hope installation by the artist, Peter Walker.

Where:  Cathedral Green

When:  17 November to 17 December


Chatsworth Christmas market

If you’re in the heart of the Peak District, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more spectacular and regal location for a Christmas market than that of Chatsworth House.  As a firm fixture on Chatsworth’s calendar of events, the Chatsworth Christmas market is a sensory treat, with its German themed stands offering s wide range of festivals gifts, fashions and homeware.  Admission to the market is free but you will need to pay for parking on the estate.

Where:  Chatsworth House

When:  4 November to 26 November


Birmingham Christmas market

Although quite a few British Christmas markets emulate a German image, Birmingham takes things a step further and brings Frankfurt to the heart of its market.  In fact, it is said to be the largest authentic German market outside Germans and Austria.  Being in the UK’s second largest city, the Birmingham Christmas Market is a dazzling display of lights and multicultural flavours, with people travelling from miles around to experience this festive transformation.

Where:  Victoria Square and New Street

When:  2 November to 24 December


Manchester Christmas market

Manchester’s Christmas market is a real family affair.  Alongside the traditional stalls and street food vendors, Manchester has a skating rink and an ice village themed around mythical beasts.  The epicentre of Manchester’s Christmas market is Piccadilly Gardens but the site’s 220 stalls are spread over Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange, and King Street.

Where:  Piccadilly Gardens

When:  10 November to 21 December


York Christmas market

York is a fine city and brimming with history around every corner.  Therefore it is no wonder that they put on a rather traditional Christmas market.  Last year, York Christmas market celebrated its 30th Anniversary and it looks as if 2023 is going to be just as jolly.  Alpine-style chalets will adorn the roads around Parliament Street and Sampson’s Square, spilling over into the iconic Shambles, too.

Where:  Parliament Street and Sampson’s Square

When:  16 November to 22 December


Blenheim Palace Christmas market

If you’re looking for a truly immersive experience at a location quite like no other, then Blenheim Palace may just be the place for you.  The palace rooms are themed around Sleeping Beauty and the estate grounds have a trail lit with twinkling lights and sensory sounds.  After you’ve been thoroughly charmed by the Christmas spirit, you should check out the exquisite Christmas market in the Great Court, where you’ll find stallholders from across Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds selling a wide range of arts, crafts and tempting foods.

Where:  Blenheim Palace

When:  17 November to 17 December


Waddesdon Christmas market

Set in front of a French-style manor, the Christmas market and shopping experience at Waddesdon is simply charming.  Carefully selected stalls set in beautiful wooden chalets are surrounded by carefully curated lights, and the backdrop of Waddesdon itself makes this a particularly spectacular venue to get some Christmas shopping done.  For foodies, the dedicated food village serves up delicious festive food and drink that you can enjoy whilst exploring the grounds.

Where:  Waddesdon manor

When:  22 November to 17 December


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