With less than two weeks to go, it’s officially time to be excited about Christmas, and one of the best places in the UK to enjoy the holiday season is London! One of my favourite things about Christmas in the capital is the abundance of markets; gorgeous gifts, hot snacks, mulled wine, hand-crafts, hot chocolate… need I go on? So, here’s a list of London’s best long-term Christmas markets this year.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland ~ 23rd November to 5th January
Winter Wonderland has taken over London’s Hyde Park with glittering lights, snow-covered chalets , and dozens of fairground rides. As London’s most popular Christmas Market, it’s fairly overcrowded and very expensive, but entrance is free and it’s so fun that it’s definitely worth a visit. Tons of fabulous market stalls are laden with great gifts and gorgeous decorations, but there are loads more attractions – including a funfair, ice skating, the Magical Ice Kingdom (filled with incredible ice sculptures), and circus shows. Some of the attractions and rides are charged and can be very popular, so its recommended to buy the tickets online in advance. (Don’t miss my recent gallery post of photos from Winter Wonderland.)
Hyde Park London, W2 4RU ~ 10am – 10pm (except Christmas day) ~ hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Southbank Centre Christmas Market ~ 15th November to 24th December
One of my favourite Christmas markets can be found along the Thames at South Bank. Tons of beautifully decorated wooden chalets line the river beneath the glittering London Eye. This is the perfect place to indulge a healthy Christmas appetite; German mulled wine “Glühwein”, barbecued bratwurst, chimney cake, crepes, waffles – the list goes on and on. There’s also a great range of Christmas gifts including handmade soaps, wooden toys, and unique jewellery.
Riverside, between Southbank Centre and the London Eye, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX
Camden Lock Night Market ~ 12th to 14th December
This weekend is the pinnacle of Camden’s “People’s Republic of Christmas” celebration, with a full house of designers and makers, cocktail bars and street food, plus Camden Market’s very own radio station hosted live on-site, and a pop-up bar courtesy of Camden Town Brewery. You’re sure to find tons of fabulous gifts – bespoke jewellery, vintage clothes, and handmade decorations. This is a seriously cool way to see in the Christmas season!
Camden Lock Place, (off Chalk Farm Rd), NW1 8AF ~ 10am – 10pm ~ camdenlockmarket.com
London Glassblowing Christmas Open Studio ~ 22nd November to 24th December
Browse a stunning gallery of gorgeous glass-wear amongst the roaring furnaces, whilst enjoying homemade mince pies and mulled wine. Pick up a few Christmas gifts, or some of the beautifully delicate glass baubles to decorate your tree, or simply spend some time looking through the gallery of lovely, free-blown glass pieces.
62-66 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UD ~ 10am to 6pm ~ londonglassblowing.co.uk
Somerset House Christmas Arcade ~ 14th November to 5th January
One of my favourite markets from last year is back! The Christmas Arcade at the gorgeous Somerset House is a fantastic place to pick up a few bespoke Christmas gifts. Pop-up shops have been installed in the opulent rooms of the West Wing, turning the house into a temporary mini-mall, while outside in the courtyard is one of London’s nicest ice-rinks and a beautiful Christmas tree. Retailers at the Arcade this year include Crabtree & Evelyn, chocolatier William Curley, and florists Pinstripes and Peonies. Plus, this year there’s a glamorous Champagne & Chocolate Bar – the perfect place to round off an evening shopping trip!
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA ~ opening times vary, check the website ~ www.somersethouse.org.uk
Covent Garden Christmas ~ Until Christmas
For me, Covent Garden is the capital of Christmas in London. Every year, the lights and decorations are gorgeous; this year there’s even a giant Lego snow globe which is built from 120,000 lego bricks! Besides the festive food market every Thursday and Friday, this lovely festival boasts a range of treats including reindeer petting, candlelit storytelling, craft workshops and street entertainers. This year, the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is also hosting Once Upon a Christmas, an immersive, grown-up pantomime inspired by our favourite fairytales (tickets are £35).
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8AA ~ coventgardenlondonuk.com
What are your favourite Christmas markets in London? Have I missed any off this list?