Christmas Markets and Festivals in Great Britain: What To See, Where And Why?

Christmas Markets and Festivals
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Christmas is near and this means that many festive events are going to be organized all over Britain to bring you into the Christmas spirit! From the songs during the functions to the paths between illuminated gardens, up to the Christmas markets, overflowing with gifts and handmade seasonal sweets, the Christmas period is upon us: get ready to immerse yourself in the party atmosphere and do not miss the flea markets, festivals and other events scheduled throughout Britain.

LONDON

Christmas Markets and Festivals
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Christmas at Kew

22nd November 2017 – 1st January 2018

The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew are transformed into the winter wonderland for Christmas at Kew. Follow the special path through the gardens illuminated by over a million bright lights and stopped to admire the singing trees, the giant Christmas balls, the Fire Garden and the spectacle of Santa Claus and his elves.

And do not miss the grand finale of the Palm House, an amazing show of laser beams, beams of lights and colorful projections. The little ones can take a ride on a Victorian carousel and try the other entertainments inside the park, warming up with hot drinks, mince pies and other Christmas-themed snacks. Christmas at Kew is an evening event and takes place after the gardens are closed.

Southbank Center Winter Festival

1st December 2017 – 2nd January 2018

Visit the Southbank Center Winter Festival for some fun on the banks of the Thames, with an amusement park and Christmas-themed events, including the Slava’s Snowshow show. Stroll inside the Wintertime Market, one of London’s most famous Christmas markets, where tourists can sip mulled wine and browse through the wooden sheds along the quay in search of handmade gift items, Christmas-themed food products and tasty sweets. Open every day from 10.00 to 22.00.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

17th November 2017 – 1st January 2018

Every year, during the Christmas period, Hyde Park is transformed into a magical winter town dedicated to Christmas holidays, the Winter Wonderland. Admission is free and you can walk around the vast Christmas market of handicrafts, taste the dishes on sale at the stalls and bars and immerse yourself fully in the atmosphere of the parties.

Some activities and attractions are subject to charges; among these: ice skating, the Cinderella on Ice show, the new Magical Ice Kingdom (for an experience inside a sculpture of ice and snow), the gigantic Ferris wheel and the Christmas Circus. Tickets for these attractions are snapped up, especially at weekends and in the evening, so reservations are strongly recommended.

Work at Westminster Abbey for Advent and Christmas

Check dates and times on the site

Taking part in the Christmas function at Westminster Abbey or St Margaret’s Church is a special way to celebrate Christmas in Britain, surrounded by Christmas melodies sung by the choir. Admission is free and details of the features will be available soon on the site.

ENGLAND

Christmas Markets and Festivals
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Manchester Christmas Markets, northwestern England

10th November – 20th December 2017

November is on its doorstep, and in the heart of this vibrant city you will find the award-winning Manchester Christmas Markets, a Christmas show featuring delicious international food and drink and finely crafted Christmas gift items. You can browse through over three hundred decorated stalls and wooden houses overflowing with handicrafts, jewelry, clothing and toys. You will certainly find something special to put under the tree.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, central England

16th November – 24th December 2017

Every winter, Birmingham welcomes the largest and most authentic German Christmas market outside Germany and Austria, in addition to the nearby Christmas Craft Market. The Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market has more than 120 stalls and is the ideal place to buy gifts for friends and relatives, while listening to a live concert in Victoria Square.

Fringe among the stalls of handcrafted wooden decorations, refined Christmas balls in glass, crystal lamps, handmade leather goods, toys, jewelry and much more. With all the delicious gastronomic proposals also do not run the risk of being hungry: taste pretzels, schnitzel and breatwurst hot and freshly made, or drinks such as glühwein (mulled wine) and Weissbier (wheat beer).

Darkness to Light function at Salisbury Cathedral, south-west England

1st, 2nd and 3rd December 2017

At Salisbury Cathedral the countdown for Christmas begins with the famous feature called Darkness to Light. This spectacular event, which begins in total darkness, ends with the cathedral illuminated by over 1300 candles to celebrate the beginning of Advent. Check the timetables and details on the site.

You may also like to read: 27 things to do in London if you are twenty 

Chester Christmas Market, northwestern England

16th November – 20th December 2017

With a sparkling Christmas tree and over seventy typical wooden chalets to browse, shopping lovers will surely have a magical moment at Chester Christmas Market. Every year, numerous Christmas sweets and unique gifts are on sale, including local and regional products, including products to be included in sock, crafts, clothing and jewelry. While visiting the flea market, warm up with a sip of mulled wine or hot chocolate at the bar, or sample the local beers.

Bath Christmas Market, southwestern England

23rd November – 10th December 2017

The city of Bath turns into a shopping paradise for the Bath Christmas Market. Over two hundred chalets lined along the streets offer beautiful gift items, such as wooden toys, tasty cheeses and eclectic jewels, all handcrafted. While visiting the market, let yourself be enchanted by the beautiful stalls, the scent of freshly baked mince pies and traditional Christmas melodies. Most of the stalls are run by producers in the area and this year more than sixty new houses will join the market.

SCOTLAND

Christmas Markets and Festivals
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Edinburgh’s Christmas

17th November 2017 – 6th January 2018

The historic Scottish capital celebrates this season with Edinburgh’s Christmas, six weeks of Christmas-themed shows in the heart of the city, featuring live entertainment, cultural events, open shops in the evenings, Christmas markets and ice skating. The adults will certainly appreciate La Clique Noël, a special edition of the La Clique variety, which since its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe has obtained the approval of the international critics thanks to its acrobatic and burlesque shows. On the other hand, the little ones can attend Ice Adventure: A Journey Through Frozen Scotland (until December 24th), a show that traces the rich Scottish history with life-size ice sculptures and snow of mythological creatures and historical figures. The sculptures are stored at -10°, so make sure you are well covered!

Glasgow Loves Christmas

Mid-November and throughout December (dates to be confirmed)

Immerse yourself in the joyful Scottish Christmas atmosphere at the Glasgow Loves Christmas. Take part in the famous events organized every year at Yule (Christmas), including the lighting of the huge Christmas lights, the traditional Christmas Market, Blessing of the Crib and Santa Dash, a five-kilometer charity run, during which participants transform the streets of Glasgow into a sea Santa Claus! Also, on Sunday November 26th, during the Style Mile Christmas Carnival, a magical masquerade parade of artists with sparkling costumes and Christmas characters will appear in the city center.

WALES

Christmas Markets and Festivals
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Cardiff Winter Wonderland

9th November 2017 – 7th January 2018

During the Christmas season, many celebratory events are organized in Cardiff throughout the city. In addition to the Christmas market, Winter Wonderland will return, with the Admiral Ice Rink covered, the amusement park, an authentic bierkeller (typical Bavarian restaurant with brewery) and an alpine village. If you are a lover of culture, do not miss the Christmas shows for all ages, staged in the city’s theaters during the Christmas season.

Santa’s Grotto in Cardiff Castle

1st, 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd December 2017

Santa’s Grotto is one of the most popular Christmas events for children in Cardiff. Tucked away in a magical setting inside the castle’s Black Tower, you can discover Santa Claus in his colorful cave, which awaits visitors by the fireplace to listen to their Christmas wishes. Tickets on sale starting from 2nd October.

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