Manchester’s Christmas Market tops the table as the best in the UK

The UK’s best Christmas markets revealed

One of the most significant events in the UK cultural calendar is back as the eagerly awaited Christmas markets gear up for a festive return to Manchester – and across the country. 

Topping the table is Manchester’s Christmas market, officially back for 2021 taking a star turn this festive season with an overall market score of 8.39 out of 10. Arriving in the city in 1999, the Manchester Christmas Market scores highly in typical visitor numbers, recording approximately 9 million visitors at its last event.

Manchester’s Christmas Market is arguably the most popular online, garnering the most online interest in the last year with over 114k Google searches, surpassing the ever-popular Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park, which saw just 82k searches in comparison (total Google searches October 2020-September 2021) 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 most prolonged periods of almost six weeks.

Photo: Mark Waugh

Originating in Germany, Christmas markets have become a compulsory attraction in British culture, a sign that Yuletide is just around the corner. Yet sadly, the UK public missed out on the festivities in 2020 due to the pandemic. Some popular markets are still cancelled this year, including Bath, Leeds and Newcastle.

Whether you’re staying by the fireside at home or opting to travel cross-country for a winter staycation, there’s sure to be a fantastic Christmas market nearby, full of local and independent businesses in need of your support.

The study by independent holiday cottage agency My Favourite Cottages analysed the latest available data to discover the UK’s top 10 Christmas markets to get you into the festive spirit.

Photo: Mark Waugh

The agency analysed 30 UK markets against eight data points* including the number of stalls, running time, the number of visitors, entrance fee and the likelihood of meeting Santa – to provide an overall market score out of 10 – thereby finding the best market of those analysed.

Birmingham’s Christmas Market takes second place with an overall market score of 8 out of 10. Opening on the 4th of November, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market generates almost £400 million for the city’s economy.

But Birmingham’s market misses the top spot by a fraction by bringing fewer visitors (5 million) and hosting fewer market stalls (over 180). However, the market scores highly amongst visitor ratings, with an average score of 4.7/5 from Facebook reviews.

York’s Christmas market has pinched third place with an overall market score of 6.68 out of 10. However, scoring highly in the number of Google searches with just over 73k searches from last year as the public eagerly anticipated the opening on the 18th of November.

Additionally, being one of the longest-running markets, open for over five weeks (36 days). So, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your Christmas wares, unusual international foods and gift ideas here.

Glasgow’s Christmas Market would have been the longest-running for almost eight weeks (55 days), but a recent announcement means the market can only use one of its two usual locations and has been reduced to 33 days. Despite this, the market still ranks fourth overall, with an overall market score of 6.57.

Bristol completes the top five best markets with an overall market score of 6.47.

It has been calculated the UK lost around £882 million from the ten most popular markets being closed last year. However, precautions were necessary to try to reduce COVID infection rates across the country.

However, with many UK consumers now vaccinated and several markets reopening, even with COVID safety precautions in place, we hope to see the return of traditional Christmas activities once again for families and friends to enjoy.

Always remember to check the latest information for each market before you visit.


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