It’s that time of year again – as soon as Halloween and Bonfire night are over, the shops fill with Christmas decorations and advent calendars and festive foods start to fill the supermarket shelves.
Whether you can’t wait to get into the Christmas spirit, or you’re more bah humbug about the whole season, there’s no denying that browsing a good Christmas market helps to take your mind off the miserable British winter weather. This year London is hosting more festive markets than ever before – here are 10 of the best.
1. Winter Wonderland
Truly living up to its name, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park returns for its annual celebration of all things Christmassy. The location boasts several festive markets with over 200 fairy-lit wooden chalets selling gifts, crafts, Christmas decorations, festive food, and more.
As well as the markets, there’s a skating rink, several shows for kids and adults, a giant Ferris wheel, an ice bar, Santa Land, a mini alpine village with “Après Ski” karaoke booths, The Magical Ice Kingdom, and more. It makes for a great day out and winter fun for all ages.
Open from 5pm 17th November 2017 and 10am – 10pm from 18th November to 1st January 2018 (closed on Christmas day).
Admission to Winter Wonderland and the markets is free. You’ll need to buy tickets for the other attractions, which vary in price. See the website for full details.
Hyde Park, London W2
The winter-themed carnival is back for another year, this time on Clapham Common. London’s “alternative festive experience” offers an outdoor ice rink, roller disco, traditional fairground, Winter Night Garden Backyard Cinema, live shows and entertainment, Santa’s Grotto, and of course the festive street food and Christmas markets
Winterville doesn’t have the polish of Winter Wonderland and it’s not as busy, but it has a quirkiness and some interesting activities that should keep you entertained and the food market is excellent.
Open 23rd November 2017 to 5th January 2018, 10am – 10pm
Free entry. You’ll need to buy tickets for rides and attractions.
Clapham Common, London SW4 9DE
3. Christmas by the River at London Bridge City
London Bridge City’s annual Christmas by the River market has proved popular enough to be back in the same location at London Bridge for its third year running. The market includes over 60 lit-up German style wooden cabins filled with gifts, books, toys, Scandinavian homewares, hampers, and an impressive selection of festive food all laid on by Tudor Markets. There’s also a pop-up bars serving mulled wine and festive cocktails. All this is set against the iconic backdrop of the Thames, overlooking Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
Open 30th November 2017 to 3rd January 2018 from 11am – 7pm daily and late night opening until 9pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Entrance is free.
London Bridge City, London SE1
4. Christmas in Leicester Square
Leicester Square is transformed into a winter wonderland every year before Christmas with a Santa’s Grotto, festive shows, a traditional 1920s spiegeltent, and a Christmas market of over 25 stalls offering handcrafted items and festive food and drink.
Open 10th November 2017 to 6th January 2018, 12pm – 10pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 10pm Saturday and Sunday (closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
Free admission. Tickets must be bought for shows in the spiegeltent and Santa’s Grotto.
Leicester Square, London WC2
5. Southbank Centre Winter Festival
The Southbank is lovely to wander at any time of the year but it really steps up its game at Christmas with thousands of twinkling fairy lights, a lit-up giant Ferris wheel, a huge Christmas tree, and traditional winter market with stalls selling seasonal food and drink.
There are lots of activities scheduled over the weeks the festival is running including Christmas concerts, choir performances, Nordic storytelling and crafts, a clown show, and a rooftop Finnish sauna.
Open 10th November 2017 to 4th January 2018. Opening times vary.
Free entrance to markets. Price of tickets for events varies – see the website for full details.
Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX
6. Greenwich Wintertime Festival
The winter festival held at Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College opens for the first time this year and promises to combine contemporary and traditional festive experiences. There will be a covered outdoor skating rink, Father Christmas experience, festive music performances, and a curated Christmas market offering gifts and contemporary design from independent brands.
Open from 1st to 31st December 2017 10.30am – 10pm (last entry 6.30pm). Closed on 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th December, and Christmas Day.
Tickets start from £15 for adults and £8 for children, which includes a 3-hour session for the shows and market. Tickets for ice-skating and to visit Father Christmas cost extra.
College Approach, London, SE10 9LW
7. Crafty Fox Christmas Markets
Those looking for more unusual Christmas gifts this year should head to one of the Crafty Fox Christmas Markets, which are held in Elephant & Castle, Brixton, Peckham, and Foxton this year.
The markets offer the best of crafts, gifts, art, homewares and handmade gifts from independent makers. There’s also live music, food and drink, and crafting workshops on offer.
November 18 2017, 11am – 5pm at Mercato Metroplitano, Elephant and Castle
2nd – 3rd December 2017, 11am – 5pm at The Dogstar, Brixton
9th – 10th December 2017, 11am – 5pm at CLF Art Café, Peckham
14th December 2017, 4pm – 9pm at Geffrye Museum, Hoxton
16th December 2017, 11am – 5pm at Mercato Metroplitano, Elephant and Castle
Free entry to all markets.
8. Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair
If you can’t wait until December to get your festive shopping done, get yourself a ticket for the Country Living Christmas Fair (which is really more of a trade show) with hundreds of exhibitors selling gifts, decorations, homewares, crafts, food and drink, and fashion and accessories.
There’s also a full schedule of festive craft workshops to choose from including origami Christmas decorations, needle-felted Christmas baubles, block-printed wrapping paper, and more. A champagne bar and tea rooms are available for refreshment and there’s live music and Christmas carols on Thursday evenings.
8th to 12th November 2017 with various opening times – see the website for details.
Tickets from £10.50
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH
9. Tate Modern Christmas Market
The Tate Modern Christmas Market is back and promises to be bigger and better than ever this year. The market right outside the Tate Modern on Bankside includes around 70 German-style wooden chalets selling handmade toys, jewellery, gifts, and festive food and drink, and there’s also a Victorian carousel, new for this year.
Opens 17th November 2017 to 23rd December 2017, 11am – 8pm Monday to Thursday, 11am – 10pm Friday, 10am – 10pm Saturday, and 10am – 8pm Sunday.
Bankside, London SE1 9TG
10. Chelsea’s Enchanted Christmas Fair
The Chelsea Christmas Gift Fair is closed for refurbishment this year but fear not – if you want to get your fix of luxury festive shopping, the Enchanted Christmas Fair is running for one day only at Chelsea Old Town Hall. There will be around 40 hand-picked vendors offering items such as leather notebooks, foodie gifts, cashmere scarves, and designer homewares. Live entertainment, kids’ face painting and mulled wine will fill out the event for a fun day for the whole family.
Open 19th November 2017, 10am – 6pm
Entrance fee of £3
Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE