Another festive import we owe to Germanic tradition. Don’t miss these excellent opportunities to slurp mulled wine while gift shopping.

Time to overindulge on gingerbread, stollen cake and mulled wine. And churros, don’t forgo the churros. After pausing for a few years, the highly anticipated Christmas market season is back in full swing, and better than ever. Whether you’ll make a beeline for the ice skating, or the Bavarian style craft chalets, these twinkling Christmas fairs will thrust you into a festive mood. Step back in time, breathe in wafts of cinnamon and conjure up Christmas memories with family and friends.

You should know about the best seven Christmas markets in the UK for 2023.

Manchester Christmas Market

10 November – 22 December

Manchester’s Christmas Market is one of Europe’s biggest and most famous Christmas markets. It is split between nine sites across the city as Manchester streets, squares and shopping centres get the full festive makeover. This year’s hub is in the Winter Gardens which morphs into a bustling market Bavarian-style with live music, DJs and bands. New to 2022, there will be a giant Nordic-themed double tipi bar, with fake furs and a fire pit, for over-18s. Over in Cathedral Gardens, you’ll find pancakes and warming tipples next to the much-loved undercover ice rink and on King Street, the Christmas deli stalls sit alongside upmarket luxury goods shopping. Find more info here.

Southbank Winter Festival

3 November 2022 – 8 January

The banks of the River Thames turn into a twinkly wonderland as the Southbank Winter Market sets up shop. There are craft stalls galore, seasonal pop-up bars, alpine-themed curling and the most enormous of Christmas trees. Illuminated wooden cabins sell steaming mulled wine, spiced cider, fondue and raclette. This year, Southbank Centre performances include Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas from the Philharmonia Orchestra. Find more info here.

Birmingham Christmas Market

3 November 2022 – 23 December

Birmingham is positively booming during the yuletide calendar. Craving a schnitzel, bratwurst and glühwein? Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, that pops up in Victoria Square and New Street, is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Austria or Germany. Listen to the live music and carol singers at the bandstand in Victoria Square and browse the 80 craft stalls filled with traditional leatherwork, crystal lamps and delicate glass baubles. Meanwhile, there’s outdoor skating at Ice Rink Birmingham and a traditional Victorian Christmas market in nearby Wolverhampton. Find more info here.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

18 November 2022 – 2 January

Wrap up warm and brace yourself. The annual favourite that is Hyde Park Winter Wonderland requires stamina. There is the biggest ice rink in the UK, two circuses, an observation wheel, quaint Christmas markets and the Magical Ice Kingdom, plus themed bars for the grown-ups. Thrill-seekers rate the usual line-up of rollercoasters and fairground rides and this year, there is the Real Ice Slide, ice sculpting workshops and a German-style Bavarian Village full of frothing steins and live music. Find more info here.

York Christmas Market

17 November 2022 – 23 December

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the award-winning St Nicholas Fair, which has been in York’s streets during the festive period since 1992. The medieval city is overrun by alpine-style chalets selling foodie treats, festive decorations and traditional gifts. Aside from retail therapy, there is the Victorian-style helter-skelter at Kings Square, ice-skating around a 30-foot-high Christmas tree at York Designer Outlet or panto at York Theatre Royal. Find more info here.

Bath Christmas Market

24 November 2022 – 11 December

Another picturesque city, another stunning Christmas Fair. For a few weeks only, a sparkling Christmas wonderland lines Bath’s cobbled Georgian streets around Bath Abbey. Local artisans from the South West gather to show their wares alongside festive food stalls. The city has plenty to offer for a festive weekend, such as the return of Glow Golf. This glow in the dark adventure golf course decked out with fairy lights is a hit. Find more info here.

Illustration: Finola Stack, Copyright: Bath and North East Somerset Council 2022

Edinburgh Winter Festival

25 November – 3 January

There had been word that the Edinburgh Christmas Markets would not go ahead this year, but new organisers are now leading the way. The windy city has always made for a hotspot destination over the winter period, due to the Christmas market and Hogmanay celebrations. This year, epect the classic attractions in the city centre, including Dodgems, Helter Skelter, Santa Land, Forth 1 Big Wheel and Lidl’s Ice Rink on George Street. The traditional markets hosting around 70 chalets selling craft and street food will overtake East Princes Street Gardens. Fun. Find more info here.

By Annabel Jack
November 2022

Annabel Jack

Contributing Editor

Annabel is a regular contributor to The GWG, with a taste for finest in food, fashion and interiors.