Collaborative Post

The Christmas season is fast approaching – a fact well-evidenced by the sudden appearance of Christmas adverts on the television and gaudily-coloured decorations in supermarkets across the land. While many of us aren’t quite ready to get fully into the Christmas spirit, it won’t be long before we’re carolling and cavorting with family and friends.

Even if Christmas hasn’t quite got you fired up just yet, now is as good a time as any to get started with your festive plans – and maybe even to scope out some unique ways to get some Christmas gifts in the process. Christmas markets are a modern tradition in the UK, taking the form of Alpine-influenced market stalls trading in unique products and festive treats alike.

Christmas markets are not only a great place to find some incredible gifts and foodstuffs, but also a fantastic way to spend an evening with loved ones. But which Christmas markets are the best ones for you to visit, in order to truly make the most of the occasion?

York

York is a true jewel in the north of England, home as it is to cultural monuments and historical magnificence alike. The city sees a large number of tourists each year for its Roman and Viking artefacts alone, but has seen a resurgence in tourism for its crooked Medieval alleys – on which JK Rowling based her characterisation of Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter franchise.

Tourist allure aside, York is also home to one of the most magical Christmas markets in the entire UK. Stalls, chalets and drinking halls adorn Parliament Street and the Shambles market, creating a mini-ecosystem of bespoke goods, fantastic smells and general Christmas cheer. Trains to York run from practically everywhere, making the trip to behold such glorious sights little more than a trifle.

Manchester

Manchester Christmas market

Across the Pennines, Manchester has its own unique approach to Christmas markets that could outclass even York for sheer joy and spectacle. Rather than confining Christmas to one square or street, Manchester becomes its own mega-Christmas market, with stalls and installations spanning the city – from Deansgate and St Ann’s Square to the Town Hall and beyond.

Again, stalls are interspersed with traditional food stalls, ranging from bratwursts and waffles to glühwein and mead. All the while, cultural events stipple the streets – making Manchester a real feast for the eyes, and its market an event you might struggle to ‘complete’ in a single event. There is always something new to find!

London

And last of all, it is of course the case that England’s capital is home to a wide and eclectic array of Christmas events, activities and pastimes – festive markets very much included. The stand-out market appears in the form of the Southbank market, which, predictably, takes place across the south bank of the River Thames. The Southbank Centre plays host, as part of the Southbank Winter Festival; here, chalet stalls stand end-on-end along the river, while cultural exhibitions and shows take place within the centre.

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