The UK's Most Festive Cities

With so many beautiful cities to choose from in the UK, which one is the perfect place to live for the festive-lovers among us? 

Do you go where the best Christmas lights are? Or head to the place with the largest Christmas market?

We’ve compiled a list of the UK’s most festive cities to help you decide where to visit this winter, which events to check out, and how to make the most of the Christmassy spirit. 

Our Festive Cities list is based on a range of popular seasonal criteria: 

  1. Most Instagrammable: We looked at the volume of Instagram posts with hashtags mentioning ‘Christmas’ and each city.
  2. Chances of Snow: We analysed data from the Met Office showing the number of times each city in the UK has had a white Christmas since 1960.
  3. Christmas Markets: We studied the search data for Christmas Markets in each city.
  4. Light Trails: We analysed the search data for Christmas light trails for each city.
  5. Christmas Searches: We evaluated data on the monthly search volumes for ‘Christmas’ in each city per population.

Each UK city was then ranked from 1-10 in each of the five categories, to determine which city is the most festive.

 Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities
   Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Cities Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Camera   Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Snowflakes Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Presents   Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Lights  Berkeley Inspiration - Most Festive Cities - Magnify Total 
 1.  Liverpool  0.5  6  3  10  4  23.5
 2.  London  5  2  4  10  2  23
 3.  Birmingham  0.5  7  9  5  1  22.5
 4.  York  0.5  7  8  3  4  22.5
 5.  Edinburgh  1.5  4  10  5  1  21.5
 6.  Durham  0.5  7  1  3  10  21.5
 7.  Chester  0.5  6  3  8  3  20.5
 8.  Wrexham  0.5  6  1  5  7  19.5
 9.  Lincoln  0.5  7  5  2  4  18.5
 10.  Nottingham  0.5  7  3  5  3  18.5

Surprisingly, the UK’s most festive destination is Liverpool, pipping our capital city London to the post. 

London came in second, and it’s easy to see why. The capital is an incredible place to visit any time of the year, but with the bustling markets, festive lights, and towering Christmas trees, it really does come to life during Christmas. 

With both cities being famous for their Christmas markets and fantastic shopping districts, it’s no surprise that Birmingham and York both came in third and fourth respectively.

We were thrilled to see Birmingham rank so highly, with its high chances of a white Christmas and love for Christmas markets. England’s second largest city, is often overlooked but is one of the best places to live in the UK, with a vibrant retail hotspot, the famous Bullring shopping centre, art galleries, theatres and more. And now, taking the bronze medal for the most festive place in the UK as well! 

The list also highlights how some larger cities, such as Cardiff and Leicester, failed to rank highly enough, while other much smaller cities, such as Hull and Lincoln, came in the top ten.

The Most Instagrammable Cities at Christmas

Despite places such as Oxford and Glasgow being famous for their photogenic beauty, they didn’t make it to the top of the most instagrammable cities in the UK at Christmas. However, these three cities did:
Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Instagramable Cities



Racking up an impressive 400,000 Christmas-related Instagram posts, it’s no surprise London came out on top. 

Whether you take a selfie as you skate across one of the city’s numerous ice rinks or take your photo underneath the twinkling lights of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, you’re sure to get an Insta-worthy snap.

Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Edinburgh



Clocking up an impressive 110,000 Instagram posts, the Scottish capital Edinburgh came in second place. 

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Insta shoot locations here. You could head to the Royal Botanic Gardens to share a snap as you wander past the illuminated tree sculptures or capture a photo of the Royal Mile as it glistens beneath the festive decorations. 

Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Bath



With more than 40,000 Instagram posts, the southwestern city of Bath more than earns its place as the third most instagrammable city in the UK at Christmas. 

Illuminations projected onto historical landmarks, such as Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, make the perfect photo for the grid, while the Bath on Ice skating rink, is sure to be a hotspot for influencers and bloggers.

Chances of a White Christmas

Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Bitty Cottage Cotswolds


There’s nothing quite like seeing the first flakes of snow to get you in the festive spirit. However, there are some regions of the UK where you’re more likely to catch a glimpse of a snow flurry on Christmas morning.


It’s not surprising to learn that Scotland has recorded the highest number of white Christmases of any other region in the UK.

Inverness in the Scottish Highlands came out on top, with an impressive total of 34 white Christmases, while Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee, and Dunfermline all came in joint second place with a total of 30 white Christmases each.

Scotland is beautiful any time of the year with its dramatic landscapes and historical monuments, but particularly at Christmas when you’re likely to see these stunning views snow-covered.

South East England

Based on Met Office data, South-eastern cities such as Winchester, Southampton, and Portsmouth have only had ten white Christmases each in the last six decades. While it’s not completely out of the question to see snowfall in this region, you might need to travel North to increase your chances of a picture-perfect Christmas.   

Christmas Markets

Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Christmas Markets

Although places like London and Manchester are renowned for their Christmas markets, they didn’t reach the top three when we analysed the search volumes for Christmas markets in these cities. 

However, here are our winners


Edinburgh was the clear winner with 29,000 searches for Christmas markets, and it’s easy to see why. Featuring more than 70 stalls from local and European traders, fun fair rides and light projections, The Edinburgh Christmas Market has previously been named the best Christmas market in Europe.


The Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest of its kind outside of Germany and Austria, so it’s no surprise it’s generated 24,000 searches. More than 60 stalls serve up warming drinks, German beer, and tasty sausages to its millions of visitors each year.


Coming in third place was the city of York. Its famous St Nicholas Fair has been around for an impressive 30 years and is filled with Alpine chalets selling local produce, artisan gifts, and festive treats. 

Christmas Light Trails

Berkeley Inspiration - The UK's Most Festive Cities - Christmas Light Trails


Is it really Christmas without a Christmas light trail? 

If illuminations and twinkles are part of your favourite festivities, this is where you need to be headed.


You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas lights in London. This year, St James and Regent Street will be featuring The Spirit of Christmas display, the largest lights installation in the country, featuring 45 angels flying above the streets. There’s also the Winter Light Festival at the Southbank Centre and dancing lakeside illuminations at Kew Gardens.  


Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with its incredible festive lights, it’s no surprise Liverpool came in second place. This year, there will be a walk-through Christmas tree at Williamson Square, light projections onto the Merseyside Maritime Museum, and one of the tallest artificial neon Christmas trees at the city’s retail and leisure destination, Liverpool ONE.


The northwest city of Chester is highly regarded for its many light trails. There’s an illuminated trail at Delamere Forest, the spectacular Lightopia Festival at Heaton Park, and animal-themed illuminations at Chester Zoo Lanterns. 

Christmas Searches

These are the top three winners of the cities with the highest Christmas-related search volumes per population.


Just under three-quarters of the population in Durham have searched for Christmas-related terms. 

Durham has countless festive traditions going back many years, from the mince pies served at Raby Castle for almost 250 years to the delicious Yule-Doos first made in the Edwardian era. The city also organises countless festive events each year, from pantomimes to candlelit carols. 


The Welsh city of Swansea came in as the second city with the most Christmas-related searches. In 2021, it was also named the city with the most people putting the decorations up earlier than any other city. 

During the festive season, Swansea Bay is transformed into the Waterfront Winterland with fun fair rides and an ice rink, while their annual Christmas parade attracts hundreds of visitors each year. 


Since Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds took over Wrexham Football Club, interest in the north-eastern Welsh town of Wrexham has no doubt boomed, but they’ve also come in third as the city with the most Christmas-related searches. Each year, the city hosts the widely celebrated Victorian Christmas Market, with more than 100 stalls and street entertainers; it’s no surprise it attracts tens of thousands of visitors.