Whether it is opening your stocking, consuming too many mince pies, the enormous meal, or of course, unwrapping the gifts under the tree, we all have our favourite parts of the day when it comes to Christmas celebrations.
But ask any parent and you would be hard-pressed to find one who didn’t put Christmas shopping at the top of their least favourite jobs to do around the holiday season. Choosing the right gifts to ensure that no one is left feeling upset, filling stockings with numerous smaller gifts, and then wrapping them all up in nice neat paper, is enough work to keep any mum or dad busy for weeks.
This is why more and more people are turning to traditional Christmas markets to do their Christmas shopping. Not only do they avoid the soulless bustle of the high street or the unpredictability of online purchases (we all know how long parcels can take to arrive over Christmas!), but they also offer an enjoyable day out that is enough to get even the biggest Scrooge feeling the festive spirit. With fairground rides, food stalls, games, and beer gardens on offer, there is something for everyone at the Christmas markets. So while one adult watches the kids on the dodgems, the other can hurry off and get some much-needed shopping done, and maybe even a congratulatory drink!
Christmas markets offer a wide range of speciality stores with all manner of gifts to choose from set in one easily navigable location. On top of that, many of the sellers will happily wrap any purchases made with beautiful paper and bows, and there’s always an array of refreshments available if ever you need to take a well-earned break from shopping.
We are going to take a look at the most popular Christmas markets in the UK based on searches, so you know the most favoured and famous places to visit during the holiday season, as well as the quieter, lesser-known Christmas markets across the country.
What is the most searched for Christmas market in the UK?
Airline comparison site Find a Cheap Flight recently analysed the average number of google searches per month of Christmas markets across the UK. The higher the number of searches suggests greater popularity for that market. The rankings were not based on experiential or anecdotal reviews, so the lower-ranked markets are perhaps just as nice, but maybe not as well established.
They found the most searched Christmas market in the UK to be the Edinburgh Christmas market, with an average of 6,600 searches a month. Tied in second place were the Manchester and York Christmas markets with 5,400 searches on average per month. At the other end of the list was the Exeter Christmas market with a monthly average of only 1,300 searches, and in second last place was Birmingham, with 1,900 searches on average per month.
So let’s jump in and take a look at what the different markets have on offer.
Edinburgh Christmas market
The Edinburgh Christmas market topped the list with an average of 6,600 searches a month. This will come as a little surprise to many as the Edinburgh Christmas market is one of the most famous and best-loved in the world.
The market is incorporated into a wider celebration called Edinburgh’s Christmas that has everything from Bavarian beer gardens, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, and traditional Christmas market stalls with all manner of gifts to choose from.
Edinburgh’s Christmas usually runs from mid-November until early January and is held in East Prince’s St Gardens. On most days it is open between 10 am and 10 pm, but these hours can vary.
Manchester Christmas market
Manchester came in second place of the most searched Christmas markets in the UK with an average of 5,400 searches per month. There are a few different options to choose from when it comes to Christmas markets in Manchester and there is a market trail that winds through the city centre taking you through all manner of stalls that specialise in just about anything you may wish to buy as a gift.
Manchester’s Christmas Markets are famous for their traditional German bratwurst sausages. But that’s not where the culinary delights end as the Christmas markets are also well known for their global cuisine and visitors can treat themselves to Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or just a good old-fashioned hog roast.
You can follow the market trail by starting in Albert Square, winding your way through King Street, up to New Cathedral Street, and finishing on Corporation Street. Most years there are around eight markets along the way most of which are open from early November until a few days before Christmas.
York Christmas market
York Christmas market came in joint second place with Manchester, also with an average of 5,400 searches a month. Set against the backdrop of the winding cobbled streets, the magnificent gothic cathedral, and numerous cosy pubs and tea shops, York is the perfect city to get you in that festive spirit and complete some Christmas shopping. The York Christmas market is smaller than the offerings in Edinburgh and Manchester, but the numerous log cabin stalls all squeezed in beside one another are not short of gifts and goodies to cater for all.
The York Christmas Market is usually on Parliament Street, but you can also find cabins in Coppergate and a covered market just around the corner from Parliament Street where the regular market is. The market usually runs from mid-November until a few days before Christmas.
Exeter Christmas market
At the other end of the list was the least searched for Christmas markets in the UK. Exeter came lowest in the list with an average of only 1,300 searches a month. The market in Exeter is relatively new and has only been going since 2017, which is perhaps why it featured so low on the search list.
The market is in the heart of the city and surrounds the Cathedral on Cathedral Green. The Cathedral itself is a hub of festive activity, including carol services, concerts, events, and tours. Exeter’s Christmas Market usually runs from mid-November up until the week before Christmas.
Despite being lesser known than some of the others, Exeter’s market still boasts all the offerings anyone could want from a Christmas market and has the added bonus of being considerably less busy than some of the better-known locations. So if you are looking for a quieter, more relaxing Christmas market, Exeter may well be the ideal place for you.
Birmingham Christmas market
The second last on the list was the Birmingham Christmas market with 1,900 searches. This may come as a surprise as not only is Birmingham the UK’s second-largest city, but also Birmingham’s ‘Frankfurt Christmas Market’ is the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria.
With Bavarian bars, oompah music, fairground rides, market stalls, and much, much more, the Birmingham Christmas market is a fantastic place to lose yourself amidst festive merriment, take the kids on a day out, or finish off some Christmas shopping.
Birmingham’s Christmas market is usually open from early November until a few days before Christmas.
Christmas markets offer both a wonderful day out and a place where you can easily finish any long-overdue Christmas shopping. With so many towns and cities now having a Christmas market as a centrepiece during the holiday season, we are spoilt for choice.
If you use the most searched for markets as a guide, you can base your Christmas market of choice on how busy it is likely to be. The better known and more established markets are worth visiting for their world-famous attractions and the beauty of the cities in which they are situated. The lesser-known and newer markets will usually have fewer visitors and make for a quieter day out. So whichever you choose to explore, next time Christmas comes, consider spending a day doing some shopping at a Christmas market. A good market can turn the biggest yuletide chore into a fun day out of festive merriment that everyone can enjoy.
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