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Things to do | Posted 22 Nov 2019
Ahh Christmas markets. The sweet smell of roasting chestnuts, mulled wine and bratwursts every night. When the first few markets begin to spring up all over the capital, you know that Christmas is well and truly here.

London certainly has its fair share of Christmas markets, whether you’re all about the traditional or looking for something a little different to start your Xmas in style. These are our picks of the best.

Central London

The Christmas spirit always comes to Central London when the cold weather hits. Take your pick from the following, or why not visit them all?

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park (25th November - 5th January)

The best place to start just has to be Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. It’s a favourite amongst locals, tourists and city breakers alike and it’s easy to see why. There’s the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, an ice bar, an entire village inspired by après-ski, festive food halls and everyone’s favourite German beer tents.

Trafalgar Square (12th November onwards)

This is the first time a Christmas market has come to London’s most famous square. It feels like it’s the natural place for a classic Christmas choice, already being the home of the huge Christmas tree throughout December and the favourite location for carol singers in the city. You can expect a real festive feel and true Christmas treat in the North side of the square, right in front of the National Gallery.

Leicester Square (8th November - 5th January)

Right at the heart of touristy London, Leicester Square brings a little pizzazz to the festive proceedings. Home to everything you’d expect from a Christmas market, you’ll also find award-winning performances in the Spiegeltent, promising variety shows, firebreathers and cabaret acts aplenty.

Southbank Centre's Winter Market (8th November - 5th January)

Cheese fondue igloos? Yes please. Global street food? Why not. Mulled wine and mulled cider? Ok. Artisan cocktails? Go on then.

You can expect all this and more from a true staple on the London Christmas market scene in the heavenly setting of the Southbank Centre.

Christmas by the River, London Bridge & Tower Bridge (26th November - 5th January)

This annual Christmas get-together along the River Thames is a real treat, promising traditional gifts and delightful food and drink from German-inspired chalets. Did we mention the sumptuous views across the river taking in both London Bridge and Tower Bridge? You have to see them for yourself. 

Central London is the ideal location to base yourself for the best markets nearby as well as those a little further afield in the capital, with hotel options including Leonardo Royal Tower Bridge (right next to Christmas by the River), as well as Leonardo Royal Hotel London St Paul’s and Jury’s Inn London Holborn both within walking distance of Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.

South East London

A little further out of central and with a trip to South East London, you’ll find something a little different with a range of markets all promising festive fun.

Christmas at Greenwich Market (4th, 11th & 18th December)

This World Heritage site is well worth a visit at any time of year, but it really comes alive with the spirit of Christmas. A trip here needs a little time, with around 120 stalls ready to be explored. It’s open late night on Wednesdays in the run up to Christmas, ideal for a little late evening mulled wine in this stunning setting.

Scandinavian Christmas Market, Rotherhithe (18th - 20th November)

Now we’re talking. Of course, Santa’s from this part of the world so this one really makes sense. It also makes sense due to the Finnish and Norwegian contingent in this part of London. So, it’s time to go traditional Scandinavian with delicious delicacies, warming drinks and some treats for the kids.

Maltby Street Night Market (14th & 21st December)

As the name suggests, this is one for Londoners enjoying an after work treat, or for tourists that want to really experience the beauty of Christmas in the city at night. And as it’s the evening, it would be rude not to be tempted by one of the fantastic festive gins available from the market’s bars. The shopping isn’t too bad either.

South London

Pexmas (7th - 8th December)

Peckham is fast becoming one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in London, with Pexmas the jewel in its Christmas crown. Running over just one weekend in December, it’s time to join the thousands of visitors that descend on this part of South London ever year to enjoy festive stalls, mulled wine and some of the best street food in the capital.

South West London

Kingston Christmas Market (14th November - 31st December)

The residents of this lovely part of South West London enjoy the best of traditional Christmas fare with the town’s famous market running right up until New Year’s Eve. Expect classic wooden cabins, excellent handmade gifts just ready to fill up the kid’s stockings, and the best in festive food and drink.

East End 

Quirky, edgy, cool and hip. These are all words always associated with the newest residents of the East End. It makes sense that their markets would follow suit. So, why not head down to the East End for a Christmas experience with a difference?

Bohemia Place Christmas Market, Hackney (25th November - 1st December, 7th & 8th December, 14th & 15th December)

Situated directly opposite Hackney Railway Station this is the ideal blend of festive fun, cool venues and the real spirit of Christmas. The festive fun comes in the form of all the food and drink you can manage, while the cool vibes come from some of the hottest venues in the capital as the market’s setting. You can promote the spirit of Christmas by getting involved in some of the initiatives to help the region’s homeless.

London Artisan's Winter Edition, Brick Lane (20th - 21st December)

This is the first on our list from vibrant Brick Lane, and this one is all about finding those unique gifts to really put a smile on the faces of your loved ones, whether they love beauty products, jewellery or homeware. Think handmade, organic and sustainable gifts and you’re on the right track.

Zero Waste Christmas Market, Brick Lane (7th December)

The second Brick Lane offering in our list tackles one of the biggest issues at Christmas while still enabling us to get in on the yuletide action. Unfortunately Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of year, but not with a gift from this zero waste wonderland. Expect plastic-free, vegan-friendly, sustainable treasures.

Urban Makers Christmas Market, Mile End (23rd November - 8th December)

Get those essential stocking fillers and help local independent makers at the same time. It’s win, win.

North London 

It’s time to get a little crafty and give your loved ones the best in handcrafted gifts with a trip to a couple of the top Christmas markets in North London.

Crafty Fox Market, Canopy Market, King's Cross (1st - 13th December)

Crafty Fox has a range of markets running across the capital on various dates throughout December, but the offering at Canopy Market in King’s Cross is our pick of the bunch. It is the place to be for original handmade artwork, homeware and toys. Just make sure you’re ready to buy as it’s a hard one to leave without packed shopping bags.

Etsy Made Local, King's Cross (7th December)

Having made its name giving makers from all over the world the platform to sell online, Etsy is enhancing offline selling by giving local Londoners the chance to showcase their wares in the run up to the big day in December. They’re also giving you the opportunity to get those essential handmade stocking fillers, toys, clothes and homewares. The artisan food, Christmas nibbles and of course you guessed it, mulled wine is great too.

Wherever you plan to head to in London, it’s time to make this Christmas a truly magical one.

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