A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights

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When National Express asked us to pick a Northern Christmas Market to visit and write about, I immediately knew it had to be Liverpool. We visited the city last October Half Term and have been itching to return ever since. Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore more of the city.




I feel like a lot of people from North East England visit Edinburgh, York or Manchester Christmas Markets and really hope this post inspires a few of you to give Liverpool a try - we really had the best weekend.





We visited on 16 & 17 November 2019 - this was the first weekend of Christmas festivities in Liverpool and I have to say, although there was a lovely atmosphere, I did not find it uncomfortably busy which can often be the case with city centre Christmas markets. There were no queues for rides or at stalls and there was plenty of space to view the lights and decorations.

I would say if you are thinking of visiting Liverpool over the festive season, book your restaurants in advance as we did see queues out of the door in some places. I would also recommend booking your travel and hotel as far in advance as possible for the best availability and prices. 

Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights : Travel 



We travelled with National Express coaches (not to be confused with National Holidays). I am not a fan of navigating city centre parking in the run-up to Christmas and National Express Coaches offer multiple departure points across the day.

We decided to start bright and early and opted for a 7am coach from St James Boulevard (opposite Lane 7). You can use mobile tickets which have a QR code on them and are nice and straight forward to use.



A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - national express coach

The main benefits of travelling to a Christmas Market by coach for us include:

  • Comfortable leather seats with moulded headrests (they feel like first-class seats)
  • Plug/USB sockets at every seat 
  • FREE WiFi (although this can be temperamental) 
  • FREE use of booster seats for children (or you can bring your own car seats) 
  • Toilet on board 
  • Friendly drivers 
  • The rule of not playing music through your phones is enforced - our driver asked one passenger to switch his music off or use headphones. Hurrah! 
  • Fares from £5 one way to 100s of UK destinations 
  • Staff are available to help with questions 
  • One piece of hand luggage and two medium suitcases allowed at no additional charge - this means you can shop until you drop
  • Pushchairs can be carried free of charge 
  • Return coach tickets from Newcastle to Liverpool for next weekend cost £133 for the 5 of us where as train tickets cost £277. Obviously, if you book in advance, these prices will be cheaper again.
  • No worries about parking/city centre driving 
  • No designated driver or map reader needed so everyone can relax and is free to enjoy a mulled wine or two
  • Coach travel is better for the environment than travelling by car 
The coach takes around 5 hours from Newcastle to Liverpool. My kids are pretty good travellers - we just took their books and phones plus supplied plenty of snacks and they were fine.

There were other families on the coach and the journey was really pleasant. We were there in no time! I managed to watch a couple of Christmas movies too.

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights   inside a national express coach

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights


Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights : Where to Stay 



We stayed with Quest Apartments which are located right in the heart of the city centre and were just a 5 minute easy walk from the coach station. Honestly, you couldn't get a better location. Quest Apartments are available from £69 per night.

The only thing I would say to note is with being right in the heart of the city, if you stay on a weekend you can expect to hear some noise. Ear plugs are provided and this wasn't too much of an issue for us as we can sleep anywhere. 


A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre

We stayed in a 2-bed apartment which is made up of a studio and 1-bed apartment interconnected. These 2-bed apartments are available from £139 per night

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre studio

Quest Apartments are fantastic and we were really impressed. The service from reception was fantastic and our apartments had everything we needed and more - even a washing machine and tumble drier which when travelling with kids is often needed!



A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre - bathroom and washing machine

Something I have never come across before is Deliveroo Room Service. There are menus for 5/6 restaurants in this booklet in your room and you simply phone reception, place your order and it will be added to your final bill. There were lots of tempting options including healthy alternatives and vegan options alongside the usual burgers and pizzas. You can even order a Deliveroo breakfast. 

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre - deliveroo restaurant room service


As there was an M&S across the road, we decided to stock up on wine and treats to watch Strictly in the evening. Having a fridge and kitchen was so handy!




A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre - toiletries

There is a lovely pantry at reception if you run out of essentials including Paracetamol, snacks and drinks.

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre - pantry

We also bought our breakfast from M&S but a grab and go option can be provided and delivered to your room for £8.95.

The view from our room.......

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - quest apartments liverpool city centre - view from hotel
I really rate Quest Apartments and hope they expand throughout the UK.

Last time we visited Liverpool, we stayed at Premier Inn Liverpool One - we managed to grab two rooms for just £29 in October Half Term which was amazing. I couldn't fault Premier Inn and although the hotel isn't as central as Quest Apartments, it is still a good location for exploring Liverpool on foot if you are on a budget.

If you would prefer to stay down by the docks, I noticed Travelodge Liverpool Central The Strand was right by the riverside and would be perfect for visiting the ice festival.

