Christmas is almost upon us once again and for towns and cities across the globe that means the beginning of the Christmas market season. For travelers planning to visit the United Kingdom in the upcoming months the country’s four capital cities Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London each have great Christmas markets to visit.
Running from November 19 to December 22 is the annual Christmas market in front of the Belfast City Hall. The Northern Irish festival has a large variety of Christmas celebrations for visitors to explore. The festival includes many stalls selling Christmas gifts and is famous for its food and drink tents. Belfast Live reports that the burger stalls sell everything from kangaroo to crocodile burgers while the beer tent serves up flavored beer.
Cardiff was rated the top UK city where people like to visit Christmas markets. The Cardiff Christmas Market has been running for 20 years and will run from November 10 to December 23 this year. The market has over 190 exhibitors and stalls selling everything you need for the festive season. The perfect gifts to take back home include independent Welsh products such as bespoke jewelry and local cheese and wine.
This year promises to be the biggest Edinburgh Christmas festival in its history, according to STV News. The festival runs from November 18 to January 7 and is one of the largest and brightest in the country with over 60,000 bulbs lighting up the event. There will be many festive and family attractions including an ice rink and a big wheel that will offer great views of the city. The best night to visit the festival is November 20 when the lights get turned on. The ceremony will include performances by the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus.
The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (November 18 – January 2) is more than just a festival; it is a Christmas extravaganza. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland states on their official site that there are over 100 festive rides and attractions including the city’s largest German Christmas market. Alongside the many stalls and rides, the Winter Wonderland puts on several shows including ice dancing in The Nutcracker on Ice. The festival also has the UK’s largest outdoor ice-rink, a circus and its own roller coaster making it perfect for everyone from families to thrill seekers.
Visiting each of these festivals is easy for visitors and residents of the UK. Each city can be reached by train, bus and various airport services. Additionally, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London are all connected by high-speed train services and direct buses.
For travelers who are flying to the capitals, many budget flights depart frequently from all of the cities’ major airports. If you are driving to one of the airports and then flying to one of the aforementioned major capitals, sometimes it’s far cheaper to get a domestic flight than purchasing an expensive train ticket. If this is the case, the chances are you’ll have to park your car somewhere. If you’re flying from a major airport such as Gatwick, Parking4Less recommend using one of the short stay parking options as they are ideal for travelers who are going away on a weekend break. Also, you won’t get locked into paying for more days than you are actually away for, like you would at off-airport parking services.
The UK is a great country to visit any time of the year but at Christmas, the atmosphere changes, making it a must-visit for travelers. Whichever city you end up celebrating Christmas in, we know you will have a great festive season.