1. The big one – Birmingham
Birmingham Christmas market is actually the largest of its kind outside of Germany and Austria! Tatler magazine have recently ranked it among the best in Europe. The Frankfurt market has run for over 15 years and attracts visitors from across the UK. In line with the German theme, the market has pretzel stands, schnitzels and bratwursts. All of which can be washed down with a weissbeer or a warming hot chocolate. Victoria Square boasts more than 180 stalls full of handmade gifts and crafts from local artists. An ice rink and a big wheel runs alongside the markets, meaning you can make a day out of the Christmas festivities.
When? This year it runs from the 17th November until the 29th December.
2. The atmospheric – Edinburgh
The Christmas markets in Edinburgh are held along the East Princes Street Gardens and the majestic Castle forms a picturesque backdrop. From there you can appreciate panoramic views of the capital and enjoy a carousel, ice rink and big wheel. The market has plenty of Scottish stalls where you can pick up unique gifts. As well as serving up mulled wine, make sure to try a glass of the famous Scotch whiskey.
When? This year it runs from 18th November to the 8th January.
3. The quaint – Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
One of the prettiest settings for the Christmas season is tucked away in Blenheim. It may not be one of the biggest Christmas markets, but it is one of the quaintest. As well as selling the usual Christmas bric à brac, the market has more refined gifts from ceramicists, artists and jewellers. Having a stroll around the gorgeous grounds is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
4. The Medieval – Ludlow
The Castle grounds in Ludlow are the setting for local crafts, carols and live performances such as the Plantagenet Knights’ Tournament. It won’t be the biggest boozy affair, but it’s definitely the place for roasted chestnuts and a classic Baileys hot chocolate.
When? 26th and 27th November
5. The foodie – York
St Nicholas Fair is the ultimate foodie experience. Vegetarians – this is not the place for you. You’ll be taken aback by wild boar, venison and even more exotic meats like kangaroo and ostrich. The streets are filled with folk in Victorian dress, carol singers and people merry on mulled wine. While you’re in the region, Harrogate and Leeds Christmas markets are also worth visiting. Stock up on Yorkshire cheeses and chutneys, perfect for homemade gifts.
When? 17th November – 23rd December