Unlike elsewhere in the UK, Birmingham Christmas Market is a special kind of market as it is aligned with the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Germany. It’s the largest Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria.
In this guide, you’ll find 2023 dates, opening times, locations and local specialties you can expect to find while you’re there.
This is the UK’s most traditional German Christmas market and is by far the most popular. Follow the Frankfurt tradition and meet your friends after work for a mug of mulled wine or visit during the day for relaxed Christmas shopping for family and kids.
Birmingham Christmas Market 2023
Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere at the Christmas market in Birmingham, where stall after stall line New Street and Victoria Square.
Be sure to wrap up warm and let the twinkling lights guide you through an evening of festive shopping and delicious food. With an ice rink and Big Wheel adding to the festive cheer, you’ll feel the holiday spirit in the heart of Birmingham.
Dates and Location
Birmingham Christmas market dates: Likely dates: 2nd November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Victoria Square and New Street, Birmingham.
Opening times: 10am to 9pm daily.
Except Remembrance Sunday (12th November) when the market will be open from 1pm – 9pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 2nd November 2023.
Ice skating: Yes, at Ice Skate Birmingham at Centenary Square. Dates: 2nd November to 7th January 2024. Tickets from £11. Tickets can be booked online or turn up and pay as you go. It’s best to book online in advance. Book here.
Big Wheel: The Big Wheel can be booked online or turn up and pay as you go. Book here.
City Flyer: The City Flyer cannot be booked online, please turn up and pay as you go.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Accessibility: The entire market is wheelchair accessible. Electric scooters are available for hire if required.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion. Note that the market is located within Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone.
Reason to visit: A traditional German Christmas market in the UK. Events include ice skating, the Big Wheel and City Flyer.
Recommended tour: Canals and city centre tour.
Specialities: German style bratwurst, pretzels, schnitzels, glühwein and weissbeer. Stollen, a dense German Christmas cake with dried fruit.
Tip: Visit during the week or early in the day if you wish to avoid the peak crowds.
Where to stay: The Grand Hotel is a historic hotel in Birmingham located 3 minutes from Victoria Square.
Hotels near Birmingham Christmas Market
If you would like to stay near the Christmas markets, anywhere in the city centre close to the Town Hall and Victoria Square would be ideal.
I suggest staying at the Grand Hotel, as it’s within a 3-minute walk to the Christmas markets.
Alternatively, my guide to hotels near Birmingham Christmas Market lists several well-located hotels for all budgets.
Location of Birmingham Christmas Market
Ice Skate Birmingham
Ice Skate Birmingham and the Big Wheel are iconic parts of Birmingham’s festive season. Returning to Centenary Square in 2023, these attractions provide a memorable experience from 2nd November 2023 until 7th January 2024, except for Christmas Day.
Ice Skate Birmingham provides a fantastic way to embrace the winter season. With the rink opening from 10am to 10pm, it caters to both early birds and night owls. You can display your skating prowess or perhaps take your first wobbly steps on the ice with the assistance of a penguin chair.
Meanwhile, the Big Wheel offers a different kind of thrill. As it turns slowly, it gifts you with an ever-changing view of Birmingham’s cityscape. The attraction operates between 10am and 10pm, letting you choose whether to take in the city during daylight hours or soak up the twinkling lights at night.
Both attractions have the flexibility of booking options. You can secure your slot ahead of time by booking online or deciding spontaneously and getting tickets at the venue.
The City Flyer is another exciting attraction set up alongside Ice Skate Birmingham and the Big Wheel. It’s essentially a thrilling fairground ride intended for those seeking an adrenaline rush amidst the festive activities.
The ride takes you up high, swinging you around at speed. As it whirls through the air, you’ll experience breathtaking views of Birmingham, giving you a new perspective on the city. City Flyer tickets can only be booked on the day at the venue.
Plan your Christmas trip with my Christmas markets 2023 UK guide. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience British food, history and culture.
German Market Birmingham
The Birmingham Christmas Market is often referred to as the German Market due to its historical and cultural ties to Frankfurt, Germany. This began in 1997 when Birmingham established an official partnership with Frankfurt, leading to the creation of the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham.
The market embodies German traditions, and the majority of the stallholders are from Germany or have a strong connection with the country. It sells a wide array of traditional German items, such as handmade toys, Christmas decorations, and German food and drink, including pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts and glühwein.
So, despite being set in the heart of Birmingham, the market is imbued with a German spirit, which is why it’s often referred to as the German Market. It’s a wonderful fusion of cultures, bringing a slice of German Christmas tradition to the Midlands of England.
The Birmingham market is so popular that it typically attracts more than 1 million visitors weekly. It’s the largest Xmas or German market outside Germany and Austria.
