With its stunning Christmas Markets and welcoming nature it’s no wonder that Birmingham has been crowned the most Christmassy city in the UK.
Our stunning city has been named joint top along with Glasgow by Forbes Advisor.
The researchers reached their conclusions after designing and gathering data across five ‘Christmas related metrics’ to see which of the UK’s towns and cities offered the most festive experience.
The looked at:
- Christmas shopping opportunity (based on the number of flagship Next, John Lewis and House of Fraser stores in each location)
- Spend on Christmas lights and decorations per 1,000 residents (using Freedom of Information request data from local councils)
- Christmas market reviews (collated from Facebook and Tripadvisor)
- Volume of Christmas-related Google searches (during December in pre-pandemic 2019)
- The likelihood of a white Christmas (based on Met Office data showing the number of times each town or city had experienced Christmas Day snowfall between 1960 and 2016)
Scoring 40 UK towns and cities against each metric, Forbes Advisor analysts assigned each with an overall ‘Christmas Rating’ out of 100 to arrive at an overall top 20 (listed below).
Birmingham and Glasgow were crowned the joint Christmas capitals of the UK with each scoring 64 points, while the nation’s official capital, London came in second at 58 points. Leeds came in third place with 53 points.
Which location is best for each Christmas metric?
Christmas decorations: You’re likely to find the most generous display of Christmas lights in Glasgow, according to the research, where the local council spends around £663 on public decorations per 1,000 residents – that’s around £400,000. This is followed by Leicester at £588 and Northampton at £510.
Snowfall: The chances of a white Christmas are potentially highest in Glasgow too, with the Met Office reporting 26 years of snowfall on Christmas day between 1960 and 2016. Glasgow was followed by Leeds and Newcastle, each posting 23 white Christmas Days over the same period.
Google searches: Manchester emerged as the location with the most Christmas-related Google searches, with a total volume of 170,450 during December 2019. This was followed by London with 169,500 searches, and the Scottish capital, Edinburgh which saw 153,410 searches.
Festive markets: The best Christmas market experience can be found in Birmingham and London, according to Facebook and Tripadvisor, with the most reviewed market in each city scoring 4.7. Manchester came in next with a score of 4.5.
Christmas shopping: As for shopping opportunities, London, Birmingham and Belfast offered the best selection of homeware and department stores. London has a total of 14 flagship Next, John Lewis and House of Fraser stores while Birmingham has six and Belfast has four.
Getting prepared for the season
Laura Howard, finance expert at Forbes Advisor, commented on the findings. “After what was, at best, a disappointing Christmas in 2020, the nation remains hopeful that the lead-up to the Big Day in 2021 will feel much freer and more relaxed. “While we’re not ‘home and dry’ quite yet, festive events up and down the country, such as markets and fairs, look to be going ahead, while many Christmas parties are already fixed in personal calendars.”
But she added that, on the flipside, this Christmas requires more careful financial planning and preparation than ever if household budgets are to remain intact come the start of 2022: “Food, energy bills and fuel – all integral parts of the festive spend – have risen sharply in cost over the last few months, while prices of some goods and services are also up on last year following supply chain issues post-Covid.”
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