If you’re looking for a Christmas market to visit this winter season, then look no further than Birmingham. The event has been a staple in the annual calendar for years and is a favourite of locals and tourists alike.
The market attracts over 5.5 million visitors a year and I can understand why. Mulled wine, pretzels, bratwursts and roasted nuts, the Birmingham Frankfurt market has it all. So get your winter woollies on and head to the city centre this festive season.
Is Birmingham Christmas market worth visiting?
There may be a few Christmas markets in the UK but the German market in Birmingham, in my opinion, is the best. The city has the largest authentic market outside of Austria and Germany and is undoubtedly worth visiting.
Birmingham’s Christmas Market transforms the city centre into a winter wonderland filled with twinkling lights, stunning decorations, and an irresistible festive spirit. As you stroll through the charming stalls, the aroma of mulled wine and freshly baked goods will fill the air and sweep you up in the festive atmosphere.
The market caters to different tastes and preferences. From traditional German delicacies like bratwursts and pretzels to international culinary delights representing different cultures worldwide. There is something for everyone at Birmingham’s Christmas Market. Visitors can also browse through a range of handcrafted gifts including jewelry, wooden toys, ceramics and clothing items.
Authentic German Christmas market experience
The market is designed to replicate the traditional German Christmas market experience, featuring wooden stalls selling a variety of goods, including food, drinks, and crafts. It’s known for its authentic German sausages (bratwurst) and Glühwein, which is a hot mulled wine. These traditional German treats contribute to the festive atmosphere.
The market is often organised in collaboration with Frankfurt, adding an extra layer of authenticity and a connection to the traditional Christmas market.
So let’s get into it. This is your ultimate guide, packed with all the essential information to help you plan your visit to this enchanting winter wonderland.
Birmingham Christmas market 2023
The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market and the Craft Market runs for several weeks leading up to Christmas Day, allowing ample time for locals and tourists alike to soak in the festive spirit. This year, it’s open from the 2nd November right up to Christmas Eve.
Where is the Christmas market in Birmingham 2023?
The market is set against the stunning backdrop of Victoria Square and New Street. What started as a small affair of just 24 stalls in 2001 has now grown to 180 this year. It covers New Street, Victoria Square and Centenary Square, right in the heart of the city centre.
The festivities spill over into neighbouring streets such as Chamberlain Square, Centenary Square, and even along Broad Street. It’s an extensive pedestrian-friendly area filled with stalls bustling with activity.
The best time to visit the Christmas market
The Birmingham Christmas market is one of the most popular and largest Christmas markets in the country. It can get very crowded, so you want to pick the right time that works for you. If you’re planning a visit, you might be wondering when is the best time to go.
Weekdays or Weekends
If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere with fewer crowds, visiting on weekdays might be your best bet. The market tends to be bustling with locals and tourists alike during weekends, so if you’re seeking a quieter experience, consider scheduling your visit from Monday to Thursday.
Personally, I love the hustle and bustle of it all, unless I’m in the queue for poffertjes and then you’d better get out of the way!
Early Mornings or Late Evenings
For those who appreciate peace and quiet while strolling through rows of beautifully decorated chalets, arriving early in the morning or later in the evening can be incredibly rewarding. These times offer a serene ambiance that allows visitors to take their time exploring each stall without feeling rushed.
Avoiding Peak Hours
If large crowds aren’t your thing, try avoiding peak hours such as lunchtime (12 noon-2pm) or late afternoon (4pm-6pm). By doing so, you’ll have more space to browse through unique crafts, delicious food stalls, and enjoy traditional live performances at various locations around the market.
To add even more excitement to your visit at the Birmingham Christmas market, keep an eye out for special events happening throughout its duration. From carol singers filling the air to Santa Claus himself making appearances for children, these additional festivities can enhance your experience and create lasting memories.
Lights and Decorations
To truly immerse yourself in the festive spirit, consider visiting after dusk when the market is illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights. The enchanting atmosphere created by the vibrant decorations and glowing stalls makes for a truly magical experience.
How to get to the Christmas market
Navigating through the market couldn’t be easier as it is conveniently located within walking distance of major transportation hubs like Birmingham New Street Station. You can also find multiple car parks nearby or opt for public transport options such as buses or trams.
Take the train
One of the easiest ways to reach the Birmingham Christmas Market is by train. The city has excellent rail connections from all major cities in the UK. Arriving at Birmingham New Street Station puts you right in the heart of the city centre. From there, it’s just a short walk to Victoria Square.
If you arrive into Snow Hill station, it’s just a short walk across the Birmingham Cathedral gardens.
