Christmas is coming up soon and with it comes the anticipation of one of the holiday’s best activities – Christmas markets! Twinkling lights, festive games, roasted chestnuts and of course plenty of mulled cider are all on the cards. But with so much uncertainty around UK government guidelines regarding Covid-19, which of the country’s most beloved markets will go ahead in 2020?
We’ve done the research to make a list of the markets around the United Kingdom that are getting ready to welcome you and your family. Available from north to south and east to west, there’s something to suit everyone.
Whatever you prefer, our list of the top Christmas markets in 2020 tells you what’s on offer across the UK!
Please note this article is based on information available as of 16th September 2020 and is subject to change based on new developments.
York Christmas Festival, England
Dates to be confirmed
Take a trip to medieval York this Christmas, where the scent of spiced mulled wine and amazing food fill the air. You can soak up the atmosphere as you stroll along St Nicholas Fair, unearthing fine produce from crafters and makers as they’re showcased at the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village.
The Parliament Street alpine chalets are where to head if you’re looking for more traditional gift ideas. Around the corner from the iconic Shambles, you’ll find a diverse selection of traders and distinctive crafts and you’ll be able to wander among aisles outfitted with the latest fashion and gifts. That’s not to mention the local fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, and other street food on offer.
Kingston Christmas Market, England
12th November to 31st December 2020
Opening early on in November and continuing trade until past Christmas, the traditional Kingston Upon Thames Christmas Market wraps the town centre in a bubble of good cheer.
The stalls get housed in delightful wooden cabins and you’ll find festive treats for all, ranging from handmade giftware through to specialist foods and specially spiced mulled wine. Look out for a range of beautiful decorations, bronze figurines, wooden wine holders and handcrafted wooden boxes to put your special pieces of jewellery inside when you explore the marquee.
Nottingham Winter Wonderland, England
14th November to 31st December 2020
The largest event in the East Midlands, the Nottingham Winter Wonderland is an amazing attraction that operates for approximately 6 weeks over the festive season. There’s no guessing why this events draws in crowds from near and far!
The market features thrilling rides, well-stocked bars, and hot shopping spots, all combining to make it the perfect place to soak up a little Christmas spirit.
There are more than 70 stalls, in the traditional Bavarian style, and you can find gifts while you sample artisanal cheeses, chocolates, and chutneys. This year sees the market expanded, so you can look forward to a lot more. Whether it’s art, fashion, food, jewellery, mead, perfume or plants, you’ll find it here.
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, England
19 November to 22 December 2020
The Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market was voted the best Christmas market in the UK and one of the top 15 Christmas Markets in Europe by European Best Destinations. So you know it’s going to be good! Famous for its lively atmosphere and awe-inspiring location, this market gives goers a great idea of what traditional German Christmas bazaars are like.
Take in the gorgeous sights, exciting sounds, and scrumptious smells as you sample seasonal treats and pick over a selection of fantastic Christmas gifts.
The 112 chalets that make up the Winchester Christmas Market are filled with top-tier exhibitors, all of whom are hand-picked in recognition of their uncommon, exclusive products. Unfortunately, there will be no ice rink this year.
Oxford Christmas Market, England
3 December to 20 December 2020
Oxford is getting ready to once more churn out the festive cheer as its Christmas market kicks off at the beginning of December.
Located on the historic Broad Street so beloved by bookworms, you’ll be able to peruse market traders’ wares as the lilting strains of carols waft through the air courtesy of the performing choir. Cinnamon and mulled wine scents will perfume the air and you’ll find this shopping extravaganza a truly magical one.
Edinburgh Christmas Market, Scotland
16th November 2020 to 4th January 2021
Edinburgh’s iconic Christmas celebrations spread good tidings across the capital of Scotland from mid-November.
Enjoy Scotland’s other national drink with a twist as you sip mulled Irn-Bru and sample vegan pigs-in-blankets. Check out Harry Potter-themed presents and delightful local handmade items as you take in everything the East Princes Street Gardens Christmas Market has to offer.
People of all ages are invited to take part in the Santa Land rides and Castle Street will once again host Santa’s Grotto.
The Reimagined Light Night will open Edinburgh’s Christmas with a spectacular event on the Royal Mile, the streets which form the main thoroughfare of the Old Town, on 17 November. Community Christmas, a brand-new concept, will then spread season’s greetings across 12 different locations as special performances showcase local talent.
Glasgow Christmas Market, Scotland
7th November to 23rd December 2020
Glasgow is a perfect holiday spot over the Christmas season, combining stylish shopping, superb eating, and spectacular drinking. This is all set against the backdrop of the city centre decked out in a glittering festival of lights.
The beloved Glasgow Christmas Market encompasses a range of brightly coloured stalls that invite you to indulge. Choose from an incredible selection of gifts, artisanal products, and global cuisine in a cheerful village featuring rustic cabins and homespun counters.
Whether you’re hunting for the perfect Christmas present or just looking for something good to eat, this market has it all.
UK Christmas Markets Still To Be Confirmed
The jury is out on whether these Christmas markets will go ahead or not this year. But we’ve included them here just in case you want to add them to your Christmas wishlist.
Chester Christmas Market, England
Wrap up warmly against the cold and take in a festive evening at the Chester Christmas Market. This is the ideal spot for those looking for less commercial, more nostalgic goodies and it couldn’t be more beautifully placed. 70+ traditional wooden chalets wrap around the twinkling Christmas tree situated right in the heart of the city centre.
Sip hot mulled wine as you browse the quirky, locally produced treats. Explore accessories, clothing, handmade crafts, jewellery, stocking fillers, food and other wonderful items.
Make sure you grab a scrumptious hog roast bap and take the time to savour some liquid refreshment in the Real Ale Bar. Heartening cocktails and regional cask ale will definitely put you in the right frame of mind!
Manchester Christmas Market, England
The original, largest, and, to some, best Christmas market in England, Manchester is the ideal destination for a fine festive outing. This market has been going since 1999 and has grown every year since then. The last visitor count exceeded nine million!
Around 300 expertly crafted stalls in the bustling city centre offer a mouth-watering array of international food, exotic drinks, and skillfully crafted items. The market is spread across 10 different sites, each with its own particular character.
2020 will see it ushering in a dedicated family site for the first time, featuring amusing rides and different entertainment over its six-week run. Highlights include LED light performances, magicians and street theatre above and beyond the incredible views of the Manchester Cathedral and the innate attraction of the National Football Museum.
Which UK Christmas Markets Have Been Cancelled?
- Leeds Christmas Market
- Newcastle Christmas Market
- Bath Christmas Market
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
- Lincoln Christmas Market
- Birmingham’s German Christmas Market
- 1 York Christmas Festival, England
- 2 Kingston Christmas Market, England
- 3 Nottingham Winter Wonderland, England
- 4 Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, England
- 5 Oxford Christmas Market, England
- 6 Edinburgh Christmas Market, Scotland
- 7 Glasgow Christmas Market, Scotland
- 8 UK Christmas Markets Still To Be Confirmed
- 9 Which UK Christmas Markets Have Been Cancelled?