Liverpool Christmas Market


Liverpool Christmas Market runs from 15 November - 23 December 2019. The address is St Georges Plateau, St Georges Place. Liverpool. L1 1JJ. The market is open daily from 11am (until 9pm/10pm) and is FREE to visit. 


 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - german sausages  alt

We visited at 12noon on a Sunday and it wasnt too crowded at all. We managed to find a seat with no problems.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - windmill bar

There are several bars to choose from including the Windmill Bar, Gin Bar, Tepee Bar and Ski Lodge. The Windmill Bar plays festive tunes which can be heard across the market. A mulled wine will set you back £5 and a can of coke is £2.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - rudolphs rest bar

There are the standard food and gift traders you find at most Christmas markets this year - I loved the beautifully decorated huts. Expect gingerbread, sweets, fudge, yorkshire pudding wraps, crepes, Bavarian sausages, burgers and more.

There were two places selling pretzels (which are my favourite Christmas snack) but they both told us they had run out - I find this hard to believe at 12noon on their first full day so don't set your heart on pretzels! There also weren't any roast chestnuts.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - yorkshire pudding wraps

We had a brilliant time walking around the various stalls and the traders were so friendly! They were great with the kids, had time for a bit of a chat and were even recommending places to visit after the market which was nice - you can't beat recommendations from a local!

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - gingerbread

As well as the market, there is a ferris wheel, a small fairground, a festive teepee tent and a ski lodge with karaoke cable car booths which looked super fun.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - ferris wheel

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - ski bar

The market isn't huge and nowhere near the scale of Edinburgh or Manchester but it had such a lovely friendly vibe and I felt so Christmassy enjoying a mulled wine and a bite to eat here.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - mulled wine



 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - crepes


Liverpool Ice Festival 


Liverpool Ice Festival is down by the waterside and an easy 10-minute walk from the city centre. We spent a good few hours here and I highly recommend - we loved it!

The Ice Festival location is right next to Mersey Ferries if you fancy a cruise and the Museum of Liverpool if you are looking for somewhere free and indoors to visit and warm up (its a brilliant museum - very interesting with lots of hands-on fun). 

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Rink

Ice Skating is a must-do activity for our family and there is a brilliant covered ice rink (with real ice) at Liverpool Ice Festival. Suitable for ages 3+, 45 minute sessions take place at the start of every hour. I would recommend pre-booking tickets online in advance but if sessions are not sold out, you can buy on the day from the box office too.

You can check opening times and pre-book ice skating online here. 

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Skating Prices

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Skating

Skate hire is included with your ticket price and there are skating aids to hire / stewards on the ice who were quick to assist if anyone fell over.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Skating

My family seems to be a bit split when it comes to skating - Jack and I are terrible and have zero co-ordination. You are likely to find us clinging to the sides or on our bum! I much prefer to spectate if I am honest.


Heidi is our skating pro - if you watched her you would think she had lessons or at least skates regularly (she doesn't) and I have to say, Steve is pretty good too.

Harry is kind of in the middle - he is nervous to begin with but his confidence soon builds.

What I love about ice skating is that it is fun for all - those who are brilliant, those who have a giggle gripping onto the sides and those who spectate. The ice rink is also fully accessible for wheelchair users and carers go free. We left the rink saying we should definitely try and skate more often as the kids really enjoyed it.

Again, I have to say the staff were super friendly and went out of their way to ensure everyone had a great time.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Skating

Liverpool Ice Festival is also home to the UK's largest ice slide  - priced at £6 for 3 turns, it looks like so much fun (minimum height 60cm).

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Slide

There is a Christmas village around the ice rink and toboggan as part of the Christmas Ice Festival. Expect to find food and drinks stalls and a good selection of fairground rides. There is something for everyone from the very young to thrillseekers.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Fairground Rides

Rides are paid for with a token system - make sure you bring cash. There are plenty of token booths dotted about the fairground. Tokens cost £1 each and most of the moderate rides were 4 tokens - the biggest rides were a little more and the smaller children's rides were 2 tokens each.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Stalls


 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival  Sausage Stalls

There is a cute Reindeer Rest bar if you need to head indoors after the fair.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Reindeer Bar

A huge hit for us was the Ice Jet ride. When I shared this on Instagram stories, many of you could not believe how fast it was. Suitable for those over 1.2m, it is one of the fastest rides I have ever seen and loads of fun.

Jack and Harry braved this one (4 tokens each) and I thought it was such good value - the ride operator was fantastic at getting those screams and it lasted FOREVER. If you visit and love a bit of thrill, you need to check it out.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Ice Jet Ride

You can have your photo taken in the snow dome for £8 too.




