The 3 best Christmas markets in the UK

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The 3 best Christmas markets in the UK

Growing up watching Hollywood movies and their depiction of Christmas, I was always fascinated with the idea of experiencing Christmas in the west. Last year, I planned a trip to the UK around Christmas time to experience the spectacle first-hand. And it didn’t disappoint me one bit.

Festivities took over monotony. Offices were shut due to holidays. Fairy lights adorned the walls, shops were painted red, and shoppers swamped the streets. I waded through the horde and stumbled across these three best Christmas markets in the UK.

But first,

What is a Christmas market?

The tradition goes back many centuries. It first started as a December market in Vienna in 1298, where citizens were granted permission to hold a Krippenmarkt. A century later, open-air shops took the streets in Germany under Christkindlmarkt. Even the churches pushed for these markets to be held nearby to get more attendance to their services. However, it was the protestant reformer, Martin Luther, who suggested Christmas as a more appropriate gift-giving day. Since then, Christmas markets are organized all across Europe, including the UK, and the practice of gift-buying took off. Today, beyond gift-buying, one can get local food and have a gala time with friends and families.

Source: The Guardian

Here are my top three picks for best Christmas markets in the UK:

1. Edinburgh, Scotland

Month: November to January

Best for: Shows and souvenirs

Landmark: Next to Scott Monument

I took a train from Glasgow and got down at Edinburgh Waverly. Though Edinburgh castle was first on my list, I took a detour and reached the Scott Monument, which is just 0.1 miles from the train station. The setup was expansive, lit up with lights while music ran in the background. Taking a stroll through the market, I came across a shop selling a motor-operated illusional hanging piece for £20. I regret not buying it. If you’ve time, do visit their website for more details on show timings and attractions.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Merry-go-round at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Merry-go-round at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Gift stall at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Gift stall at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Food stall at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Gifts and souvenirs at Edinburgh Christmas Market

Gifts and souvenirs at Edinburgh Christmas Market

 

2. Newcastle, England

Month: November to December

Best for: European Cuisine

Landmark: Next to Grey’s Monument

Newcastle blends history, culture, and modernization with ease. The city is full of castles, monuments, and offers good dine-out options. The Geordies(locals from Newcastle) are proud of their rich heritage and celebrate Christmas with full enthusiasm. Next to Grey’s monument, extending all up to Blackett Street and Northumberland Street is the Newcastle Christmas market. The stalls sold souvenirs and gourmet food from Europe like Churros from Spain, Currywurst from Germany, and Crepes from France. Additionally, there were artisan shops selling cheese, mead, jewelry, and home accessories. I ate a Churro for £5 and made my way to the next stop.

Stall selling German food

Stall selling German food

Grey’s Monument in Newcastle during Christmas Market

Grey’s Monument in Newcastle during Christmas Market

Toys for souvenirs

Toys for souvenirs

One of the many colorful things

One of the many colorful things/p>

Stall selling German food

Stall selling German food

Tip: Carry the currency with you. Shops usually don’t accept card payments.

3. Southbank, London, England

Month: November to January

Best for: Gifts and goodies

Landmark: Next to the London Eye

London has Christmas markets in abundance. Look at this exhaustive list of markets in London. Located at a stone throw away distance from the London Eye, the Southbank market is a must for Christmas revelers. Entertaining street artists add to the celebration. I was gushing with joy like a kid coming to an amusement park for the first time — hopping from one stall to the other, curious and excited — ready to explore everything. The area was beautifully illuminated with lights, had wooden cabins selling gifts, and stalls serving a wide variety of food items. Do check out the miniature houses with a candle holder that recreates steam.

Shrek Adventure London

Shrek Adventure London

Street artist at Southbank, London

Street artist at Southbank, London

Street artist dressed as a space soldier

Street artist dressed as a space soldier

Kids playing with a monster-sized soap bubble

Kids playing with a monster-sized soap bubble

German food stall

German food stall

Wooden gifts

Wooden gifts

Lights and candles

Lights and candles

Miniature houses that emit steam

Miniature houses that emit steam

As the night grew and the temperatures dropped, my woolens couldn’t shield me from the cold lashings. I decided to head back to my room, wrap myself well, and sleep like a baby.

Each of the above markets had a distinct vibe to it. I am just glad to witness it first hand and tick off experiencing a Christmas market from my bucket list.

Have an exciting story about the Christmas market? Share your experience in the comment section. Follow me on social media for all my latest travel stories.

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