The UK's Best Christmas Markets

Wherever you are in the UK, there's a Christmas market for you. ELLE picks out the best up and down the country, so all you need to do is grab your coat and soak up the festive spirit.

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Birmingham

The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria. So, really, you needn't bother wasting money on flights when you've got authentic currywurst/krakauer/feuerwurst right on your doorstep. The market is open daily (from 10am to 9pm) right up until Christmas Eve, so you've got plenty of time to kick off the festive season in style.

If it's Santa hats and cheap Glühwein you're after, Birmingham's vast German market is a must-see. But if you want an alternative, you'll find a wide range of stocking fillers at the Christmas Craft Markets at the Midlands Art Centre on the weekends of 2-3 and 9-10 December. Stalls sell contemporary ceramics, jewellery and paintings by artists in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.

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The Frankfurt market opens from 16 November until 24 December.

Birmingham's Frankfurt Market

Edinburgh European Christmas Market

Edinburgh market is not only one of the most magical winter wonderlands but also happens to be the most popular attraction north of the border. And it's not hard to see why. At the heart of Princes Street lies the city's multi-tiered European Christmas market – bursting with handmade craft goods, hand painted ceramics and Christmas decorations – or, alternatively, sample the delights of the Scottish Market on George Street – a winter showcase of the best craft, food and drink that Scotland has to offer.

If you fancy getting really festive, there's also the legendary Hogmanay street party, which runs from 30 Dec to 1 Jan. To celebrate their 25th birthday, they've got all out: expect top headline acts (Rag'n'Bone Man and the Human League) and fireworks for days.

The Christmas market opens from 19 November to 7 January every day 10am to 10pm. For more info check out the Edinburgh Christmas market site. For info on Hogmanay click here.

Edinburgh's Christmas Market on Princes Street
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Leeds Christkindelmarkt Market

Another German market not actually in Germany, sure, but this one is particularly special. Millennium Square will once again be transformed into a scenic winter village complete with over 140 wooden chalet stalls, cosy indoor retreats, a traditional carousel and an endless supply of crepes, pretzels, potato fritters and Frankfurter sausages (well, until Christmas eve).

This year also sees the return of the Alp Chalet (music to any ex-Leeds student's hears), a laid-back warm hub of a restaurant with a focus on good food. Wash it all down with traditional German beers or try something a little different, like a hot caipirinha.

Open from Friday 10 November until Sunday 24 December, seven days a week from 10.30am to 9.30pm, closing at 6.30pm on Sundays.

Leeds Christkindelmarkt Market

Bath

Bath is arguably one of the most prettiest festival markets in the UK. Spread around the floodlit abbey until 11 December, it boasts over 150 festive huts. And over 70% of the featured traders are from the south-west, so you'll find nothing but locally made food and handmade gifts. If the endless seasonal jolliness is leaving you slightly numb, there's always the Bath Artisan Christmas Market, which takes over Green Park station every second Sunday of the month. No cheap Santa hats, but plenty of upcycled furniture, vintage clothes, art and food stalls.

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The Christmas market opens everyday from 24 November to 11 December.

Bath Christmas market

The Hepworth Wakefield Christmas Market

A fan of beautiful ceramics? Prints? One of a kind jewellery? If you want to find an actually good gift rather than feeling sick after one too-many gingerbread hearts, try this Yorkshire-made Christmas market. Coming to The Calder art space in Wakefield's Hepworth Gallery for just three days (Friday 24 - Sunday 26 November), everything is sourced by independent makers from across the UK. There's also an adventure playground nearby in case, y'know, you get a little bored.

Open from Friday 24 November (12 – 7pm) to 26 Nov (10am – 5pm, for both Sat and Sun). Find more info on the Wakefield Gallery's website here.

The Hepworth Wakefield Christmas Market

Manchester

When it comes to markets, you get more bang for your buck in Manchester. The city hosts not just one but four festive delights throughout the Christmas period, from a german-style market at St Ann's Square to French-themed stalls at King Street. Or head to Exchange Street, where you'll find arts and crafts, by way of Brazennose Street, an international Christmas market with globally-sourced selection of jewellery, leather goods and speciality foods.

For high-quality crafts, head out of town to Hale, where you'll find The Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair held in Altrincham Town Hall. It only runs for one day on 3 December, so make sure you don't miss it.

Markets open from 10November until 20 December.

Manchester Christmas market

Cardiff Christmas Market

As with Bath, Cardiff's Christmas Market is your hotspot for tracking down locally produced, hand-crafted gifts. Located in the centre of the city, chocolate is a winning theme (don't leave without trying Sarah Bunton's handmade goods), plus there's a great range of artwork on sale – from collage and photographic prints to posters and cards. If you find yourself all shopped out, there's also a funfair, an ice rink and Father Christmas will – at some point ride – through town in his sleigh.

Open from 24 November until 11 December, 10am to 8pm.

Oxford Christmas Market

Set in the heart of the city, this Germanic shindig specialises in handmade gifts and local arts and crafts. You'll also be welcomed by local musicians (brass bands feature prominently, if that's your bag) and choirs singing Christmas carols. The festivities take place at Oxford Castle, meaning you can embark on a spot of sightseeing once you've got the stockings sorted.

Open 7 to 17 December. For more info visit their website here.

Oxford Christmas Market

London's Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland is a glittering slice of Disney-esque Christmas. Cruise around the light-bedecked stalls with a mulled wine or hot chocolate, catch one of the live acts or party late into the night in the Bavarian style wooden chalets lit with over 200 fairy-lights. Aside from the market's stalls, bars and restaurants, you can hit the fairground, take a spin on the big wheel, ice skate, watch a circus or check out some ice sculptures.

Open from 17 November until Monday 1 January 2018 (closed on Christmas Day), 10am-10pm; Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH.

Crafty Fox Christmas Market, Peckham

Billing itself as a High Street antidote, the Crafty Fox Market features designers, makers, workshops, food, and a full bar. Expect handmade jewellery, illustration, homeware and textiles. If you're feeling creative, take part in a letterpress or screen-printing workshop.

December 9 and 10, 11am-5pm; The Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST.

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