Is it really Christmas until you have visited a traditional Christmas Market? For me Christmas Markets are an essential part of the festive season however what is is like visiting Christmas Markets with kids? In this guide we round up the best Christmas Markets for kids in Europe and tell you where is best for different age groups to make sure you pick the best Christmas Market you your family to visit.
Best Christmas Markets for Kids in Europe
Strasbourg Christmas Market with Kids
No list of best Christmas Markets in Europe is complete without mentioning Strasbourg. Strasbourg is consistently named in, and often tops the Best Christmas Markets in Europe lists. The town is beautiful and the Christmas Market is one of the biggest in Europe. However what is there at Strasbourg Christmas Market for Kids?
The truth is this is one of the best christmas markets for Europe and you are bound to find all of the usually market suspects and vendors however I know my toddler hates crowds and for this reason I wouldn’t recommend this market for those with walking toddlers as it is just too busy.
This is only one best christmas markets for kids of an older aged. If you are travelling with older primary school aged kids and teenagers then the extensiveness of this market will appeal. However if you are travelling with a toddler this wouldn’t be my top pick!
Family Friendly Hotel in Strasbourg: Hilton
Heidelberg Christmas Markets with kids – are these the best Christmas markets for children?
Heidelberg is another big hitter when it comes to Christmas Markets. Heidelberg actually has five Christmas Markets in the city and could possible be the best Christmas markets for children. One of the favourites is located in Karlsplatz which sits overlooked by the beautiful Heidelberg Castle. Older children will love visiting here and taking turn on the ice rink or heading to Universitätplatz to have a ride on the vintage carousel.
Given the size and business of the Heidelberg Christmas Market it is more suited to older children and teenagers. .
Dates: 25 November, and runs until 22 December
Family Friendly Hotel Suggestion: NH Heidelberg
Amsterdam Christmas Market for kids
Dates: 13th December – 27th December.
But on top of the Christmas Market Amsterdam has a whole host of activities that kids will love that makes it a very family friendly Christmas break in europe. From the 28th November – 19th January 2020 is the Amsterdam Festival of Lights. This in my opinion is one of the best free things to do in Amsterdam in Winter. The streets and and canals will be lit up beautifully and will have toddlers in Amsterdam mesmerised. A great way of seeing these lights is to take a canal tour round the city which looks it’s most beautiful with the lights
On top of that there is an ice rink in Rembrantplein and Museumplein for children to enjoy. And be sure not to miss the Christmas tree in Dam Square.
Be sure not to miss the Amsterdam Christmas markets with kids!
Family Friendly Hotel Suggestion: Marriott Amsterdam
Best Christmas Markets for Toddlers and Babies
Stockholm Christmas Markets for Toddler
The first Christmas City break we did with our toddler was Stockholm. I was unsure about visiting Stockholm in Winter but it turned out to be perfect and one of the reasons was because of the great Stockholm Christmas markets. In the heart of the Stockholm old town – Gamla Stad there is a traditional Christmas market with stands selling local artisan products as well as food and drink. However my favourite Christmas Market is held at the Living History Museum Skansen. The Skansen Christmas Market has been held since 1903 and in my opinion it is one of the best Christmas market for families.
What I loved about the Stockholm Christmas Market is how local everything was from the food and drink products to the hand crafted Christmas ornaments and gifts. As ad admission ticket to the museum is required to visit the market it never gets as crowded as some of the other Christmas Markets in Europe and children will love mixing the Christmas Market with the living history museum houses or attending a carol service in the on site church or going for a walk around the Nordic Zoo that is also in the Skansen grounds. This combination of activities and lack of crowds in comparison to some of the bigger markets in Europe makes it in my opinion one of the best christmas markets with toddlers!
Although not as extensive as some of the other European Christmas Markets and only on the day time (which I actually think is a bonus when travelling with toddlers) you are sure to get into the Christmas spirit here. For me it might be the most perfect Christmas Market for families.
Skansen Christmas Market Dates: Weekends – Weekends Nov 30 – Dec 22
Be sure to buy your admission ticket in advance to make sure you don’t have to queue in the cold to get in.
Family Friendly Hotel: Sheraton Stockholm
Vienna Christmas Market with toddler – one of best european christmas markets for families
Vienna in Winter holds a very special place in my heart as it is where we went on honeymoon and the Vienna Christmas Market with toddlers is definitely one of the better ones to visit with this age group. There are a many Christmas Markets scatter across the city which means that you can do little sections which is easy to do with toddlers. One of the most popular Christmas Markets in the city is held in front of the city hall and is often called one of the best European Christmas markets for families.
