Christmas markets and fairs in London

Ditch department stores and wrap up all your Christmas shopping at London’s best festive markets and fairs for 2018
Christmas markets in London
By Ellie Walker-Arnott and Things To Do Editors |
Advertising

Come Christmas, London’s streets are transformed. From pop-up ice rinks playing catchy pop-tunes to unique events beneath twinkling lights, it’s a far cry from the usual concrete metropolis. But let’s be honest - whether you love or loathe Christmas shopping, the crowds on Oxford Street can make even the jolliest shopper say humbug. Luckily, there’s an alternative: a festive frolic through one of London’s magical markets.

Whether you’re looking for festive food, classic decorations, arts and crafts or that last-minute gift, you can find all you want for Christmas at a London market. Here’s our pick of London’s best Christmas markets and fairs to help you check off your seasonal shopping list. Eat your heart out, Santa.

Recommended: Your ultimate guide to Christmas in London 

Christmas markets in London

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Southbank Centre Wintertime Market

icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank
icon-calendar

Fondue, igloos, fire pits and fairy lights – what’s not to like about Southbank Winter Festival, which is popping up beside the Thames this November. Foodies will love it, as those Winter favourites (raclette, bratwurst) will be served up alongside Indian, Greek and Asian cuisine. Entry is free, just head for Hungerford Bridge.

Things to do, Festivals

Winterville

icon-location-pin Clapham Common, Clapham
icon-calendar

Clapham’s Winterville goes way beyond the usual chalets and bratwurst combo – think live djs, musical bingo, magicians, Mexican wrestling and a Xmas show on a double decker bus. Oh wait, there’s more - outdoor ice skating, food courtesy of Street Feast, a Backyard Cinema maze, Roller Disco and even crazy golf. Entry is free with an advanced ticket or event and on Tuesdays; otherwise, it costs from £2.

Advertising
Christmas in Leicester Square
David Jensen
Things to do, Event spaces

Christmas in Leicester Square

icon-location-pin Leicester Square, Leicester Square
icon-calendar

Traditional Christmas market stalls, a Santa’s Grotto and festive fairytales are on the cards in bustling Leicester Square this Winter. The Underbelly team (who bring performers to the Southbank each Summer) are turning their hands to the Spiegeltent, where Yuletide drama will unfold. There will even be a little Burlesque on the agenda. Entry is free. 

Kingston Christmas Lights Switch on Parade
© Claire Williams
Things to do, Festivals

Kingston Christmas Market

icon-location-pin Kingston Market Place, Kingston Upon Thames
icon-calendar

Each year Kingston upon Thames undergoes a kitsch makeover, with over 50 stalls in wooden chalets and a big heated marquee taking over the market place. Get in there early to source lovely Christmas tree decorations. Kids won’t want to miss the Candy Cane Forest, a space dedicated to rides and competitions. Energy levels can be seasonally replenished with a swift German street food fix.

Advertising
Things to do

Hyper Japan Christmas Market

icon-location-pin Olympia London, West Kensington
icon-calendar

Hyper Japan is back for an eigth year this November with a Christmas market celebrating Japanese culture and cuisine at its best. Browse stalls selling fashion goods, toys, wrapping paper, traditional tableware and crockery, then pick up edible presents in a food hall packed full of exotic teas, chocolate and Japanese snacks or sip sake while you bask in traditional Japanese illuminations. 

Things to do

Christmas by the River

icon-location-pin More London, London Bridge
icon-calendar

The banks of the River Thames are home to the annual Christmas by the River. With views of Tower of London and Tower Bridge, plus a combination of gifts and hot food sold from German-style chalets, it’s a festive way to spend an hour or so. A selection of indie traders will have stalls laden with handmade craft items, while bars will be serving Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and craft beers.

Advertising
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Winter Wonderland

icon-location-pin Hyde Park, Kensington
icon-calendar

Even the Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's annual tribute to festive fun. Entry to Winter Wonderland is free, and a wander past the fairground rides, around child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa's grotto) or through the markets is a real treat for Christmas megafans. For access to the other festive activities, attractions and themed bars you’ll need to book tickets.

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Bethnal Green's Festive Vintage Fair

icon-location-pin York Hall, Bethnal Green
icon-calendar

Looking for the perfect Christmas party outfit? The UK's largest travelling marketplace for retro clothes, homewares and accessories returns to York Hall in Bethnal Green for a shopping event where you'll find vintage bargains dating from the Forties to Nineties. Around three-quarters of the 45 stall-holders will accept cards, but bring cash to be on the safe side.

Advertising
Things to do, Food and drink events

Taste of London: The Festive Edition

icon-location-pin Tobacco Dock, Wapping
icon-calendar

Taste of London is back for a three-day Christmas nosh-fest. The ultimate foodie festival is parking up at Wapping’s Tobacco Dock with a selection of exciting London restaurants for you to try dishes from including Nonna Tonda, Barbecoa, Bao and Hopper's, and firm favourites Xu and Rigo. Cocktail masterclasses will prepare you for hosting season and a shopping quarter will see you stocking up on edible Christmas gifts.

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

These open studios are a great chance to support independent designer-makers and pick up unique Christmas gifts you won't find on the high street. With more than 170 designers taking part, there's bound to be something here for your loved ones, including furniture, lighting, jewellery, fashion accessories, clothing, ceramics, silverware and tree decorations. 

Advertising
Ivan Mindov
Things to do, Markets and fairs

SoLo Craft Fair: Dulwich Christmas Market

icon-location-pin St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village
icon-calendar

Looking for unique Christmas gifts that the whole family will love? Then look no further than the Christmas Craft market at Dulwich Village. Filled with over 50 independent traders selling handmade crafts you'll be guaranteed to find something - even for those who are notoriously hard-to-buy for. Make sure you stop by the bar afterwards for Christmas tipples and nibbles. After all, Christmas shopping is thirsty work.   

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Doggy Style Christmas Market

icon-location-pin 26 Leake St, Waterloo
icon-calendar

Get your dirty mind out of the gutter. This market is all about canine chic. Billed as the largest indoor market for hounds and their owners you’ll find Leake Street packed with stalls full of treats for our four-legged friends, including luxe dog accessories from Teddy Maximus and Barc London and bio-organic dog food from The Rockster. You’d be barking to miss it.

Find more festive fun in the capital

Advertising