12 Nov 19
The Best Christmas Markets in the UK
Visiting a UK Christmas market is a wonderful way to find unique gifts and special treats for friends and family. And there are always plenty of food and drink options so you can enjoy hot chocolate or mulled wine while shopping.
Aberdeen Christmas Village is back in the Broad Street area from 21 November to 31 December 2019. Get your gift buying done at the 'Christmas in the Quad' market within Marischal College Quadrangle and then enjoy the open-air ice rink and fairground rides.
Where to Stay: The best place to stay in Scotland's Granite City has to be Malmaison Aberdeen. A gorgeous boutique hotel close to the city centre, The hotel's Brasserie restaurant boasts a menu full of fine seasonal British dishes with a delicious twist, including locally sourced black Aberdeen Angus steaks. And do stop for a wee dram in the cosy Whisky Snug in the Malbar.
The Belfast Christmas markets return to the grounds of Belfast City Hall from 16 November to 22 December 2019. With that iconic backdrop, you can shop from over 30 international traders offering handcrafted gifts ideas and great food from Dutch pancakes to giant bratwurst from the Schwenkegrill. Children can meet Santa and then take a ride on the vintage carousel or a slide down the Helter Skelter.
Where to Stay: Malmaison Belfast combines the city's amazing history with sleek, contemporary style. Inspired by Belfast's most famous ship, the Titanic, the hotel offers guests a luxurious stay with comfy beds, freestanding bathtubs and outstanding hospitality.
Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German market outside Germany and Austria. Back for its 20th year, it is the centrepiece of the city's festive event calendar. The signing of Frankfurt-Birmingham Partnership Agreement in 1966 began an unprecedented period of collaboration between both cities.
The market runs from 7 November to 23 December 2019 with plenty of traditional festive wine and German beer to get you singing along to the classic carols and songs. The fun continues close to the market in Centenary Square with the much-loved Big Wheel and Ice Skate Birmingham.
Where to Stay: In a landmark Victorian building in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham Hotel du Vin is a lovely luxury hotel. Dine by candlelight in the Bistro or head underground to the vaulted Pub du Vin for a relaxed evening. Or you could relax even more with the spa and sauna. Alternatively, Malmaison Birmingham is a boutique hotel with amazing suites for that extra special stay. The Nirvana Suite is fit for a rock star!
Bristol Christmas Market is back from 8 November to 23 December 2019 with the popular Jäger Barn Bar and beer garden with live music. There are 50 stalls in this city centre market selling handmade gifts with a Bristol twist and Fairtrade products under the decorated Christmas tree. Plus, you can meet Santa and try curling so do bring friends.
Where to Stay: Bristol City Centre Hotel du Vin offers 18th-century architecture mixed with chic contemporary 'loft-living' style bedrooms. And Bristol Avon Gorge Hotel du Vin boasts panoramic views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge.
Cheltenham Christmas Market returns to The Promenade from 21 November to 14 December 2019. Around 40 charming wooden chalets sell everything from unique crafts to festive food. Do treat yourself to a glass Glühwein and a bratwurst while you soak up the Christmassy atmosphere. Note, when the Christmas market ends, it is replaced from 17 to 24 December by the Christmas Arts & Crafts Market.
Where to Stay: The majestic white building of Malmaison Cheltenham looks right at home just around the corner from the serene Montpellier Gardens, with the restaurant boasting a glass conservatory 'Garden Room' and beautiful terrace. And Cheltenham Hotel du Vin is one of the most luxurious boutique hotels in Cheltenham.
V&A Dundee has its first-ever Festive Design Market on 23 and 24 November 2019. The market features work from some of Scotland's best independent designers, some exhibiting in the city for the first time.
And Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) has its Crafted Christmas Market on Saturday 30 November 2019. Buy directly from over 30 talented independent designers and makers offering jewellery, textiles, illustration, print, homeware and more.
Where to Stay: Malmaison Dundee is a well-located, gorgeous boutique hotel with luxury freestanding baths in some bedrooms so you can truly relax during your stay.
Edinburgh's Christmas is a six-week-long Christmas event in the Scottish capital. On from 16 November 2019 to 4 January 2020, the traditional Christmas Market is at East Princes Street Gardens with stalls selling everything from local and bespoke products and gifts to tasty treats. But it is not all shopping as there are rides, a Christmas tree maze, the Forth 1 Big Wheel as well as various festive shows and events throughout the city.