During the Vienesse Dream Christmas Market you can actually go inside City Hall and there is a specially dedicated kids area which is on of the reasons I think this is the best Christmas Markets for toddlers. IN this section children will be able to do hands on Christmas related activities like making Christmas cookies and Christmas candles.
For music fans there are also international choirs performing at the weekends for free.
2019 Dates: 15th November – 26th December 2019
However if you fancy a historic and slightly quieter Christmas Market then head to the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn Palace is one of the best things to do in Vienna in my opinion and is a great place to indulge in the Christmas Markets. As this market is only open from 10am-6pm it is the perfect Christmas Market for toddlers as they don’t have to stay up late to partake in the Christmas festivities. Everyone knows a tired toddler isn’t a happy toddler so this could be the perfect solution.
Dates: 23th November – 26th December 2019
Schönbrunn Palace also holds a New Years Market which runs from 27th December – 5th January.
Family friendly hotel suggestion: Marriott Vienna
Nuremberg Christmas Market for toddlers and children of any age – THE best Christmas market for kids
But of all the Christmas Markets in Europe maybe the best Christmas Market for toddlers and kids is held at Nuremberg. Nuremberg is actually one of the few places that has actually designed a Christmas Market for kids (not just as an afterthought). In 1999 Nuremberg started running the Kinderweihnactht which means Children’s Christmas Market.
The market is held at Hans-Sachs Platz and holds a whole series of programmes for children and has lots of stalls with hands on children activities. Activities include baking, candle making, and present making.
You can also meet the Christkind here. The Christkind is a Nuremberg tradition – a young lady dress in white and gold who delivers presents to the kids. This is a great local Christmas traditional that children will love to partake in.
This is currently top of my Christmas market bucket list as it sounds like THE best Christmas market for kids!
Family friendly hotel suggestion: Holiday inn Nuremberg
Best Christmas Markets for Families in the UK
If you aren’t thinking about heading to mainland Europe but still want to experience Christmas Markets then there are loads on offer in the UK. Here are the best Christmas Markets for families in the UK from our experience.
London Christmas Markets
If you are visiting London at Christmas there are so many festive activities to enjoy. The most famous Christmas Market in London is located at Hyde Park in the Winter Wonderland and is one of the best things to do in London with kids at Christmas. Winter Wonderland is large and get busy but one of the best things to do about the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland with kids is that it has a dedicated family entrance that takes you straight into Santa Land. Some of the family friendly attractions here are the ice kingdom, Paddington on ice show, Zippos Christmas Show, Cirwue Berserk, a Mr Men Show, an observation well and of course an ice rink!
There are also lots of stalls to browse for once you have worn the kids out.
Winter Wonderland Dates: 21 Nov 2019 – 5 Jan 2020
One of my favourite christmas markets in London is held on the Southbank each year. This is a great place for a food and drink Christmas market but there are also loads of activities for kids including storytelling sessions, hands on sessions (arts and crafts) and even a beautiful carousel. This is market is one of the free things to do in London at Christmas but some activities will have a price attached.
Dates: early November – first week of January 2020.
Other Christmas Markets in the city are held in Leicester Square, and London Bridge. There are also beautiful Christmas Trees in Trafalgar Square that aren’t to be missed.
Family Friendly Hotel: Premier Inn County Hall
York Christmas Market with Kids
York is my favourite city to visit in the UK with kids and Christmas is an extra special time. In my opinion it has the most picturesque market in the whole of the UK. The main market is held in Parliament Street and Coppergate and you’ll find lots of food and beverage stalls as well as artisan crafts. One of my favourite features to the York Christmas Market is the Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village where I did indulgence in a lot of tasty treat on our last visit.
For kids there is a Santa’s grotto near the Jorvik viking Museum – which is one of the best things to do in York with kids. There is also a funfair in King’s Square that you’ll find it hard to tear the kids away from. It you are looking for a great Christmas day trip from York I recommend heading to Castle Howard- a stately home which is beautifully decorated for the Christmas period. If you want spend your time in the city though I would recommend heading to Fairfax House to see the traditional Christmas decorations in the house or seeing the lights in the Museum Gardens.
Family Friendly Hotel: Premier Inn York
Dates: 14th November – 22 December
Manchester Christmas Market with kids
Manchester is a great Christmas Market. The fact that it is spread across the city means it doesn’t feel quite as busy as some of the others especially if you are visiting during the daytime. The city also has a huge ice rink that kids will love taking a turn around. I also love the local flavour that the Manchester Christmas Market has especially with the Etsy Made Local Manchester Market
Family Friendly Hotel: Premier Inn
What is your favourite Christmas Market for kids? I’d love to find out in the comments.