The UK's best Christmas markets

Caroline Cassidy

The supermarkets have long been full of seasonal goodies but if the sight of chocolate selection boxes and ready-made puddings isn't filling you full of cheer, you may find a Christmas market gets you into the spirit.

Christmas market
Christmas market

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Around the country traditional markets are taking place, so don the woolly hat, gloves and scarf and enjoy some festive cheer...

Leeds Christkindelmarkt - 12 November to 19 December
One of the UK's largest and most well-established German Christmas Markets, the traditional wooden stalls, carousel rides and festive lights attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Set in the Millennium Square, you'll find over 40 authentic German stalls offering everything from jewellery and handcrafted toys to speciality foods and decorations. And with a funfair for the children, it provides a real family day out.
Open Monday to Saturday 10.30am - 9pm and Sundays from 10.30am - 8pm

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market & Craft Fair - 18 November to 23 December

This huge market is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and offers 180 stalls, including the Christmas Craft Fair offering local traders' wares. The largest authentic German market outside Germany and Austria, Victoria Square becomes a bustling town filled with the sights and sounds of a continental market, complete with live music each lunchtime and evening.
Open daily from 10am to 9pm

Glasgow Traditional Christmas Market - 18 November to 23 December

The Christmas Market returns to Glasgow's St. Enoch's Square for the seventh time this year and both local craftspeople and European traders offer the usual festive treats as well as unusual gifts. Enjoy a glass of "Glühwein (German mulled wine) and the traditional Christmas music as you browse.
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 7pm and Sundays from 11am to 6pm

Bath Christmas Market - 25 November to 12 December
The stunning city of Bath becomes even more magical come Christmas as the Abbey Churchyard plays host to this 123-stall market. Internationally renowned and now in its 10th year, it's full of handcrafted gifts and unique finds that you'll want to snap up. Something for everyone.
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am - 7pm and Sundays from 11am - 6pm

Cologne Christmas Market at the Southbank Centre, London - 18 November to 23 December
This traditional German market lines the River Thames between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye and visitors will find a wealth of jewellery, handmade toys, stunning glass ornaments and ceramics. With a carousel at the centre parents can enjoy the taste of a German Christmas while the children play.
Open Monday to Thursday 11am - 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am - 10pm and on Sundays from 11am - 8pm

Belfast Christmas Continental Market - 20 November to 19 December
The City Hall gardens in Belfast are transformed into an alpine village providing traditional European Christmas fare with a famously warm Irish welcome. Stalls from 28 different countries offer a wide range of food items, gifts and crafts (and it's definitely worth checking out the refreshments!).
Open Monday to Wednesday from 10am - 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10am - 10pm and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm

Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre - 2 December to 5 December
For four days, Worcester city centre is filled with the sights, sounds and smells of a Victorian Christmas. Local arts and crafts and an international area provide the shopping, while traditional street entertainers including jugglers, stilt-walkers and choirs give this traditional Victorian market a truly festive feel.
Open Thursday 4pm - 9pm, Friday 11am - 9pm, Saturday 11am - 7pm and Sunday 11am - 5pm

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market and Ice rink - 25 November to 19 December
The historic cathedral plays host to more than 90 wooden chalets for one of the UK's most popular Christmas markets. Gifts, crafts, toys, clothes and decorations are on offer - the variety and quality is excellent. And there's a Father Christmas Ice Cave and open-air ice rink for a fun-filled shopping experience.
Open Sunday to Wednesday from 10am - 6pm and Thursday to Saturday from 10am - 8pm

Erddig Christmas Market, Wrexham - 4 December to 19 December
Set within the grounds of this National Trust property, the Erddig Christmas Market features not only those wonderful crafts, gifts and toys but a magical Father Christmas Winter Wonderland with a roaring log fire and a look at his toy workshop. There is live music and entertainment as well as horse and carriage rides and the usual tempting foodie treats.
Open weekends only from 10am - 5pm

Canterbury Traditional Christmas Market - 19 November to 23 December
One of the smaller Christmas markets, the festive atmosphere at the City's Whitefriars Square is guaranteed to fill you with Christmas cheer. The aroma of gingerbread, roasted almonds and mulled wine are fabulously tempting and there are plenty of unique gifts to seek out.
Open Monday to Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday from 9am - 6pm and Sunday from 11am - 5pm

Of course, there are many more Christmas markets around the country and, if you feel like spoiling yourself as well as finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, why not take a short European break and take in the stunning markets in cities such as Cologne, Vienna, Brussels, Prague or Copenhagen.