The UK’s Best Christmas Markets

They say that Christmas is a time for forgiving and a time for giving.  Nowadays though Christmas is more about shopping! There is nothing that feels more Christmassy than trawling the stands of a good Christmas market with plenty of cheer and a fun hustle and bustle.  Christmas tunes being heard in the background and lots of bargains and unique gifts make Christmas markets a great destination in the run up to Christmas so we have listed our top 5 Christmas markets in the UK.

Gloucester Quays
We love the Gloucester Quays Christmas market because they implement a large Victorian theme.   The authentic Victorian market brings an extra feel of Christmas which makes the experience itself worth visiting for.  However, it also has everything you need from a Christmas market.  There are plenty of stalls that sell everything from food and drink through to hand-made festive gifts.
Throughout the market you will see people walking around in traditional Victorian dress.  Victorian characters will stop and talk to you and you will see all the traditional favourites including Fagin-style gang masters, traditional flower sellers, the local Victorian barber and even a selection of beggars and thieves!  It really works to make a fantastic day out that really brings the market to life!
You will also see plenty of entertainment going on around the entire market including choirs, brass bands and street performers, all of which further add to the festive experience.

Plymouth
If you like the Victorian-style Christmas market hen Plymouth will give you another great taste of this.  Here they take it one step further to offer you some fantastic Victorian-style fayre.  You can enjoy Victorian food and even Victorian sweets and treats.
There are also plenty of offerings of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine and as you walk around the market you will see carol singers, jazz harmony groups and even some live dance groups.
The Plymouth Christmas market has plenty of stands that really do cater for all your wants.  There are plenty of traditional-style gifts and lots of handmade arts and crafts that are totally unique and unavailable anywhere else making this the perfect destination to pick up the gifts for those in the family who are hard to buy for.
The Plymouth Christmas Market though is most famous for its real life reindeers.  It’s great to take the kids down with you where you will be able to meet the Christmas reindeer and even get to pet them or even feed them a carrot if you’re lucky!

Leeds
Looking for something a bit different?  Well the Leeds Christmas market makes it into our top five because it offers something TOTALLY different.  The Christmas market here actually follows a Caribbean theme.  All of a sudden you won’t be hearing Christmas bells but instead you’ll be hearing steel drums and sipping on Rum Punch!
This is a great market for a totally different type of Christmas feel but you will also be able to get your hands on some great gifts here.  There are plenty of stands that have jewellery and a number of stands that sell their own handmade candles, soaps and gift baskets which are ideal for giving.
This is also a great place to get hold of some of the wines and liqueurs that are rare in the UK as well as some Caribbean food.
If you register on the website in time you can actually get free parking here and there are often free goody bags handed out to lucky visitors.  The market is open on the 26th and 27th of November and is £2 for adults but totally free for children.
There is always plenty of entertainment on with Caribbean characters walking around, entertainment and dancing and Captain Jack Sparrow from the famous Pirates of the Caribbean is often seen walking around too!

Rochester
Rochester in Kent is famous for their annual Charles Dickens market which runs from the 30th November through to the 18th December.  It is overlooked by Rochester Castle which you can visit and Rochester itself boasts a Victorian High Street that comes to life with more than 80,000 people visiting in the first weekend alone.
The castle is lit up during the market and there is plenty of Victorian spirit with street entertainers and Dickensian characters that mingle amongst the visitors.  There are also traditional carol singers.
The great thing about the Rochester market is that because it takes place on the high street you have access to all your normal favorite shops, restaurants and bars but with the addition of some great little stands that sell a variety of products from festive gifts through to books and ornaments.
There is often a large German presence here as well providing German foods and gifts in traditional German-style Christmas market huts.

York
York have their amazing Winter Wonderland Christmas Market which is simply massive and is open daily from 25th November until the 8th January so it is perfect for getting the gifts for everyone in advance, or indeed for getting those belated gifts too!
Over 35,000 people come here just for the skating as they have a huge 900 square metre ice rink with real ice.  There is also a huge wonderland village with cabins, Christmas trees and reindeer.
There is also a large fun fair amongst the market stands which cater for children of all ages and of course there is a chance to meet Santa himself in his very impressive grotto.  The grotto is open on the weekends from 3rd December through until the 17th December.  It is then open daily right up until Christmas Eve.
There are over 120 shops and plenty more stands selling everything you could ever dream of and to make life a little bit easier there is plenty of parking which is totally free of charge.
Overall, the York Winter Wonderland is a fantastic experience and an attraction in its own right.  It also has more than enough variety for you to do a good portion of your Christmas shopping all in one place.

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