So maybe 2020 is not the year to get your hopes up to visit the UK Christmas markets; in fact I think they’re all sadly cancelled. BUT there is always next year, or the year after, or the year after!
There is something that is magical about wandering around those log cabins, lit with fairy lights, Christmas music playing; the smell of roasted nuts and cinnamon filling your nose.
Below is a list of, what I think, are some of the best UK Christmas markets; just to get us in the mood!
The Christmas markets in East Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh are immense! When I went with my friend a couple of years ago for a girlie weekend away, I was not prepared for the scale of it all! Row upon row of beautiful chalets wind down the hill to the ice skating rink and family maze; the decorations were amazing and the atmosphere was buzzing! They have been so clever in utilising the space. I think many would be put-off by the size of the hill the park is on, but not the Scots! They’ve embraced the landscape and created something wonderful.
With the backdrop of Edinburgh castle and the parliament buildings on one side, the New Town on the other, the Edinburgh Christmas markets are so INVITING; they draw you in to their glittering depths and engulf you in Christmas spirit. They offer everything from beautiful handmade decorations; to jewellery; games; and of course traditional Scottish tartan scarves -it would be rude not too!
Maybe it’s because I made a holiday out of it, but Edinburgh and their Christmas markets will have a special hold over me for a really long time, and I urge you to go see for yourselves.
The city of Birmingham is twinned with the German town Frankfurt, a pretty good indication that these Christmas markets are done right! Head down New Street and meander through the chalets until you reach Victoria Square. Flanked by town hall and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Victoria Square is a vast space transformed. With the traditional bandstand taking centre stage, there is a host of live music and carol services to take part in. This is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany, so you can guarantee Christmas spirit by the bucketload! What’s more, get into the German spirit of things while feasting on schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein and weissbeer, and don’t forget the hot chocolate!
Winter wonderland! The Christmas markets to top all Christmas markets! Although they’re not my personal favourite – it’s more of a Christmas theme park than a Christmas market- I just couldn’t complete this list without mentioning London’s Christmas spectacular. It really has it all, the stalls, the food, the rides and The UK’s largest open air ice rink. There is even a magical ice kingdom to explore! It really is a fantastic day out, and you do really need the whole day. As I say for me, it just doesn’t have that intimate, cozy atmosphere that I look for in a Christmas market but there is still so much fun to be had you need to do it at least once!
Rochester, Dickensian Festival
What is so wonderful about the Christmas markets in Rochester is not so much the stalls themselves, but the atmosphere created by where it’s located. Nestled within the grounds of Rochester castle there is such a sense of history at this market. But I have to say my favourite part has to be the Dickensian festival held here every December. Because of the towns links to the famous author it is tradition on the opening of the markets to partake – or just watch, like me – the parade of enthusiasts making their way down the main high street in their Victorian garb. It’s quite the sight!
The grand finale takes place in the square in front of the castle, where you all sing traditional Christmas carols, in the flurry of artificial snow! End the night with a wander up to the castle and round the markets; grab a mulled wine or hot chocolate and just take it all in… honestly I think this is one of the highlights of the Christmas season for me.
Bath is a gorgeous Georgian town, with stunning classical architecture. The kind of scenery that makes the perfect backdrop to a traditional Christmas wonderland. The real gem of the bath Christmas markets is the fact that’s least 80% of the stall merchants are from Bath! It’s a proper local market where small businesses can really shine. I think it’s so lovely to have the chance to support local/small businesses, especially after a year like this one! So I know all the physical markets aren’t happening this year, but have a look at the town’s website and see if any of these places are available online, perfect inspiration, and you know who to look for next year! (This goes for all of the other UK Christmas markets mentioned on the list too).
Now that I’ve got you feeling all nostalgic, why not share some of your experiences? I’m always looking for new ideas, please leave a comment below!
Find the ultimate Christmas movie countdown here: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/12/ultimate-christmas-movie-countdown-for-2020/