There is no better way to spend an evening than exploring the Christmas Markets in London. Stroll along seeing the stalls selling all manner of gifts, drinking mulled wine and enjoying one of the delicious treats.
Some of the markets are walking distance from each other so you could even make a night of it and visit several different ones over the course of the evening.
Take advantage of the free entertainment provided by street performers and musicians. You might just find yourself singing carols under the stars.
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Just a stone’s throw away from Westminster, you will find the Southbank Centre Christmas Market. Here, you can browse the various wooden chalets for festive food and drinks while overlooking the stunning River Thames.
Indulge on succulent barbecued Bratwurst sausages and waffles doused in maple syrup before exploring the riverside with a mulled wine in hand.
Peruse the stalls for last-minute stocking fillers and gifts for your loved ones. Handcrafted wooden toys and jewellery can be bought here. There are even gifts for your pets!
Also known as “Southbank Winter Festival” and “Southbank Winter Market”, Southbank transforms into a winter wonderland over the festive period with incredible illuminations, beautiful carol singing and tons of family entertainment.
In 2019, a pop-up cinema screened family classics such as Beauty and The Beast, Toy Story and Frozen. Other attractions include a funfair where screams of laughter and joy can be heard from rides like the carousel and the adrenaline-boosting Starflyer that lifts you 75 metres into the air.
2. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
The traditional Christmas market consists of dozens of Alpine-style wooden huts serving delicious hot food and drinks. From chocolate-covered crepes and waffles to creamy mugs of hot chocolate and spiced glühwein (mulled wine), you won’t be short on food or drinks – put it that way!
Why not grab a cocktail at Bar Ice, where the tables and chairs are literally made out of ice?
Pre-booking is essential, so don’t leave it too late. The Fire Pit bar creates a warm Christmas atmosphere with its crackling fires and live music. Then there is the unique Carousel Bar taking you on a 360-degree spin while you enjoy a tipple of your choice.
Other attractions include ice skating on the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, or why not take a trip on the Giant Observation Wheel to take in the magical views of London!
See the eyes of your children light up as they ride the Victorian carousel and the terrifyingly brilliant rollercoaster. You will not regret a moment spent revelling in the magic of Winter Wonderland.
3. Christmas in Leicester Square
Leicester Square is transformed into a festive wonderland during Christmas. The markets run from November until January and are the perfect place to browse for a gift or tuck into festive treats and drinks.
Don’t worry about bored faces as there is plenty for the kids to get involved with. In 2019, Leicester Square saw some seriously fun entertainment which we hope will make a comeback this year.
Pay a visit to Santa’s Grotto for a chat with the man himself, and you may even receive a small gift in return!
Live performances and music can be seen and heard daily around the square creating an air of excitement all around. Impressive circus acts performed by La Clique included fire breathing and sword-swallowing back in 2019.
Hopefully, the show will return this year, that is, if you’re brave enough to watch it!
The main markets are open from midday until 12 pm and at the slightly earlier time of 10 am at the weekend. If you want to browse the markets in peace, arriving at midday is recommended when they are not too busy.
4. Greenwich Christmas Market
Open all year round, Greenwich Market is perfect for a spot of Christmas shopping. The market has around 150 stalls selling all kinds of festive treats, gifts and drinks.
Choose from a selection of quirky stocking fillers, original artworks and home accessories. Sweet treats such as gingerbread cookies and Christmas cupcakes can be purchased as well as hot drinks.
The inside of the hall is draped in glittering decorations and dazzling lights that create an air of warmth and excitement.
Be sure to wander around the beautiful village of Greenwich to take in the scenic, and fairy-lit views of London. Take a wintry walk up to the top of the hill at Greenwich Park, or step over the Greenwich Meridian Line.
5. Winterville in Clapham Common
This alternative festival held at London’s Clapham Common is a mixture of spectacular live music and performances, food tents and craft workshops.
There is also an ice rink, a roller disco and a pop-up cinema.
The first Winterville took place in 2017 and became a huge success, leaving the public wanting more. Well-known celebrities such as former Spice Girl Melanie C and nightclub favourite DJ Yoda and the Cuban Brothers have taken to the stage.
Sadly Winterville won’t be running in 2021 but there are high hopes for its return next year.
6. Somerset House Christmas Arcade
The Christmas Arcade at Somerset House is a fantastic place for a fun day out with the family. Each year, the West Wing is transformed into a mini shopping centre with an array of pop up stalls.
Pick up a festive hamper or a last-minute gift for that special someone. These temporary stalls also sell festive decorations and yummy treats to enjoy whilst taking in the sights.
If shopping isn’t your thing, why not pull on a pair of skates and take to the ice rink to make some (most likely priceless) memories.
7. Kingston Upon Thames Christmas Market
Magnificent displays of light and dazzling decorations blanket the pedestrianised streets of Kingston Upon Thames at Christmas, and you won’t believe your eyes when you see how Ancient Market Place is transformed at this time of the year.
Up to 50 Bavarian-style chalets line the marketplace selling only the finest German delicacies and steaming hot drinks to warm up those freezing fingertips.