The Ice Festival is at Pier Head so don't forget to pose with the Beatles while you are there. You can visit the Fab4 Cafe or Store too which are right by the festival.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Beatles Monument

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Ice Festival Vertigo Ride




We stayed at the Ice Festival all afternoon until after dark - this is a common theme for our trip to Liverpool but again, we had the best time. One little word of warning though - our Heidi is a thrill seeker and despite measuring 134cm (and enjoying loads of 130cm+ rollercoasters at theme parks across the summer), one ride attendant refused to let her on a ride with a height restriction of 130cm. He said her head needed to fully clear the height line.

I understand how important safety is but instead of having a 130cm height restriction and refusing those who are taller than that on the ride, they should just increase the height restriction on the ride. As regular theme park attenders, our children know which rides they can and can't go on and after having her heart set on a particular ride and then purchasing tokens, Heidi was disappointed to be told no.

So my top tip is to check with the ride attendants that children are tall enough before purchasing tokens and don't rely on height restrictions alone.






Where to eat near Liverpool Ice Festival

There are stalls at the Ice Festival serving pancakes, sausage and sweet treats or there is the Fab4 cafe too. Personally, I prefer a sit-down meal after spending a few hours in the cold. We booked Viva Brazil - a Brazilian Steakhouse just a short walk from the Ice Festival.

The restaurant is beautifully decorated for Christmas - even the salad bar felt festive! Jack and Harry are huge carnivores and I had been dying to take them to a Brazillian restaurant so this was the perfect treat. If you have a vegetarian in your party (like us), this isn't a problem as there are plenty of Vegetarian options too. Heidi decided to stick with the salad bar on this occasion and enjoyed nachos too.


If you have never dined at a Brazilian restaurant before, the concept is pretty cool. First of all, you are given a card on your table - green means you are hungry, red means you need a break. Flip the card accordingly.

Over lunchtime, your server will bring 10 different dishes to your table and carve at your table. You can have as much or as little as you like and take a break whenever needed.

Our favourite dishes were the garlic steak and the chicken wrapped in bacon - all delicious.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Viva Brazil Lunch


What I like about Rodizio style dining is that it is super sociable and a fab way for kids to try new things. Children under 10 with a paying adult dine for free and can choose to enjoy the Rodizio experience or an alternative from the children's menu.  I also really appreciated the reduced cost of £9.95 for 10-16 year olds. Not many restaurants offer tweenage portions as we call them.

Jack is the youngest member of our family but also the one with the biggest appetite -he probably ate the most out of all of us which is hilarious.


 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Viva Brazil kids menu




 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Viva Brazil Lunch salad bar




Liverpool One at Christmas



Liverpool One is unlike a traditional shopping centre - it is actually five shopping districts spread across the city centre. With over 170 shops, bars and restaurants to choose from, its a fantastic place to make a start on your Christmas shopping.

The decorations around Liverpool One are second to none and if your children like pretty lights, they will love it.

 A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Reindeer Decorations
As well as the Christmas Lights and decorations, Liverpool One has a whole festive diary of events and activities planned in 2019 including:

  • Regular Christma Choirs 
  • Polar Adventure Party & Train Rides 
  • Write a Letter to Santa at The Disney Store
  • Treetorials at John Lewis and Partners 
  • Christmas Crafts at John Lewis and Partners 
  • Bar Hutte under the Christmas Tree (more on that later)

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Christmas Decorations

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Christmas Decorations

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Christmas Decorations

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Christmas Decorations

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Polar Adventure



Where to Eat at Liverpool One

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to Liverpool One - soooo many options! Many had queues out of the door on Saturday night and I would recommend booking in advance if you can.

One thing I loved about Liverpool One is that they have various local street food trucks popping up in various locations (I had my eye on the mac n cheese truck) - although there are a lot of chain restaurants, it is easy to find independent options too.

We opted for Smoke & Dough which is Liverpool One's newest restaurant and a new dining concept in the UK. The staff greeted us warmly, invited us to enjoy a bottle of wine, relax and enjoy our table for as long as we wanted to - after a day exploring a new city, this was so welcoming to hear. 


A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Smoke and Dough Restaurant

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Smoke and Dough Restaurant  menu

 First of all, I love the kids menu here. Bento boxes featuring mac n cheese, beans, mini sliders, fries, salad and nuggets. They were a huge hit with Heidi and Jack (Heidi switched the meat options for veggie options) and surprisingly filling.

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Smoke and Dough Restaurant  - kids bento box

The table was brought a selection of pizzas, breads and salads to start and share as our meat was prepared....

Then your table is transformed into its own grill with a selection of meats on the BBQ - this keeps everything piping hot. I was kind of worried we would end up with tough, over-cooked meat but it wasn't at all.