Where to Stay: You are spoiled for choice in this vibrant city as you can enjoy the Leith waterfront at Malmaison Edinburgh, and Malmaison Edinburgh City is opening 6 December 2019. Edinburgh Hotel du Vin is in an 18th-century building just off the Royal Mile in the Old Town, and Fraser Suites Edinburgh is offering a free bottle of Prosecco for stays of two nights or more from Sunday to Thursday if you book online.
The Glasgow Christmas Markets return to George Square and St Enoch Square offering a wide selection of festive gifts and delicious street food.
The centrepiece of the George Square market is a traditional carousel and the iconic Big Wheel as well as a family-focused street entertainment programme. On from 24 November to 29 December, George Square has a 15-metre Christmas tree and over 50 traders from across the world plus an authentic German bar serving traditional beers and Glühwein.
St Enoch Square Christmas Market is on from 9 November to 22 December with a beautifully dressed Christmas village of over 50 seasonal chalets featuring local crispy duck rotisserie, bratwurst sausage, crepes, hog roast and much more.
Where to Stay: Elegantly designed with a timeless appeal, Glasgow Fraser Suites comprise of studios and one and two-bedroom serviced apartments. Did you know, Fraser World complimentary membership offers discounts, room upgrades and even free stays? Glasgow Hotel du Vin is set in a tree-lined Victorian terrace in the fashionable West End, and Malmaison Glasgow is in a former a Greek Orthodox Church.
Harrogate Christmas Market puts a distinctly Yorkshire stamp on the traditional Christmas market experience. On from 14 to 17 November 2019, there is a strong focus on regionally-made products with a broad mix of gifts and treats. The entertainment includes the chance to meet the big man in red plus a funfair and live music. And as well as the outdoor stalls, two marquees focus on Crafts & Gifts and Food & Drink. Held on The Stray in the historic Montpellier Quarter of Harrogate town centre also means you are also close to wonderful shops, cafes and galleries.
Where to Stay: Harrogate Hotel du Vin has classic period features with that oh so distinctive Hotel du Vin style and relaxed ambience.
Henley Christmas Festival is on Friday 29 November 2019 with a reindeer-led Childrens' Lantern Parade from the River & Rowing Museum to Friday Street, and carol singing accompanied by the Woodley Concert Band in the Market Place. The evening has Christmas market stalls and the shops stay open for late night shopping, plus the kids will love the Victorian funfair rides and attractions.
Where to Stay: On the bank of the River Thames, Henley-on-Thames Hotel du Vin is the perfect reincarnation of a cluster of historic listed buildings. A former brewery for 300 years, its charming, original period detail has been enhanced while adding a contemporary sparkle.
Christkindelmarkt is the annual German Christmas market that transforms Millennium Square into a scenic winter village. From 8 November to 22 December 2019, there are over 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls plus themed indoor venues and the traditional Christmas carousel ride. The German-themed food and drink include schnitzels, goulash, stollen, gingerbread, roasted nuts and candied fruits making it a very special place to be each year.
Liverpool's Christmas Market returns to St George's Plateau against the backdrop of the magnificent St George's Hall from 15 November to 23 December 2019. Buy local arts and Christmas decorations then take a ride on the Ferris Wheel for great views from above. When hungry there is the Bavarian Grill and the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap stall and when thirsty you can get a festive tipple at the Teepee bar or the Ski Lodge with its karaoke cable cars.
Where to Stay: The waterside Malmaison Liverpool offers decadence on the docks. Enjoy a drink near the open fireplace and that staircase is perfect for Instagram moments.
Manchester Christmas Markets are on seven days a week from 8 November to 21 December 2019 (with the Albert Square stalls remaining open until Sunday 22 December). Now in its 20th year, the main hub will again be at Albert Square where the markets are joined by a range of Christmas attractions including the return of the Ice Village, a new ice rink, new festive lights across the city and a brand-new giant Santa taking over from Manchester’s much loved and iconic Zippy mascot.
The seasonal sites are now spread across more of the city. Use the Birdie photo vans in St Ann’s Square and Cathedral Gardens to print out photos of your fun. And Piccadilly Gardens hosts new foodie and craft stalls, along with a new bar area for the first time. A nice extra is you pay a £3 deposit for the limited edition mug you can use for coffee and mulled wine across each of the markets then forfeit the small deposit and you can take it home.
