Birmingham’s German Christmas Market has returned - here’s the best & wurst bits

BirminghamWorld went to the city’s Frankfurt Christmas Market on opening day to find out what the public can expect this year
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Birmingham’s German Christmas Market is open for Christmas 2023 - we were among the first festive customers to discover what goodies are on offer.

Storm Ciaran’s wind and rain couldn’t stop the market, as well as the ice skating rink bringing the festive cheer to our fair city streets.

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is a firm fixture in the city’s annual calendar with thousands of people across Birmingham, the wider West Midlands, the UK - and even further travelling to the pre-Christmas wonder to enjoy the festivities. Birmingham comes alive every winter with the arrival of the market, a clear sign that Christmas is just around the corner.

The stalls on Victoria Square and along New Street offer something for everyone. Like last year, the market has stalls in the square and down New Street. You’ll find the mulled wine, German beer and Bratwurst in Victoria Square with the gift stalls located on New Street. I had a stroll around the city centre and picked out my best and worst bits from day one of the market.

German Christmas Market in BirminghamGerman Christmas Market in Birmingham
German Christmas Market in Birmingham

Best highlights for the German Christmas Market 2023

It may have been a bit early but I wanted to purchase a German market favourite so bought Bratwurst, which cost £6. Bratwurst has been an extremely popular treat at the market over the years, becoming famous for its succulently meaty, perfectly seasoned, fragrant sausages and it didn’t disappoint.

This is always one of my favourites at the market. I also ordered a Hofbrau for £4.50, although it was a bit too early for a pint so I enjoyed a swift half. You can also get a pint for £6.50 with the beer prices remaining the same this year. A double pint will cost you £12.50, with a shandy £6.50. I was also on the hunt for some quirky gifts.

The first day of the Christmas marketThe first day of the Christmas market
The first day of the Christmas market

At one of the stalls on New Street I found some lovely little Christmas ornaments, as well some hand crafted wooden animals that play animal sounds. The include frogs, elephants and owls and cost between £5 and £10.

The market’s also stocked full of lovely little Christmas ornaments and one of the market worker gave me a nice little Christmas gift for £5 as well as a candle for just £50p. These will make the perfect stocking present this Christmas.

Musical wooden animals could make the perfect Christmas giftMusical wooden animals could make the perfect Christmas gift
Musical wooden animals could make the perfect Christmas gift

One of my and many people’s favourites is of course Chris the Moose, who is back again this year. Although he was a little bit quiet on Thursday morning, he’ll certainly be in fine voice belting out the Christmas classics and jokes over the next month.

Wurst - we mean Worst - things about the Birmingham Christmas Market

The worst part of my trip to the market on Thursday morning was that Storm Ciaran decided to join me. Despite the conditions, many Brummies braved the rain to enjoy the festivities.

It would also have been good to see some more changes to the market. Largely, the market has remained the same as last year and it would have been good to see some stalls with some different gifts and maybe some toys for children.

But at least you can still buy a round of drinks for your friends and family. There had been ‘inaccurate’ rumours that the German Market had introduced a new ‘one drink per person’ rule. However the city council, which is in charge of the market, has advised that this is not the case.

Although in order to comply with standard Challenge 25 hospitality rules, bar workers will want to see who you’re buying drinks for to ensure that they aren’t served to anyone who is underage. This is standard practice in bars and restaurants across Birmingham and the UK. It’s well worth a visit, don’t be put off. I’m looking forward to going back very soon!

German market beer and giftsGerman market beer and gifts
German market beer and gifts

German Christmas Market opening times 2023

The Frankfurst Christmas Market will be open daily from Monday – Thursday from 11am – 9pm. On Fridays, it will be open 11am – 9.30pm, Saturday 10am – 9.30pm, and Sunday 10am – 9pm. On Remembrance Sunday (12th November) the market will not open until 1pm.

What other festivities are taking place in the city centre?

The Ice rink and Big Wheel

These also opened on Thursday, November 2, 2023 and will run until January 7, 2024. Every session at the ice rink is 45 minutes. Each session will start on the hour, every hour from 10.00 am – 10.00 pm.

Ice Skate will be closed on 25th December 2023 (Christmas Day). Those who don’t know how to skate and need private skating tuition, can contact the team at Ice Skate at Birmingham. If you wish to ice skate with a carer, you can let them know earlier so they can make sure all the arrangements are in place.

You will be able to enjoy the ice skating and big wheel longer than the German Christmas Market, which ends on Christmas eve. The Big Wheel costs £8 for adults and £7 for children, with ice skating costing £13 for adults and £11 for children.

Birmingham’s Christmas MarketBirmingham’s Christmas Market
Birmingham’s Christmas Market

Christmas in Cathedral Square with the Pigeon in the Park pub

The beautifulChristmas in Cathedral Square 2023 event is also a firm favourite for Brummies, and features a host of family fun activities along with entertainment from local artists from Albert’s Schloss, independent gift shops and food.

Festivities in Cathedral Square will begin two weeks later than the German Market. The Pigeon Park celebrations will begin with Christmas tree lights switch on with free entertainment from special guests on Wednesday, November 15. The festivities will continue until Sunday, December 17.

Birmingham Cathedral visitors to Christmas in Cathedral Square can expect music from local artists from Albert’s Schloss, the Snowdog Art Trail, and traditional crafts, ornaments, and gifts from an array of independent West Midland businesses. Stallholders include Summer & Silver, Miss Macaroon, and students from Aston University. There will also be a selection of pop-up food and drinks vendors.

Bratwurst and Apple ChocBratwurst and Apple Choc
Bratwurst and Apple Choc

The market will open Monday to Wednesday from 11am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 9pm, and Sunday from 12.30pm to 8pm. Apart from the skating and big wheel, there will be other rides as well just like last year.

Ice loung bar

The ice lounge bar is also returning for the same dates. Even if you are just supporting, you can still use The Ice Lounge facilities to keep warm whilst watching your friends and family and its free entry for spectators.