Picture the scene - snow-coated cabins and Christmas fir trees dotted around Alpine villages as familiar aromas of bratwursts and glühwein fill the air. This is the Bavarian Christmas every shopper with a case of wanderlust dreams of around this time of year... and with our pick of Christmas markets here in the UK, you needn't leave the country to soak up the festive atmosphere. From Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland to Leeds' Christkindelmarkt or Edinburgh's St Andrews Square, there are a plethora of festive markets right here on your doorstep to enjoy this year. We've rounded up some of the best Christmas markets in the UK…
1. Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
Credit: Instagram/Winter Wonderland
One of London’s most popular parks will transform into a magical Winter Wonderland yet again this Christmas. From 21 November to 5 January, guests can expect the usual attractions of skating on the open-air ice rink, laughing in the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club and strolling through over 100 fairy-lit Bavarian style wooden chalets. The event will also offer the world’s tallest transportable Observation Wheel, A Christmas Carol theme at the Magical Ice Kingdom and a new programme of comics at the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club.
Dates: 21 November - 5 January
For more information visit hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
2. Oxford Christmas market
Credit: Instagram/Oxford Christmas Market
The city's historic Broad Street will be bursting with festive spirit this December, from twinkling lights to choirs singing Christmas carols and handmade gifts. Set against the backdrop of Oxford's spires, it's the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping.
Dates: 5 - 21 December
For more information visit oxfordchristmasmarket.co.uk
3. Frankfurt Christmas market, Birmingham
Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas market is the largest German market outside Germany and Austria, so you don't need to venture out of the country to treat yourself to festive cuisine and drink. Sip on glühwein, weissbeer, mulled cider, or tasty hot chocolate as you soak up the bustling atmosphere of the small village in the heart of the city. The market has run in the city every year since 2001, and become a firm favourite with both residents and visitors from all over the UK and Europe. It will open in Birmingham City Centre on 7 November and runs until 23 December. The market is open from 10am to 9pm each day.
Dates: 7 November - 23 December
For more information visit thebfcm.co.uk
4. Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas market
Offering over 100 chalets surrounding an open-air real ice rink, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market will be home to a number of exhibitors offering Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods. Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, it will bring European indulgent foods and hand-crafted decorations to your doorstep between 21 November and 22 December. From stollen to textile artists and even a nativity scene, there's no better place to get in the festive spirit.
Dates: 21 November - 22 December
For more information visit winchester-cathedral.org.uk
5. Edinburgh Christmas market
Soak up the festive atmosphere at Edinburgh's Christmas market until 4 January. Located in the heart of the city, over 100 stalls offer arts, crafts, decorations and culinary delights. Make a day out of it and visit some of the other nearby attractions, such as the Forth 1 Big Wheel.
Dates: 16 November - 4 January
For more information visit edinburghschristmas.com
6. Swansea Christmas market
Credit: Instagram/Swansea City Centre
The market runs all the way through until 22 December with the traditional red and green chalets open daily offering an array of unique gifts, intricate handcrafted glass and ceramics, homemade chocolates, decorations and delicious food and drink. As well as the stalls, you'll find a Christmas bar where you can relax with some mulled wine. You'll also find Santa's Grotto nearby on Portland Street, while an ice rink and funfair are also within walking distance – a must for a fun family day out.
Dates: 15 November - 22 December
For more information visit swanseachristmas.com
7. Belfast Christmas market
The Belfast Christmas Market runs from 16 November until 22 December at the Belfast City Hall offering not only gifts but a huge feast of food stalls too. This year the market features over 30 international traders offering incredible foods from across the continent, such as Belgian chocolates, French crepes and Dutch pancakes. Whether you want to buy some hand-painted pottery for Christmas, take a ride on the vintage carousel or sip on mulled cider, there's something for everyone.
Dates: 16 November - 22 December
For more information visit visitbelfast.com
8. Liverpool Christmas market
With mulled wine and hot chocolate flowing, the Liverpool Christmas market will return to St George's Plateau in mid-November. You’ll find an array of traditional festive style cabins dressed in garlands and warm lighting to create a magical Christmas ambience. Step inside the Gin Tin for a festive tipple, try out the karaoke cable cars at the Ski Lodge or try a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap. Shop for Christmas gifts such as handmade jewellery, slippers, scarves and homeware stalls, while the kids enjoy plenty of vintage fairground rides.
Dates: 15 November - 23 December
For more information visit stgeorgeshallliverpool.co.uk
9. Leeds' German Christmas market
Christkindelmarkt is Leeds' German Christmas market, which transforms the city's Millennium Square into a scenic winter village, complete with over 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls, themed indoor venues and a traditional Christmas carousel ride. Promising fun for all the family, you'll find stalls for Christmas shopping, the Bavarian-style eatery Alp Chalet, and free weekly children's shows each Sunday featuring Winter Wonderland Princesses, along with face painting, interactive games and balloon modelling. The market opens on 8 November until 21 December.
Dates: 8 November - 21 December
For more information visit millsqleeds.com
10. London's Borough market
Christmas at Borough Market will run every day from 4 December to cater for those panic-stricken last-minute shoppers. With the sound of bells and Christmas carols in the background there is a real Christmas vibe. As one of London's most vibrant markets, you'll find lots of festive treats for the family including stalls selling home-made gifts, food demonstration pop-ups and plenty of mulled wine and snacks on offer. If you are looking for fresh produce to bring home for the Christmas table you will find a huge variety of stalls selling different cheeses, wine, vegetables, fish and meat.
Dates: 4 December - 1 January
For more information visit boroughmarket.org.uk
11. Bath Christmas market
With over 150 wooden chalets lining the cobbled streets of the city centre, Bath's Christmas market is the perfect place to find an original gift for a loved one this Christmas. If you're all shopped out, try your hand at festive wreath-making before admiring the city’s Christmas decorations at Thermae Bath Spa.
Dates: 28 November - 15 December
For more information visit bathchristmasmarket.co.uk
12. Manchester Christmas market
With more than 300 beautiful stalls and chalets dotted across the city centre, you can easily fill a day at Manchester's Christmas markets. And while you may want to enjoy traditional German bratwurst and beers, visitors can also treat themselves to everything from Hungarian goulash to Spanish paella with food from across the continent. Running throughout December, the Christmas markets will also offer amber jewellery, handmade Belgian kitchenware and French soaps.
Dates: 8 - 22 December
For more information visit visitmanchester.com
13. Cardiff Christmas market
Cardiff's 2019 Christmas market will bring together over 200 exhibitors in 85 stalls selling a diverse range of high quality, original and handmade products. The stalls cover everything from ceramics to beauty and even leatherwork, making it a great spot to do your Christmas shopping. There are several food and drink stalls too, so you can make a full day of it.
Dates: 14 November - 23 December
For more information visit cardiffchristmasmarket.com
14. Nottingham Winter Wonderland
Each year Nottingham transforms into a traditional Christmas card scene complete with an ice rink, Christmas trees and an ice bar. The free Winter Wonderland returns to the city on 15 November, with over 70 specialist stalls at its festive market, many of which are locally based and offer something for everyone including artisan cheeses, jewellery, fashion and Christmas decorations to name just a few. With a number of bars, eateries and entertainment in and around the city, it's sure to get you in the festive spirit.
Dates: 15 November - 31 December
For more information visit nottinghamwinterwonderland.com