Christmas markets are magical. Think pickled eggs in jars, the tempting fragrance of mulled wine, hog on roast, scented homemade candles, and sweets of various kinds. Children all excited, stalls and the night lit up with a hundred twinkling lights, people drinking and feasting. And of course, getting to see baby Jesus in his crib, and picking up Christmas ornaments and unique gifts.
If Christmas markets are your thing, you should certainly look at UK – there’s plenty happening from London to Leeds and more. But what we’ve done in this article is to zero down on some of the markets that are a great alternative. It’s easy and affordable to get to these, and you would get a taste of something different yet familiar.
Here’s our list, but we are always open to your suggestions. So do drop in a line if you want your favourite Christmas market in the UK to be in the list.
Bath Christmas Market
Bath is at the top of my list. Not only is this historic city beautiful during the day time, it also comes alive at night – all decked up like a December bride! We visited Bath’s Christmas market whilst we lived in the UK, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It was in Bath that I bought my first pickled egg from a stall (it’s a mix of sweet and sour) and also took a generous, unsolicited bite out of my husband’s beef brisket sandwich!
What can you expect in Bath Christmas Market this year? it returns after two years to celebrate its 20th anniversary, and there are over 150 chalets that offer stylish homeware, handmade jewellery, personalised presents, festive food and more. You could pick up a felt toy, scarves and accessories, handblown glass Christmas decorations, porcelain items or just treat yourself to good food and Bath on Ice. Or you could, if you haven’t already, try a pickled egg! Bath definitely makes for a great alternative Christmas market and if your heart is set on visiting at least one this year, give this one a chance.
Dates: Between Thursday 24th November and Sunday 11th December
Find all the details for the Bath Christmas market here.
Liverpool Christmas Market
This year, the Liverpool Christmas Market has a new venue. St Johns Gardens, William Brown Street and the North Entrance of Georges Hall will play home to the market, and it will be accessible from Lower and upper William Brown Street and via St Johns Lane.
You may have been to Liverpool if you’re a Beatles fan, but visiting it to catch the festive cheer is something else. The Liverpool Christmas Market will be your one-stop shop for all kinds of gifts and experiences. An array of stalls will tempt you with a wide selection of Christmas gifts, personalised decorations, arts and craft goodies, photo prints, jewellery and stocking fillers. For food lovers, stalls include the Yorkshire Pud Wrap Stall, the traditional swing grill selling a selection of sausages and burgers to vegan stalls. Plus there’s also the walk-through Christmas tree at Williamson Square.
And, we’d like to think that as we wander through the many stalls, and take in the sights and sounds of Christmas, a chalet or two would be playing the hit Beatles song Christmas Time (Is Here Again). Would Liverpool make it to your alternative Christmas Market bucket-list? If so, do let us know.
Dates: From 12th November until the 23rd of December 2022
All details about the Liverpool Christmas Market here.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh’s charm is doubled, or may we say tripled when it hosts a Christmas market. This Scottish city is famed across the world for its cobbled streets, rich history and architectural beauties. But when Christmas comes calling, Edinburgh is sprinkled with magic dust! Really.
Pigs in blankets, beautiful trinkets and bespoke Christmas ornaments and gifts – Edinburgh’s Christmas Market would have it all. This year, the market takes place in East Princes Street Gardens and looks like a complete package for everyone in the family.
Dates: Between 19 November and 3 January
Winchester Christmas Market
Now this one is often regarded as one of the best ones in Europe. It’s particularly known for its bustling atmosphere, stunning location and handpicked high quality exhibitors.
Imagine pretty wooden chalets, situated within the historic grounds of Winchester Cathedral. It’s interesting to note that the wooden chalets are inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets. Add festive lighting, soothing lyrics of Christmas carols and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air and you have a winner! Plus, you could always look up the Christmas services and carol concerts taking place at the cathedral. There’s a reason why Winchester Christmas Market is so highly regarded in Europe, and you should certainly pay a visit to give it your stamp of approval too.
Dates: Taking place from 18th November to the 22nd December
Find all the details here
Manchester Christmas Markets
Now, if you have been to Manchester, but not to its Christmas Markets, you are missing something beautiful and big. This year, the market will host over 220 stalls across nine sites throughout the city centre. It’s a perfect run-up to Christmas, but what can you expect from the Manchester Christmas Markets in 2022?
There will be the iconic ski chalet market stalls as also the the return of the magical Manchester Christmas lights trail, illuminating the city centre throughout the festive season with its walk-through giant baubles, a Manchester bee, and of course Santa Claus himself. (You will find Mr Claus sitting high on his perch in front of the Central Library on St Peter’s Square.)
There’s also the Winter Gardens and Skate Manchester’s family-friendly covered ice rink at the Cathedral Gardens. Perfect for those who love skating around a cheerful Christmas tree, and sparkling fairy lights. Plus Christmas songs on repeat! Btw, did you know that the first Christmas Markets were held in Manchester almost 24 years ago in 1998?
Dates: From 10th November to 22nd December
Find all the details here.
If you are looking for more inspiration, especially Christmas Markets across Europe, do check out our piece here.