Christmas festivals and super shopping

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London

Head to London for magical Christmas spirit – sparkling lights, skating and fairgrounds will make the most Scrooge-like feel festive.

Southbank Centre Christmas Market: 8 November 2019 to 5 January 2020

Shop for last-minute gifts at the wooden chalets at the Southbank Centre Christmas Market on the southern banks of the Thames. Here you can also fill your belly with food from the many street stalls and enjoy a festive show.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: 21 November 2019 to 5 January 2020

The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is another Christmas classic in central London. See the park transformed into a captivating landscape of lights and rides. Ride the giant observation wheel. Or lace up your skates for a whizz round the UK’s largest open-air ice rink.

Skate at Somerset House: 13 November 2019 to 12 January 2020

You can also ice skate at historic Somerset House. The rink is set up in the picture-postcard courtyard. As well as the traditional festive session, there are club and gig-themed late-night skates.

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York

Get into the festive spirit and experience a Christmas like no other, where medieval charm, festive colour and the sounds of heart-warming carols signal the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year. With so much cheer and joy, it’s easy to see why York was voted Britain's most festive city.

York at Christmas

York Christmas Festival and St Nicholas Fair: 14 November to 22 December 2019

The centre of York is taken over by classic Christmas market wooden chalets selling food and gifts. Browse the stalls for presents as the smell of roasting chestnuts and bratwurst hangs in the air. Finish off with a mulled beverage by the fire pit inside THOR’sTipiBar for the perfect festive day out.

Shambles Market: All year

Treat yourself to a hot chocolate from a stall inside the ever-growing Shambles market and wander down the medieval Shambles – a narrow street of leaning timber-framed buildings. The street, which was once a meat market, is now filled with independent shops including one of our favourite chocolatiers.

Sleeping Beauty Pantomime: 7 December 2019 to 25 January 2020

Christmas time and pantomimes go hand in hand. Oh no, they don't! Oh yes, they do! York's pantomime is internationally-renowned and regarded as one of the best in the country. Add it to your #OnlyInYork experience when visiting this Christmas.

This year's pantomime at York Theatre Royal is Sleeping Beauty.

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Lincoln

Head to Lincoln for the UK’s most popular Christmas market; cobbled streets, Victorian lanterns, a medieval castle, magnificent cathedral, Christmas market and friendly festive welcome – if you want to get into the Christmas spirit, look no further.

Lincoln Christmas markets

Light Switch On: November 22 2019

Festivities in Lincoln will begin on November 22 2019 with their light switch on. Entertainment will kick off your evening at both St Mark's Shopping Centre and Lincoln High Street at 16:45. There will be live music and cast members from two of Lincoln's pantomimes.

Finally, lights will be switched on at three locations across the city:

  • 18:30 - St Mark's Shopping Centre
  • 19:10 - Lincoln High Street
  • 19:30 - Waterside Shopping Centre

Lincoln Christmas Market: December 5 to December 8 2019

Set in Lincoln's Cathedral Quarter, this four-day Christmas market really brings the festive spirit. Over 280 Wooden market stalls line the streets around the Cathedral, twinkling lights lead you through Castle Square to Victorian dressed traders selling freshly roasted Chestnuts and mulled wine.

You can also enjoy a winter wonderland in the heart of the city serving real ale, hot chocolate and mulled wine in front of a roaring fire, cosy furs and twinkling lights at THOR’s Tipi Bar on The Cornhill from 8 November to 31 December 2019.

Lincoln Castle Christmas Emporium: 14 to 22 December 2019

Enjoy eight evenings of pure Christmas delight with arts, crafts and delicious food and drink at the Lincoln Castle Christmas Emporium. A spectacular evening Light Show and soundtrack will fill your night with Christmas magic. 

Billgate and Cornhill Quarter

If you want truly unique gifts, browse the boutique shops in Lincoln’s Bailgate, down Steep Hill and onto the Strait. Or enjoy the newly refurbished Cornhill Quarter just outside the train station.

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Leeds

Head to Leeds for an amazing shopping experience – the shopping capital of the north where you’ll be able to get everything on your shopping list from the boutique quarters and retail high-street heaven.

Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter: All year

Here you’ll find a swanky new John Lewis – the biggest outside London – at the new Victoria Gate shopping centre. Victoria Gate and Victoria Quarter put a modern twist on the Victorian arcades Leeds is famous for and add to the Leeds shopping experience.

Christkindlmarkt, Millennium Square: 8 November to 21 December 2019

For authentic German food and drink visit the festive village and enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere, twinkly lights and family-friendly carousel rides. Explore over 40 traditionally decorated wooden stalls and discover unique gifts for that special someone.

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Edinburgh

Head to Edinburgh for a spectacular, six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the city.

Edinburgh Christmas Market: 16 November 2019 to 4 January 2020

Wander around the Edinburgh Christmas markets for foodie treats and thoughtful gifts. The market takes over East Princes Street Garden with its stalls selling some of the finest grub and gifts from local producers, as well as items from all over the world.

Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens: 16 November 2019 to 4 January 2020
Big wheels, carousels and ice skating await at Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens, the perfect reward for little people who waited patiently while you’ve shopped.

Hogmanay: 30 December 2019 to 1 January 2020
Stick around for Hogmanay for some world-class New Year celebrations – think street parties and fireworks exploding over Edinburgh Castle.

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Newcastle

Head to Newcastle for festive feels with a cosy wander around Christmas markets, independent shops and enjoy wintery fun skating at Life.

Newcastle International Christmas Market: 16 November to 16 December 2019

You’ll find gourmet ingredients and a very real taste of Europe at the Newcastle International Christmas Market. With currywurst from Germany, waffles from Holland, paella from Spain and crepes from France, as well as artisans from closer to home selling gifts and more tasty treats to take home. Get a taste of the world and warm up your belly in Newcastle this Christmas.

Skating at Life Science Centre: 9 November 2019 to 23 February 2020
From November through to February you can enjoy skating with friends and family at Life, right next to Newcastle Train Station. The ice rink is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. There's no need to book if you're visiting with fewer than 10 people, just turn up and pay on the day.

Shopping at Grainger Town
For one-off shops and designer boutiques check out Grainger Town – a historic part of the city centre. Find the best in high-end menswear at End clothing or browse Fender Stratocasters at JG Windows.

Biscuit Factory
Arty gifts can be found at gallery-meets-shop the Biscuit Factory. It holds festive weekends through to mid-December with gift ideas from over 200 artists and makers.

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