We have all seen the enchanting and wonderful looking European Christmas markets in glossy Instagram pics and if it wasn’t for the cost of travel and accommodation, I am sure we would all be flocking to them! What you might not know is that we have some amazing (and equally enchanting) Christmas markets here in the United Kingdom. To help you find the cream of the crop we have compiled this awesome top 5 list along with all the important details, like what to do, try and see and of course - parking.
- Hyde Park, London
- 21st November to 1st January
- Free Admission
- No dedicated parking (£££ London street parking costs)
If you fancy brazing the massive crowds and travelling into central London, then the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is the largest and most well-known Christmas Market in the UK. It is free admission which is fantastic for those looking to be thrifty with money but the attractions and merchandise on the stalls tend to be very price inflated.
The market isn’t serviced well for parking so public transport is advisable although the nearby and very pricey Park Lane car park is available. Winter Wonderland is a great experience and certainly worth having once. Because it is free, it is normally packed to capacity and isn’t for the faint hearted. It is Christmas with all the trimmings, including an ice rink and spiced warm drinks.
For those not wishing to brave the Hyde Park experience, there are other Winter Wonderlands that pop-up over the Christmas period with a notably good one at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.
- East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
- 16th November to 4th January
- Free Admission (some shows aren’t free)
- No dedicated parking (££ Edinburgh parking costs, cheaper in the evenings)
We all know the Europeans throw wonderful Christmas markets and this pop-up market emulates all of that European goodness. A firm favourite for UK Christmas market visitors, the European Christmas Market has been trading for two decades and is growing in popularity each and every year.
The stalls are moderately priced and a bit cheaper than the previously mentioned Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with a focus on Christmas crafts and ornaments. There is also a wide selection of yummy Christmas food and being open until 10pm, you can warm up during the cold Christmas night with a toasty warm alcoholic beverage.
Like with London, parking isn’t brilliant and it is advised to use public transport during the day. For evening and later trips, parking is more generous.
- Rochester Castle Gardens, Rochester
- 7th to 8th December
- Free admissions
- Limited town centre parking
Fancy saying bah, humbug to the European way? This Christmas treat is not to be missed and has all the trappings of a Victorian market. Think Christmas choirs, lots of British cheer and plenty of traditional food to get your grubby little mitts on.
The Dickensian Market is unashamedly British and celebrates all of the Christmas marvels from yesteryear. Expect plenty of street performers dressed for the occasion and a family-fun filled day – or two if you really love it.
Rochester has good public transport connections and parking is also favourable compared to other markets that make this list. The only downside is it is only on for a couple of days which means you will need to plan ahead. The normal Christmas market runs for a few weeks in Rochester in case you miss the Dickensian fun!
- Streets surrounding Bath Abbey
- 26th November to 13th December
- Free admissions
- Limited parking available
Bath Christmas Market is a more rural affair with a focus on all that is marvellous about the West Country. Set near the historic location of Bath Abbey there are over 200 wooden stool pitches that are made up of local merchants, producers and artisans. The perfect place to sink your teeth into some wholesome British food and enjoy a day perusing the many stools for that perfect Christmas gift for that person in your family that you never know what to get.
Bath Christmas Market is a very homely and contemporary British take on the European Christmas Markets. The products on offer are normally of a high quality and priced reasonably and the food is scrumptious.
Bath isn’t very car friendly and it is best to use public transport to get to and from Bath Christmas Market but if you need to drive, parking is available.
- Castle Howard, Leeds
- 16th November to 5th January
- Admission starting from £10.95 for kids, £17.80 for adults
- Free dedicated parking
This last entry is probably the most Christmassy of the markets on this list and everything is decorated with festive cheer. The market also has a wonderful Santa’s grotto alongside storytelling sessions by the log fire making it the perfect market for families with young children. The market stalls are also wide ranging with lots of gifts, trinkets and decorations and better still, at a very reasonable price!
Castle Howard gets busy over the Christmas period and the stately home is somewhat of a local attraction so make sure you book your trip in advance at www.castlehoward.co.uk – you can even book to stay there.
Castle Howard Christmas Market is easily accessible by car and free parking is available on site too.
All of the Christmas markets on our list have been specially chosen to give you a different festive flavour and a different Christmas market experience. Don’t forget to pick up some new Christmas tree decorations while you’re there!
Buying your Christmas tree online for delivery will save you plenty of car space and transport hassle – spend your day at the Christmas market enjoying the sights, not lugging around a 5 foot Nordmann Fir!
Order your tree for Christmas now.