Last updated on November 8th, 2019 at 09:43 am
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s your last chance to find the perfect gift and stock up on Christmas treats for the holidays. Christmas markets are a great place to find unique presents and handmade items with a festive twist, but the temporary events aren’t always easy for wheelchairs to navigate. To help those with disabilities get around this Christmas we’ve got some of the best and biggest accessible Christmas markets in the UK along with all the information you need to plan your journey and join in on the festive fun this year. We’ll update this article every year, to give you the most up to date open times and information!
Winter Wonderland at London Hyde Park
Open from 4pm 21st November 2019 until 5th January 2020 except Christmas Day, 10am – 10pm
Free general entry, attractions will need to be booked and paid for in advance.
One of the most well-known Christmas markets hosted in our nation’s capital, Winter Wonderland is also one of the biggest and most diverse. As well as a huge variety of gift and market stalls, not to mention mouth-watering food, there’s also a fun fair, ice rink and even an ice bar. This year you’ll find over 200 stalls in the German market alone, plus over 100 other rides and attractions for a fun-filled day.
When it comes to accessibility Winter Wonderland has everything you need to plan your trip on their dedicated accessibility page that has downloadable guides on general accessibility around Winter Wonderland, travel and getting there, and a break down of accessibility for each attraction. Any specialised accessibility requirements can be arranged beforehand for events like Bar Ice, the Paddington on Ice, Circus and Winter Wonderland Comedy Club.
Here’s what else to expect from accessibility at Winter Wonderland:
- Good disabled access with ramps, temporary trackway and other allowances made for public walkways and entrances to bars and cafes. All entrances are accessible and step free.
- All pods on the Giant Wheel are accessible with space for one wheelchair in each, as is the ice rink which allows up to 5 wheelchairs per session.
- Accessible friendly tube stations nearby including the step free Green Park station with lift access to Victoria and Jubilee lines. Victoria is another step free option with lift access to Victoria, Circle and District lines as well as National Rail services.
- Car Park is available with free parking for blue badge holders, but driving isn’t recommended.
- Disabled public toilets are available as well as medical facilities for all customers.
They also go above and beyond with their Personal Assistant Scheme. The PA ticketing scheme provides a free additional ticket for anyone requiring assistance from a partner, friend or personal assistant. Simply purchase your ticket or tickets and then apply for your additional PA ticket. You can find out more by visiting their accessibility page and downloading their guides.
Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham
Open from 7th November until 23rd December 2019, 10am – 9pm except Rememberance Sunday 10th November when the market is open from 1pm – 9pm
Birmingham is the proud host of the UK’s biggest German Christmas market, and is, in fact, the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. There is a neighbouring Christmas Craft Market and together they are the perfect place to find traditional and unique gifts and decorations. There’s also plenty of traditional Germany food and drink, from pretzels to wheat beer and mulled wine.
Located on Victoria Square and New Street, the market is entirely accessible by wheelchairs and a disabled route can be planned to avoid stairs and obstacles. Here’s what else they offer:
- Visitors with registered assistant dogs are welcome but are encouraged to look at earlier times as Friday and Saturday evenings can be very busy.
- There is plenty of surrounding parking with city centre car parks many of which offer lifts and are accessible. The Birmingham City Council car park on Navigation Street doesn’t have a lift and is not recommended for any disabled visitors.
- There are accessible toilets located on site along with public toilet facilities and you can look up where toilets are located before you visit.
Christmas Market in Edinburgh
Open from 1pm 17th November 2019 to 5th January 2020 except Christmas day, 10am – 10pm
Will close at 8pm 24th December 2019, and opens 12pm 26th December 2019 and 1st January 2020
There are loads of rides, attractions and events in Edinburgh this Christmas, and their Christmas Market returns to East Princes St Gardens. Find bespoke gifts and traditional Christmas decorations along with festive food and drink. With plenty of hand crafted products to choose from you’re bound to find something for everyone.
There is plenty of accessible parking and entry throughout the market with public walkways and entrance to bars and cafes featuring ramps and other alterations to accommodate a range of disabilities. This includes:
- Accessible from both main entrances at Princes Street and Waverley Bridge.
- Accessible toilets also provided by Edinburgh City Council at the Mound precinct, although you will have contact a member of the Christmas staff for a key.
