4 of The Best Christmas Markets in the North and Scotland

Tuesday 23rd November 2021
There’s no denying that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. So, to really get into the festive spirit this year, why not visit a spectacular Christmas market? There are so many brilliant options in the North and Scotland, with the majority back this year and set to be bigger and better than ever before.

For mulled wine, mince pies and amazing present shopping, these are four of the best magical markets.

Manchester Christmas Markets

12th November - 22nd December

It’s impossible to talk about festive markets in the North without mentioning Manchester. The city hosts one of the largest celebrations in the UK, with stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to homemade sweets.

There’s not just one location for Manchester’s Christmas Markets either. Instead, they’re spread out across the entire city centre. Not sure where to start? Some of the best stalls can be found at:
  • St Ann’s Square – Foodies will want to make a beeline for this market where you’ll spot all sorts of tasty stalls, from handmade pizzas to gourmet burgers. There are also plenty of arts and crafts, plus the Birdie campervan where you can take free festive selfies with a range of props
  • King Street – Manchester’s designer shopping street will transform into a French-themed market this year. Expect to see stalls selling all kinds of delicious treats (think cheese and artisan bread), as well as fine wines and hot gin toddies
  • The Winter Gardens – New for 2021, this family-friendly section of the market will be set up in Piccadilly Gardens and remain open until the start of January. Food, drinks and crafts are a given. You’ll also find a stage hosting a fantastic line-up of live music and DJ sets throughout the festive season

Top tip: If you turn into a bit of a ballerina on the ice (or you have zero coordination, but lots of determination), don’t skip the indoor ice rink at Cathedral Gardens. You can book tickets in advance online, and the rink is open until 3rd January.

Liverpool’s St George’s Hall Christmas Market

12th November – 23rd December

Lovely Liverpool always puts on a good show during the Christmas season. Head down to the city’s monumental St George’s Hall (that’s handily positioned right opposite Liverpool Lime Street station) to find 40+ stalls.

The market is spread along William Brown Street and St. John’s Garden, both of which sit right next to St George’s Hall. As well as a spectacular backdrop of one of the city’s most famous landmarks, you’ll find all sorts of festive treats and gorgeous gift ideas.

The food and drink offering at St George’s Hall Christmas Market is especially impressive. As is the collection of winter-themed bars if you fancy a warming
tipple – not to be missed is the Teepee Tent and the German-inspired Bavarian bar.

Top tip: For a unique Christmas outing with friends, family or colleagues, book a slot at one of the karaoke cable cars at the Alpine Lodge bar.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

20th November - 4th January

Six weeks of festive fun are on the agenda in Scotland’s historic capital. Edinburgh Christmas Market is opening its doors again after a two-year break and the main attractions will, as usual, be mostly located in Princes Street Gardens.

Want to indulge in decadent delights? Or maybe your kids are keen to tell Santa what’s on their Christmas list this year? Tick off the following highlights at Edinburgh’s festive market: 
  • St Andrew Square – At the end of George Street, this stunning square is set to host the market’s nativity scene. Just down the street is where you’ll spot the brand-new ‘Lidl on Ice’ rink. Pop your skates on and glide up and down one of Edinburgh’s most famous throughfares
  • Scottish Market – Head down to George Street to discover this aptly themed section of Edinburgh Christmas Market. Sample all sorts of local delicacies and stock up on Scottish-inspired gifts, including terrific tartan trinkets
  • Santa Land – Kids will love this section of the market. It can be found in Princes Street Gardens and features all sorts of fun rides and festive-themed attractions, including Santa’s Grotto and an amazing Christmas Tree Maze

Top tip: Kick off the start of Advent with a free Nativity Carol Concert in St Andrew Square. The enchanting event takes place on 28th November at 3pm and sees choirs from across the city come together to sing traditional Christmas songs.

York St Nicholas Christmas Fair

18th November - 23rd December

With its cobbled streets and magnificent medieval Minster, it’s not hard for York to look picturesque. At Christmas, that’s taken to new heights thanks to the city’s charming festive market that’s spread out along Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square.

Discover dozens of mini alpine chalets at York Christmas Market selling all sorts of gifts and goodies. Sip on hot chocolate and munch down on global and local treats, from Yorkshire puddings piled high with tasty trimmings, to cinnamon-spiced biscuits and pies. You’ll also find stalls featuring stocking fillers and larger items made by local artisans.

Top tip: Why not pop along to the picture-perfect Shambles? The Shambles Food Market is a particularly great pit stop and you can expect its regular stalls to be selling festive dishes throughout December.

Begin the countdown to Christmas with a trip to one of the above fabulous festive markets. Book your train tickets in advance online or on the TPExpress app and get ready for a magical Christmas. 

Planning a few trips in December? Have a read of our Xmas Train Travel blog for tips on making sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.

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