Britain’s best Christmas markets

Lily Cox rounds up her favourite Christmas markets to visit this festive season.

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market & Craft Fair

13 November – 22 December 2014

Open Daily: 10.00am – 9.00pm

Across: Victoria Square, The Rotunda, New Street, Chamberlain Square and Centenary Square.

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest market of its style outside of Austria and Germany. The food options are abundant: pretzels, schnitzels, bratwurst and gluhwein. If the opportunity to gorge doesn’t appeal, look out for last minute presents from handmade wooden toys and candles to high quality sheepskin gloves,

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Manchester Christmas Market

14 November – 21 December 2014-11-20

Open Daily: 10am – 7.30pm (8pm in December)

Across: Albert Square, Brazenose Square, King Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Street, Market Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square and Cathedral Gardens.

Unlike its Birmingham counterpart, the Manchester Christmas market pays homage to food and gifts from across the breadth of Europe. Walking down the chalet-lined streets you will discover Hungarian goulash and Spanish paella, as well as Belgian kitchenware and French soaps.


The North Pole Christmas Festival, Cambridge

21 November – 5 January 2015

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 9pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am – 9pm. Closed Christmas Day

Parker’s Piece, Parkside, Cambridge, CB2 1AA.

The North Pole Christmas Festival promises to be a delight from start to finish. Boasting a hoard of traditional fairground rides with a festive twist, organisers have provided, amongst others, bungee trampolines, Snow Storm, Ski Slope, Penguin Bumper Cars and the much loved carousel.

The inclusion of a large ice-rink and a huge selection of fresh street food in association with foodPark Cambridge ensures that this is one Christmas market not to be missed.


Exeter Christmas Market

20 November – 20 December 2014

Opening Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10am – 7pm, Thursday – Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm.

Exeter Cathedral, 1 The Cloisters, Exeter, EX1 1HS.

Hosted outside Exeter Cathedral, the stalls here showcase the best of what Britain, the South West and the rest of Europe has to offer, including delicious foods and unique decorations.


Edinburgh Christmas Market

21 November – 4 January 2015

Open Daily: 10am – 10pm

European Christmas Market: East Prince St Gardens

Children’s Market: Santa Land, East Prince St Gardens

The Scottish Market: St Andrews Square.

Edinburgh has really raised the bar this year, staging three individual markets: the Scottish Market, the Children’s Market and the European Market. Head to the former for original Scottish produce and crafts.


Christkindelmarkt in Leeds

14 November – 20 December 2014-11-20

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10.30am – 9.30pm, Sunday 10.30 – 6.30pm.

Millennium Square, Leeds.

This intimate German market in the heart of Leeds is home to 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls, an Alp Chalet (Bavarian Eatery), Kuh Stall (Cow Shed) and a Christmas carousel ride. A selection of traditional German delicacies will be available, as well as a variety of gift ideas. The real highlight here is the Cow Shed, brimming with an electric atmosphere and Beer steins.


Christmas Gift Fair at Leeds Castle, Kent

6 December – 23 December 2014

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL.

Leeds Castle is holding a gingerbread exhibition to run alongside its traditional market including, with the assistance of some highly skilled Biscuiteers, a gingerbread replica of Leeds Castle. The market, which will be stationed on the Cedar Lawn, boasts a magical Ferris wheel with beautiful views of the illuminated castle and moat.


Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

20 November – 21 December

Opening Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 10am – 6pm, Thursday – Saturday 10am – 7.30pm.

Winchester Cathedral, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LS.

Set in the beautiful grounds of it’s cathedral, Winchester brings a touch of early Christmas magic in the form of a real ice rink surrounded by pretty wooden chalets. Attracting over 350,000 visitors a year, the stalls have been especially chosen for their high quality products and gifts, many of which are not available on the high street.

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