- Some ramps may be higher than 1:12 because of the temporary nature, but all walkways and stalls should be accessible.
- Accessible pods suitable for wheelchairs on the Big Wheel.
- Plenty of surrounding car parks are suitable for wheelchair and other disability access. You can find more blue badge information on the Edinburgh Council website.
Open from 16th November until 22nd December 2019
Monday – Wednesday 10am – 8pm
Thursday – Saturday 10am – 10pm
Sunday 1pm – 6pm
The Christmas Market in Belfast has now been running for over a decade and features over 100 chalets offering a mixture of both local and international produce. Many of the stalls consist of local food and gifts including award-winning burgers from acclaimed restaurants and quirky presents from Belfast based companies. You can also find similar Christmas markets of slightly smaller sizes in Newcastle, Exeter and Glasgow.
The market supports The Buddy Scheme to help promote accessibility for all visitors. They encourage anyone with additional accessibility requirements to attend the market at quieter times which is usually between 10am and 12pm Mondays to Wednesdays.
- Disabled portaloos are available.
- Uneven ground, kerbs and other potential obstructions have been made accessible where possible.
- Get a free tour of the market as part of The Buddy Scheme. Simply contact by phone or email to book.
Open from 14th November until Monday 23rd December 2019
Monday – Saturday 10am to 6pm
Sunday 10am to 5pm
A range of late night days, operating Sunday hours on the last day
The Cardiff Christmas Market is in a central location surrounded by quaint arcades, restaurants and other attractions all within a five-minute walk. It’s also situated near Brute Park, Cardiff Castle and many other main attractions to offer plenty of activities for the day or weekend besides the traditional hand-crafted Christmas products.
One of the best things about the Cardiff Christmas Market accessibility is their free City Centre Mobility Service. Simply contact 029 2087 3888 to find out more and book a special mobility service designed to help the disabled and elderly around the pedestrian zones in the City Centre. You can also rent a variety of mobility aids.
- Plenty of surrounding parking with blue badge parking facilities easy to locate and within a good distance of the market.
- Accessible toilets available in the market and throughout the city centre.
- Plenty of mobility options throughout the city and lots of information available to help plan your visit before you go.
Open from 28th November until 15th December 2019
Mondays – Wednesday open 10am to 7pm
Thursday – Saturday open 10am to 8pm
Sundays open 10am to 6pm
One of the shortest Christmas markets around with just 18 days of festivities but undoubtedly one of the best thanks to its award winning shopping. You’ll find unique homeware and personalised gifts to handcrafted jewellery and much more all spread out in over 150 twinkling chalets and set in Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets. Like all good market Christmas markets, you can also enjoy your favourite festive treats including mulled wine, hog roast and more.
This year they are also introducing their Bath Christmas Market Experience for the first time where you can try out Christmas crafts for yourself including making a festive wreath with a leading florist and a two-course Champaign lunch.
Despite its age and being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath have worked to ensure the city is accessible to all. The market is similarly accessible with dropped kerbs throughout that have been cleared of any obstructions and an accessible toilet facility on Swallow Street. You can find out more about planning an accessibility visit on their accessibility page or by contacting the Visitor Information Centre to ask staff for tips and information.
You’ll find a Christmas market open from 8th November 2019 to 5th January 2020 but many close on 21st December 2019 depending on the location. You can find a full list of location opening times here.
Opening times for main Albert Square market are Monday – Sunday 10am to 9pm
Opening times for other site openings are Monday – Sunday 10am – 8pm
Manchester is also host to an award Christmas market and actually consists of several Christmas markets in various locations in the city. With over 300 stalls and chalets you can wind your way through the city centre and sample the array of crafts, gifts, clothes, toys and more along with delicious food and drink like their famous traditional bratwurst as well as other delicacies from all over the world.
The real highlight of the Manchester Christmas Markets, however, is the Ice Village. Located in Cathedral Gardens and open all the way up until January 5th 2020, the Ice Village is returning with magnificent ice sculptures and family fun winter activities. This year the Ice Cavern will feature sculptures of incredible mythical animals including fierce dragons. There is also the Ice Tiki Bar, Santa’s Grotto, Ice Skating and a range of family activities that you can do for free.
All of the Manchester Christmas Markets including Ice Village and activities are completely accessible. You can find out more about planning your visit to the Ice Village including contact information here.