Christmas markets in London
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.