Christmas markets are back! 10 best festive markets to visit this winter

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Christmas markets are a festive favourite, but due to last year’s winter lockdown, Britons missed out on the seasonal delight. There is good news for market lovers though, with many reopening their doors for Christmas 2021.

In a bid to help Britons decide where to spend a cosy weekend, My Favourite Cottages has analysed 30 markets from across the UK to determine which have the “best” offering for customers this year.

Factors included the number of stalls on offer, running time, number of visitors, entrance fee and the likelihood of meeting Santa, to provide an overall market score out of 10.

Harry Roberts, director of My Favourite Cottages, said: “People have been travelling up and down the country to visit their favourite Christmas markets for years and it’s exciting to see our favourite cities come alive every winter.

“It has been a tough 18 months for local traders, but I predict a possible surge in winter staycations as we warmly welcome back our beloved Christmas markets across the country and hopefully this means more support for small businesses across the country.”

The top 10 ‘best’ Christmas markets for 2021

  1. Manchester Christmas Market – Score 8.39
  2. Birmingham Christmas Market – Score 8
  3. York Christmas Market – Score 6.68
  4. Glasgow Christmas Market – Score 6.57
  5. Bristol Christmas Market – Score 6.47
  6. Blackpool Winter Gardens Market – Score 6.38
  7. Canterbury Christmas Market – Score 6.28
  8. Brighton Christmas Festival – Score 6.18
  9. Sheffield Christmas Markets – Score 6.14
  10. Stratford Upon Avon Victorian Christmas Market – Score 6.12

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Coming out on top was Manchester’s Christmas market, with an overall score of 8.39 out of 10, according to the research.

Arriving in the city in 1999, the Manchester Christmas Market scores highly in typical visitor numbers, recording approximately nine million visitors at its last event.

The experts found Manchester to be “arguably the most popular online, garnering the most online interest in the last year with over 114k Google searches”.

This figure reportedly surpasses the ever-popular Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park, which saw just 82k searches in comparison and only scored 5.82 overall – placing it 12th out of the 30 markets analysed.

According to the study, Manchester Christmas Market ranked highly across all eight factors analysed – including having 300 stalls and running for one of the longest periods of almost six weeks.

Birmingham Christmas Market came in second place, with an overall score of eight out of 10.

Opening on the November 4, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market generates almost £400 million for the city’s economy.

But, My Country Cottage’s said the Birmingham market missed the top spot by a fraction due to bringing in fewer visitors and hosting less market stalls than Manchester.

They found the market attracts an average of five million visitors annually, and boasts more than 180 stalls.

However, the market does score highly amongst visitor ratings with an average score of 4.7/5 from Facebook reviews.

In third place is York’s Christmas Market with an overall score of 6.68 out of 19.

Though it is highly searched for, the market will not be open for business until November 18.

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