Celebrating the festive season with a trip to one of the UK’s finest Christmas markets? Look no further for the ultimate guide – here are the best ones to visit this year.
Forget overpriced German bratwurst, followed by a crepe smothered in Nutella (mmmm, actually, maybe keep that part).
Sod novelty wooden reindeer that only your nan will love – THIS is the Christmas markets with a difference. So friends, you ready to get festive AF?
First up, Manchester. Obvs, as it’s the UK’s O.G. Christmas market. And quite frankly, it’s AH-MAZING.
Stretching all over the city and home to the famous Christmas ‘Zippy’, every year this massive market gets better and better.
How? We hear you ask. Well, this year they’re even building a SLIDE made from ICE. Yeah, you read that right.
Sure, it’s for children ages 12 and under, but for those above 5ft 3? Expect a full-blown ice village in the city’s Cathedral Gardens. So far, we’ve been promised an ice sculpture of a dragon guarding a frozen castle (Yo, Elsa – where you at?!), plus a huge (ice) steam train and fully stocked Ice Bar. NICE.
To really change the tone of your trip to Manchester’s Christmas markets, head to the karaoke huts in Spinningfields. Where you and all your tone-deaf mates can enjoy some mulled wine, while belting out your “best” rendition of The Pogues, Fairytale of New York. Just don’t come for us if you get kicked out ‘coz of noise complaints.
The Bar Hütte opens Thursday 7th November and you can book a booth here.
We hate to give LDN even more press because it already has everything. The Queen. The sun. That MASSIVE Primark… and now, Harry Potter in the Snow!
Forget ice skating with four million other people at Winter Wonderland. Grab yourself a Butterbeer and have a wander around a snow-covered Diagon Alley instead.
The Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour plans to transform iconic scenes, including The Great Hall, the Weasley’s kitchen and other memorable locations to look like they do at Christmas time in the movie franchise. Present shopping in Hogsmeade, anyone?
Hogwarts in the Snow runs from Saturday 16th November – Sunday 26th January and you can book your tickets here.
They say, “Christmas is all about the children”. But they’re wrong. Christmas is definitely for the doggos. Cute doggos in cute Christmas jumpers and their cute reindeer ears, getting acutely drunk* off their doggo paw-secco and fur-baby beer (*disclaimer: not actually).
At Liverpool’s Baltic Market, Santa Paws will be arriving to see who is going on the naughty and nice list (I mean, that’ll be an easy job). And they’re even setting up a dog-themed market so you can spoil your fur baby with lots of gifts and treats.
P.S. We fully recommend that even if you don’t own a dog, you get yourself down there for your dog petting fix.
P.P.S. Can someone pleaseee report back to us whether or not ‘Santa Paws’ is a 2-legged human Santa or 4-legged doggo Santa!? Then we can decide if we 10/10 would pet.
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Last year, Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland had an upgrade with its brand new festive pop-up hot (cold?) spot, Altitude Bar.
How is this different from the normal bars you see at a Christmas market where it takes you 20 minutes to get served in a 50-person deep queue, we hear you cry?
Well, not only does it have panoramic views of the Christmas markets below – so you can watch all the peasants drink from their plastic glasses of overpriced mulled wine while you take the perfect Insta shot (#sillyseason) – it’s got table service!! A.k.a the holy grail of any night out with your mates when it’s your round and you don’t want to miss any banter.
Dates for this year’s Nottingham Winter Wonderland are yet to be released but you only get into the Altitude Bar by booking a private VIP table, so keep checking back.
While we’re all in favour of a good-old pub crawl, how do we feel about a Christmas Trail? Yep, it’s basically a tour of Leeds’ best, biggest and greenest… Christmas trees?!
With a grand total of 12 to see, it’s a great idea to sell into your boss as a ‘team-building afternoon’ before the big Christmas do that evening (and basically bag yourselves some extra downtime). Convince them this, and enjoy God-like office hero status for the rest of the year (two whole weeks’ of glory is not to be sniffed at, yeah?).
Because one, it gets you out of the office. And two, you can also pack a cheeky hip flask to help ease the pain of when Sandra from Finance corners you to tell you about her love of numbers.
You can check out the Christmas Trail here.
With the vegan thang still going strong, if you ain’t tried plant-based just yet then now’s the time to start. Glasgow’s Vegan Market is hosting My Big Fat Vegan Christmas – and credit where credit’s due, vegans know how to deep fry a vegetable and call it junk food.
Admittedly, you won’t get as boozy as you might want, but they will have some mulled wine up for grabs. Plus, there’ll be loads of animal-friendly stalls to peruse… The perfect place to tick off some names on your To Buy For list. Whilst channelling your inner Leo DiCaprio/eco-warrior vibes on a Christmassy quest to save the world. Good karma points, anyone?
You can find out more about the market here.