The UK and Europe's best Christmas markets for 2023

Enjoy the festivities at these winter wonderlands

Winter Wonderland in London's Hyde Park is 'a Christmas market on steroids'
The Winter Wonderland in London's Hyde Park is 'a Christmas market on steroids'
(Image credit: Chris Gorman/Getty Images)

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Winchester Cathedral's Christmas Market

All around the UK, you'll find squares, town halls and castles "transformed into magical scenes" that will get "everyone feeling festive", said Mary Novakovich in The Times. Visitors in Winchester can become "cocooned by twinkling lights" amid traditional wooden chalets selling gifts and "fresh-from-the-oven" mince pies. And listen out for the "soothing sounds" of the cathedral's choir services. Until 21 December; winchester-cathedral.org.uk

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

The "joyous" Winter Wonderland is "still the biggest and best festive event" in the English capital, said Radhika Seth in Vogue. With the "largest open-air ice rink in the country" and a Bavarian village with "countless" stalls, this is a "Christmas market on steroids". Until 1 January; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com 

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Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market

The Midlands city hosts one of the "largest German Christmas markets held outside of Germany or Austria", said Time Out. It's "pretty damn special" and the "best place in Blighty to enjoy an authentic bratwurst, washed down with some gluhwein". Until 24 December; thebfcm.co.uk  

Belfast Christmas Market

Beneath Belfast City Hall's "shimmering" neoclassical façade stand rows of wooden chalets "adorned with fairy lights", said Sam Kemp in National Geographic. "Toast a marshmallow", sample "gooey" cheeses or "test your mettle" on the helter skelter ("you're never too old"). Until 22 December; visitbelfast.com 

Blenheim Palace Christmas Market

Is there "anything more magical than exploring a palace", asked Emma Love in Condé Nast Traveller. This festive season visitors to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire will discover a "sparkling wonderland" as the Great Court hosts a village of wooden chalet-style stalls, "each displaying a collection of Christmas treats to buy". Until 17 December; blenheimpalace.com 

Edinburgh's Christmas

Edinburgh's historic city centre and castle "make the perfect magical backdrop" for this festive wonderland, said Judy Cogan on the i news site. Stroll around the traditional alpine-themed market, where "unique gifts" and "delicious freshly made festive food" are sold from "twinkly log cabins". Until 6 January; edinburgh-christmas.com 

Cardiff Christmas Market

For "nearly 30 years" the Welsh capital's Christmas market has been "populating the pedestrian areas" of the city centre, said Mary Novakovich in The Times, and this year there are 70 stalls "showcasing a rolling programme" of more 200 individual businesses selling a wide variety of goods. Wander round the Hayes, Trinity Street, St John Street and Working Street to find the "perfect handmade stocking" and "come with an appetite". Until 23 December; cardiffchristmasmarket.com 

Glasgow Winterfest

The Winterfest in Glasgow's George Square and St Enoch Square offers "festive fun for a good cause", said Emma Love in Condé Nast Traveller. It's organised by the non-profit Clutha Trust, which aims to raise funds for the Power over Poverty initiative to help families pay their winter utility bills. Highlights include stalls, an ice rink, rides and a silent disco. Until 7 January; whatsonglasgow.co.uk 

Nottingham Winter Wonderland

Nottingham has a "sparkly wonderland" in Old Market Square, said Judy Cogan on the inews site. Get ready to ice skate, toboggan and "bop" to live music, while adults can "refuel" at one of the themed bars. Until 31 December; nottinghamwinterwonderland.co.uk 

Bath Christmas Market

The "wondrous" Christmas market in Bath is back in all its "illuminated, mistletoe-filled glory", said Radhika Seth in Vogue. There are 150 pop-up chalets where visitors can browse through the "handmade toys" and Christmas decorations on offer. Until 10 December; bathchristmasmarket.co.uk 

Where to find magical ice-skating rinks

Skate at Somerset House, London, has a Swiss ski-resort feel this year, a 40ft tree and DJs spinning festive tracks (from £8, until 14 January; somersethouse.org.uk). 

Powered solely by renewable energy, The Royal Pavilion Ice Rink, Brighton, East Sussex is most spectacular at night, with twinkling trees on the rink-side bar (from £9, until 7 January; royalpavilionicerink.co.uk). 

Edinburgh Christmas Ice Rink on West George Street is covered, so it is all-weather and is strung with pretty lights (from £8.50, until 6 January; edinburgh-christmas.com). 

Set inside the city’s Cathedral Gardens, Skate Manchester is also covered, and has sessions for toddlers on Wednesdays (from £12.50, until 2 January; skatemanchester.com). 

Try the Moguls Alpine Bar at Bath on Ice, Somerset, which also has wood-fired pizza (from £12.50, until 3 January; bathonice.co.uk). 

Skate under the battlements at the open-air ice rink at Warwick Castle, Warwickshire (from £11, until 7 January; warwick-castle.com). 

Where to find Europe's best Christmas markets

Vienna's Christkindlmarkt is focused on sustainability this year. There are vendors in wooden huts in Rathausplatz and brass bands (until 26 December; christkindlmarkt.at). 

Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens have lots of gourmet stalls, plus performances of "The Snow Queen" and an immersive Northern Lights show (until 31 December; tivoli.dk). 

Advent Zagreb fills the entire city. Look out for decorations in Zrinjevac Park and Ban Jelačić Square, and Strossmayer Square's street food (until 7 January, adventzagreb.hr). 

Les Lumières de Noël, Montbéliard has an impressive Christmas light display, and the market serves the best local produce (until 24 December, lumieres-de-noel.fr). 

Tallinn Christmas Market has stalls selling traditional felt hats, sheepskin, gingerbread and glögg (until 7 January, christmasmarket.ee). 

With nine markets spread across the Old Town, Dresden Striezelmarkt has more than 200 stalls selling gifts and stollen (until 24 December, striezelmarktdresden.de). 

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