Best UK Christmas markets 2022 – from Manchester to Edinburgh

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That's right, the festive season has arrived and with hints of the first White Christmas in over a decade – how magical would that be?

If you want to do something a little bit special during the countdown then grab your warmest coat, and head to one of UK’s most popular festive markets (although as you'll see they are also much more than just markets). In fact, if you don't live locally why not and pamper yourself with a hotel stay nearby. After all, you can't only rely on Santa Claus for those holiday treats!


With twinkling lights, mulled wine and vintage fairground rides, the Manchester Christmas Market (10th November-22nd December) is just the place to pick up some gifts and indulge in a spot of festive fun.

Last year it was even voted the most Instagramable Christmas market.

Where to stay: The Lowry Hotel is not only one of the most prestigious, celebrity-loved, five-star hotels in the city, but is a mere five minute walk away. Set on the River Irwell, the glass-fronted building houses some impressive art (it is named after the iconic artist LS Lowry, after all).

Guests can book a ‘shop and stay’ package at a discounted rate which includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival as you check into the decked out winter wonderland, The Lowry Narnia.

The River Restaurant has a sensational à la carte menu – a taste of luxury with a reasonable price tag, with mains priced at around £20.

For those feeling extra bouji, the hotel has hooked up with DermAssure which enables in-room facial aesthetics for guests (yes, Botox in your hotel room!). For a more seasonal atmosphere, hit Lightophia at Heaton Park, an immersive experience that brings lanterns, nutcrackers and more to life as you stroll.

From £139 per night,


No wonder it’s considered one of the most magical places to celebrate Christmas…

Lavenham, with its cobblestones and winding streets, is one of the best preserved medieval villages in the UK.

The annual fair is back, from 7-9 December, with independent boutiques, mugs of frothy hot chocolate and a huge Christmas tree transforming the square and Guildhall into a fairyland.

Where to stay: If you’re after ye olde worlde charm, coupled with a spot of fine dining and some modern spa treatments, book into The Swan, a charming hotel housed in a 15th century timber building. Enjoy a sauna and steam and a dip in the outdoor pool in the Weavers’ House Spa (we went on a chilly day and it was glorious at dusk with the steam rising into the cold air). We also had the It’s Going To Be OK treatment (£130) – sublime!

Feeling peckish? Plonked amid Tudor pubs and restaurants is the Airmen’s Bar. Named after the Second World War soldiers based at RAF Lavenham, the walls are adorned with signatures and mementoes from British and American servicemen. It’s like a museum that you can enjoy while feasting on lobster risotto and beef short rib. Nourishment for body and soul.

From £140 per night B&B based on two sharing. For details of suites for larger groups, see


The capital's iconic Winter Wonderland (18th November-2nd January) is the perfect place to enjoy a not-so-silent night.

It’s the most famous Christmas extravaganza in the UK for a reason, and we should all visit at least once! If this is your year to go then prepare to be overwhelmed with all that is on offer including the largest outdoor Ice Rink, a Magical Ice Kingdom, an 80’s Après-ski theme Bar Ice, an ice slide, thrill rides, hundreds of stalls, live music and tasty seasonal fare. There really is a little bit of magic for everyone to experience. Situated in the heart of London’s East End and just steps away from the curry houses of Brick Lane, the art-focused Hyatt Place hotel is in an ideal location to enjoy all the festive fun the capital has to offer.

Where to stay: A tube ride away in east London, is Hyatt Place. The rooms are decorated to reflect what the hotel calls ‘gallery vibes’ – fun abstract art, quirky features and more of those breathtaking views. A hot breakfast awaits in the morning or, if you’re keen to hit the shops to check out the fabulously festive window displays, pop by the ‘market stand’ for grab-and-go fresh pastries and juices.

With the hotel promising to bring street art inside, art lovers need to leave time to spot bespoke pieces produced by some of London’s most established artists. Feeling peckish during your stay? Pop out for a wine and cheese evening in a candlelit, kooky cellar at the UK’s first plant-based cheesemongers, La Fauxmagerie, just 12 minutes walk from Hyatt Place.

We were in search of a fancy meal, so we took a seat at PocketSquare on our hotel’s beautiful roof terrace with fantastic panoramic city views (yep, you should be able to see some of the rides you enjoyed earlier!) The heartwarming Sicilian food and award-winning cocktails rounded off our day a treat.

From £145 per night,


Residents and visitors can expect bigger and better at this year's Winter Festival (25th November-3rd January), with plans for the festival to spill out across the Scottish capital. The event, which runs from 25 November, will champion local produce and offer something for the little ones at ‘Santa Land’ which will be full of rides and entertainment.

Where to stay: The Bonham Hotel, a 15-minute walk from Princes Street Gardens where Santa Land is located, has been open since 1998, but was recently refurbished to “boutique” status with 49 luxurious rooms. Our suite had soaring ceilings, comfy beds and a sweeping bay window panorama. The communal areas were just as lush with their tapestry of dark wood panelling, art deco touches and ornate chandeliers. After a stroll through nearby Dean Village with its French vibe, we headed back for tasty beer-battered fish and chips from the Bonham’s lounge menu. We barely had room for our full Scottish breakfast the next morning!

From £149 b&b for a double room, visit


The city centre is transformed each year with the help of their German friends for the Frankfurt Christmas Market (3rd November-23rd December). It provides an authentic experience without the hassle of having to jump on a plane.

Fill up on pretzels, bratwursts and german beers before getting the whole family sorted with the handcrafted gift stores which sell everything from toys to decorations.

The compact nature of the city means that everything is very walkable so you'll easily be able to get to the Bullring for more shopping or to the lively eateries and bars dotted around the place.

Where to stay: Get some rest at The Grand Hotel. The hotel really does live up to its names, with interiors that'll make you feel like you're on an episode of Netflix's Bridgerton.

Before hitting the hay grab yourself a nightcap at the hotel's luxurious cocktail bar – Madeline. It's a glamorous setting where you can reflect on your jam-packed day and marvel over purchases while sipping a glass of champagne, or perhaps an espresso martini. Cheers!

From £113 per night,


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