Birmingham (UK) Christmas Markets 2021 Guide ft. Dates, Practical Tips, Etc.

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Known as the largest and most authentic German Christmas market outside of Central Europe, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market welcomes over 5 million visitors a year, and is a true taste of Germany during the festive season.

And that’s not all the Birmingham festive scene has to offer!

Add on a glittering Big Wheel, a fun outdoor skating rink, and a new Christmas market by the Cathedral, and Birmingham is a true holiday paradise for those seeking festive vibes in the UK.

In this Birmingham Christmas Market guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about experiencing the wonders of Birmingham’s Christmas Market scene for yourself.

NOTE: We last visited this Christmas market in November 2021, so take note that some things may be different depending on when you’re visiting. We’ve tried to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible, but let us know if you spot anything we should change!

When are Birmingham’s Christmas Markets?

According to the official event website, the dates for this year’s Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market are Nov 4 – Dec 23, 2021.

According to this official government website, Birmingham’s Christmas in Cathedral Square is taking place from Nov 17 – Dec 19, 2021.

Where to Stay for Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

In need of a place to stay? Here are some quick recommendations for hotels near Birmingham’s Christmas Markets:

Where to Find Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

Wondering which spots to hit up when exploring Birmingham at Christmas? Here are the main locations to put on your list.

Victoria Square

This is the main location for the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market. Here, you’ll find tons of beautifully rustic wooden stalls selling mainly food, along with a charming carousel, nativity scene, the big Birmingham Christmas tree, and a little performance stage.

New Street

Wedged among the busy shops of New Street, you’ll find more stalls belonging to the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.

Here, you’ll find many more food stalls, a variety of stalls selling unique merchandise, an authentic German Christmas pyramid, a cool hut with advent calendar decor, and a hut with a functional Glockenspiel that offers musical performances every few minutes.

Centenary Square

While not a Birmingham Christmas “market” location in the sense that it doesn’t have market stalls, another festive must-visit destination in Birmingham is Centenary Square, where you’ll find the Big Wheel (which offers amazing views over the city), and a fun covered skating rink.

St Philip’s Cathedral Square

Lastly, a new addition to the Birmingham Christmas Market scene this year is the Cathedral Square by St Philip’s Cathedral.

Here, you’ll find dozens of local vendors selling everything from cocktails and street food to unique, handmade gifts.

What to Eat at Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

Bratwurst

One stall you’ll find repeatedly around Birmingham’s Christmas market is the quintessential German snack known as Bratwurst, AKA roast sausage.

Typically served in a bun with your choice of sauces and toppings, you can’t go wrong with this classic German Christmas market food.

PRO TIP: For an XXL Bratwurst, check out the 1/2 meter bratwurst stand at Victoria Square.

Classic Glühwein

Mulled wine (known in German as Glühwein) is THE ultimate Christmas market drink.

Made up of hot wine mulled with spices, this drink is a must-have day or night that offers an antidote to the bitter winter cold.

PRO TIP: Different stalls at the Birmingham Christmas Market have different Glühwein mugs. We recommend heading to the Frankfurter Scheune if you want these cute bootie mugs.

Flavoured (or Alcohol Free Glühwein)

Besides the usual Glühwein, we saw many other flavours being offered at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, including…

  • Kirschwein (Cherry)
  • Apfelwein (Apple)
  • Himbeerwein (Raspberry)
  • Heidelbeerwein (Blueberry)
  • Autofahrer Punsch (AKA Driver’s Punch, which is non-alcoholic)

Viking Met

Another nice drink stall we noticed at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was one near the entrance gate selling Met, AKA honey wine, AKA mead.

We didn’t get a chance to try it, but they had it in white/red varieties, with an option to add a shot too. Let us know in the comments if you’ve tried it and if so, what you thought!

Beer

Honestly, cold beer isn’t a common Christmas market thing in Germany. They far prefer warm drinks there during Xmas market season, but hey, when in Birmingham…

All around the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, we saw stalls selling cold Hofbräu beer in half pints, pints, and even DOUBLE pints, along with wheat beer, shandies and non-alcoholic beers.

… The perfect drink to pair with all your indulgent Christmas market eats!

Knoblauchbrot (Garlic Bread)

One delicious treat that pairs perfectly with beer is Knoblauchbrot, AKA garlic bread, which we bought in Victoria Square.

Not only is this giant slab of garlic bread only £5, you can get it with a variety of toppings like ham and cheese or salami and cheese.

Roasted Almonds (Gebrannte Mandeln)

Roasted almonds are an incredible German treat popular at festivals and Christmas markets.

At the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, we saw a few stalls selling a huge variety of them, from the traditional ones coated in sugar to unique flavours like Balsamic Berry.

We bought some traditional ones at a stall along New Street, and they were amazing. Highly recommend!

