Unfortunately, many live events, Christmas markets and festivals that were meant to take place this year have had to be cancelled. Though all is not lost - thanks to the internet and social media, many events are now set to take place online, meaning you can join in with the festive fun wherever you are.
Alternative Christmas Events and Attractions for 2020
While Christmas Markets remain on hold for 2020, there are still some Christmas Events taking place across the country before the end of the year. Please note that many of these events or attractions require pre-booking and are always subject to change or restrictions - please check with the individual websites before travelling.
Venture into a Wonderland themed Christmas light show at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire
Get up close with the Northern Lights at Norwich's awe-inspiring Tunnel of Light
Scented fire gardens and neon tunnels light up Oxfordshire's Blenheim Palace
Hyde Park, London
Transforming one of London’s most spectacular parks, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland offers a festive paradise in the heart of the city. Home to the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom and an array of comedic acts at its own Comedy Club, along with the UK’s largest open air ice rink and plenty of bars and food stalls, there’s something for all the family to enjoy. Enjoy jaw-dropping circus acts and don’t miss the arrival of Paddington on Ice, a stunning family-friendly show combining cutting-edge choreography, toe-tapping music and impressive costumes.
Unfortunately, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will not take place this year.
For historic-ambience-meets-winter-style, head to Bath Christmas Market, as more than 150 pop-up chalets set up on the city’s pretty Georgian streets. Visitors can expect a real treasure trove of gifts to take home, whether that’s jewellery, homewares or decorations. Last year more than 80% of stallholders came from Bath and south-west England, while 99% of all products were handmade in Britain or abroad with Fairtrade certification, making this a much more eco-savvy shopping experience. There’s always new stalls to explore as well as the perennial favourites, while visitors can fill empty bellies with a range of festive food from The Lodge in the heart of the market.
Bath Christmas Market has been cancelled for 2020, however you can still shop online from a range of local stallholders throughout the festive season.
A firm favourite on the city’s yuletide calendar, Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Expect a fine range of traditional, personalised gifts and products on its 80 stalls and get into the German spirit while feasting on schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein and weissbeer. Another huge draw is its bandstand location in Victoria Square and the programme of live music and carol singers that bring the party atmosphere to festive shopping.
Please note that the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market has been cancelled for 2020.
The popular Winter Market returns to London’s Southbank Centre, a seasonal pleasure that sits alongside a range of family shows and festive fun as the banks of the River Thames become a winter wonderland. All along the South Bank are strings of decorations and cute illuminated wooden cabins selling Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional, as well as mince pies, spiced cider and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Make sure to grab a selfie by the huge Christmas tree!
Southbank's Winter Festival will not be taking place this year.
Millennium Square in Leeds is transformed for the city’s annual Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market, with the addition of more than 40 traditionally decorated wooden chalets. Browse through hand-crafted jewellery and festive decorations, tuck into authentic German food and feel extra festive with a ride on the popular Christmas Carousel. For those still feeling hungry, visit the Alp Chalet restaurant in the centre of the market, a Bavarian style eatery offering a delectable selection of traditional food and drink, alongside evening entertainment.
Just so you know, Leeds German Christmas Market will not take place this year.
The latest instalment of the Manchester Christmas Markets will take over locations across the city from mid-November, meaning visitors won’t be far from festive gifts and delicious food and drink stalls selling traditional bratwurst, hog roast, paella and much more. There will be more than 300 stalls and chalets across the city, with the heart of the markets found in Albert Square. Visitors can follow the trail and pick up jewellery, toys, plants, bags, homeware and fun, quirky gifts at a variety of markets, including a French market, a German market, a World Christmas market and a dedicated Arts & Crafts market.
Unfortunately, Manchester's Christmas Markets have been cancelled for 2020.
Also check out: Winter Funland, which will be held at an indoor venue and include fairground attractions, an ice rink, a circus and other fun performances (3 December 2020 – 3 January 2021)
With its unique location in the shadow of a celebrated English icon, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best. More than 100 chalets are home to hand-picked exhibitors offering exclusive gifts that visitors won’t find on the high street – from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine.
