What are the most accessible Christmas markets in the UK?
21st November 2018
Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year and the UK is very lucky to have so many wonderful Christmas markets available, helping people up and down the country to fully immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit. Cities and towns across the UK put on some wonderful Christmas extravaganzas, featuring festive stalls, food, activities, and myriad attractions to help ring in the holiday. But what about accessibility for those who make use of a stairlift at home? Well, the UK is actually home to a number of great Christmas markets that are also accessible to those with mobility issues, making sure that all those who want to get involved are able to do so. This article will look at a handful of the very best accessible Christmas markets in the UK, letting you know what to look forward to, as well as the facilities available.
What makes a Christmas market successful?
Before getting into the specific Christmas markets, let’s set the scene a little. ChristmasMarkets.com, a website that allows people to search for details regarding Christmas markets around the world, explains ‘what makes a Christmas market special’:
“It is certainly not size or number of stalls. In a nutshell, what makes a Christmas market successful is the magic ingredient of atmosphere. This intangible quality is achieved by ensuring that the stalls are of a certain quality. Theming helps, for example, a Market with a Dickensian or Victorian theme is attractive to many visitors. Cold, crisp and snowy weather helps too. The smell of Christmassy food, spices like cinnamon and hot drinks like Gluhwein create a feeling of Christmas spirit and goodwill. Singers and entertainment also make for a feeling of cheerful 'Bonhomie'.
“The Christmas markets in cities and towns in the UK are free to enter. The markets which take place at stately homes and other visitor attractions usually attract an admission charge, but you do get a visit to the attraction thrown in with the price. If you want to keep young children amused these venues are a good idea. Quite a few markets now include ice rinks as part of their entertainment programme too. Wherever you go just relax, savour the atmosphere and enjoy yourself.”
Accessibility at ‘Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’
Image credit: Max Miechowski
Open: 23rd November – 6th January
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is perhaps the UK’s most famous Christmas market, with people from around the world flocking to the scene when visiting London. Located in the world-renowned park, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a large affair, spread over 350 acres, replete with lights, decorations, and all things Christmas. There exists a huge array of Christmas market stalls and a collection of delicious warm food to keep you warm. With rides, workshops, shows, and an ice rink also available, there’s no question that Hyde Park Winter Wonderland will be a fun time for all this Christmas.
In terms of accessibility, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is also a wonderful place to visit for those with mobility issues. Full details are available on their dedicated accessibility page but here is a snapshot of what’s available:
- Pre-bookable rides
- All bookable attractions can accommodate wheelchairs
- Wheelchair access with ramps and good access on public walkways
- Disabled parking and parking free of charge for disabled badge holders
- Accessible toilets
- Personal Assistance Scheme
Accessibility at ‘Cardiff Christmas Market’
Open: 15th November – 23rd November
For those in the Cardiff area, there is another wonderful UK Christmas market to enjoy. Located in Cardiff City Centre, Cardiff Christmas Market offers a wonderful range of stalls where exhibitors can present their exciting, handmade products to eager Christmas shoppers. With its ideal location close to arcades and restaurants, as well as presenting everything from ceramics and jewellery to clothing and food, deciding whether or not to visit this Christmas season is an easy decision to make. Cardiff Christmas Market is just another example of the brilliant festive markets available in the UK.
People will be glad to hear that Cardiff Christmas Market is also an accessible attraction, helping make it one of the most inclusive Christmas markets in the country, as a representative explains:
“As all our stalls are located within the pedestrian areas of Cardiff City Centre everything is on the flat and very accessible with wide walkways so even when busy you do not feel overpowered when in a wheelchair for example. To enter our stalls there is a small 2” step up onto the wooden floor although if anyone has any difficulties our staff are available to assist if required. We also have a few disabled exhibitors taking part and are not aware of any problems with them getting in and out of their stall.
“We advise visitors on our ‘visit’ page about the free City Centre Mobility Service. This service is able to carry disabled and elderly passengers around the pedestrianised zones in the City Centre; contact 029 2087 3888 to ask for assistance. Cardiff also has a centre where you can rent out a variety of mobility aids for members of the public with limited mobility; contact 029 2039 9355. There are also a large number of cafés and shops with disabled toilets including the Visitor Centre located in Working Street.
- Cardiff City Centre Mobility Service that transports those with mobility issues around pedestrian zones.
- Blue Badge parking facilities
- Accessible toilets
- Information on Cardiff City Centre accessibility is available here.
Accessibility at ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas Market’
Image credit: Lloyd Smith Photography and Film
Open: 17th November – 5th January
With Edinburgh’s Christmas market, the Scottish city is home to one of the very best Christmas markets in the UK and can be found at its East Princess St Gardens location. Packed full of beautiful Christmas lights and festive decorations, there’s nowhere in the city you will rather be to get in the Christmas spirit. Here you can shop for handcrafted Christmas gifts, indulge in yummy seasonal food, and enjoy a host of fun rides and attractions. This is truly a traditional Christmas market and the perfect spot for that last-minute Christmas shopping or just somewhere to socialise with loved ones.
When it comes to accessibility, Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is also a winner. Below is a brief list of the market’s accessible facilities and full details can be found here.
- Accessible parking
- Both main entrances are accessible
- Accessible toilets (contact Christmas staff for a key)
- Ramps to bars and cafes
- Pods for wheelchairs on the Big Wheel
- Wheelchairs welcome in the Christmas Tree Maze
Accessibility at ‘Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market’
Image credit: Frankfurt Christmas Market Ltd
Open: 15th November – 23rd December
German Christmas markets are famous the world over, but you don’t need to travel all the way to Deutschland to visit one! Birmingham is home to the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria with the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Replete with traditional German food and drink – such as pretzels, schnitzels, and weissbier – and adjacent to the Christmas Craft Market, there are more than 180 stalls available to help with your Christmas shopping. For a truly special festive treat, Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the place to be.
Birmingham ‘s Frankfurt Christmas Market is also wonderfully accessible, making it a great day out for anyone, regardless of mobility. The market has said: “Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market runs the entire length of New Street from Bullring shopping centre and continues on to Victoria Square. New Street is flat and leads to the bottom of Victoria Square. On the Square itself, visitors can move to the stalls on the raised level in front of the Council House via a gently sloping curved walkway. It is, therefore, possible to visit the whole market using routes that contain no steps.”
Full details are available here and below is a quick look at the accessible facilities:
- The whole market is accessible for wheelchair users
- Accessible toilets
- Ample parking
- Assistant dogs are welcome but encouraged to come earlier in the day
- Birmingham Shopmobility scheme available in the city
Accessibility at ‘Belfast Christmas Market’
Image credit: Belfast Christmas Market
Open: 17th November – 22 December
The award-winning Belfast Christmas Market is now in its 12th year, located at the grounds of the historic Belfast Hall. A whopping 1.3 million people visited this wonderful festive hotspot last year, enjoying the myriad products and attractions available. Offering both local and international produce, the food and gifts available at the many stalls include award winning-food and unique presents to give your loved ones this Christmas. Over £200,000 has been invested in the Belfast Christmas Market over the last couple of years, helping to make it stand proud amongst the very best markets in the UK.
Belfast Christmas Market is accessible to all who wish to enjoy what’s available and can offer the below features:
- Disabled toilets
- The uneven ground has been made accessible where possible
- Free tour of the market available via the Buddy Scheme
- Complimentary tea and coffee as part of the Buddy Scheme
Image credit: Christine Matthews
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.