Across the UK, there are many places that come alive at Christmas. These Christmas markets and festivals attract locals and tourists alike. A festive hotspot is great if you're looking for somewhere to embrace the Christmas season with loved ones year on year.
These are the top ten places in the UK to live if you want to move somewhere that truly embraces Christmas.
When it comes to Christmas celebrations, the appeal of London is hard to beat and is a popular Christmas destination. VisitLondon highlights, more than 80 Christmas things to do over the festive period.
Perhaps you want to see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street. You might want to go ice-skating at historic attractions like Somerset House and Battersea Power Station. Maybe you want to visit Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, which calls itself ‘the world’s best destination for festive fun.’ And of course, there’s nowhere more iconic to catch a Christmas panto than in the heart of London’s West End.
Few sights are quite as awesome as Edinburgh Castle emerging from the frost of a cold winter’s day. Couple that with Edinburgh’s seven-week Christmas spectacle, and you’re definitely in for a treat.
Edinburgh’s 2023 programme runs until the 6th of January. It includes The Castle of Light that comprises light displays across the walls of the castle. On offer is a family funfair, a winter garden, and a Christmas market, featuring more than 70 stalls. Meanwhile, on the 29th of December, the city will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Torchlight Procession.
Attracting both UK and international visitors, Birmingham is well known for its Frankfurt Christmas market. It runs until Christmas Eve on Victoria Square and New Street. The market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside Germany or Austria. It offers everything from traditional gifts to German food and drink specialities.
The market is accompanied by a live music programme, an ice rink, a big wheel, and fun fair attractions in the city.
With more than 260 stallholders in attendance, Bath’s Christmas market is one of the biggest in the UK. Bath’s market runs shorter than many others, having finished on Sunday the 10th of December for 2023.
With cosy chalets nestled within the historic city centre, Bath’s Christmas market offers a great festive atmosphere. Those looking for something more to do can visit Bath on Ice, a 1,000 square metre ice skating rink.
The Welsh capital also transforms into a Winter Wonderland at Christmas running until the 2nd of January. Cardiff's Christmas attractions include ice-skating, a ferris wheel, an ice bar, and a fun fair. Its electric Christmas market meanwhile, runs until 23 December.
Manchester has Christmas shopping sorted. Perhaps you’re Christmas gift buying at the Trafford Centre or browsing its 25th year of Christmas markets. Whatever it is, you'll find just what you need for the holiday season. The markets include 225 stalls across nine sites until the 21st of December.
Cardiff also runs an annual Christmas parade. The city’s Festive Sundays programme fills the city with family-friendly entertainment pop-ups. Meanwhile, Piccadilly Gardens is transformed into the Winter Gardens, including the Manchester Christmas Windmill.
As the home of reallymoving, we love the Christmassy atmosphere of St Albans. The historic Hertfordshire town offers everything from a Gingerbread Christmas trail to a post-box topper trail.
This year you can try an escape room based on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Up on offer is also an immersive performance of the same classic tale at the Roman Theatre site. Just up the road is the Warner Brothers Studio tour. You'll see the beloved Hogwarts experience transformed into a magical Christmas land.
You’ll find carol singers across the UK at Christmas. But in Sheffield, the city is famous for its tradition of carol singing…in the pub.
The Sheffield Carols start in village pubs across the Northeast of Sheffield in mid-November. They're open to all who want to join regulars in the quirky Christmas tradition over a pint.
Christmas festive events at The Spiegeltent in Bristol are billed as a “phantasmagoria of fun-filled, festival cheer.” The city is particularly sought after for Christmas parties. Visitors can wander and browse the stalls in St Nick’s markets. Or you can visit the Vintage Winter Wonderland in Millennium Square.
While parents may try to avoid him, kids can also indulge in a game of hide and seek by looking for The Elf on the Shelf across the city centre. You can even go twilight tobogganing at Mendip Activity Centre.
For a truly traditional festive season, guided tours depart near Glenmore in the Cairngorms to visit the Cairngorm Reindeer herd. This comprises around 150 animals that have been roaming freely in the area since 1952.