Festive German gifts and crafts at Manchester Christmas Market

Festive German gifts and crafts at Manchester Christmas Market

Christmas at Chatsworth House

Christmas at Chatsworth House

Why not plan your Christmas shopping short break around one of the country's magical Christmas markets. Head to the traditional market town of Skipton on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales which hosts a popular Yuletide Festival with a Christmas Market lining the award-winning High Street. Cheshire capital Chester with its attractive pedestrianised centre famed for its half-timbered Rows is offering a magical time this Christmas with over 70 traditional wooden chalets spread around a sparkling Christmas tree. Alternatively book a weekend or midweek break in one of England's historic cities including Bath, York, Exeter and Durham, all with a cathedral backdrop to their Christmas markets.

Christmas Shopping Breaks in Buxton

Christmas Shopping Breaks in Buxton

Festive Settings

Some locations in the UK offer the perfect atmosphere for Christmas Markets and Festivals. Spa towns are always great Christmas shopping locations like beautiful Buxton in the Peak District. The Victorian Pavilion and surrounding gardens are the annual festive centre for the town's Christmas Wonderland and Fair featuring market stalls and Santa Claus in attendance on Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th December 2016.

Other towns are perfect for Dickensian style Victorian Christmas fairs and markets like Lincoln with its great Gothic cathedral or that favourite Victorian retreat Matlock Bath, home to the famous Heights of Abraham chairlift. Matlock is hosting its Victorian Christmas Weekend on 2nd, 3rd and 4th December 2016.

Find your unique Christmas gifts, crafts, decorations and local produce at Christmas Markets across the UK

Find your unique Christmas gifts, crafts, decorations and local produce at Christmas Markets across the UK

Christmas in Stately Homes

The great stately home estates from Chatsworth House in the Peak District to Castle Howard near York and Scone Palace near Perth host wonderful Christmas Fairs. The main houses usually take on a period Christmas theme (look forward to an enchanting winter wonderland theme at Chatsworth during their Christmas season from 5 November 2016 to 3 January 2017 which this year is the classic Nutcracker). Stately home estates like Chatsworth in the Peaks and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire offer a choice of craft, gift and local produce shops perfect for those special Christmas gifts you just won't find on the high street! Look out for santa in residence in the boat house alongside one of Capability Brown's famous lakes at Blenheim this year from 25th November 2016 to 2nd January 2017!

Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas Market

Continental Markets

If you like your Christmas markets with a distinctly Continental flavour, you'll find them in locations such as Winchester with its traditional German inspired Christmas Market (running this year from Friday 18th November to Tuesday 20th December, open daily) and Manchester with its Continental style Christmas Market - the city centre wooden stalls return again this year from 10 November to 20 December 2016 with main hub around the Town Hall and Albert Square.

1. York St Nicholas Fair

Christmas is a special time in York. The city's famous St Nicholas Market is running from 17th November until 23 December 2016. With a distinctly Victorian flavour, York's Christmas Market is spread across many streets in the city centre, and there are also a variety of small markets like the Medieval Market at Barley Hall. Add to this the city's delightful collection of independent shops lining the Shambles, Low Petergate and elsewhere around the Cathedral Quarter. Last year the enchating Ice Trail thrilled visitors to York across the festive season and this year it returns again (10 and 11th December).

2. Skipton Yuletide Festival

Skipton's Yuletide Festival and Christmas Market takes place on Sunday 4th and Sunday 11th December 2016. Festive themed market stalls will line the entire length of the market town's High Street, and they'll be a host of festive themed entertainment adding to the great Christmas atmosphere. Skipton's many fine independent and quirky shops are where you're sure to find that unique Christmas gift. The town is positively brimming with award-winning real ale inns.

3. Harrogate Christmas Market

The exquisite boutique shopping scene of Harrogate's Montpellier Quarter and The Stray will be the venue for the spa town's FREE ENTRY Christmas Market taking place from Thursday 17th to Sunday 20th November 2016 (open 10am to 8pm except Sundays when closure is 5pm). This year the town will have nearly 200 festive stalls selling everything from Christmas decorations to handmade gifts and fine local produce. Harrogate's magical mix of independent and designer shops along with a stylish modern shopping centre and beautiful heritage spa architecture makes it the perfect setting for a Christmas shopping break.

