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Blighty’s Best Christmas Markets

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and those looking for festive cheer, sparkling lights and unique Christmas gifts are making their way to Britian’s best Christmas markets. To help get you feeling festive, we’ve pulled together a list of our ten favourite Christmas markets and put them on a map – along with our best tips and tricks to get you excited and on your way.

All of our favourite markets can be easily reached by train – so forget the snow-shoes, sledge, sleigh or late night on the motorway and check our journey planner for cheap train tickets before you go …

Britain’s 10 best Christmas markets

1. Glasgow

For seven weeks Glasgow’s George Square glitters with festive fun for visitors of all ages. The centre-piece of this market is the large open air ice rink where you can bundle up and skate under the stars or soak up the atmosphere with great live entertainment running each day. From story-time with Santa to quiz nights, festive films and big bands there’s plenty to ring in the Christmas spirit – hop on a train to Glasgow and see for yourself – the heart of the Christmas festivities are just across the street from Queen Street Station.

2. Leeds

The Leeds Christmas Market – or Christkindelmarkt – is one of the most popular in the UK, and with good reason. This traditional German market takes over Millennium Square during the festive period and has established itself as one of the most authentic in Britain. Hop on a train to Leeds and wander through more than 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls, sample hot mulled wine and fill up on everything from stolen to bratwurst and schnitzel.

3. Edinburgh

As the nights grow long and the weather cold, the beautiful city of Edinburgh comes to life with its annual Christmas market and fair. Located in the heart of the city under the iconic Edinburgh Castle, visitors can stroll past traditional German stalls or jump on-board the Ferris wheel, offering stunning views of Edinburgh’s old town. Hop on the train to Edinburgh and take a spin around the ice rink or fill up on the Scottish and German foods on offer – celebrations run right through Christmas and culminate with the city’s famous Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

4. Manchester

Jump on the train to Manchester and visit the award winning Christmas market in the heart of the city. Spread across eight different sites in the city centre, visitors can find fares from all over Europe – market stalls at this Christmas market offer everything from Dutch mini pancakes to Hungarian goulash and Spanish paella, so don’t forget to bring your appetite when you arrive.

5. London – Southbank

There’s no shortage of Christmas fun on offer at the nation’s capital, but for a traditional market set against the backdrop of modern London, it has to be the Southbank Christmas market. Located along the Queen’s Walk on the banks of the Thames beside the London Eye, visitors can shop for hand-crafted gifts and food in 80 authentic wooden stalls along the festive promenade. And for entertainment, there’s a traditional carousel that serves as a focal point for the market, as well as daily choir performances of some of best-loved Christmas carols.

6. Bath

Whether you’re looking to warm up with a piping hot cup of cider or for some last minute gifts, the 140 stalls at the Bath Christmas Market will have exactly what you need. Located between the stunning Bath Abbey and Roman Baths, visitors can see the best of the city and get into the festive spirit all in one go.

7. Birmingham

Birmingham’s Christmas market is the largest German Christmas markets outside of Germany – so you can bet it’s one of the most impressive on our list this year. But don’t take our word for it – two local bloggers and Birmingham experts have shared what makes the market so special for them…

Hayley from Strangeness and Charm told us:

“Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market just defines Christmas for me. When you’re walking round, there’s the smell of candied nuts and mulled wine and everyone is happy and in the festive spirit. It’s also in such a great location, with the beautiful architecture of the Town Hall and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in the background. It’s a great place to meet friends and socialise or go for an after work drink with your colleagues. I look forward to it every year and it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me until I’ve visited the market and had my traditional bag of candied cashews!”

And Charlotte from lilmisschickas told us:

“The Birmingham Christmas market usually signals the start of the Christmas celebrations in Birmingham. It makes you feel all festive inside and there are stalls catering for every taste. I love it because they always have something that will take your fancy, whether that is a tasty mulled wine or a full Christmas dinner!”

Sound like your cup of tea? Jump on the train to Birmingham and discover the Christmas market for yourself.

8. Bristol

A relative newcomer to the Christmas market scene, Bristol’s German Christmas market made our list thanks to its unique touches and spirited stalls. Now in its 4th year, the traditional market features 35 stalls, as well as festive beer gardens where visitors can relax after a successful day at the shops. This market also features a giant advent calendar at its heart – Santa arrives each day to open a new window as locals and visitors alike countdown to Christmas.

9. Swansea

From market stalls to live entertainment and amusement rides, Swansea’s Christmas festivities offer something for everyone. Glide around the open air skating rink along the waterfront or catch a bird’s eye view of the city from the giant wheel. When you’re finished, the Christmas street market along Oxford Street has the best fine foods, arts, crafts and handmade gifts on offer all in one place!

10. Nottingham

Jump on the train to Nottingham and see why this market earned the final spot on our list of Blighty’s best Christmas markets. Set between Nottingham’s Old Market Square and Smithy Row, visitors will find everything from a 60ft Christmas tree to the popular craft and gift market. If you fancy some light refreshment, the two storey Victorian Bar offers a place to stay warm and cosy while you sip on hot mulled wine and local ales.

From up north all the way to down south, Christmas markets are ringing in the holiday season all over the UK – all that’s left to do now is book a train ticket to your favourite market. And while you’re there – why not leave us a comment or tweet us a picture and let us know how you’re getting on?

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