The best Christmas markets to visit in the UK for families

Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit more than a visit to a Christmas market and in the UK we are spoilt for choice.

From the markets at Edinburgh to Cardiff to Chatsworth House, here is our pick of the best Christmas markets for families to visit across the UK in 2024.

All of these locations offer their own unique charm and festive experience to have fun with the family, try their festive food and drink and pick up some truly unique Christmas presents.

Edinburgh Christmas market

Scotland’s capital is a magical place to visit at any time of year, but we think there’s something extra special about Edinburgh during the Christmas season and is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.

The Christmas market in Edinburgh is located at Princes Street Gardens, where you’ll find rows of wooden huts selling handmade crafts and food and drink – including one of Scotland’s most famous drinks Irn Bru.

It’s this unique location that makes this market one of our favourites, looking out toward the old town of Edinburgh and the castle, the setting is magical.  Alongside the Christmas market stalls are funfair rides which will be a hit with the kids but a highlight is the huge ferris wheel which provides some of the best views of the cities breathtaking skyline.

In one of the cities most upmarket shopping areas, George Street , you can wander through the artisan Christmas market and at Castle Street, local producers are hosting their Ethical & Scottish Christmas Fair to Castle Street.

Bath Christmas market

The historic city of Bath hosts one of the most popular and largest Christmas markets in the UK, with over 200 twinkling chalets squeezed into the city’s cobblestone streets around the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey.

What makes this market stand out are the quality of products on offer, with traders chosen for the calibre of their products and food and drink stalls coming from companies in the local area.  Entertainment provided by local brass bands and choirs adds to the Christmas atmosphere in the beautiful surroundings of this enchanting city.

Belfast Christmas Market

Belfast Christmas Market returns in 2023, offering an authentic feast of quality Christmas international cuisine alongside a carefully curated mix of handcrafted goods and bespoke artisan products.

The grounds of City Hall gardens are transformed into the Belfast Christmas market, where wooden chalets welcome local and international traders.

The market also features vintage carousel and helter skelter which kids will enjoy plus they can see Santa here, so it’s a great festive experience for families

Chatsworth House Christmas Market, Derbyshire

Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Chatsworth House, this market offers a truly grand setting for a festive market.  With over 100 market stalls offering a wide range of Christmas gifts and decorations plus live music and seasonal food and drink, it’s a lovely way to welcome in the festive season.

The house at Chatsworth has also been transformed into The Palace of Advent.  Discover 24 rooms in the house, each filled with the sights, sounds and scents of the Christmas season.

It’s a really magical experience, where you will travel under archways adorned with candy canes, handmade Christmas stockings and mistletoe and explore a winter wonderland.  The highlight is at the heart of the house, where you’ll find Father Christmas’ workshop.

York Christmas market

York’s Christmas market, St Nicholas Fair in Parliament Street is filled with wooden chalets draped in festive lights with local traders selling handmade gifts and festive foods.  If you are looking for one of the most Instagrammable cities for a Christmas Market, York will be top of the list as the already picturesque streets and timber framed buildings are even prettier when the Christmas market arrives.

The Christmas market here is so good that it has previously won the award for ‘Best Large Speciality Market’ at the Great British Market Awards.  Kings Square in the city is also transformed into a winter funfair, complete with an old fashioned Helter Skelter and vintage carousel.  It’s just as festive at the Shambles Market and food court where you can taste food from across the globe.

Winter Wonderland, London

There are lots of Christmas markets in London, but for families none can come close to what is on offer at Hyde Park.   Their charming traditional market is lined with beautifully decorated wooden chalets packed full of unique gifts, handmade Christmas decorations and tempting food and drink options.

However, the reason why this has made this list is the huge range of festive activities on offer here for families, including a huge ice rink, thrilling rides, circus shows, you can even visit Santa in his grotto.

Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market

The historic streets of Stratford-upon-Avon will, once again, be transformed into a festive Victorian winter wonderland in 2023.  This is one of the largest Christmas markets in the country with over 300+ stalls adorned with the finest festive treats and gifts.

What makes this market unique is traders dress up in authentic Victorian attire, creating a nostalgic atmosphere that transports you to a bygone era.

Birmingham ‘Frankfurt’ Christmas market

This is the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria, and although many Christmas markets at cities across the UK have a German theme, none of these are on the same scale to what is on offer in Birmingham.  Located in Victoria Square the stalls offer a wide range of unique products including handcrafted wooden decorations, delicate glass baubles, hand-crafted leatherwork, toys, jewellery and more.

German pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, and roasted almonds will tempt your tastebuds in the food stalls, all of which can be washed down with gluhwein, weissbeer (wheat beer), or tasty hot chocolate.

Kids will love the ice rink and big wheel here and the Christmas entertainment features live bands to carol singers

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Set against the backdrop of the stunning 900 year old gothic cathedral, this market with its  traditional wooden chalets and festive lighting  attracts handpicked traders from a wide area selling Christmas gifts.

What makes the Winchester Christmas market stand out is the festive food on offer and kids will enjoy the open air ice rink in the grand cathedral courtyard

Cardiff Christmas Market

The capital of Wales is transformed for Christmas with so much to see and do here.  Located in the heart of the city, the Christmas market attracts over 200 traders.  Many of the items on sale here in the delightful wooden huts are unique to Wales, so expect to see handmade wooden Welsh love spoons and Welsh textiles on offer.

The Winter Wonderland here is also one of the best in the country for families with ice skating and funfair rides to enjoy.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

The stunning home of the  Duke of Marlborough is transformed into a Christmas wonderland with dozens of wooden chalets filling the iconic Great Court.  The chalets here are filled with everything from ceramics and textiles to homeware and jewellery plus lots of tempting treats for foodies.

After browsing the market stalls, stroll through the stunning illuminated trail (needs to be booked in advance)– but is one of the best in the country which weaves through the stunning palace gardens.

Manchester Christmas Market

The Manchester Christmas Market returns for 2023 and is bigger and better with over 225 iconic ski chalet market stalls across eight locations in the city centre selling local crafts and  gifts from around the continent.

This year marks a special year for the Manchester Christmas market as it was exactly 25 Christmases ago that Manchester’s first-ever Christmas market took place in 1998.

Winter Gardens is also home to the iconic Manchester Christmas Windmill which comes in at a whopping 4 metres high!

At Catherine Square you’ll find more fun activities for the family, with a skating rink and ice village, which will be themed around mythical beasts and royal regalia.

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