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Christmas in London

Best Places to Visit in England for Christmas Cheer

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in England for Christmas cheer.

England transforms into a winter wonderland during December, offering expats and digital nomads a chance to experience the holiday spirit in a variety of enchanting locales. From traditional markets to festive events, there's a wealth of places to explore that are brimming with Christmas cheer. Whether you're looking for the perfect gift, a taste of seasonal treats, or simply to soak in the festive atmosphere, these destinations are sure to fill your holidays with joy.

London's Hyde Park - Winter Wonderland

London's Hyde Park becomes a magical Winter Wonderland each December, drawing visitors from all over the world. This festive extravaganza features an array of attractions, including an ice-skating rink, circus shows, a giant observation wheel, and a vast Christmas market. The market is a treasure trove of handcrafted gifts, decorations, and culinary delights. Food stalls offer everything from traditional German sausages to sweet treats like churros and roasted nuts. The Winter Wonderland typically opens in late November and runs until the beginning of January, providing ample time for holiday fun.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to sip on some hot chocolate or mulled wine as you wander through the market. These warm beverages are a perfect way to stay cozy while enjoying the festive lights and sounds of Winter Wonderland.

Bath - Bath Christmas Market

The historic city of Bath is renowned for its stunning Georgian architecture, which provides a picturesque backdrop for the Bath Christmas Market. This market is one of the most famous in England, with over 170 chalets lining the streets around the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Artisans sell a variety of handcrafted goods, from jewelry to ceramics, making it an ideal spot for finding unique gifts. The market usually runs from late November to mid-December, and the city's streets are filled with the aroma of mulled wine and mince pies.

We Recommend: Be sure to try the local Somerset brie at the cheese stalls – it's a creamy delight that pairs wonderfully with the artisan crackers and chutneys also available at the market.

Manchester - Manchester Christmas Markets

Manchester Christmas Markets are a sprawling festive attraction, with more than 300 beautifully decorated stalls and chalets spread across the city center. Starting in early November and continuing until just before Christmas, the markets offer a wide range of international food, drinks, and finely crafted Yuletide gifts. The main hub is Albert Square, where you'll find the largest market and an array of festive treats, including the famous Manchester Christmas pudding.

We Recommend: Indulge in a traditional bratwurst from one of the German stalls, or for those with a sweet tooth, the Dutch mini pancakes known as 'poffertjes' are a must-try.

Birmingham - Frankfurt Christmas Market

Birmingham hosts the largest German market outside Germany and Austria, the Frankfurt Christmas Market. This market offers a vast selection of traditional German fare, from pretzels and schnitzels to glühwein and weissbier. The market also features live music and carol singers, creating a joyous atmosphere. It typically runs from early November to late December, providing plenty of time to enjoy the festivities.

We Recommend: Sample the authentic German sausages, and don't leave without trying a slice of stollen – the classic German fruit bread that's a festive favorite.

Edinburgh - Edinburgh's Christmas

Edinburgh's Christmas is a season-long festive celebration that takes over the Scottish capital. The city's Christmas markets, located in East Princes Street Gardens and George Street, offer a wide range of gifts and treats. There's also an ice rink, a Christmas tree maze, and a host of family-friendly attractions. The markets usually open in late November and run until early January. The Scottish take on holiday treats, including haggis-flavored nuts and whisky-infused fudge, are not to be missed.

We Recommend: Warm up with a dram of Scotch whisky or a cup of hot spiced cider as you take in the stunning views of the Edinburgh skyline adorned with Christmas lights.

York - St Nicholas Fair

York's St Nicholas Fair brings medieval charm to the holiday season, with traditional wooden stalls lining the historic streets. The fair, which runs from mid-November to late December, is an ideal place to find handcrafted gifts, including locally made soaps and unique silver jewelry. The scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts fills the air, adding to the festive ambiance. Carolers and musicians provide entertainment, making it a merry experience for all who visit.

We Recommend: Try the Yorkshire Yuletide Pie, a savory treat filled with seasonal flavors, and a perfect example of local cuisine.

Winchester - Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

Set against the stunning backdrop of Winchester Cathedral, the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets. It's renowned for its high-quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. The market features a British crafts village, offering an array of handmade crafts, gifts, and decorations. Running from late November to just before Christmas, the market also includes an open-air ice rink for visitors to enjoy.

We Recommend: Don't miss the opportunity to taste the hot roasted almonds and the Winchester Cathedral mince pies, which are a local specialty.

London's Chelsea Neighborhood - Duke of York Square Christmas Market

In the heart of London's Chelsea neighborhood, the Duke of York Square Christmas Market offers a more boutique holiday shopping experience. This market, open on Saturdays from November until Christmas, features an assortment of luxury goods, designer items, and gourmet food. The market is smaller and more curated, providing a relaxed atmosphere to shop for high-end gifts. The nearby Saatchi Gallery often hosts festive events and exhibitions during the season as well.

We Recommend: Enjoy a glass of champagne or a gourmet hot chocolate from one of the upscale food stalls as you browse the selection of fine goods.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Christmas in London


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