Birmingham boasts an efficient public transport system comprising buses and trams that can take you directly into the city centre near the Christmas market location. National Express West Midlands operates numerous bus routes connecting various parts of Birmingham with Victoria Square or nearby stops.
Where is the best place to park for the Christmas market in Birmingham?
If you prefer traveling by car or have a group of friends or family joining you, driving may be your best option. However, parking can be challenging due to high demand during peak hours. However, I’ve got your covered. This is where to find the best parking options near Birmingham’s Christmas Market.
Bullring Shopping Centre Car Park
Located close to the market, Bullring Shopping Centre offers ample parking spaces. It provides easy access to all the festivities and ensures that your vehicle remains secure while you explore the market’s wonders. Keep in mind that this popular parking option may fill up quickly during peak hours, so plan accordingly.
Moor Street NCP Car Park
Situated just a short walk away from all the Christmas markets in Birmingham, Moor Street NCP Car Park allows for convenient access without having to venture too far from your destination. This multi-story car park offers affordable rates and is generally less crowded than other options nearby.
Grand Central Car Park
Nestled within Birmingham New Street Station complex, Grand Central Car Park is an excellent choice if you’re arriving via train or simply prefer a centrally located parking spot. With direct access to both Bullring Shopping Centre and the Christmas Market itself, it guarantees ease of movement and hassle-free shopping experience.
What food is sold at the Birmingham Christmas market?
While the market offers an array of unique gifts, crafts, and entertainment, it’s the tantalising variety of food that truly steals the show. Here are some of the mouthwatering treats you can find at the market.
Bratwursts are undoubtedly one of the star attractions at Birmingham Christmas Market. Sink your teeth into juicy grilled German sausages served in freshly baked buns with a choice of toppings like sauerkraut or mustard. The aroma alone will have you craving for more.
Traditional German Treats
Embrace Bavarian traditions by trying classic German delicacies available throughout the market. From warm pretzels with crunchy salted crusts to flaky pastries filled with apple strudel or marzipan, these treats will transport you straight to Germany’s culinary heartland.
Festive Mulled Wine
Nothing warms up your spirits quite like a steaming cup of mulled wine during winter months! At Birmingham Christmas Market, numerous stalls offer this traditional spiced drink made from red wine infused with aromatic spices such as cinnamon sticks and cloves – perfect for strolling around while enjoying the festivities.
For those who crave sweet delights, there’s no shortage of options here! Sample delectable handmade chocolates or savour freshly roasted nuts coated in caramelised sugar glaze known as “gebrannte Mandeln”. Gingerbread biscuits decorated with icing make delightful gifts too.
Where to stay near the Christmas market
Finding suitable accommodation near the Birmingham Christmas Market is key to fully immersing yourself in this festive event. From city centre hotels and serviced apartments to boutique hotels, guesthouses, and home rentals, there are plenty of options catering to every taste and budget. Book your stay in advance so you can have a stress-free experience.
City Centre Hotels
Staying in the heart of Birmingham city centre puts you within walking distance of the Christmas Market. Numerous hotels cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for luxury or mid-range options, these hotels offer convenience and comfort with easy access to all the festive attractions.
My favourite local luxury hotel is the Malmaison located at the Mailbox and is a hop, skip and a jump away from the market. Rooms start from £89. If you’re looking for a budget hotel, the Ibis on Great Colmore Street is a good option, with rooms starting from £39.
For those seeking a more spacious and independent experience during their stay near the market, serviced apartments can be an excellent choice. These fully furnished apartments provide more privacy while still offering proximity to all the action.
For travellers who appreciate warmth and homeliness at affordable rates, guesthouses or bed-and-breakfast accommodations around Birmingham can make an ideal choice. Many are situated just outside of the city centre but remain easily accessible by public transport or short walks. This is perfect if you prefer a quieter retreat after exploring the bustling market.
Alternatively, you can enjoy everything the market has to offer with a day trip. The great thing about Birmingham is that it’s well-connected to the rest of the country. So whether you choose to travel by train or car, there are plenty of options.
What else is there to do near the Christmas market?
Embrace the magic of winter in the heart of the city with its ice rink and big wheel. Whether you’re a budding skater or an adventure seeker looking to view the city from above, the Birmingham Ice Rink and Big Wheel offer unforgettable experiences for all ages.
So bundle up, grab your loved ones and create some magical memories this holiday season. You can enjoy the rink even when the weather is bad due to a clear roof that will protect you from the rain. It runs from 2nd November to 7th January 2024 and can be booked online. Tickets for the wheel can’t be booked online and you can just pay when you turn up.
