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As we’re starting to feel all festive and Christmas-y, we thought we’d take a break from talking about money and talk about one of our favourite parts of winter instead, namely, visiting the best Christmas markets in the UK!
Is there anything better than visiting a Christmas market in the run-up to Christmas? There’s handcrafted Christmas gifts, the smell of mulled wine and roasted nuts in the air and that once-a-year sense of community and togetherness where everybody’s having a great time.
And, at the really good Christmas markets, there’s even Christmas bands, reindeers and — of course — a visit from Father Christmas himself.
But what are the best Christmas markets in the UK? Well, as well-seasoned Christmas market veterans, we thought we’d put together our favourite Christmas markets around the country. And before we get to the list, we have to tell you, we’ve made quite a controversial decision: Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland isn’t included. Why? Because, as you’ll see, when it’s compared to these other 5 markets, it just doesn’t quite make the cut.
The best Christmas markets in the UK: our top five
Coming in at number 5 on our list, Birmingham’s Christmas market earns its position simply for being the biggest German Christmas Market outside of Germany or Austria. And that means one thing: traditional German food and drink. There’s schnitzels, bratwurst, pretzels, Weissbier and, of course, mulled wines, as well as over 180 stalls selling handmade items, traditional German gifts and Christmas decorations. Oh yes.
And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s an ice rink up the road for having your annual wobble around on skates.
This is our wild card entry on the list, but bear with us. Portsmouth’s Christmas market has to be one of the best Christmas markets in the UK because what’s more festive than taking a walk through a Dickens-inspired Christmas scene?
And while you might not bump into Michael Caine or Kermit, you will certainly feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you make your way down the snow-covered cobbled streets, browse the 100 stalls of Christmas gifts or sip some spiced tipples at Faggin’s Tavern. If an unconventional Christmas market is what you’re looking for, Portsmouth has got you covered.
#3: South Bank, London
For us, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a little too busy and a little too corporate to earn a spot on this list. While it’s one of the best Christmas markets in the UK by attendance, we think it loses a tiny bit of that Christmas magic and feel-good cheer when you have to queue for 20 minutes just to get a German sausage.
South Bank’s Christmas market, on the other hand, loses none of that Christmas spirit and charm with magical family shows, Christmas markets with food, gifts and festive tipples, twinkling lights, festive fun and other seasonal delights.
If it wasn’t for the city that tops our list of the best Christmas markets in the UK, then York’s Christmas market would be our favourite. It has everything you want from a Christmas market: a cosy atmosphere, plenty of pubs with roaring fires, Alpine-style stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts, a funfair, warm festive food and drink and a Santa’s grotto. Plus, their annual pantomime is always voted as one of the best in the country.
However, it’s just pipped to the post by…
What can we say about Bath’s Christmas market to do it justice?
There’s a reason that it hasn’t just topped our list of the best Christmas markets in the UK, but is consistently voted as the nation’s favourite too — and that’s because it’s the very definition of Christmas market perfection.
On top of Bath’s gorgeous architecture and greenery, their Christmas market boasts cosy pubs, roaring fires, stalls selling Christmas gifts, bands around town playing carols and Christmas classics, the best mulled wine we’ve ever tasted and a general sense of festive joy that’s absolutely infectious. But, to tell you the truth, there’s not really a rational reason why Bath beats York to top our list of best Christmas markets in the UK. For us, it just comes down to that joyous festive spirit that you can’t help but feel as you walk along the cobbled Bath streets. But perhaps that’s the mulled wine?
If you visit them all, you might prefer York, or South Bank or even Winter Wonderland. It’s a little bit like comparing Home Alone to Love Actually or It’s a Wonderful Life or Elf. They all feel Christmassy and give you that warm and fuzzy feeling, so how can you really call a clear winner?
As long as the mince pies are being eaten and everybody’s in a good mood and enjoying each other’s company, isn’t that all that matters at Christmas?
Now, we’re off to stuff our faces with German cuisine and our bellies with mulled wine. Did we miss any? If so, let us know on social media!
- Author The Bamboo Team
- Posted 26 November 2018