It's the most wonderful time of the year - the year that the Christmas markets roll up into town, roll out their festive sparkle and warm the cockles of our hearts with spiced drinks, festive tunes and beautifully crafted gifts. Here are some of our favourites:
Birmingham Frankfurt Market
Said to be the largest Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Leave plenty of room for the Glühwein, bratwurst and pretzels, in between looking for beautiful handmade gifts and decorations.
Celebrate Christmas in style this year! Find out more here
Bath Christmas Market
More than 200 traditional wooden chalets packed full of fabulous Christmas presents will fill the area surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. All the stallholders have been carefully selected, with more than 80% coming from Bath and the Southwest, while 99% of the goods available are handmade in the UK, or abroad with Fairtrade certification. The scent of caramelised nuts wafts through the market, where the traditional chalets sprawl through the Georgian streets of Bath. Visit for handmade jewellery, gifts, Christmas ornaments and much more, or just enjoy the atmosphere in one of the country's most beautiful cities.
York St Nicholas Fair
The picturesque city of York makes for an atmospheric visit at any time of year, but when the Christmas market sets up ship, you can feel the holiday spirit in the air. Central to York’s festive celebrations, with stalls lining Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square and The Judge’s Lodging, York’s Christmas Market - the St Nicholas Fair - won Best Large Speciality Market at the Great British Market Awards in 2019. St Nicholas Fayre has an olde worlde sensibility about it, just like the city itself. Expect cosy wooden chalets, festooned with twinkling lights, to serve up the scene of roasting chestnuts and milled wine. Here you can peruse authentic Yorkshire produce from crafters and makers cosied away at the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village.
BBC Good Food Show Winter, Birmingham NEC
As well as enjoying an opportunity to stock up on some delicious food, drink and cookery products from over 450 exhibitors, visitors can also enjoy exciting live entertainment in the Big Kitchen.
Cardiff Christmas Market
This well-established market in the heart of Cardiff city centre features original artworks and prints, ceramics, glassworks and much more. The organisers endeavour to introduce new stall holders each year to keep it fresh, with many of the artists providing demonstrations off their skills. Wander the pedestrianised streets of St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes. The market is open until 6pm most evenings, and 7pm on certain late night shopping events.
The city of Lincoln is blessed with a wonderful, historical backdrop for a Christmas market. The medieval square between the striking Norman castle and impressive gothic cathedral will feature stalls offering gifts, goodies and delicious food and drink.
Running right up to Christmas Eve itself for those last-minute gifts with a difference, the Guildhall-based fayre is an inspiration for some fabulous seasonal courses. Perhaps combine some great gift buying with a day-long course on a sparkling range of Christmas crafts, from needle felting and crocheting a snowflake to knitting a bauble. There’s also a Christmas creative writing workshop.
This is a Christmas market on a grand scale, boasting over 200 stalls, with the majority of stallholders coming from within a 30-mile radius of the city, to ensure that products are as local as possible. The festivities will start with a carol service in Worcester cathedral. Costumed characters from the Victorian era will wander the streets of the city, including singers, buskers and jugglers. And who can resist a ride on the funfair’s Gallopers, to the sound of a barrel organ?
Marking its 10th anniversary, this is possibly the most upscale Christmas market you’ll find. Broad Street oozes classy merchandise, you can almost hear the oohs and aahs as the Cotswold set open their gifts on the big day. Foodies especially will love the range of tasty treats and kitchen must have devices – who can resist chess piece salt and pepper grinders? Worth a visit for that something out of the ordinary.
Worth a trip to see how Belfast’s City Hall gardens are transformed into a Christmas village setting. As well as plenty of clothing, gifts, arts and crafts and decorations from across Europe, you’ll be able to sample a wide variety of festive treats. Sample the Gluhwein, hog roast, Belgian chocolates and crepes as you wander through lanes of pretty Alpine lodges. Live music will be playing at Lavery's Irish bar.
From its relatively modest beginnings, the Christmas market now boasts over 100 attractive wooden chalets, all selected for the quality of their products and selling a wide range of Christmas goodies, including seasonal food and drink, handmade British crafts, and unique, bespoke, interesting and unusual gifts and decorations.
A large outdoor ice rink sits at the centre of Winchester’s Christmas activity.
With the historic Close’s dramatic medieval architecture as a backdrop, it’s an idyllic setting at any time of day, but it really comes into its own in the evening when the cathedral is lit up and a warm glow radiates from the market stalls.
A trip to Edinburgh offers a range of festive fun for all the family and several Christmas markets that will keep even the most ardent shoppers happy. For a festive taste of Scotland, we recommend the Scottish Market in St. Andrew Square where you will find a showcase of local crafts, food and drink including mouth-watering sausages and Scottish brewed craft beer.
However, the romance of the European Christmas Market, situated right in the heart of this historical city, offers an ambience that takes some beating.
Leeds Castle Christmas Market (Kent)
The annual Christmas Market at Leeds Castle offers a great day out for all the family. Held on the Cedar Lawn overlooking the castle, it has a range of seasonal gifts, toys, festive decorations, specialist food and drink. You can also meet the reindeer and the castle’s birds of prey.
Saga customers can enjoy exclusive offers from both Saga and our carefully chosen partners, entertaining and informative features, the chance to win fantastic prizes, and more. Find out about Saga customer benefits today.
Join in the festive spirit at Chatsworth. This year, scenes from classic tales are woven throughout Chatsworth House to create a storybook world.
From Snow White in the Sculpture Gallery and Cinderella in the Chapel to more recent classics like James and the Giant Peach and Charlotte’s Web, the house has never before been host to such an array of popular characters.
Storytellers will roam the rooms and corridors to enchant visitors with mystical tales as they explore the magical land of make-believe. For younger visitors, a free family trail will be available at the entrance with a friendly baby dragon to spot en route.
When it comes to Christmas markets Glasgow has plenty to offer. Visit St Enoch Square and George Square for lots of artisan food from around the world and plenty of activities for children. Try German beers, slide down a vintage helter skelter and marvel at the stunning 15m Christmas tree. Each day children get to meet Father Christmas at the George Square Christmas Market. Smaller independent markets are dotted around the city for a huge range of gifts, including Etsy Made Local Glasgow at The Briggait and Merchant Square Craft Market, and the Country Living Fair takes places at the SEC Centre. Throw in Etsy Made Local, 3d2d, Art on the Exchange and Super Market Season markets – to name a few – and you can see that Glasgow really does go for it at Christmas.
Manchester’s award-winning Christmas markets return this winter, offering mouth-watering international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of this buzzing city. With over 300 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spread across the city centre, Manchester’s markets are among the country’s largest.
Soak up the atmosphere and follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.
And when planning your visit, don’t miss the amazing array of food and drink! Manchester’s Christmas Markets are famous for traditional bratwurst, but you can also treat yourself to Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast.
Last but not least, how could we forget our very own capital? Let's just say that London does not let us down. The city lays on a dazzling array of markets in a variety of famous locations.
Some of the best-loved are located at the iconic London Bridge, on the trendy streets of Shoreditch, and at the mighty Hyde Park Winter Wonderland where 200 fairy-lit stalls will vie for your attention.
Find out what's included on a Saga cruise
EXCITING NEWS: The countdown is on for the arrival of our second new ship, Spirit of Adventure, who will take to the oceans this summer! Find out more about cruising aboard our newest ship…