Christmas in Birmingham
Food at the Christmas Market
Mince Pies have a rich history and are a staple of the British festive period. These small sweet pies contain a mixture of dried fruits and spices, typically encased in a crumbly shortcrust pastry.
Due to their Germanic roots, bratwurst sausages are synonymous with the Birmingham Christmas Market. Served in a bun with optional toppings like sauerkraut, mustard, and ketchup, they’re a warm and filling treat that goes down well in the chilly winter weather.
There’s no Christmas market without mulled wine, and it’s no different in Birmingham. This spiced, warmed wine is served throughout the market, perfect for sipping as you stroll through the stalls.
Pretzels are another classic German snack you’ll find at the Birmingham Christmas Market. These large, twisted bread products, often sprinkled with coarse salt, make for a delicious and satisfying snack.
Roasted chestnuts provide a quintessential Christmas aroma permeating the market air. These nutritious and sweet nuts are roasted over open coals and served in paper bags.
The Christmas markets in Birmingham have plenty of options for those with a sweet tooth. Stollen is a festive favourite, a German Christmas bread filled with dried fruit and often dusted with powdered sugar.
Crêpes have made their way from France to be a popular choice at many Christmas markets, including Birmingham. Toppings range from classic lemon and sugar to Nutella, fruit and whipped cream.
Finally, a favourite from closer to home, hot roasted pork rolls, also known as hog roast, is a hearty British street food staple. Roasted slowly for several hours, the pork is usually served shredded in a bread roll with apple sauce and stuffing. This classic British fare adds a touch of local flavour to the market’s international offerings.
What to Buy
Handcrafted wooden decorations take centre stage at many of the Birmingham Christmas Market stalls. Ranging from intricate ornaments to larger items such as candle holders, these wooden items have a traditional, rustic charm that makes them ideal for home decorations or as unique gifts.
You’ll find Birmingham-made jewellery at the heart of the city known for its historical influence in jewellery. Stalls sell a variety of unique pieces, often handmade by local artisans, showcasing the city’s long-standing tradition in this craft.
Candles and soaps are popular items on sale at the Christmas markets. Made locally, these products often use natural ingredients and come in a variety of festive fragrances, adding a touch of cosiness to any home during the winter season.
For the foodies, the market sells a variety of locally produced foods such as cheeses, chutneys and jams. Packaged beautifully, these make fantastic gifts or a treat for yourself to enjoy over the holiday season.
German craft items are prevalent in line with the market’s German theme. These can range from hand-blown glass ornaments to intricately carved nutcrackers, reflecting the traditional crafts of Germany.
British wool products, such as scarves, gloves and hats, are also available. These items, knitted from local wool, are both practical and stylish gifts for the chilly winter season.
Artisan chocolates and sweets are a delight at the Christmas markets. Local chocolatiers and confectioners showcase their delectable creations, from exquisite truffles to traditional British sweets. These make an irresistible treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Sustainable Travel Tips
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. When visiting the Christmas markets, keeping sustainability in mind is important.
Implement some or all of these simple measures to create a positive impact.
- Shop mindfully. Only purchase what you really need.
- Walk, cycle and use public transport to get around.
- Stay in a sustainable hotel powered by renewable energy.
- Stay in hotels. Short-stay apartment accommodation can lead to a lack of affordable housing for locals.
- Avoid using plastic or buying items made or packaged with plastic.
- Try to eat locally sourced organic food where possible.
- Limit your consumption of meat and dairy.
- Be open to diverse cultures and experiences.
- Explore more than just the main tourist areas.
- Support the arts and attend local events.
- Visit fewer places but stay longer at each destination.
Birmingham Christmas Market dates are from 2nd November to 24th December 2023.
The Christmas market opens at 10am daily except for Remembrance Day, when it opens at 1pm.
The Christmas market closes at 9pm daily, except on Christmas Eve, when it closes at 8pm. Ice Skate Birmingham closes at 10pm daily.
There are more than 80 stalls at Birmingham Christmas Market.
The Christmas light switch-on takes place on Thursday, 2nd November 2023.
Birmingham New Street train station is a 5-minute walk to the Christmas markets in Victoria Square. If you’re arriving by tram, Town Hall station is directly on Victoria Square.
To reduce air pollution in central Birmingham and avoid congestion, taking public transport, cycling, or walking to the Christmas markets is recommended. If you must drive, Town Hall Car Park and Swallow Street Car Park are the closest parking facilities. Note that the Birmingham City Council car park on Navigation Street does not have a lift.
Several vegetarian food stalls and alternatives include vegan pizza, potato snacks, baked apples (without the cream), roasted nuts, vegan cookies and possibly some beer, cider and glühwein (ask first).
Birmingham’s Big Wheel is located at Centenary Square.
If you have any questions or comments about visiting the Birmingham Xmas market in 2023, leave your thoughts or review below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Birmingham, UK. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.