The festive season is upon us. The Christmas light switch ons have commenced and some early birds are even pulling out their decorations from the attic. How better than to get into the yuletide spirit than by visiting one of the UK’s Christmas Markets for a cup of mulled wine and some carol singing? Here’s our top picks for 2018…
24th November – 9th December
Brighton wins the award for most unique approach to Christmas Markets. Held over three weekends – Nov 24-24, Dec 1-2 and Dec 8-9 – the Artists Open Houses Christmas festival is a celebration of local and international art. Local artists will open their homes, studios and workshops to sell a range of arts and crafts. Pick up some unique pieces of jewellery, ceramic, print-work, photography, tree decorations, food and much more. Artists from countries like Poland, Scandinavia and Germany are all coming to the festival to share their local goods. There will also be a number of craft-learning workshops such as drawing classes, craft activities and puppet shows. It’s a completely new way to get into the festive spirit.
9th November to 22nd December
Glasgow’s Style Mile Christmas Carnival is the highlight of the season for the city. This year’s theme is festive fairy tale; a ginormous procession of magical characters light up the streets as they parade through in amazing costumes. From 2.30pm on the 25th November, the carnival will weave from St Enoch Square all the way to George Square where the markets will be open for business. As well as the festive markets lasting throughout the month, on 9th December is the legendary Santa Dash. Join, or watch, thousands of runners dressed as Santa raising money for Beatson Cancer Charity on a festive 5k through the city.
7th November – 22nd December
The City Hall gardens are transformed in a sparkling village awaiting Christmas in Belfast city centre. The classic smells of German sausages, fried onions, hot chocolate and cinnamon drift through the imagined new streets. There’ll also be arts, crafts, clothing and nightly entertainment from local groups. Belfast Christmas Markets are perfect for families because there’s an amazing Santa’s grotto where kids can make their final Christmas wishes. There’s also a helter skelter, a carousel, and lots and lots of chocolate.
The dreaming spires of Oxford make it a magical city to host Christmas Markets. The historic Broad Street is lit up with fairy lights, the sounds of carolling, and the stalls selling everything Christmas. There will be over 60 vendours this year, offering food, drinks, and lots of hand-made gifts. The full schedule of musical performances is incredible every year, and this year includes local carollers, brass bands, choirs and dancers.
Winter Wonderland, London
17th November – 1st January
Every year, London’s Hyde Park is transformed with the lights and magic of festive spirit. The scale of the festival is immense and means you can easily spend a day getting lost in all things Christmas. There’s an ice rink, a Magical Ice Kingdom’s Secret Forest, Giant Observation Wheel, cinematic adventure at The Snowman Experience, Ice Sculpting workshops, acrobat performances in the Zippos Christmas Circus and the Imperial Ice Star’s world-class skaters performance in Peter Pan on Ice… just to name a few. What’s more, there’s a Santa’s grotto, funfair rides, and two gigantic christmas markets. The traditional German Christmas Market has more than 200 chalets full of festive goods and the Angels Christmas Market sells unique and detailed gifts in 150 twinkling chalets. If you can make it to London this Christmas, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland should be your first stop.
Doggy Christmas Markets
Throughout November and December
Over the years, dogs have become more and more part of our culture. Pubs, bars and cafes welcome dogs, there are clothing brands specifically for canine wears, and don’t even get started on the specially brewed beer for your dog’s Christmas treat… we love it! The new phenomenon of the doggy Christmas market is taking London by storm this year. Four-sleeved knitted jumpers, ‘pet pawtraits’ and special gingerbread biccies for your pooches will be sold as special events across the city. On the calendar so far there is: Winter Waggingland, Netil Market (Nov 25th); Doggy Style Christmas Market, 26 Leake St (Dec 9th); and Santa Paws Christmas Fair, The Garden Gate pub (Dec 9th).
16th November – 5th January
Edinburgh is a remarkably festive city anyway. During November and December, the effort that goes into the stunning decorations throughout the city is amazing. Each pub is decked out in full, with cosy blazing fires, speciality drinks, and wreaths hanging on each door. Running all the way down Princes Street, with the backdrop of the majestic castle behind, the Christmas markets are always vast and bustling with festive shoppers and merrymakers. Don’t miss detouring for a drink in The Dome, it’s Christmas tree is one of the best in the country!
15th November – 23rd December
Birmingham holds the biggest German Christmas Markets outside of Germany and Austria. There’s traditional German food, trinkets, lights, mulled wine, cookies, and everything Christmassy on offer. Behind the sparkly chalets is the impressive backdrop of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. What’s more, outside the Council House entrance is where Birmingham’s singing Christmas moose sits every year. Don’t miss him singing away to all of your favourite Christmas tunes – he’s now an icon of the season.