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The best UK Christmas markets for a festive road trip

Driving to a Christmas market is one of the highlights of the festive season – take a look at the best in the UK

A man and a woman sitting in the back of a car with Christmas decor and presents.

A staple for many UK families during the festive period is a trip to a Christmas market – and we’re spoilt for choice.

There are so many different markets up and down the country that it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth a visit.

To make your choice a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best Christmas markets using average hotel costs, predicted days of snowfall, market duration and how popular it is on TikTok (because how else do we gauge popularity these days?!).

Here are our top picks:

The top 10 Christmas markets in the UK:

  1. Manchester

  2. Edinburgh

  3. Liverpool

  4. Glasgow

  5. Aberdeen

  6. Birmingham

  7. Hyde Park (Winter Wonderland)

  8. Leicester

  9. Belfast

  10. Canterbury

The most festive Christmas markets in the country

There’s no denying it – our data suggests that Manchester is the place to go if you want the ultimate festive market experience.

Sam Sheehan, our motoring editor here at cinch, said: “According to our findings, Manchester is home to the best Christmas market in the UK.

“Receiving a whopping 13,300,000 views on TikTok, as well as offering festive food and fun for 42 days, it’s no surprise that Manchester’s Christmas market stands at the top of our merry list.

“Edinburgh and Liverpool sit in second and third place respectively, with the Scottish capital hosting one of the most-loved markets on social media.

"If you pop by the Christmas fair in Merseyside, you’ll be in with the best chance of a snowy market stroll, with Weather Atlas’s figures showing that Liverpool gets an average of four days of snow each December.

“Glasgow and Aberdeen deserve a special mention, too, as they just fall short of a place on the podium.

"With three Scottish cities in the top five positions, there’s no doubt the Christmas spirit is cheery north of the border!”

Which Christmas markets run for the longest?

Christmas is a busy time, and it can be a headache trying to fit in different events before the season is over, especially with all those other festive commitments.

If you’re a busy elf throughout December, there are plenty of markets that give us a good run before they close for the year.

Southbank’s Christmas market gets underway early, kicking off on 28 October and running for 72 days.

Markets in Leicester Square and Covent Garden run for 61 and 56 days respectively after opening their doors on 9 November.

This is a great option if you want to enjoy two festive markets on the same day – it's easy to travel between them.

TikTok-famous Christmas markets

There are plenty of viral spots on TikTok that are ideal for a Christmassy day out, including some festive market recommendations.

Manchester and Edinburgh Christmas markets are the most-viewed, with 13.3 million and 12.8 million views respectively.

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is another popular search, racking up 4.9 million views for the capital city’s festive hotspot.

Northern Ireland and Wales are also popular, with their gorgeous backdrops being ideal for Christmas time.

Belfast Christmas market has received more than 4.4 million TikTok views so far, and Cardiff’s market has had 2.9 million views.

Christmas markets with the best hotel prices

Christmas time can already be a lot on your pocket – especially if you’re making a long drive to a festive market.

Instead of rushing there and back on the same day, booking a hotel is a priority for many marketgoers.

Sam explained: “Travelling to a Christmas market miles away from home? It could be worth arranging an overnight hotel stay to make the most of your trip.

“If you plan to go on a shopping spree and save money on accommodation, Rochester is the most budget-friendly option in the UK, with an average cost of £81.25 per night.

“To gather this data, we looked at the nightly rate for a one-night weekend stay (9-10 December) in 3+ star hotels located within five miles of the Christmas market.”

Other cost-effective locations for accommodation are Leicester and Dundee, where you can expect to pay £85.35 and £88.11 per night on average.

You can push those festive road trip savings even further by driving efficiently or by adding an electric car to your Christmas list.

Which Christmas markets in the UK will get snow?

Is there anything dreamier than a Christmas market with snow? While we can’t predict the weather, we did do some digging to find the festive spots with the highest chance of snowfall.

Your best bet is heading to Liverpool, where you’ll have the best chance of encountering some UK snow. It averages four days of snowfall in December per year.

A Scottish road trip isn’t a bad idea either – Aberdeen and Glasgow get around 2.5 days of snow every December.

Skipton in North Yorkshire isn’t far behind, with two days on average. This is an ideal spot if you love a cosy small town.

If you are going to make a festive road trip this Christmas season - a comfortable car is a must-have. Consider options like a used Audi or a used VW for something reliable and plush for those chilly drives.

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