Currywurst

What is currywurst exactly? It’s a popular street food in Germany consisting of chopped sausage with a curry ketchup.

If you get a chance, we highly recommend trying it! At the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, it was served with a bread roll.

Frikadellen

Frikadellen are flat pan-fried meatballs beloved across Europe, particularly Germany and Denmark.

At the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, these delicious patties are served with onions between bread as a “German burger” of sorts.

We had ours with a giant dollop of garlic sauce on top, and it was divine.

Champignons (Mushrooms)

Lastly, while Christmas market food isn’t typically the healthiest, one of the lighter treats we loved at the Birmingham Christmas Market was champignons (roasted mushrooms) in a garlic sauce.

We got ours from a stall in Victoria Square, and it was SO good we almost ordered a second portion. Highly recommend!

What to Buy at Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

Wondering what there is to get shopping-wise at Birmingham’s Christmas markets? Here are some ideas.

Christmas Ornaments

While walking around the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, we saw several stalls selling beautiful Christmas ornaments, from glass baubles to hand painted varieties. Stocking up is a must if you need new decor for your tree (or loved ones!)

Handmade Local Gifts

While much smaller than the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, the new Christmas in Cathedral Square market puts a spotlight on local artists and artisans, making it an ideal place to shop for handmade gifts that support local.

We highly recommend stopping by this market if you’re looking to buy some gifts for loved ones that also support local creators! We spotted everything from wooden toys and hand poured candles to cute, funny prints.

German Gingerbread Cookies

In Germany, buying decorative heart-shaped gingerbread cookies for loved ones is a common thing at many festivals like Oktoberfest and Christmas markets.

Luckily, the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market has several stalls selling these cookies (which, as a reminder, are meant to be decorative and not eaten), with sayings like “I love you” and “Greetings from Birmingham”.

Sweets

If you aren’t tired of stuffing your face at all the food stalls, another great thing to buy at Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is sweets!

We saw many sweet stalls scattered around the market, including one selling beautifully wrapped assortments of Haribo.

Extra Tips for Visiting Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

After visiting this market for ourselves, there were several tips we wished we had known before our trip. Here are some must-knows to help you plan for your own visit to Birmingham’s Christmas Markets:

Bring cash

During our visit, we noticed that while many of the vendors at Birmingham’s Christmas markets do accept card payments, many have a cash only policy or require a minimum purchase for using card.

We highly recommend bringing cash with you for optimal convenience!

Visit earlier in the day to avoid crowds

While Birmingham’s Christmas market scene is no doubt more magical at night, we felt like the crowds after 5pm were overwhelming, particularly around Victoria Square.

If you’d prefer to have more space to breathe, we highly recommend visiting during the day or just after sunset to avoid peak crowds.

Don’t miss the Glockenspiel performance

One of our favourite little finds at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market was the Zum Glockenspiel stall, located right by the market’s entrance gate on New Street (close to the Bullring). This adorable stall is decorated with a Glockenspiel that plays iconic tunes every few minutes, a perfect little bit of entertainment while you devour your bratwurst!

Look out for the Singing Moose

Known locally as “Chris Moose”, another awesome little gem of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the Singing Moose, which you’ll find on top of a refreshment stand in front of Town Hall.

As a bonus, he does indeed sing in both English and German!

Prepare to pay extra for drinks due to the deposit

A common practice at German Christmas markets (and also at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market) is that you pay an extra deposit for your cup when buying drinks. When we visited, this amount was £3.

This means that when you pay for drinks, you will pay more than the listed price. So, let’s imagine you bought a Glühwein for £5, then you would actually be giving over £8 when paying (£5 for the drink, plus a £3 deposit that you get back when you return the cup).

This can catch a lot of people off-guard, but you will ultimately still be paying the listed price for the drink, so long as you bring the cup back.

NOTE: Often they will give you a token alongside your drink. This token is to be returned with your cup when you bring it back. This is a little safeguard to ensure that people aren’t just picking up random glasses to claim deposit money.

Don’t miss all the other cool Christmas things to do in Birmingham

Besides exploring Christmas markets, we had an amazing time enjoying the other festie offerings of Birmingham.

Here are a few we’d definitely recommend:

  • Visiting Birmingham’s beautiful covered passages, like Piccadilly Arcade and Great Western Arcade
  • Looking for the cute decorated snowmen scattered around town
  • Booking a meal/drinks in a festive igloo

Where to Find More Info on Birmingham’s Christmas Markets

For the most up to date information on Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market,we recommend checking out the official event website.

Help us improve this Birmingham Christmas Market Guide!

Do you have a pro tip about Birmingham’s Christmas Markets? A particular souvenir you loved, or a delicious treat you tried? Let us know in the comments what your insider tips are for Birmingham’s Christmas Markets so we can help improve this guide for all future visitors.

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