UK Christmas Events: Your 2021 Guide

Discover the best Christmas events happening in the UK, including Christmas markets, with our guide. Get into the festive spirit with these great winter events!

2021 December 07

UK Christmas Events: Your 2021 Guide 

With Christmas just around the corner, plenty of us will be wondering what’s in store on all things festive. We've put together our list of must-see Christmas markets taking place across the UK this year.

The Best UK Christmas Markets

There is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than sipping on a warm mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate as you wander past the twinkling lights of a Christmas market. If you're staying at one of our hotels in London, don't miss out on visiting some of our favourites:

Christmas Markets in London

One of the biggest Christmas markets in London, Winter Wonderland, is back this year after a brief hiatus, with more than 100 wooden cabins filled with festive wares. There’s also ice skating, an ice bar, circus performances, ice sculpting workshops, fairground rides (including a big wheel), and more!

The Southbank Centre Winter Market is also back on this year, to transform the Thames riverside into a festive wonderland – replete with wooden chalets serving up seasonal street food and warming winter drinks, as well as crafts and festive wares.

Christmas Under the Canopy, a covered market in King’s Cross, will be running from 26th November until the December 23rd. There will be arts and crafts stalls, street food and a craft beer bar. The market will also be hosting a series of events throughout the month, including a specialist vegan christmas market (3rd-5th December) and seasonal food tastings (10th-12th December).

Check out our guide to discover more ways to spend Christmas in London this year.

Christmas Markets Elsewhere in England and Scotland 

There are even more festivities taking place across the country to make the most of this Christmas!

Bringing a little bit of German festive cheer to the Midlands is Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, which will be running from November 4th until the 23rd of December at Victoria Square and New Street. It’s open daily from 10am-9pm, and is the biggest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. It offers a large range of traditional goods, including German food favourites like pretzels, schnitzels and bratwursts. Perfect for those staying at easyHotel Birmingham City Centre!

Further up north is Manchester’s Christmas Markets, which are back this year with more than 300 stalls and chalets dotted around the city. Visitors will find stalls in Market Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street and Cathedral Gardens. Winter Gardens will serve as the festive hub of the city, and this will be open slightly longer than the other markets (which will close on the 22nd of December), operating until the 3rd of January. The markets are only a short 4-minute walk away from easyHotel Manchester City Centre.

If you're based in the Welsh capital or are enjoying a stay at easyHotel Cardiff City Centre, make sure to visit Cardiff Christmas Market, which is run by craft fair organisers Craft*Folk, from the 11th November until December 23rd. Visitors will find stalls selling unique, handmade gifts including jewellery and homeware; the markets are located in St. John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street and the Hayes.

This year in Leeds, the Chow Down Winter Village will be taking place between 11th November – 31st December and is just one of a handful of festive events taking place across the city this year. Located in Temple Arches, Chow Down – an extremely popular street food destination – will be transformed into a wintry wonderland. Featuring a 2-storey bar, cosy Christmas tipis, fire pits and more! There’s also a line up of scheduled events throughout November and December, including brunches and live DJ sets. Yet another reason to get more bang for your buck with a stay at easyHotel Leeds City Centre!

Scottish Christmas festivities will also be underway at Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, which is open from November 22nd until the new year, closing on January 2nd. Visitors will find Christmas activities taking place at East Princes St. Gardens (which also hosts the big wheel) and George Street; there’s also a ‘Santa Land’ in West Princes Street Gardens, with a Grotto and Christmas tree maze. Don't forget to book your stay at easyHotel Edinburgh to make the most of your time in the city this Christmas.

Glasgow’s Christmas Market in Enoch Square will be back this year, after being cancelled in 2020. Events were also due to be held at George Square, but these have been cancelled. Instead, visitors can expect a roster of 50 chalets featuring local and international cuisine and seasonal drinks. 

Christmas Ice-Skating Rinks

Many of the nation's favourite Christmas ice-skating rinks were forced to cancel last year, however they're back with a bang for 2021.

'Skate at Somerset House' is back, and this year, it’s partnered with Moët & Chandon for a season of festive celebrations. After enjoying a skate in the courtyard, visitors can head to the Skate Lounge (more information here) and indulge with a Moët cocktail. The ice-skating rink will be open to the public from November 17th until January 16th

The Natural History Museum’s ice rink is open from 22nd October – 16th January for its final year (after 16 years!). Visitors can get into the festive spirit by skating in front of one of London’s most iconic museums.

An internal link to the Natural History Museum Guide article should be included here. For more information on visiting the museum, check out our guide.

Liverpool’s Ice Festival rink is open daily from November 19th until January 3rd at Pier Head, with the city’s iconic waterfront serving as the backdrop.