Wooden chalets selling Christmas gifts

Wooden chalets selling Christmas gifts

4. Chester Christmas Market

Chester is a beautiful setting for a Christmas Market with its famous half-timbered Rows in a largely pedestrianised centre - a perfect recipe for fulfilling all your festive shopping needs. The city's free Christmas Market takes place this year from Friday 18th November to Sunday 18th December 2016, open 7 days a week. Around 70 traditionally styled wooden chalets will be located in the heart of the town selling an array of gifts, jewellery, crafts and locally sourced food and drink. They'll also be plenty of stalls selling warming hot drinks and a choice of beers, wines and spirits. The Real Ale Bar will be open during normal market open hours, and there's late night opening Thursday to Saturday until 9pm.

5. Exeter Christmas Market

Exeter Christmas Market will be taking place on The Cathedral Green from Saturday 19th November to Sunday 18th December 2016, overlooked by the city's magificent cathedral. Exeter's ancient narrow streets and compact centre are perfect for Christmas shopping breaks, lined with fine book shops, craft and gift emporiums, old inns and stylish cafes. More unique gifts, crafts, local Devon food and drink and decorations will all be on sale on market stalls.

6. Bath Christmas Market

Bath Christmas Market running this year from 24 November to 11 December 2016 is one of Britain's largest Christmas Markets right here in England's great Georgian spa city. A traditional market with a Victorian flavour, Bath Christmas Market is 18 days worth of pure festive magic. Around 170 traditional style wooden chalets line the streets between the Abbey and Roman baths. Look out for the charming Victorian Carousel and other delights will include an ice rink, Santa's Grotto, carol services at the Abbey and of course partaking of the warm spa waters.

Your festive shopping taken care of at Christmas Markets in the UK

Your festive shopping taken care of at Christmas Markets in the UK

7. Edinburgh's Christmas

Edinburgh's six week Christmas spectacular is a series of events running from 18th November 2016 to 8 January 2017 including ice skating, markets, rides and more. In previous years festivities have included a Street of Light along the Royal Mile, a Big Wheel and the 60-metre Star Flyer with spectacular views across the city.

8. Grassington Dickensian Market

Travel back in time and head to the Yorkshire Dales this Christmas for Grassington's annual Dickensian Festival taking place from 3rd to the 11th December 2016. A programme of festival events and entertainment are running midweek, Monday to Friday. The village becomes a picture-postcard festive scene lit up by lights and brimming with the smells and sights of a bygone era. Shopkeepers and villagers all dress in Victorian costume and they'll be musicians, street entertainers, exhibits of traditional country crafts and more.

Winchester Christmas Market (Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dspender/4138637739/in/photolist-7iHAP6-7iHWBT-khSajh-7iHJnD-7iMJbW-7ofqci-7iMPau-7iHS4Z-7pentb-7penMd-4f5PWi-4f9MtE)

Winchester Christmas Market

9. Winchester Christmas Market

Winchester's Christmas Market has a reputation as one of the best in Europe and is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets. This year the market is celebrating its 10th anniversary and takes place from Friday 18th November to Tuesday 20th December (open daily). With a cathedral backdrop, stalls are located around Cathedral Inner and Outer Close. An open air real ice rink will also be in the city from 18 November to 2 January 2017 over the festive season, located next to the cathedral.

10. Cardiff Christmas Market

A real Christmas Craft Market, Cardiff Christmas Market is taking place from the 10th November to 23 December 2016. Charming illuminated market stalls will be located around the city centre's pedestrian streets including St John's Street, Trinity Street, Working Street and the Hayes. Browse market stalls packed with Welsh made crafts, gifts, pottery, textiles and Christmas decorations. Celtic Crafts will feature strongly along with beautiful glass creations and festive food.

Accommodation in York & City Centre

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Accommodation in Skipton

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  • Harrogate   (0.3 miles from the centre of Harrogate & Town Centre)
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Accommodation in Chester City Centre

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Accommodation in Exeter City Centre

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    Located in Exeter, The City Gate Hotel is minutes from Harlequins Shopping Centre and Royal Albert Museum and Gallery. This hotel is within close proximity of 21 The Mint and Ex...
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Accommodation in Grassington

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    17th Century Coaching inn with rooms & restaurant in Grassington with cask ales, a real log fire & 15 ensuite rooms. Bar and restaurant holding up to 100 diners and outdoor seating
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Accommodation in Edinburgh City Centre

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Accommodation in Cardiff City Centre

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  • Cardiff   (0.9 miles from the centre of Cardiff City Centre)
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    Charming Cardiff B&B guest house with a choice of well appointed en-suite rooms and family suites. Located just a 20 minute walk from the city centre. Free Wifi and parking
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