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Visitors at Bristol Christmas market with Jage Barn Bar in background

Best 2023 Christmas markets on the GWR network

The festive season is upon us, which means it’s time to quickly grab those final few presents for friends and family.

But Christmas isn’t just about giving, it’s also an opportunity to tend to your own needs. Mid-winter is often the best time to visit the UK’s towns and cities, catching them looking their best, all decked out in festive trees and twinkly lights.

There’s also plenty of opportunity to grab a little something to eat and drink at these top seasonal markets, picking up a crepe, German sausage or mug of mulled wine while on the move.

Here’s our unbeatable guide to the finest yuletide markets from across the GWR network, including a selection of the best London Christmas markets, to suit people of all ages and tastes.

Booths with visitors at Cardiff Christmas market

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Each year, Hyde Park, just 15 minutes’ walk from Paddington station, is transformed into a festive feast of funfair rides, Christmas markets, street food and much more. You’ll struggle to find a bigger, more immersive seasonal experience in the UK than the yuletide extravaganza that is Winter Wonderland. And don’t forget to drop by EL&N for a winter warmer hot chocolate. If you’re going with kids, we suggest you book a quieter morning slot (from 10am). Meanwhile, adults can quaff Bavarian beer till 10pm.

How to get to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Take a GWR train to London Paddington station and a short walk.

Southbank Centre Winter Festival

The Queen's Walk, London SE1 8XX

28 October 2023 to 7 January 2024

The Southbank Centre’s Christmas market, occupying a stretch of the Thames Path, is always a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle just north of the river. Take a stroll under sparkling lights and browse the crafts, decorations and great gift ideas. You’ll surely be tempted by one of the many food stalls, selling gourmet cheese toasties, bratwurst, mince pies and much more.

How to get to Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Take a GWR train to London Paddington station and then follow the TFL underground tubes to Westminster.

Cardiff Christmas Market

St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes

9 November to 23 December 2023

For 30 years, the good people at Craft*folk, an organisation dedicated to supporting artists and crafts people, have hosted the Cardiff Christmas Market at the very heart of the city. The decorated stalls, housing all sorts of enticing goods, line the pedestrian areas around St John Street, bringing Cardiff’s centre alive during the colder months.

How to get to Cardiff Christmas Market

Take a GWR train to Cardiff Central station and a short walk.

Bristol Christmas Market

Broadmead in Bristol Shopping Quarter, BS1 1UX

3 November to 23 December 2023

As many as 50 stalls are packed into this vibrant Christmas market at the heart of Bristol city centre. Get yourself a warm mug of mulled wine and explore the huts full of handmade goods. There are loads of opportunities to grab a bite to eat, including tasty burgers and sausages. Meanwhile, the German-themed Jäger Barn Bar is a fun spot to get yourself a little tipple for the road, including a tempting hot chocolate with Baileys. #MerryBristmas

How to get to Bristol Christmas Market

Take a GWR train to Bristol Temple Meads station and a short walk or bus journey.

Exeter Christmas Market

Exeter Cathedral, 1 The Cloisters

17 November to 17 December 2023

Exeter Cathedral’s Christmas market returns for 2023, selling gifts and food from around the globe. The market’s stalls line the Cathedral Green at this stunning location that is perfectly suited to stimulating Christmas cheer. As well as gifts, decorations and tasty grub, the market – the first of two Devon Christmas markets in this guide – will host chalets selling kaleidoscopes, kitchen knives and even Viking drinking horns!

When in Exeter, don’t forget to check out Winter Wonderland, and don’t miss the spectacular Exeter Carnival on 26 November.

How to get to Exeter Christmas Market

Take a GWR train to Exeter Central station and a short walk.

Cheltenham Christmas Market

The Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1PY

14 to 23 December 2023

Cheltenham Christmas Market is bigger and better than ever! After a little investment, the market has expanded to include the High Street, just outside Marks & Spencer. Among the wide array of gifts and grub on offer, the market does a turn in exotic food, including crocodile burgers.

How to get to Cheltenham Christmas Market

Take a GWR train to Cheltenham Spa station and a short bus journey.

Plymouth Christmas Market

The Piazza, Plymouth City Centre, PL1 1HH

30 November to 17 December 2023

Make your way to Plymouth Christmas Market at the Piazza in Plymouth’s city centre to explore more than 50 stalls selling products from across the South West. Wooden cabins, festooned with twinkling lights, line this large, open space just a short walk from Drake Circus Shopping Centre, selling artisan gifts, food and drink.

How to get to Plymouth Christmas Market

Take a GWR train to Plymouth station and a short walk.