The Best Christmas Markets And Experiences Only 2 Hours From London

Last updated . By Kay Field.

This year, instead of battling against the weekend masses as they attack London in search of their festive fix, take your Christmas cavorting a little further afield. There's oodles of easy day trips outside of the capital, all offering their own share of yuletide markets, experiences and cosy pubs. Check out our list of quintessentially British spots that'll be sure to give you all those heartwarming feelings without the aggro of the chaotic crowds.

Birmingham 

(1 hour 25 minutes from Euston)

Bursting with seasonal hotspots and experiences, you're spoilt for choice with a trip to Birmingham. 

Less than 90 minutes away from central London and renowned for having the largest authentic Bavarian Christmas market in Europe (outside of Germany and Austria, of course), Birmingham is an obvious choice for some festive fun.

The attraction to see: With this one, it’s a no-brainer. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is only a hop, skip and jump away from the station and full of stalls selling adorable trinkets and German goodies. Need a midday pick-me-up? Check out our list of nearby bars, here.

The event to hit up: Taking place on the 6th and 7th of December, The Jewellery Quarter's The Apres Ski Party is bringing alpine festivity to the Brummie streets. Decked out with ski racks, snowflakes and twinkly fairy lights, there’ll also be a bunch of themed cocktails, fondues and a line-up of live entertainment.
The cosy pub to visit: One of Birmingham’s oldest pubs, The Old Crown is a great spot for a knees-up in front of a roaring fire. Not only is the Grade-II listed boozer a beaut, with wooden beams and warped walls, but it also serves up a great selection of traditional pub grub.

Bath 

(1 hour 30 minutes from Paddington) 

The picture-perfect city is sure to go down a storm with period drama lovers.  

Filled with stunning 18th-century buildings and a manageable size for a day trip, this historical gem is guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.

The attraction to see: The mother of all yuletide markets, Bath Christmas Market has more than 150 adorable wooden huts. Stocked full of artisanal goodies, this one's a goldmine for gift buying to make sure whatever you get is unique AND supports Bath’s small businesses.
The event to hit up: Keep the festive buzz going with a trip to The Abbey Hotel’s Apres-Ski bar, set within the hotel-side alpine chalet. Spend an hour or two in the adorable hut sipping on hot chocolates and mulled cider whilst nibbling on goulash and bratwursts.
The cosy pub to visit: Housed within a rustic old building, The Bath Brew House is the perfect spot for some downtime after a Christmas market flurry. Nestle into one of their plush armchairs and try out one of their own signature craft beers, brewed on-site.

Bristol

(1 hour 40 minutes from Paddington) 

Searching for a unique stocking filler or just fancy a tasty craft brew or two? Bristol's got you covered. 

A cultural hub for independent shops and boozers, a visit to this edgy west coast city will have you wandering around quirky pebbled streets and sipping on seasonal craft beers in no time. 

The attraction to see: Centred around a giant glittering tree, Bristol’s Christmas Market is made up of over 50 craft stalls, selling local trinkets and homemade crafts. The spot also receives regular visits from Saint Nicholas himself, making it a perfect outing for all the family.
The event to hit up: Head over to Waterfront Square where The Christmas Spiegeltent will enchant you with one of their impressive roster of yuletide events - take your pick between themed drag pageants, family-friendly cabarets, club nights and more.
The cosy pub to visit: Whilst Bristol's brimming with cute pubs, it has to be The Christmas Steps that wins our vote - how could it not with a name like that? Featuring a woodburning stove, rustic furnishings and a regularly changing selection of craft beers and ales, the snug spot is a great choice to haul up over a wintry afternoon.

Cambridge

(48 minutes from King’s Cross) 

Not even an hour away from London, this stereotypically English town is sure to give you all those warm festive feelings.

Grab your jaunty scarf and Barbour jacket and head to the Harry Potter-esque town for a thoroughly wholesome day of wandering around the charming lanes - just watch out for the stressed third years cycling full pelt around blind corners...

The attraction to see: The weather may have gotten cooler but that doesn’t mean there’s any reason not go on a wintry Punting Tour. Layer up and take to the waters for stunning riverside views of the numerous Cambridge colleges. 
The event to hit up: Following the mass success of This Is Going To Hurt, Adam Kay is back with 'Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas. Catch him on the 14th as he delves back into his diaries and takes a seasonal look into the NHS with his award-winning wit.
The cosy pub to visit: Nestled in a beautiful glass-fronted building in the heart of the city, The Cambridge Chophouse offers stunning views of King’s College Chapel. While there, check out the restaurant's collection of French Languedoc-Roussilon region wines, and try out their specialist steaks.

Brighton

(53 minutes from Victoria Station)

This beachside town will definitely give you that recommended dose of vitamin-sea.

Head down to the seaside for a day of festive frolicking that’ll definitely blow the cobwebs away and leave you rosey-cheeked with that merry *windburnt* glow.

The attraction to see: Never one to stick to tradition, Brighton trades in festive markets for their yearly celebration of the Burning Of The Clocks. Taking place on the 21st, the town commemorates the shortest day of the year with a paper and willow lanterns parade and beach bonfire. Sit back and take it all in or grab a ticket to take part in the procession.
The event to hit up: Get your revelries off to a cracking start with a Christmas Karaoke Bottomless Brunch at Lucky Voice. Enjoy two hours of bottomless bubbles, canapes and turkey bagels before singing your heart out to all the Mariah in your own private karaoke room.
The cosy pub to visitWhatever you’re looking for, The Joker’s got you covered. Want to relax in front of the fire with an afternoon cocktail or two? No problem. Fancy some award-winning New York nosh? Done. They've even got an upstairs club room if celebrations should continue into the night.

Looking for festive experiences in London? Check out our list of Christmas events in the capital, here.