Experience the magic of Christmas at these UK festive markets that can all be reached by train

Experience the magic of Christmas at these UK festive markets that can all be reached by train


Twinkly lights and the whiff of mulled wine in the air can only mean one thing: it’s Christmas market time. Discover some of the UK’s favourite festive markets that can be reached by train with these fun railway day trip recommendations. Let’s go!


Bath Christmas Market

Railway Day Trip: Salisbury to Bath Spa

Distance: 41.5 miles

Duration: 1 hour

Our scenic journey to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath starts at Salisbury’s busy junction station. From here trains head west to Wilton Junction, skirt round Salisbury Plain to Warminster, and pass through a string of picturesque and peaceful villages thereon. On a clear day, you might even spot the famous White Horse visible on the hillside to the east of Westbury. As you edge closer to Bath, you’ll be treated to fine views across the historic city. It’s a short walk to the city centre from the railway station and you’ll soon reach the festive chalets nestled amongst iconic monuments, with Christmassy goods for sale in abundance. This year’s market runs from Thursday 23rd November to Sunday 10th December.


Worcester Victorian Christmas Fayre

Railway Day Trip: Oxford to Worcester

Distance: 57.5 miles

Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes

Follow a northwesterly route from Oxford through picture-perfect Cotswold countryside villages and towns including Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Evesham. Worcester Foregate Street station is located in the very heart of the city, providing easy access to its rich heritage attractions as well as its annual festive hit with visitors far and wide: the Victorian Christmas Fayre. From stilt walkers to Scrooge, street dancing to street food, and a dazzling fun fair to boot, there’s plenty to do for big kids and children alike. This year’s fayre will run from Thursday 30th November to Sunday 3rd December.


Manchester Christmas Markets

Railway Day Trip: Sheffield to Manchester

Distance: 46 miles

Duration: 51 - 80 minutes

Our day trip to Manchester starts at Sheffield’s only station and enters the Peak District National Park during its journey. This is a highly scenic route that heads northwards up the Noe Valley before turning west along the beautiful Vale of Edale. But it’s the mulled wine we’re here for, right? Manchester Christmas Markets never fail to disappoint, and this year marks a special occasion for the legendary event as it’s exactly 25 years ago that Manchester’s first-ever Christmas market took place in 1998. With over 225 stalls across nine sites throughout the city, there’s plenty to see and do including the iconic ski chalet market stalls, Christmas parade, and plenty of family friendly entertainment. This year’s market runs from Friday 10 November to Thursday 21 December.


Cardiff Christmas Market

Railway Day Trip: Swansea to Cardiff

Distance: 45 ¾ miles

Duration: 55 minutes

This day trip journey to the capital city of Wales passes historic towns and landmarks before rumbling into Cardiff’s well-positioned Central station, offering views of the Millennium stadium and the city’s skyline on route. Now 30 years in, the Cardiff Christmas Market promises to be as exciting and eclectic as ever, with plenty of hand-made gifts to purchase; delicious food and drink to sample; and funfair rides and games to experience. This year’s market runs from Thursday 9 November to Saturday 23 December.


York Christmas Market

Railway Day Trip: Newcastle to York

Distance: 80.5 miles

Duration: 1 hour

Departing from Newcastle Central, trains soon reach Chester-le-Street where the railway joins the valley of the meandering River Wear, following its course to Durham before soaring high above the historic city on a curving viaduct. Trains speed through Northallerton and Thirsk before making the final approach past the National Railway Museum into York’s magnificent curving, overall-roofed station. From here, a winter wonderland awaits on Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square. Expect cheerful carol singers, alpine chalets selling artisan gifts, sumptuous street food, twinkling lights, and so much more. This year’s market runs from Thursday 16 November to Friday 22 December.


Book cover of Railway Day Trips by Julian Holland


Discover more railway day trip adventures in the UK in Julian Holland’s book Railway Day Trips. This is the definitive guide to classic train journeys around Britain and is out now in paperback and available to buy online and from all good book shops