It's that wonderful time of year again! The days are crisp and bright, and there's a festive spirit in the air, and with December fast approaching the Christmas markets are in full swing across the UK. To help you get to the best ones, we've narrowed down the search with our top picks near at our iQ properties.
The Frankfurt Christmas Market, Victoria Square
We all know that some of the best Christmas markets in the world are Bavarian markets, with the smell of cooking bratwurst in the air whilst you wonder around the adorable wooden chalets. But you don’t have to travel far to get a bit of that Bavarian feeling, actually you can step right out into Victoria Square and see it transformed into The Frankfurt Christmas Market. Celebrating 50 years of partnership between Birmingham and Frankfurt, this market will be the largest authentic Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Complete with traditional German food, Weissbeer in steins, tasty hot chocolate and plenty of stalls. It’s the perfect spot to get into the Christmas spirit.
Bristol & Bath
The Bristol Christmas Market, Broadmead Shopping Quarter
The Bath Christmas Market, Abbey Chambers
Bristol’s Christmas Market will give visitors a magical atmosphere surrounded by the city’s Christmas lights and with sweet chalet style stalls serving German food and drink. New for this year is also the Jagerbarn bar and beer garden. If you feel like escaping Bristol for a bit, then why not venture to the Bath Christmas Market. This award winning market gets visitors from around the world due to its beautiful setting, right in the heart of the city surrounded by The Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Go on an empty stomach and enjoy tastings of all the local produce, from cheese to mulled wine and chocolate – yum!
The Scottish Market, West George Street
Try something a bit different this year and visit The Scottish Market, a wintery showcase of the best craft food and drink that the wonderful country of Scotland has to offer. It’s open until 10pm every night and is the perfect place to stuff your bellies this Christmas. Whilst you’re in George Street, coincide your visit with the stunning ‘Street of Light’ event, where 60,000 beautiful lightbulbs are switched on the 20th November and are on until Christmas Eve, accompanied by various musical acts including the Edinburgh Festival Choir. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance here, but be quick they’re selling out!
Christkindelmarket, Millennium Square
Chriskindlemarkt is Leeds well established traditional German market, featuring a variety of chalets serving authentic German food and drink, and selling perfect gift ideas including jewellery, decorations and hand crafted toys. New to this year will be Ski Hutte bar, set in an alpine chalet and perfectly decorated to make you feel transported to the snowy hills of Bavaria. Why not take a spin on the Christmas carousel ride while you’re there too? Or catch one of the daily performances on the new open air stage.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
Christmas by The River, London Bridge
Everybody knows about London’s Winter Wonderland, but in case you don’t, every year a huge section of Hyde Park turns into a small Christmas city, filled with a variety of things to see and do. Celebrating 10 years this year, the event has an ice skating rink, a Bavarian village, an ice bar and this year it is even hosting Cirque Berserk for some weird and wonderful entertainment. The event is free to enter, but comes with some hefty prices inside this mini magical city. If you fancy something a little less busy (Winter Wonderland draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year) try heading down to Christmas by the River. Walk along The Queen’s Walk and take in the pretty little wooden cabins, creatively decorated with unique trinkets and handmade goods. It’s the perfect place to have a relaxing stroll in the city.
Manchester’s European Christmas Market, Albert Square
The award winning Manchester European Christmas Market, is one of the largest in the UK with nearly 350 stalls and chalets, spread out in 10 different spaces across the city. Each area has its own vibe and best bits, so it’s a great chance to explore all the areas of the city. Albert Square is the main section where you’ll find the largest bar and an array of German food and drink stalls, whilst Brazennose Street is home to the Christmas pudding flavoured gin, and Cathedral Gardens is home to the ice skating rink. There’s plenty to choose from and it’s a great opportunity to explore the city whilst getting into the festive spirit.
Nottingham Christmas Market and Ice Rink Winter Wonderland, Old Market Square
Wonder through the Victorian Fayre at Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland and feel transported back in time. Try some of the locally produced confectionary, chocolates and cheeses, or buy some special hand crafted gifts for your loved ones. Once you’re done with Victorian England, head over to the ice skating rink, or new for 2016, enjoy a tipple in the ice bar! Get wrapped up warm and head into the ice cave surrounded by ice sculptures and enjoy a drink from your ice cold glass. Remember to book, the ice rink and bar get booked up quickly.
Chatsworth House Christmas Market, Chatsworth House
Located 47 minutes by bus from Sheffield Interchange and nestled in the beauty of the Peak District, Chatsworth House Christmas Market is sure to be a fancy Christmas affair. Enjoy the glamour of a stately home whilst wondering around this picturesque market. Try delicious food including gourmet burgers, pancakes, churros and sausage rolls, drink mulled cider or German beers in one of the outdoor bars, shop around for the perfect gift and watch live seasonal entertainment. Why not book to see the house and gardens whilst you there? You can book in advance here.