To help you get into the holiday spirit, we’ve drawn up a shortlist of the five best Christmas markets in the UK for 2021. These markets have something for the entire family – rides for the kids, quaint shops and indulgent food stalls. Our top 5 UK Christmas markets for 2021 are:
- Manchester Christmas Market
- Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Bath Christmas Market
- York Christmas Market
- Winter Wonderland
Read on to find out what festive treats await at these great UK Christmas markets and how to get there by train. Avoid the nightmare of city-centre parking and travel by rail!
1. Manchester Christmas Market
Manchester will have Christmas Markets popping up throughout the city centre during the festive period. A whopping 300 wooden chalets selling food, drink and gifts will be spread across ten locations. The main market is on Albert Square, opposite the town hall. There'll be food stalls, bars and a giant illuminated Santa Claus watching over proceedings.
Visit Cathedral Gardens market for funfair rides, an ice rink, and, of course, mulled gin for the adults! Next, head to St. Ann’s Square for some of the best glühwein in the city. Then wander on to King Street, where you’ll find delicious French and Italian produce like delicious cheese, cured meats and macarons.
Opening dates: 8th November 2021 - 22nd December 2021, although the market at Cathedral Gardens, will run until Sunday 5th January 2022.
Getting there: Manchester’s main station, Manchester Piccadilly, is around 18 minutes away on foot from Albert Square. If you don’t fancy the walk, hop on the Metrolink tram (Blue or Purple line) and get off at St Peter’s Square. The fast train from London Euston takes just over two hours to reach Manchester Piccadilly. Alternatively, Oxford Road station is closer to Albert Square, just 12 minutes on foot – however you’re unlikely to be arriving into Oxford Road unless you’re coming from the North.
2. Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market
As you might have guessed from the name, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market brings German-inspired festivities to the Midlands. In fact, Birmingham is twinned with Frankfurt, so the market welcomes several authentic German stalls. It’s the largest authentic Christmas market outside of Austria and Germany - not to be missed!
There'll be 80 stalls this year, stretching across New Street, Centenary Square and Victoria Square in central Birmingham. Have a browse through the huge range of artisanal gifts on offer – hand-carved toys, Christmas decorations, soaps and candles. Or, indulge in traditional German bratwurst, beer and pretzels. For the kids, the ice rink and Ferris wheel are back by popular demand, conveniently located on Centenary Square.
Opening dates: 5th November 2021 - 23rd December 2021.
Getting there: Birmingham New Street station is a stone’s throw from the German Market, just five minutes on foot. The fast train from London Euston to New Street takes 1h 22m. The slower trains from Marylebone arrive into Birmingham Moor Street, which is a 12-minute walk from the Market.
3. Bath Christmas Market
Bath’s Christmas Market more than captures the festive spirit. Over 150 stalls will open in the middle of town, centred around Abbey Churchyard and the Roman Baths. Bath Street, Abbeygate Street, York Street and Union Street will all be lined with pretty wooden chalets. The market has proved so popular in recent years that it was extended to include even more food options on Milson Street – including raclette-covered jacked potatoes (yum!), roasted chestnuts and hog roasts. Over 80% of the stalls at the market belong to Bath and the South West, so you’ll be supporting home-grown produce from small businesses.
There's loads to do at Bath Christmas Market besides stuff yourself silly with food. The Bath on Ice skating rink returns to Royal Victoria Park, as does an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course! You can also catch a pantomime performance at the Theatre Royal or visit Santa’s Grotto at Milsom Place.
Opening dates: 25th November 2021 - 19th December 2021.
Getting there: Hop on a train to Bath Spa – the city’s main railway station. The Christmas market is just an eight-minute walk away. Trains from London Paddington take around an hour and a half to reach Bath Spa, while from Bristol Temple Meads it’s a mere 15-minute journey. As you might’ve guessed, we’re quite big on trains, so we get rather excited by the fact that you can also travel to the Bath Christmas Market on a vintage steam locomotive!
4. York Christmas Market
If you think York is pretty, wait until you see it at winter time! York Christmas Market - also known as St Nicholas Fair - welcomed over one million visitors last year and returns this winter to bring some festive cheer to York’s quaint medieval streets. The main attraction will be on Parliament Street, where most chalets selling artisanal gifts and food will be located. However, there are events taking place all over the city; from the Yuletide Village at the Shambles to the live carol performances at St Sampson’s Square and festive mini golf at the Spark:York communal space.
The city’s Viking heritage brings a distinctly Scandinavian twist to the Christmas market. Nestled between the chalets on Parliament Street you’ll find Thor’s Tipi, a Viking-themed bar with a roaring fire, hot chocolate and mulled cider. Shelter inside or enjoy a drink alfresco among the Christmas trees in the heated winter garden. And we can’t help but mention another heritage train experience, the Northern Lights Express. This steam train journey begins at nightfall at Pickering Station in North Yorkshire, where you’ll board a classic NYMR steam train decked out with thousands of Christmas lights. You’ll wind through a twinkling forest before arriving at Levisham station in time for a light show.
Opening dates:18th November 2021 - 23rd December 2021.
Getting there: York station is the city’s principal railway station and LNER's super-fast Azuma train from London Kings Cross can get you there in under two hours. Once you arrive, the Christmas market is a just 13-minute walk from the station. Walk through the Memorial Gardens and cross the River Ouse on Station Road.
5. Winter Wonderland, London
The final market, but by no means least - is none other than Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland. Jam-apcked with attractions, live entertainment, a traditional Christmas market filled with gifts, decorations and food stalls and ice-staking, Winter Wonderland has it all. Families can pay a visit to Santa Land, with festive rides the kids will love and of course Santa himself at home in his grotto.
For those that want to make a night of it, be sure to visit the Bavarian Village, with plenty of bars, outdoor seating, restaurants and of course, the Bavarian Hall where you can dance to live music all night long.
Opening dates: 19th November 2021 - 3rd January 2022.
Getting there: The nearest national rail stations to Hyde Park are Paddington, Victoria, and Marylebone. If you're taking the tube, there are several nearby to chose from including Victoria, Bond Street, Knightsbridge, Green Park, Marble Arch, and Hyde Park Corner.