The 12 days of Christmas: 12 places to spend Christmas in the UK
Updated 29th June 2020
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. (This year, however, we recognise that these figures are going to be very different! Following the coronavirus pandemic, travelling abroad for Christmas is going to be limited for most, and there will also be an impact on what events are happening in 2020. We will continue to update this page to keep you informed!) 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.
The Nottingham Christmas tree in the centre of the city.
Spending 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: TBA
Winter Wonderland: Yet to be announced for 2020, but there is a promise of more market stalls.
The beautiful city of Edinburgh during the wintertime
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.
Night walk: 16th November 2020 – 31st January 2021
Christmas Markets: 16th November 2020 – 4th January 2020
An idyllic scene of London in the snow
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: November 2020 – January 2021
Leicester Square Christmas Market: TBA 2020
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: TBA 2020
A city of magic and excitement
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. Discover our guide to Christmas shopping in Leeds here.
Leeds German Christmas Market: 7th November – 19th December
let it snow in the city of York
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: 12th November – 23rd December
Christmas Light Switch On: TBA 2020
The serene Birmingham Christmas market
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: TBA 2020
Christmas Light Switch On: TBA 2020
As the nights get darker, Cardiff gets brighter
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: TBA 2020
Christmas Markets: TBA 2020
Step into Christmas: TBA 2020
Manchester lit up for Christmas
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.
Manchester Christmas Lights Switch On: TBA 2020
Ice Village Manchester: TBA 2020
Christmas Markets: TBA 2020
Ice Rink on First Street: TBA 2020
Head to the Bristol Christmas market for some mulled wine
Even as the nights get shorter and the weather becomes colder, Christmas and its magic is something to look forward to. Bristol offer’s a Christmas like no other with an array of fairy lights, a stunning Christmas tree and just a touch of magic. From the Christmas market to its magnificent carol concerts, there is much to do in this magical Christmas city. Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Santa and his elves!
Bristol’s Christmas Market: TBA 2020
Winter fair and Ice rink: TBA 2020
Christmas lights all around
Offering everything from churros to sweet roasted chestnuts, the city of Bath is just as sweet and delicious at Christmas time. While drinking a steaming mug of mulled wine, you can truly relax and enjoy the elegance of people skating on the city’s ice rink. With a Victorian carousel and traditional pantomime shows, Bath really is marvellous at Christmas.
Bath Christmas Market: TBA 2020
Bath ice rink: TBA 2020
Pantomime: TBA 2020
The city lights at Christmas
Filled with Christmas cheer and joy is the Belfast Christmas Market. With holiday cuisine from around the world, indulge in some sweet treats and delicious Christmas fare. From German bratwurst to roman mulled wine, Belfast has a delightful and refreshing Christmas market for all.
Belfast Christmas Market: TBA 2020
Enchanted winter Gardens at Antrim Castle Gardens: TBA 2020
Christmas decorations in the centre of Glasgow
With irresistible cuisine and ‘to die for’ shopping Glasgow city centre, at Christmas, is perfect for a trip away for the weekend. Glasgow Christmas market offers a variety of activities and stalls to participate in. From Christmas trinkets to Christmas decorations, Glasgow is full of unique and exquisite gifts at Christmas.
Glasgow Christmas Market: TBA 2020
Riverside Christmas Festival: TBA 2020
With each city celebrating in their own way, why not tour of them all? With so many of our great apartments located in each city, you can be sure to have a fantastic winter wonderland experience with some cosy and lovely accommodation to go with it. Why not check out our other festive blogs too!