What to wear to the Christmas market
It might be winter season but that doesn’t mean you can’t look stylish. Thousands of visitors dress up for a night out at the market and you can still be fashionable while keeping warm.
Embrace Festive Colours
Don’t be afraid to incorporate holiday-inspired colours into your outfit. Reds, greens, golds, and even white can add a touch of festive cheer to your look. Consider wearing a red sweater paired with green accessories.
Comfortable Footwear is Key
With so much walking involved at the Birmingham Christmas Market, comfortable footwear is crucial! Choose practical yet stylish shoes like ankle boots or sneakers that offer good support and comfort without compromising on fashion. Don’t forget warm socks either – they’ll help keep your feet cozy as you explore all the market has to offer!
Accessories for Extra Charm
Accessorise your outfit with trendy pieces that enhance your overall look while keeping you warm too! Add a cute knitted hat or beret to protect yourself from any wintry weather conditions while adding an element of charm. Scarves are another must-have accessory, not only for warmth but also to add a pop of colour and style to your ensemble.
Crossbody Bag or Backpack
Carrying a bag that allows you to have both hands free is ideal for navigating through the Birmingham Christmas Market. Opt for a crossbody bag or backpack that can hold all your essentials while leaving you free to enjoy the food, drinks, and shopping experience without hindrance.
Make sure you wear a cozy coat or jacket as your top layer. Think wool or faux fur for both style and warmth. Underneath, layer up with a chunky knit sweater or cardigan paired with a long-sleeved shirt or turtleneck to stay snug throughout your tim at the market.
What to bring to the Christmas market
To make your visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, there are a few essential items you should consider bringing with you. You might want to just walk out of the door with Apple Pay or Google pay on your phone but a little planning goes a long way.
Cash and Cards
While many vendors accept card payments nowadays, having some cash on hand is still useful at markets like this one. Some smaller or independent stalls may only accept cash transactions, so it’s advisable to have both options available to avoid missing out on any scrumptious treats or unique gifts.
Reusable Shopping Bags
With countless temptations at every corner – from mouthwatering snacks to beautiful handicrafts – chances are you’ll end up purchasing more than anticipated. Bringing reusable shopping bags will not only help keep your purchases organised but also reduce waste by avoiding unnecessary plastic bags.
Camera/Phone for Capturing Memories
The Birmingham Christmas Market offers numerous picturesque settings perfect for capturing memories with family and friends. Don’t forget your camera or phone to snap photos of beautifully decorated stalls filled with handmade crafts or savouring those heartwarming moments spent enjoying mulled wine or roasted chestnuts.
Umbrella or Raincoat
The UK weather can be unpredictable, even during the festive season. It’s always a good idea to bring a small umbrella or a lightweight raincoat to ensure you’re prepared for any sudden showers. Nothing should dampen your spirits at this magical event!
Hand Sanitiser and Tissues
With large crowds and numerous food stalls, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene during your visit. You’ll likely encounter numerous surfaces touched by countless people. Carry a pocket-sized hand sanitiser so you don’t need to keep finding bathrooms!
If you plan on doing some shopping, bring a reusable bag to carry your purchases. It’s both practical and eco-friendly.
Other activities in Birmingham near the Christmas market
Birmingham offers a range of fantastic attractions, events, and experiences that are perfect for complementing your festive market visit. You could take a private kayak tour of the canals or visit the Legoland Discovery Centre.
If you fancy experiencing other Birmingham Christmas markets then head to Cathedral Square. Both are fantastic Christmas markets for families and friends.
Explore the Bullring
While you’re visiting the market, why not do a bit of Christmas shopping in Birmingham? Just a short walk from the market is one of Birmingham’s premier shopping destinations, the Bullring. Discover over 200 stores including high street brands, luxury boutiques, and restaurants.
Birmingham late night shopping is a lovely festive experience under the vibrant Christmas lights that cheer up the wintery night.
Visit the National Sea Life Centre
Dive into an underwater world at the National Sea Life Centre located in Brindleyplace. Home to over 2,000 creatures including sharks, turtles, penguins, and more, it’s a great attraction for all ages.
Experience history at Aston Hall
Take a trip back in time as you explore Aston Hall – a stunning Jacobean mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. Wander through grand rooms filled with period furniture and learn about its fascinating past.
Explore Cadbury World
Chocoholics mustn’t miss Cadbury World! Learn about chocolate-making history while indulging in tasty samples along the way. Discover interactive exhibits and take a tour through their famous factory.
While you’re here, why not check out my post about my press trip to Lanzarote with Jet2.