Look, no one likes Christmas shopping. It’s too busy, there are too many toddlers flinging themselves on the floor in fury, and there are only so many times a woman (or a man) can hear “It’s Ccccccchrisssstmaaas” before they go postal. But, dear readers, it doesn’t have to be this way. Christmas shopping can be as artery warming as a fat-laden mince pie with lashings of brandy butter – if you use our top festive markets picks to guide you.
Here are our picks
St George’s Hall, Liverpool, St George's Place , Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 1JJ - Visit now
Liverpool’s Christmas Market returns from Friday 15 November until Monday 23 December 2021.
The reason the Winter Arts Market at St. George’s Hall is top of our list is simple: location, location, location. The annual arts and crafts fest is held within the grand environs of St. George’s Hall, surely one of Liverpool’s finest buildings. The hall’s glorious carvings, sculpture and pipe organ form the backdrop to stalls featuring the work of 200 artists.
On the foodie side of things, tuck in to favourites such as Yorkshire pudding wraps, German sausages, dipped pretzels, siu mai and crêpes. And those after a festive tipple can choose between from a variety of festive themed bars including the iconic Windmill, Tepee tent and Barrel Bar, as well as the Alpine Lodge and its karaoke cable cars. For 2021 there is also the new addition of the Bavarian bar where visitors can try a selection of German beers or hot cider.
Levenshulme Market, Stockport Road (junction with Albert Rd), Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3AB
Don’t miss the festivities organised by the folk behind Levenshulme’s weekly Saturday markets. They’re on every week building up to Christmas as usual but head down on Friday 20 December from 5 to 9pm for the festive late edition, where there’ll be mulled cider, delicious street food, hot chocolate and Christmas carolling to warm the cockles.
Millennium Square Leeds, Millennium Square, Calverley St, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS1 1UR - Visit now
Millennium Square hosts Christkindelmarkt, the Leeds edition of the popular German-style Christmas markets. There’s a winter village with a giant inflatable igloo, a host of Christmas chalet-style huts with garden-themed interior décor, a daily programme of entertainment and a cracking selection of street food vendors.
The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, Yorkshire, WF1 5AW - Visit now
One of our absolute favourite Yorkshire galleries hosts a wide range of arts and craft stalls each year. Ceramics, prints and homewares all feature, with the gallery’s diminutive but highly recommended shop close by for more of the same. The format, this year, is a series of Festive Mini-Markets that will take place in the venue’s auditorium over three weekends this winter. For each festive weekend they’ll host 18 makers, selling aromatics, ceramics, homewares, jewellery, prints, texiles, food, drink and more. There’ll also be family activities, performances and a festive offer in The Hepworth Wakefield café to keep the little ones entertained.