Where to Stay: Transformed from an elegant 19th-century warehouse, Malmaison Manchester is one of the most stylish hotels in the city centre.
The most 'in your face Christmassy' place in London has to be Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Open from 21 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, it is not all rides and attractions as the Christmas markets have more than 100 fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden chalets selling decorations, handmade crafts, jewellery, accessories and Christmas treats. But whether shopping or riding the giant wheel, you will be singing Mariah Carey's festive number before you leave.
In The City of London, the Grade I listed Guildhall building has the annual British Red Cross Christmas Market on 25 and 26 November 2019. As well as gift shopping you can book for a Champagne afternoon tea in the beautiful Guildhall crypt, or see a designer fashion show in the evening.
And the Southbank Centre Winter Market opened on 8 November and stays until 5 January 2020. It's along the riverside outside Southbank Centre (The Queen's Walk) with traders from around the world offering handmade gifts and delicious street food from decorated wooden chalets.
Where to Stay: As you would expect, there is a lot of choice in London. For options in west London (so, closer to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland) you have Fraser Suites Kensington, Fraser Suites Queens Gate, Fraser Suites Prince of Wales Terrace and London Park International Hotel on Cromwell Road. In the City, you have Fraser Suites City, Fraser Suites Monument, Fraser Suites Bishopsgate and Malmaison London. And then across the water, and close to the south bank, you have Fraser Suites Blackfriars.
From 16 November to 24 December 2019, the Newcastle Christmas Market has extended from Grey's Monument to Blackett Street and Northumberland Street. (The street food and drink offering will remain open until New Year's Eve). Over 70 independent traders have everything from artisan cheeses and homemade chutneys to eco-art and home accessories. It is not all shopping here though as there is a 30-metre toboggan slide where riders can whizz down Blackett Street in tubes. Kids will love the traditional carousel and the grown-ups can enjoy a mulled wine at the Helter Skelter bar.
Where to Stay: Malmaison Newcastle is a beautiful former warehouse space, with breath-taking views and comfy beds. And Newcastle Hotel du Vin is in a magnificently refurbished Edwardian building on the banks of the famous River Tyne.
Oxford Christmas Market is on from 5 to 21 December 2019 in historic Broad Street – surrounded by dreaming spires, the Sheldonian Theatre and historical Oxford University buildings.
And the Blenheim Palace Christmas Market is on from 22 November to 15 December 2019. The Palace is a fantastic backdrop to the market selling ceramics, textiles, toys and much more. You may well want to combine your visit to see the Festive Palace Experience – Alice in the Palace – and the evening Illuminated Light Trail.
Where to Stay: Housed in a former prison, the rooms in Malmaison Oxford are rather more spacious than your average jail cell and a lot more luxurious.
STRATFORD UPON AVON
The Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market Festival is back from 6 to 8 December 2019. This year's three-day event with a Dickensian theme features traditional gift and craft markets, street food stalls and vintage funfair rides. There is entertainment throughout the town and even the stallholders are dressed in Victorian costumes.
Where to Stay: Nestled right in the heart of the historic Shakespearean town, the original part of Stratford upon Avon Hotel du Vin was built in 1798 and carefully restored to retain its character and charm.
Recognised as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe because of its unique location, high-quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere, Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is on from 21 November to 22 December 2019. The Christmas Market is situated in the Cathedral Inner and Outer Close with wonderful Christmas gifts and decorations in the British Craft Village and plenty of festive foods in the Food Court. There is an ice rink too (open until 5 January 2020) with a central Christmas tree to skate around. Don't worry about the weather as the clear roof guarantees a rain-free skate.
Where to Stay: Built in 1715, Winchester Hotel du Vin is close to cobbled streets lined with independent shops and boutiques as well as historic museums.
As part of the York Christmas Festival, St Nicholas Christmas Fair has a 'Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village' from 14 November to 22 December 2019. Discover fine Yorkshire produce from crafters and makers then see the more traditional Christmas gifts on offer from the many alpine chalets on Parliament Street. And it is not just shopping as Kings Square has all the fun of the fair with a good old fashioned Helter Skelter.
Where to Stay: Tucked away in the Mount area of the city, York Hotel du Vin lies within a Grade II listed mansion house, combining classic early 19th-century architecture and charm with the signature Hotel du Vin style.
Written by Laura Porter - Travel Writer for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin