Britain's best Christmas markets 2022
Find the perfect Christmas present and enjoy an afternoon drinking mulled wine and eating delicious festive treats with our guide to the best Christmas markets to visit in the UK in 2022.
As we near the end of 2022, Christmas markets and winter fairs begin to pop up across the UK. Appearing in our cities, market towns, villages and stately homes, each is a nostalgic blend of traditional ingredients.
Who can resist the aroma of mulled cider, roasted chestnuts and freshly baked mince pies? What about the gorgeous metallic tones of a local brass band as they play the opening bars of Silent Night, accompanied by the angelic voices of the local infant school choir? Add in twinkling lights and, if you're lucky, a few snowflakes dancing gently in the air and you'll feel as though you're in some sort of dreamland. You may even find the big man himself puts in an appearance to entertain the youngest members of your family.
Britain's very best winter fairs and Christmas markets celebrate rural customs, local produce, crafts, and ancient traditions. They’re a magical place to buy that special ingredient for your Christmas dinner, or a unique handcrafted gift for a loved one.
Wrap up in your warmest hats and gloves, and prepare to be romanced out of your petty cash by cheery wooden Nutcracker soldiers, artisan crafts and dangling candy canes.
Here, we take a look at some of the UK's very best traditional Christmas markets to visit in 2022, from York's hugely popular York Christmas Festival to Edinburgh's joyous celebration of the winter season.
Best Christmas markets to visit in 2022
Christmas Market at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
19 November – 19 December
Warm up inside Blenheim Palace, taking in the splendour of the lavish rugs, priceless antique furniture and centuries-old oil paintings that take up entire walls. This Christmas, each room will be heavily decked out on the theme of the ‘Kingdom of the Snow Queen’, with highlights including the sparkling Land of Snowflakes and Kingdom of Ice – a crystal-studded winter wonderland inside the 300-year-old palace. Children will enjoy the story quest that runs throughout.
Outdoors, the magic continues as the park and gardens is filled with millions of lights. With glimmering tunnels, colour-lit trees and large-scale illuminations, the effect will be rather like walking through a giant Christmas tree. By now it’s surely time to get your hands around a mulled wine, and you can buy one (or a hot chocolate) from a vendor before you stroll along the trail at your own pace.
More like this
Head to the Great Court – featured in The Young Victoria, Doolittle and James Bond: Spectre – for the market. Here in atmospheric wooden chalets you can pick up artisan gifts with a difference and chat to the craftspeople who made them. Almost all the sellers are local, and last year included candle makers, food producers and a healthy array of independent gin makers.
- Find out more about the Christmas Market at Blenheim Palace
St Nicholas Fair, York, North Yorkshire
17 November – 23 December
The pretty medieval streets and cosy timbered buildings of York come into their own at Christmas, sprinkled with lights and decorations. For the 30th year, large wooden chalets will line Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square selling decorations, wooden toys and produce from the Yorkshire countryside such as heritage cheeses and bramble whisky.
Warm up inside the Yorkshire Barn on the square, or by the real log fire inside Thor’s Tipi on Parliament Street. At 4pm each day you can join a special Christmas walking tour to discover how the Viking mid-winter celebrations, Roman’s Saturnalia and Victorian feasts helped shape the city. Make time to explore the gothic minster and the very walkable (and pretty) section behind it.
- Find out more about St Nicholas Fair
Lincoln Christmas Market, Lincolnshire
1 – 4 December
Short but sweet, Lincoln’s four-day Christmas market takes place in the medieval square between its Norman castle and impressive gothic cathedral. Lincoln is 2,000 years old and takes great pains to keep its Christmas markets in keeping with its heritage.
Stallholders are required to dress in Victoriana theme wear for the long weekend – so you won’t look out of place if you choose to go fully immersive and join in. Why not arrive earlier and start the day with a walk in the Victorian arboretum, ending at the cathedral?
- Find out more about Lincoln Christmas Market
Liverpool Christmas Market, Merseyside
12 Nov – 23 Dec
Liverpool’s Christmas markets are in a new location on William Brown Street and St Johns Gardens in 2022. Alongside the usual local crafts and Cheshire produce, there are more food and drink stalls, including the hugely popular Yorkshire pudding wraps.
One of the best things about Liverpool in the winter, though, is walking through its magical frosty parks, such as the 235-acre Sefton Park, or bronze age encampment Camp Hill – both of which have some lovely cafes nearby to warm up in, before you head to the markets. Or, for something really memorable, hop on the train up to Formby to walk the Red Squirrel Trail. The walk takes about an hour, twisting through broadleaf and pine woodlands before emerging on the sand dunes of Formby beach. Climb up and enjoy the views over Liverpool Bay, Snowdonia and the Lake District.
- Find out more about Liverpool Christmas Market
Conwy Winterfest, Conwy
On 10 December, at 5.45pm, some 300 knights and dozens of torch-bearers will gather in front of the castle, ready to process through the town. Erwyd le Fol the town jester and Siôn Corn will of course be in attendance. This gripping medieval pageant will include hot chestnuts, Morris dancing, music, possibly fire shows, and definitely sword fighting at Lancaster Square. Traders will remain open for hot food, mulled wine and carousing. And as flaming torchlight casts flickering shadows of the knights onto the castle walls, neck hairs will stand up, and spines will undoubtedly tingle.
- Find out more about Conwy Winterfest
Edinburgh Winter Festval, Edinburgh
19 November – 3 January
Alongside the usual bonanza of fairground rides, ice-skating, Santa’s Grotto, Christmas Tree Land and light trails, Edinburgh’s traditional wooden-stalled Christmas markets are set to expand this winter. Independent Scottish produce will be showcased in a new ‘Scottish’ market that’s planned on castle street and an ‘artisan’ market on the High Street and West Parliament Square – perfect if you’re on the hunt for some whisky-smoked salmon from a local fishery or a well-crafted gift with some real heritage. Walk up to Arthur’s Seat or through Inverleith Park to admire the views, and finish at the markets with a hot toddy.
- Find out more about Edinburgh Christmas Market
St Fagans’ Makers Market, Cardiff
3 – 4 December
Nadolig Llawen! That’s ‘Merry Christmas’ in Welsh, and there’s no better place to learn about the history of winter celebrations in Wales than at St Fagans. And at Christmas time, St Fagans is definitely at its most magical, festooned with fairy lights and with maker’s markets to explore, Welsh carols to trill out and Siôn Corn – ‘Father Chimneypot’, Wales’ answer to Santa – to say hello to.
Doing your Christmas shopping? On the 3 and 4 of December, St Fagans buzzy open-air Christmas Makers Market takes over the museum, with craftspeople from across Wales offering handmade works of art. Or if you’d rather create something of beauty yourself, you can try your hand at weaving a willow wreath to grace your front door at one of the weekend’s workshops.
- Find out more about St Fagans
Exeter Christmas Market
18 Nov – 18 Dec
The impressive medieval Exeter Cathedral is the backdrop of this fairylit Christmas market, which is spread out on the green, surrounded by Tudor-esque houses and cobbled lanes. Festive concerts and services spill out from the cathedral, creating a classy choral soundtrack while you browse the stalls for West Country crafts and local produce, mulled cider in hand. Take a stroll or bike ride up along the River Exe and back down through the valley for a bit of calm before the smell of popping chestnuts lures you in.
- Find out more about Exeter Christmas Market
Grassington Christmas Market, North Yorkshire
3 and 10 December
The annual Christmas market in Grassington is scheduled over two Saturdays on 3 and 10 December this year and makes a great focal point for a winter stomp with fabulous views. Grassington is Wharfedale’s main hub, a classic Yorkshire Dales village, huddled below the south-facing slopes of Kimpergill Hill and above the River Wharfe.
A glorious array of smells and sounds will draw you to the market square in the heart of Grassington where, as dusk falls, the Christmas lights that adorn the lovely old stone buildings are lit and buskers will be playing a medley of familiar Christmas songs.
A warming glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate will keep winter’s chill at bay as you stand alongside a roaring brazier contemplating the fair on offer, the scents of roasting chestnuts and mince pies, whetting the appetite for a range of local produce, either from the stalls or from the local pubs and tea rooms. You will be spoilt for choice!
- Find out more about Grassington Christmas Market
Tenbury Christmas Arts Market. Worcestershire
Coinciding with Tenbury’s late-night shopping (Thurs 8 Dec), there’s a pop-up Christmas Arts Market with arts and crafts stalls in the mistletoe fence-lined Tesco Market, with further stalls along Teme Street and at the Round Market. Local choirs and Tenbury Town Band will provide festive music and entertainment.
- Find out more about Tenbury Christmas Arts Market
Sissinghurst Festive Market, Kent
26 – 27 November
Get your Christmas shopping off to a good start at Sissinghurst Castle Garden's festive market, with local food, drink, crafts and produce on offer. Enjoy live entertainment as you wander the stalls in this world-renowned garden. The market is free to browse, and you can complete your visit by wandering through the gardens for the price of normal admission.
- Find out more about the Sissinghurst Festive Market
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Fair, Hampshire
18 November – 22 December
Hailed as one of the best in Europe, Winchester’s Christmas market is held in the quarters of its 900-year-old cathedral. The festive market champions British craftspeople, and this year its ‘crafts village’ has an emphasis on local, fairly traded and sustainable businesses. As an added draw, between 13-18 Dec the cathedral is hosting Star of Wonder, an incredible sound and light show projected onto the walls and ceiling of the cathedral. But if you’d rather avoid extra costs, a packed schedule of carol services and concerts will set the mood perfectly. If you’re keen to stretch your legs, follow Keat’s Walk along the River Itchen – his daily stroll alongside the water meadows that may have inspired his poem, ‘To Autumn’.
- Find out more about the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Fair
Oban Winter Festival, Argyll and Bute
18 – 27 November
The capital of the Western Highlands, with its comely seaside setting, is the perfect place to get in the mood for Christmas. Here, the 10-day Oban Winter Festival, which runs from 18–27 November, has a choice of markets offering local produce and a wide range of activities and events.
- Find out more about Oban Winter Festival
Bath Christmas Market, Somerset
24 November – 11 December
Centred around the Roman baths, Bath Christmas market 2022 is the biggest yet, spanning the entire city centre. The streets are filled with musicians, street performers and choirs singing their hearts under the twinkling lights.
More than 170 chalets sell – and demonstrate – craftsmanship from the south-west of England, this year including handblown glass ornaments, leather shoes, jams and chutneys from foraged ingredients, Bath cheeses and traditional Christmas puddings. A range of local distillers bring you west country cider, gin and rum, and naturally you’ll be able to buy a steaming winter warmer. There’s ice skating in Victoria Park, or why not take a Bath Abbey Tower Tour and get a birds-eye view of the markets? If you want to make a day of it, start at Bradford-Upon-Avon and stroll 9.7 miles along the atmospheric Kennet & Avon canal, enjoying the wood smoke and bright colours of the barges.
- Find our more about Bath Christmas Market
Malton Christmas Festival, North Yorkshire
3 – 4 December
Make a beeline for Yorkshire's food capital for this special festive market with a foodie twist. Check everything off your Christmas list and stock up the pantry with seasonal treats, too, including figgy puddings, turkey and goose, award-winning macarons, mulled wine, gin and beers. With fairground rides, brass bands and choirs as well as top street food, this promises to be Malton's shopping event of the year.
- Find out more about Walton Christmas Festival
Souter Lighthouse Christmas Craft Fair, Tyne & Wear
3 and 4 December
Head to the iconic beacon of Souter Lighthouse for its popular Christmas craft fair. Browse handmade crafts, gifts, cards, jewellery and much more, all made by local craftspeople.
- Find out more about the Christmas Craft Fair at Souter
Cirencester Advent Market, Gloucestershire
Cirencester will be the place to be on 26 November when the supersized Advent Market comes to the town centre. Between 10am and 6pm, over 100 stalls featuring local traders will line Cricklade Street, Castle Street and Market Place. With entertainment and light displays it promises to be a fun and festive family day out.
- Find out more about Cirencester Advent Market
Belfast Christmas Market, Belfast
November 20 – December 22
Try traditional seasonal treats from around the world and fairground rides in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.
- Find out more about the Belfast Christmas Market
Caerphilly Winter Food and Craft Market, Glamorgan
Caerphilly Castle provides the magnificent backdrop to this bustling food and craft fair, with funfair rides, mulled wine, street theatre, more than 50 food, craft and gift stalls. Make a day of it and book a visit to explore Caerphilly Castle.
Tenbury Wells Christmas Arts Market
Coinciding with Tenbury’s late-night shopping, there’s a pop-up Christmas Arts Market with arts and crafts stalls in the mistletoe fence-lined Tesco Market, with further stalls along Teme Street and at the Round Market. Local choirs and Tenbury Town Band will provide festive music and entertainment.
Hopetoun House Christmas Shopping Fair, South Queensferry, Edinburgh
25 – 27 November
Visit the Christmas market at Hopetoun House for a welcome relief from the stresses of the high street chaos. With festive entertainment and stalls selling unique and charming gifts and crafts, you can settle and take in the beautiful surroundings and Scottish hospitality. Be sure not to miss the State Dining room, decorated beautifully for the Christmas season.
- Find out more about the Christmas Shopping Fair at Hopetoun House
More Christmas markets to visit in 2022
- Savour the produce from festive farmers’ markets, such Norfolk’s Creake Abbey Christmas Food and Gift Farmers’ Market on 17 December
- Discover seasonal delights at The Argory’s Christmas Fair in County Armagh on 3 December.
- Aberglasney’s Winter Fair on 2–4 December showcases local Welsh delicacies and crafts.
- Famous chefs at Padstow’s Christmas Market on 1–4 December offer sumptuous Christmas dinner tips.
- Victorian entertainment accompanies the cobbled streets of Ulverston’s Dickensian Festival on 26–27 November.
- Thursford village performs their 45th Christmas Spectacular of non-stop singing, dancing, music and humour on 8 November–23 December.
- Make your own lantern at Hawkshead’s Christmas Fair on 3–4 December before parading through the village at night.
- Create a festive decoration at Stourhead’s Christmas Wreath Workshops on 26–27 November, and 6–10 December.
Tanya Jackson is a digital editor and writer for countryfile.com. She lives in Wiltshire and loves campfire cooking, swimming in the sea, rural folklore, barn owls and walking her Welsh collie in the misty hills. Tanya also has a passion for English food and drink – although nothing tastes as good as tomato soup out of a thermos on a crisp woodland walk.
Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.