Winchester Christmas Market will not be taking place this year.
Travel back in time for three days of festive fun at the Victorian Christmas Festival, held in the impressive surroundings of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This year marks 20 years of Christmas magic, with the festival home to 120 market stalls selling all sorts of festive treats, an array of Victorian street performers and the chance to meet Father Christmas.
The Victorian Christmas Festival has been cancelled for this year.
This three-day market sets up shop for its fleeting run at Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter. There will be 280 Bavarian-themed stalls selling a range of unique festive trinkets alongside a wide selection of hearty food, drink and fairground rides. Shops across the city stay open later when the market’s in town too, giving you plenty of time to get all your gifts. Got the kids in tow? Well make sure to stop by St Paul in the Bail where the little ones can write and decorate their letters to Santa, and even post them to him using the huge Christmas Postbox.
Lincoln Christmas Market has been cancelled for 2020.
Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place at the centre of Parliament Street, offering up an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts. For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, fly down the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement you’ll be in need of a tipple or two, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for a glass of mulled wine and a cup of hot chestnuts.
Attracting more than 130,000 visitors a year, this Kent-based market is sure to fill more than a few stockings. Nestled in Rochester’s Castle Gardens, you can browse a range of chalet-style stalls selling everything from Fairtrade clothing to dog toys and homemade jams. And head over to the Bavarian food village for some bratwurst or churros (very German, we know!) before letting loose on some good old-fashioned fairground rides. The market also happens to coincide with the Dickensian Christmas Festival, where you’ll be able to feast your eyes on Victorian delights, meet costumed characters and listen to some open-air carolling.
Please note that Rochester Christmas Market has been cancelled for 2020.
Norwich Christmas markets
Norwich isn’t content with just one Christmas market, so it hosts several. Taking place across the same weekend in December, three distinct fairs open for business across the city. The largest, Norwich Global Village Christmas Market, takes over The Forum, with indoor stalls selling the region’s finest crafts, paintings and gifts. And on Saturday, you’ll be able to tuck into French crêpes, mulled wine and posh hot dogs just outside The Forum’s doors. Over in the Cathedral, Norwich Christmas Fayre will be filled with more festive joy and goodies, while at Open Norwich, the Vegan Christmas Market will be in full swing with a range of cruelty-free products and delicious vegan food.
Norwich Christmas Markets will not be opening this year.
Skipton Christmas Market
Head up, down or over to Yorkshire to check out an award-winning market home to over 100 fantastic stalls. Alongside the mass of goodies up for grabs along the High Street, there will be festive entertainment galore, including live brass bands and Christmas choirs. For the kids there will be hands-on craft activities and opportunities to say hello to Santa and his reindeer. And at the end of the day, once the traders have started packing away, there’ll be a chance to join the torchlight procession through the town.
Unfortunately, this event has been cancelled.
Padstow Christmas Festival
Food is at the heart of Padstow’s Christmas Festival, championed by high-profile chefs like Rick Stein and Paul Ainsworth. Join them, and more than 60 culinary experts, at cooking demonstrations across the four-day event that showcases the best of British food and drink. The Christmas marquee market is also the best place to pick up some of the most celebrated West Country produce – from beers to beauty products and art. You can even stop by the festival’s literary talks and book signings – the perfect place to bag yourself an early Christmas pressie.
Unfortunately, Padstow Christmas Festival is cancelled for 2020.
Returning for its third year is Stratford-upon-Avon’s award-winning Victorian Christmas Market, taking place in the town centre once again. With over 100,000 visitors last year, the ever-popular event spreads festive cheer with masses of shopping, food and street entertainment.
Around 300 stalls, complete with Victorian outfit-clad tradespeople, will be selling a wide range of gifts and seasonal products, and over on Wood Street there’ll be a traditional funfair to keep the whole family entertained.
This year will also welcome the Community Craft Fair, located in Stratford Town Council’s Town Hall on Sheep Street.