Handmade crafts and trinkets can be purchased as well as stocking fillers and home accessories.
Live entertainment from local musicians and street performers can also be enjoyed by all as the air is filled with laughter and joy for a truly magical experience.
8. Christmas By The River
Want to find the best views in London? Look no further than Christmas By The River markets.
Take in the breathtaking views of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London as you peruse the scenic Christmas market by the river.
Year after year, visitors are dazzled by the stunning illuminations and festive decor that cover London Bridge City. Here you will find festive chalets serving up the most delicious festive treats and drinks. Enjoy a spiced mulled cider with friends or indulge in a tasty hog roast bap followed by waffles with maple syrup.
Christmas By The River is well worth a visit if you happen to be passing by!
9. Covent Garden Christmas
Covent Garden is home to some of the best Christmas markets in London. With over 115,000 festive lights sprinkled across the streets and a huge 60-foot Christmas tree, Covent Garden goes hard when it comes to Christmas!
The cobbled Piazza and stunning architecture are littered with decorations that take up to 300 hours to install. Live performances draw in the crowds with their joyful music and energetic dancing.
The Covent Garden Christmas market is full of unusual and unique pieces. Whether you are looking to treat yourself or buy a gift for that special someone, you are sure to find it here.
The infamous Apple Market is brimming with independent stalls selling tasty festive treats, unique gifts and trinkets. Treat yourself to a hot mulled wine and a gingerbread man as you shop ‘til you drop in this beautiful area of London.
10. Westfield London Winter Village
This one-stop-shop will provide you with all you need for the festive season. Winter Village made its debut in 2019 and was an instant hit with the people. So what is there to do at Winter Village?
Dine, in style, in a cosy Winter Igloo, the newest addition to Westfield Square. Enjoy a meal with friends or family and treat yourself to a festive cocktail or two – go on, you deserve it!
Booking is required, and as they are usually in high demand, we recommend booking early.
If you are in search of some seriously fun entertainment, then the All Star Lanes karaoke chalets may be right up your street. Installed with a state-of-the-art karaoke system complete with over 80,000 songs, you are bound to have an unforgettable festive night out.
Westfield London is home to around 400 retailers selling everything from Yuletide gifts, home accessories and delicious takeaway food and drinks. You will also find London’s second-largest Christmas tree here, which is a sight to behold with thousands of twinkling lights and stunning decorations.
11. Country Living Fair London
Brought to life from the magazine itself, the Country Living Christmas Fair is an unmissable day out if you prefer a more traditional way of life.
Brought together under one roof, there is so much to see and do here at the Business Design Centre in Islington. From home styling advice to cooking workshops, you will not want to leave.
Choose from a selection of local dairy products and festive treats brought to you by over 450 artisan businesses. Browse the stalls for small gifts and Christmas hampers before stopping for a glass of bubbles at the popular Champagne Bar.
If cooking is your thing, why not check out one of the many food demonstrations presented by celebrity chefs.
Members of the Country Living editorial team will also host talks based on the latest and greatest decorating techniques and how you can live more sustainably.
The fair will run from November 10 – November 14, 2021, so book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.
12. Maltby Street Night Market
Festive menus from all over the globe can be purchased from various street food vendors as well as spiced mulled wine and sweet treats.
Carol singers and buskers are the choices of entertainment at Maltby market, and the sound of laughter and chit-chat fills the arches with festive spirit.
While it may not be deemed ‘high-end’ like other London markets, there is something so authentic and rustic about Maltby that it doesn’t need to be. The Dickensian setting unites all who visit, making it a great spot for a bite to eat and a casual browse.
Also, it’s a must to try some of the Christmas beers on the Bermondsey Beer Mile!
13. Eccleston Yards Market
With over 60 boutique market stalls, the Eccleston Yards Christmas Market is located in Belgravia, one of London’s most affluent districts.
Here you will find some of the most dazzling stocking fillers and festive gifts, as well as undeniably delicious food and the best in hot beverages. Live music and entertainment are also performed by up-and-coming local artists, giving them the publicity they deserve.
The market can be found just a ten minute walk away from Victoria tube station and runs most weekends in December from around 5 pm to 11 pm.
14. Christmas Under The Canopy
The hanging stars light up once again for the return of Christmas Under The Canopy held at King’s Cross.
Get into the Christmas spirit with a festive coffee and browse around this fantastic market. Whether you are shopping for yourself or others, you are sure to find some Christmas inspiration from the sheer amount of stalls at King’s Cross.
Last year, the Crafty Fox joined forces with the market and work from London’s finest artists, and designers could be purchased in a special three-day market.
Festive blooms were also available from local botanists, The Rooms as well as gin gift boxes from Artisan Gin.
We hope Popina will be back this year with their delicious selections of festive mince pies, and Heritage Cheese are bound to lure in customers with their luxury cheese boards.
If you like shopping, eating and drinking (who doesn’t?), then get yourself down to Christmas Under The Canopy for a great day out. Don’t worry about the weather because it’s all indoors!
Hi, I'm Kat, an Australian that moved to London in 2013 to start a new adventure. What a roller-coaster that was! I love helping others move to the UK and people explore the world! I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.