Home DestinationsUnited Kingdom How to Visit Bath Christmas Market: A Weekend Guide (2024)

How to Visit Bath Christmas Market: A Weekend Guide (2024)

by Mandy
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We have just returned from a weekend at Bath’s Christmas Market and visiting friends who live in the area. We love Bath for its iconic and pretty Georgian streets, making it easily one of the prettiest major cities in the UK. But Bath in December is a whole other world. The main shopping street and square outside Bath Cathedral is transformed into a scene from a winter grotto, filled with fairy-lit stalls all selling unique crafts and gifts, mulled wine and winter warmer snacks.

Alongside Bath’s Christmas market, this city offers so much to see and explore. Whether you’re planning to explore its renowned Roman baths, relax at the rooftop thermal spa, or just soak up the cosy winter atmosphere from a café and people watch, Bath in December is a magical festive experience! Here is everything we got up to during our weekend, plus some helpful tips if you’re planning to visit Bath’s Christmas market.

Everything you need to know about how to visit Bath Christmas Market

  • Bath Christmas Market is free to attend, and you don’t need any tickets.
  • There is no time restriction, so you can spend as long as you like visiting the stalls and sampling all the delightful treats!
  • The market runs from Thursday 23 November to Sunday 10 December. The opening hours are Monday to Wednesday 10am – 7pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm.
  • Get there early on the weekends, particularly if you’re driving as the car parks get full quickly! We recommend Charlotte Street car park, which is a huge car park about a 5 minute walk away. There’s also Park & Ride options which make getting into the city easier.
  • If you want a quieter experience, you’re better visiting mid-week or on a Sunday.
  • If you’re driving, we recommend this Bath Car Park Occupancy tracker.
  • Some stalls accept cash, but we found the majority were card only. This is probably expected nowadays, but still worth highlighting.
  • Unlike our European counterparts, mulled wine is not served in mugs, but in cardboard travel cups instead.
  • Whatever you’re looking for from Bath’s Christmas Market, you’ll find it! There are over 200 stalls, charities, and eateries, plus being located in the heart of the city, this is an ideal Christmas shopping destination!
  • If you’re all shopped out, check out Bath’s Therme Spa – a rooftop thermal spa, overlooking Bath Abbey. There are steam rooms, saunas and everything else you need to relax after a hard day shopping. You can also book tickets to the top of the Abbey Tower. Tickets include a tour, plus the view from the top of the tower itself, overlooking Bath’s Christmas Market. There’s also the Guildhall Indoor Market! More details on this are below, but for a little nostalgic trip, this place is definitely worth a visit!

Our weekend in Bath

From our home down in Portsmouth, it took about 2 hours to drive to Bath. On this occasion we didn’t bring Lady. A short 24 hour trip didn’t seem worth packing her up and all her stuff (she is not a light traveller), so we had friends look after her for the night.

We booked a beautiful little flat on George Street, right in the heart of Bath. We stayed with the host, Carole, who was so welcoming and made us feel right at home. From all our Airbnb stays, we have never stayed with the host before – we’re not sure why, but the idea just always felt a little odd to us. But Carole was absolutely wonderful and we would now definitely consider staying with a host again in future. The prices for accommodation for Bath in December can be incredibly expensive! However we highly recommend Carole’s flat. Everything was beautiful and clean, the location is fantastic and Carole basically let us use the flat as a home from home for the weekend.

Bath Christmas Market Car Parks

A side note if you’re driving into Bath in December. As already suggested above, we highly recommend Charlotte Street Car Park. It’s absolutely huge and is just a short walk from Bath’s Christmas Market which is ideal!

We arrived shortly before 10:30am and the car park was already 60% full. The plan had been to park in Podium (which is a large underground car park by Waitrose), however that was already full by 10am. We were using the Car Park Occupancy Tracker mentioned above during our drive to Bath and seeing the spaces fill up was giving us anxiety! Thankfully we found Charlotte Street Car Park and were able to park up no problem!

You can pay cash at the car park, or by phone using MiPermit, which was super easy. We left our bags with Carole at the Airbnb, and strolled down the main high-street for a nose around the stalls.

View of the Christmas Tree at Bath Christmas Market

How to spend a weekend at Bath’s Christmas Market

We hit the stalls at 10:30am and the city centre and Christmas Market were already heaving! The Council close off most of the roads, creating lots of safe pedestrian-only zones, but the streets were still packed!

We met up with our friends and enjoyed a slow mooch along the stalls. Some of the stand out stalls for us included a homemade chocolate brownie stall, all packaged up perfectly for Christmas gifts. There was also a hot cheese pasta stall (which was as incredible as it sounds!) Plus handmade woollen socks (always a great gift idea), unique Christmas decorations and baubles, craft gin distilleries, candle makers and even a chocolate wine seller! The range of merchants is huge and even if you don’t come away with much shopping-wise, it’s always good to get some inspiration!