Ice Skate Birmingham will be taking place again this year in Centenary Square. It’s open from 10am to 10pm daily, from November 4th until the 9th of January

Everyone's favourite historical ice-skating venue is back again for 2021! Skate at Hampton Court Palace ice rink this Christmas season from November 13th - 9th January 2022 with online booking available.

Skate amongst royalty at The Queen’s House ice rink in Greenwich from 18th November - 9th January. This year the rink will be bigger than ever before and is already open for bookings online.

Festive Light Shows

Outdoor light shows are still just as popular as ever before and are also back this year. There will be plenty of light spectacles up and down the country to visit, with just some of our favourites below.

Lightopia Manchester

If you’re staying at our hotel in Manchester, light up one of your evenings with a visit to Lightopia for a fairytale woodland experience. Complete with brand new installations as well as the return of a few family favourites, the trail will be reopening from the 19th of November for an experience that promises plenty of good times.

Christmas at the Botanics, Edinburgh

A stay in Edinburgh this Christmas wouldn’t be complete without an evening at the Royal Botanic Garden. The spectacular light trail will be open from the 25th of November with luminous sculptures and glimmering lights.

Christmas at Kew

A festive favourite that will also be returning at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is the annual Christmas at Kew illuminations – perfect if you’re staying in London for a weekend of Christmas cheer.

Christmas at Temple Newsam

A brand-new, illuminated light trail taking place at Temple Newsam in Leeds from the 26th of November. Perfect for some festive fun with the family if you're staying at easyHotel Leeds City Centre.

Festive film screenings

Get some festive entertainment in this year with Christmas screenings running across the UK.

Backyard Cinema will be hosting a ‘Christmas Movie Spectacular’ at The Troxy in East London, featuring a roster of classic festive films including Elf, Love Actually and Home Alone. They’ll also be hosting live performances, including a spoken word set by George the poet. The Troxy is just 30 minutes from easyHotel London City Shoreditch on public transport.

Parking Lot Social are back with a host of Christmas events, which are due to take place across the UK from 3rd December. There will be festive film screenings in easyHotel locations including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Birmingham. More information can be found on their website (screenings are yet to be announced).

Luna Drive-In Cinema are screening classic festive films like The Holiday and It’s a Wonderful Life as part of their ‘Winter Cinema’ season at the NEC in Birmingham. Book a stay at easyHotel Birmingham City Centre to be close to the action.

Nightflix will be screening festive favourites like The Muppet’s Christmas Carol, The Grinch and Elf throughout December in Milton Keynes.

Manchester’s ParknParty is hosting a ‘Christmas City’ event in time for the holidays, with 6 weeks of festive film screenings (starting on November 25th). Don't miss out! book a stay at easyHotel Manchester City Centre to make the most of the UK's largest outdoor screen.

Must-see Panto and Theatre

We can expect to see the return of family-friendly panto and live theatre performances across the UK to help bring in some much-needed festive cheer.

Pantoland’ at the London Palladium: Arguably, the London Palladium is the traditional home of pantomime in London. ‘Pantoland’ is something of a mash-up of their previous seasonal showcases, and features household names like Julian Clary and Donny Osmond. The show will start from the 4th December.

Beauty and the Beast (The Rock n’ Roll Panto): A traditional panto with a contemporary twist; visitors can expect live performances of some of their favourite ‘rock anthems and chart toppers.’ Showing at the City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.

Fans of UK Drag Race will not want to miss out on this one! X-mas X-travaganza: Shantay You Sleigh, is hosted by UK Drag Race queens The Vivienne (season 1 winner) and Baga Chipz. This nationwide tour features performances from some of the UK’s best drag talent. Venues include London’s Eventim Apollo, o2 Academy venues (Birmingham and Glasgow), Usher Hall in Edinburgh and the Albert Hall in Manchester.

Christmas Parties and Nights out

Expect to see the return of Christmas parties and exciting nights out this Christmas. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Bar Hutte will be back in Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh with a whole host of Christmas events, from karaoke to ‘Bottomless Ski Sessions’ (bottomless brunch) in their cosy alpine huts.

Deck the Halls at Pergola Paddington Pergola Paddington will be transformed into a winter wonderland this season, with twinkling lights and pine trees. Guests can also book Christmas chalets for up to 8 people. There’s a season of festive events also taking place alongside the usual drinks and dining, including a Christmas sing-along, a live choir and late-night DJ sets.

If you're a fan of karaoke, head over to Lucky Voice for their Christmas at Lucky Voice event! They will be hosting a range of seasonal events across their London venues, including Christmas karaoke brunches and Christmas cocktail masterclasses. Guests can also book their own booths, as usual, to enjoy 2 hours of karaoke.

To make the most of these events and experience the Christmas that everyone's been waiting for, check out our many city centre hotels across the UK.