12 Oct Where to Spend Christmas in the UK

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but as the holidays draw closer and the trees go up we are all wondering where to spend this Christmas. Over 23% of Brits have spent Christmas abroad with Dubai being named the most popular destination for the holidays. But, with over 50% of Brits staying in the UK over Christmas, we have racked our brains and researched the depths of the internet to find you the best destinations for Christmas in the UK. Whether you are on a city break staycation, or a day trip to see the twinkling lights, here are the top eight cities to spend Christmas.


birminghamSpending Christmas in Nottingham is a magical experience, it becomes home to its very own Winter Wonderland, Nottingham hosts sparkling Christmas markets, an ice rink, and family pantomimes. Taking over Old Market Square in the centre of the city, this attraction is set to bring in over 2.9 million visitors over the Christmas period. The event has over 70 stalls, children’s rides and is the biggest Christmas market in the East Midlands.

Christmas Light Switch On: Friday 16th November
Winter Wonderland: 
15th November – Monday 31st December




Edinburgh is renowned for its manmade and natural beauty, from Holyrood Park to Edinburgh Castle. At Christmas, this city comes alive with dazzling lights, Christmas markets and a Christmas tree maze. From the 17th November visitors will be able to try out numerous rides including roller coasters, bumper cars, and a Santa train. An ice rink, fireworks and concerts take place from November onward.

Light Night: 18th November, 3 pm
Fairground: 17th November – 5th January
Christmas Markets: 16th November – 5th January
Ice Rink: 16th November – 5th January




The capital city has so much to offer those spending Christmas in the UK, from the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to the incredible Christmas shopping on Oxford Street. London hosts an array of Christmas markets, ice rinks, and events leading up to Christmas. Our favourites have to be the Wintertime market at Southbank Centre, Somerset House ice rink, and Christmas by the River at London Bridge.

Southbank Winter Festival: 9th November – 27th December
Leicester Square Christmas Market: 9th November – 6th January
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: 22nd November – 6th January
Christmas by the River: 29th November – 2nd January



Kick-starting Christmas with the Leeds Lights Switch On and becoming home to the sparkling 100ft Leeds Wheel of Light, Christmas markets, Santa’s grotto, and spectacular performances from the Northern Ballet and Opera North. Guests can Christmas shop at historical arcades and being the third largest shopping destination in the UK, you are sure to find presents for the whole family, including yourself.

Leeds German Christmas Market: 9th November – 22nd December
Thor’s Tipi: 17th November – 31st December
The Christmas Experience at Lotherton Hall: 23rd November – 23rd December
Christmas at Harewood House: 24th November – 6th January




York is the perfect place to spend Christmas in the UK. It’s historic lanes and beautiful architecture makes it the ideal chocolate box city to spend the holidays. This year, York is hosting a new Santas’s grotto and it will be the first time York has been home to a city centre Christmas tree shop. In 2017 York was named Britain’s most festive city, so this city is pushing itself further than ever this year with festive events and attractions.

York Christmas Festival: 15th November – 23rd December
Christmas Light Switch On: 15th November 6.30 pm



Birmingham this Christmas is becoming home to pantomimes, parties, and steam train rides. Each winter, Birmingham city centre bursts with the twinkling lights of the Frankfurt Christmas market that has run for over 15 years and is the largest of its kind outside of Germany. This year it is set to attract over 6 million visitors, making it the place to be for those wanting to experience a truly incredible Christmas event.

Frankfurt Christmas Market: 15th November – 23rd December
Big Wheel and Ice Rink: 15th November – 27th January
St Philips Cathedral Market: 15th November – 22nd December
Christmas Light Switch On: 15th November, dusk




With so much on offer, Cardiff makes it easily on to the list. From magical ballets to pantos, this city is the perfect city to do Christmas shopping in a range of fabulous shops or at the Christmas markets. Cardiff Bay sparkles under the fairy lights and becomes a gorgeous Christmassy location. Guests will be able to experience a traditional Welsh Christmas at St Fagans National Museum of History or visit the stunning Cardiff Castle home to a Santa’s grotto and Christmas parties.

St Fagans Christmas: 6th December – 8th December
Christmas at the Castle: 24th November – 22nd December
Winter Wonderland: 15th November – 6th January
Christmas Markets: 15th November – 23rd December
Step into Christmas: 15th November, 16.30 – 19.30




An Ice Village, a giant Santa clause, and the Winter Funland at Trafford City, Manchester truly provides something for everyone during the festive season. Events are being held throughout November and through to the New Year, so guests can experience a whole range of things to do and see from a festive afternoon tea at The Monastery to the UK’s biggest ice attraction in the Cathedral Gardens.

Festive Afternoon Tea: 23rd December, 12.00 – 14.30
Winter Funland at Trafford City: 7th December – 1st January
Manchester Christmas Lights Switch On: 3rd November, 19.30 – 21.30
Ice Village Manchester: 9th November – 5th January
Christmas Markets: 9th November – 23rd December
Ice Rink on First Street: 12th November – 23rd December








Grace Tebbutt

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