Mandy eagerly awaits Christmas Market season to enjoy a nice steamy mug of mulled wine! The queues were pretty reasonable during the day, but as the evening drew closer and the temperatures got colder, the queues did get pretty long!

Just off Orange Grove Road, we saw signs for an indoor market, accidentally stumbling across Bath Guildhall Market. We walked through the doors and instantly felt like we had been transported back in time! There’s a vintage leather and tanner shop, wool shop, a pet supply store and even an old fashioned confectionary shop and tea shop. Oh, the nostalgia!

The market was a great little find and was also reasonably quiet compared to the packed streets outside. There’s a small bar inside the indoor market who were serving (yep, you guessed it) mulled wine! So we nabbed a cup and people watched from the comfort of a nearby bench, enjoying the warmth.

Things to do after you visit Bath Christmas Market

The Raven Pub: Famous for its pies!

By early evening we had some very hungry bellies, so we headed for a nearby pub called The Raven, who are known for their classic pies! Split over 3 townhouse floors, the pub is vast, yet cosy and quirky. It’s a bit of a Tardis, but most importantly, it’s very welcoming. It was absolutely packed when we arrived. We had chosen The Raven in advance, but knew a table would be a gamble as they unfortunately don’t take bookings and are walk-in only. We were all too tempted by the thought of their pies though so thought we’d try our luck anyway.

Bath in December means the city will be busy at all times! So of course there were no tables, but we happily planned to get a drink and wait. Thankfully a very nice couple took pity on a group of 6 hoping to nab a table last minute, and they gave us theirs as they were leaving. It really should have sat 4 people at a squeeze, but the 6 of us made it work. It was worth it though and the pies were definitely worth the wait! As the resident vegetarians, Oli had a “Mooless Moo” pie (the equivalent to a steak and ale). Mandy had the “Heidi”, a goats cheese, sweet potato and red onion pie. Both as delicious as they sound! Our friends had everything from bangers & mash to chicken and leek. Everything came with the option of chips or mash and you got to pick from 3 different gravys! These were options we didn’t even know we needed in life!

Bath nightlife

Our evening wrapped up sampling a bit more of Bath’s night life. Bath in December is incredibly festive and the Pig and Fiddle was a particular favourite for festivities! Yet another big pub, but full of character and atmosphere, and completely buzzing on a Saturday night. We spent a couple of hours there, enjoying the atmosphere and making plans for the remainder of our evening.

Despite the pie dinner, the post-drink munchies soon set-in, and we headed to Dough on Kingsmead Square for pizza. Unfortunately they were fully booked inside, but we managed to nab a table outside. It was freezing cold and we hoped a seat under their patio heaters would take the edge off (it didn’t) , but their pizzas tasted amazing all the same! Feeling well and truly full from our day of indulgence we eventually called it a night and collapsed into our nice warm Airbnb.

Top breakfast spot in Bath

Sunday brought with it a bit of drizzly rain, following an otherwise sunny, crisp Saturday. But combined with being a Sunday, that did also mean fewer crowds. We had one final nose around the stalls and grabbed breakfast around the corner from our Airbnb at Daisy & Bean Bakeshop. The place is really cute, with a boho vibe and some cute plants. Ultimately though, you should come here for their pancakes! *chefs kiss*. We ordered their biscoff & banana pancakes, and their cinnamon swirl pancakes. Our hot chocolates even came with milk art, very fancy! 

Bath Christmas Market Dates 2024

If you’re planning to visit Bath Christmas Market in 2024, the confirmed dates are: Thursday 28 November, until Sunday 15 December. If you live in the area, then residents will also be invited to a special preview on 27 November, 5pm to 7pm.

The main Christmas Market opening hours will be:

Monday to Wednesday: 10am to 7pm

Thursday to Saturday: 10am to 8pm

Sundays: 10am to 6pm

Get in touch!

We left Bath with our social batteries feeling well and truly topped up after spending some quality time with friends we haven’t seen in a while and revelling in the festive atmosphere. Visiting Bath in December may mean the city was packed, but everyone around us was in high spirits and enjoying the festivities – what’s not to love?

We have already spotted lots of other places we want to try for food and drinks next time we’re in the area and we’re looking forward to it already!

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you’re planning to visit Bath Christmas Market, we hope you found this useful, and if you have been before, hopefully this stirred up some nice memories from previous trips. Please share any stories or questions in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Also, if you found our blog helpful, check out our Insta @welovetravel.in and if you give us a follow don’t forget to say hey! ✌️

For more travel inspiration, fun things to do, and travel guides, check out our other posts below:

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