The staff will replenish your meat throughout the evening until you ask them to stop. The boys loved the chicken (which they said was on a sword) and the pork was spot on for me. Steve really enjoyed the chicken wings which were beautifully marinated and had plenty of meat on them.

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Smoke and Dough Restaurant  bbq at your table


Smoke and Dough really was a relaxing and sociable place  - it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday night with the family.




Bar Hütte Under The Christmas Tree 



This Giant Christmas Tree is not only beautiful - it is also home to a Christmas Bar and Austrian Ski Village which is hiding underneath. The perfect place to pop in for a festive tipple.
A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Bar Hutte Christmas Tree Bar

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Bar Hutte Christmas Tree Drinks menu

The tree also features several Hüttes which accommodate 6-10 people and feature their own Carol-Oke machines. You can pre-book these in advance for £40 or walk-ins are available if they are not full-booked. If we had time, I would have loved to have done this with the kids and bet it is so much fun. Find out more and book online here. 




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A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool One Bar Hutte Christmas Tree Bar




Liverpool Light Spectacular 



A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Light Spectacular

How beautiful is this arch of lights? Found on Church Street near Primark, there are 10 minute light and music shows each day at 16:30, 17:30, 18:30 and 19:30 until 26 December.

The atmosphere is fantastic with people singing, dancing and well and truly getting into the festive spirit. Expect a mix of festive tunes with the odd Beatles song thrown in for good measure. Liverpool Light Spectacular is FREE to visit - simply turn up.

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Light Spectacular

A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Light Spectacular

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A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights  - Liverpool Light Spectacular

Homeward bound 


We packed so much into our festive 24 hours in Liverpool and had an absolute ball. Personally, I wouldn't visit for the markets alone but when you pair a trip to the Christmas Market with some of Liverpool's other festive offerings, I really think it is one of the best cities to visit for a festive weekend away.

As we only stayed for a weekend, we couldn't see it all - I recommend checking out the Visit Liverpool website for more inspiration. There is so much going on in the city from Storytime with Santa to Elf the Musical, Panto, Santas Grotto, Elfie Selfie Stations, a pop-up floating Christmas Cinema and more.....

We boarded our coach home with treats from the Christmas market to enjoy during our journey home. There was a bit of a mix up with staff putting us on the wrong coach on the way home which resulted in us spending an hour in Manchester - this was easily rectified and we were able to re-join our original coach here.

What I will say about National Express is that there is always someone around to help if you run into any problems - whether this is a driver or staff at a station, you are never on your own. I was super thankful we didn't have to drive home in the dark (I hate driving in the dark) and happy to leave it to the professionals as I relaxed with another movie. The perfect ending to a lovely festive weekend.


A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights


If it is possible, we loved Liverpool a little bit more after this trip - I can hand on heart say it is one of the best cities to visit with kids. Everything is within easy walking distance of each other and there is just so much to do. We love it!  


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A Guide to Visiting Liverpool Christmas Markets & Lights




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8 comments

  1. Love that you watched a couple of Christmas movies on the way. That certainly beats driving! And I didn't even think about booking restaurants! We're going this weekend and it didn't even cross my mind. Will get on to that now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We are meant to be visiting Liverpool but it has been hard finding the time, reading this has made me really want to visit though. The Christmas market sounds lovely. I would never have thought of getting a coach somewhere x

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  3. Love how Christmassy this looks - Liverpool sounds ideal for a festive break. We were actually off to a Christmas market by coach ourselves and it's so much more relaxing than driving.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must make it up to Liverpool for Christmas!

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  5. I had no idea that Liverpool was so Christmassy! And what a fun way to get in the festive spirit than by watching Christmas movies on your way there.

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  6. I haven't travelled by coach since my student days! But I'd be tempted to give it another go, reading this. And Liverpool sounds lovely - I've only been once, during the summer, so I missed out on all the scrummy Christmas treats. Need to go back!

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  7. I travelled by coach a lot when in Australia and it was fab. I've never done it here in England with my girls though - they struggle with travel sickness on coaches so although it's a fab way to travel for all the reasons you listed, we'd have to give it a miss. Liverpool sounds brilliant though! It's only an hour and 20 mins n the train for us and we've never been, despite the husband being a huge LFC fan! The Christmas lights look gorgeous - I think we're going to have to go and explore. Your posts are always so detailed Sam - they're such a useful resource for anyone looking to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Market looks brilliant! Gutted I didn't pull my finger out to organise a trip this year so going to make a note now to make sure I get a Christmas Market visit sorted for next year.

    That height restriction thing just makes no sense! Why have a restriction if you're just going to change what it is when the child gets to the front of the queue?!

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