With just a few 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
21st November to 4th 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 gallery post of photos from Winter Wonderland.)
Hyde Park London, W2 4RU
10am – 10pm (except Christmas day) ~ hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Southbank Centre Winter Festival and 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. Alongside the market, there’s also the vertigo-inducing Festive Flyer, a fabulously festive Christmas Tree Maze, and the Southbank Centre Express, while inside Royal Festival Hall visitors can experience a range of shows including the breathtaking Slava’s Snowshow.
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX
East London Design Show
4th – 7th December
For an alternative Christmas shopping experience, head to the annual East London Design Show at The Old Truman Brewery. The show offers stylish surprises from more than 100 of the best independent, product, interior and jewellery designers in London. With wares including ceramics, clothes, jewellery, furniture, stationary, children’s toys, lighting, art and homewares – not to mention the requisite array of quirky trinkets. This year, there’s also a new food hall that will feature the best in local, national and international foods to gift. As well as shopping, you’ll also find a bar/cafe, and fantastic workshops on things like sustainable gift-wrapping, hat making and toy making.
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL
Thurs 12pm-6pm | Friday 12pm-9pm | Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm – eastlondondesignshow.co.uk
Somerset House Christmas Arcade
11th November to 11th January
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. This year, The Christmas Arcade transforms into a pop-up version of Fortnum & Mason’s flagship Piccadilly store, with loads of great festive treats including their iconic hampers, food and drink, confectionery, decorations, candles and diffusers, tea caddies and china, winter accessories, plus stocking fillers, gifts and games.
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Opening times vary, check the website ~ www.somersethouse.org.uk
Covent Garden Christmas
For me, Covent Garden is the capital of Christmas in London. Every year, the lights and decorations are gorgeous; it’s always a site worth seeing! This lovely festival always boasts a range of treats including reindeer petting, candlelit storytelling, craft workshops and street entertainers. This year, the St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden is also hosting a Christmas Carol Concert at The Prisoner’s Education Trust, a charity which provides access to broader learning opportunities for prisoners.
Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8AA ~ coventgardenlondonuk.com
What are your favourite Christmas markets in London? Have I missed any off this list?