5 min read, britain, inspiration

Britain’s best Christmas markets

2nd December 2015
Britain’s best Christmas markets

‘Tis the season for wrapping up, supping mulled wine and pottering around one of the UK’s finest Christmas markets to pick out gifts for loved ones. We’ve put together some of our favourites across the UK, as well as the very best places to sleep off the excitement (and the mulled wine).

1. Bath Christmas Market – 26th November – 13th December


Bath’s Christmas Market is one of the better known for a reason! Treat yourself with at one of the 170 stalls that line the streets surrounding the famous Roman baths. The vast majority of the stallholders are from Bath and the surrounding area so buying your pressies here supports local businesses.

Where to stay

Villa Magdala, BA2 6LX



A smart B&B hotel with lovely rooms and excellent breakfasts set on a peaceful side street, a 5-minute stroll from the centre of town. Breakfast – served in an airy dining room – is exceptional: smoked salmon and free-range scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes, the full cooked works; perfect practice for Christmas dinner…


2. Edinburgh’s Christmas – 20th November – 4th January


A sort of festival in itself, Edinburgh celebrates Christmas in style. Choose from more than 30 festive events and activities in the city as well as three different markets; the Scottish Market in St Andrew Square, the European Market in the Mound Precinct and the Children’s Market, part of Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens. We recommend visiting the 24 hours of advent – each day, a building around Edinburgh that’s usually closed to the public will open its doors.

Where to Stay

10 London Street, EH3 6NA



A beautiful Georgian terraced house in Edinburgh’s world heritage New Town with history, elegance and charming informality. Accept a dram by the fire in the sash-windowed drawing room (with baby grand piano) in the evening and relax at the dining table over a leisurely continental breakfast.


3. Exeter Christmas Market – 19th November – 19th December


The Cathedral Green, at the heart of Exeter’s historic city centre is the annual host of the Christmas market, home to more than 50 traders selling crafted gifts and sumptuous fare. Sup on a hot Gluwhein and marvel at the majesty of Exeter’s cathedral.

Where to stay

Magdalen Chapter, EX2 4HY



Where do we start? This chic bolthole has a sitting-room bar, airy restaurant, treatment rooms and small pool and all bedrooms have iPads and fancy bathrooms. When you’ve finished at the market, return to the curated library, where you can sit and flick through glossy pages in front of the fire, or try out the swimming pool, kept cosy with a woodburner.


4. Chester Christmas Market – 19th November – 20th December


Amble through the unique Rows shopping centre in Chester, hot chocolate in hand, and take your pick from more than 70 chalets filled that surround a huge sparkling Christmas tree. Little ones will love the children’s activity area with lots of free craft actvities. Or as an extra special treat, after shopping take them to meet the Father Christmas himself at Chester Zoo.

Where to stay

Edgar House, CH1 1SB



Edgar House, a super-cool bolthole, has a position that’s hard to beat, with a garden that runs down to the city’s Roman wall and the river Dee pouring past beyond. It’s one of those lovely places that mixes the informality of a small B&B with the luxury of a five-star hotel.


5. Oxford Christmas Market – 10th – 20th December


Visit “the city of dreaming spires” this December to peruse and sample local produce as well as pick out the perfect stocking fillers on the chic stretch of Broad Street.

Where to stay


Old Bank Hotel, OX1 4BJ


This elegant hotel in the heart of old Oxford has a buzzing brasserie, gorgeous rooms and an important collection of Modern art. Bedrooms are gorgeous with fine beds, piles of cushions, original art, robes in chic bathrooms.


6. Whitefriars Christmas Market in Canterbury – 28th November – 24th December


They don’t make diamonds as big as rocks, and Canterbury’s small traditional market is no exception. Whitefriars Square becomes a hub of activity with 35 colourful cabins selling festive treats underneath charming hanging lights.

Where to stay

7 Longport, CT1 1PE



A delightful, unexpected hideaway bang opposite the site of St Augustine’s Abbey and a five-minute walk to the Cathedral. Enjoy your own cottage sitting room downstairs and a swish bedroom upstairs with crisp cotton sheets on a handmade bed and views of magnolia and ancient wisteria.


7. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London – 20th November – 3rd January


Experience the magic of Christmas in the heart of the capital and see Hyde Park’s ice  rink sparkle. If skating isn’t your thing, there are more than 100 attractions including an ice forest of ice sculptures and, of course, the Christmas market, on hand for a frothy hot chocolate if the cold starts to bite.

Where to stay

Portobello Hotel

W11 2NG



This iconic London hotel draws an A-list crowd and stands in peace close to Portobello Road, with cafés and restaurants all around. In 1969 it became London’s first boutique hotel. It was a new idea, a hip little place, not dull and formal like other hotels, but relaxed and friendly with lots of colour and a bohemian feel, not much has changed.




Get in the festive spirit and plan your Christmas market getaway with our City Breaks collection.

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