I love a good Christmas market. Whether it’s a traditional German one, a stylish Parisian one, or a contemporary Viennese one, I revel in their festive cheer. But perhaps the best thing about them is that I don’t have to travel to Europe to find one. The UK has plenty, and they’re getting bigger and brighter every year. So today I bring you A Lady in London’s 7 British Christmas markets that will get you in the seasonal spirit.
British Christmas Markets
From England to Scotland, Kent to Devon, there’s no shortage of towns and cities preparing for Christmas right now. I spent yesterday discovering York’s offerings, and have traveled up and down the country over the last 10 years to see the others on this list. If you get a chance to visit any or all, I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.
1. York Christmas Market
I knew I had to explore York’s Christmas markets after seeing friends’ photos of them last year. When I arrived in the city I was amazed at how many there were. From squares and courtyards to streets and lanes, every inch of York was filled with market stalls. I particularly liked the ones outside The Judge’s Lodging, which specialized in handcrafted gifts.
2. Canterbury Christmas Market
The first British Christmas market I ever went to was the one in Canterbury. A friend and I took a day trip from London to explore the city, not realizing we would stumble upon festive rows of chalets selling food and presents when we arrived. It was a pleasant surprise, and has remained one of my favorite Christmas memories ever since.
3. Bath Christmas Market
I visited Bath one winter and fell in love with its Christmas market (among other things…Bath is too pretty for words). From wooden stalls decked with pine boughs to a huge Christmas tree in front of Bath Abbey, the city knows how to put on a beautiful display for the season.
4. Exeter Christmas Market
One of my favorite under-the-radar British Christmas markets is the one in Exeter. Taking up a festive space in the city center, the market has everything from winter comfort food to traditional crafts. Add to that the backdrop of Exeter Cathedral, and it’s one of the most picturesque markets in Britain.
5. Edinburgh Christmas Market
The Christmas market in Edinburgh’s East Princes Street Gardens is one of the biggest I’ve been to in the UK. With everything from traditional chalets to a Christmas tree maze, miniature train, and Ferris wheel, this market is worth planning a special trip to Scotland for.
6. Birmingham Christmas Market
Speaking of special trips, I took one to Birmingham just to see the city’s Christmas markets (they claim to be the biggest of their kind in Britain). I spent the entire day exploring and particularly loved the one in Victoria Square. In addition to lights and colors, it has the beautiful Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in the background and flows all the way down New Street.
7. London Christmas Markets
No list of British Christmas markets would be complete without mentioning London’s, and the capital has a lot to choose from. But my favorite has always been Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It’s gotten bigger and better every year, and now has everything from an ice skating rink to a circus tent. Which is to say nothing of Santa’s Pub, a sight that makes me laugh every time.
And that’s what keeps me coming back to the markets. They put a smile on my face and cheer in my heart, which is exactly what I want for Christmas every year.
How about you? What do you think are the best British Christmas markets?