Best Christmas Markets
For the kids both young and old…
The first stop for the kids this season is the new CHRISTMAS IN LEICESTER SQUARE
, partly because it’s the new kid on the block and we think you should check it out. It’s never going to be Winter Wonderland, but it’s certainly worth a visit in this most central London square. Here you’ll find a magical Christmas grotto, a vintage Speigelten and a traditional Christmas market where you can buy all of the classic Christmas gifts and trinkets to your heart’s content. The smaller size of this market means that you can get your head around it more easily than its Hyde Park counterpart, and enjoy the warming Christmas lights in relative peace.
But if you think that bigger is better, WINTER WONDERLAND
, the biggest Christmas market in the country, is the place. Prepare yourself for the crowds and set your expectations to ‘high’. Located in the beautiful Hyde Park, this massive tribute to Christmas fun is simply anyone’s Christmas dream come true, and in its 10th year, it is the biggest and best to date. There’s plenty of colour, sweets and songs for everyone to get excited about as you wonder around this labrynth of Christmas spirit.
Buy handmade goods and confectioneries at the traditional mini wooden lodges, and experience everything from acrobatics and ballet shows to an ice bar to a 5.2G mega roller coaster (the largest transportable roller coaster in the world, in fact.) Our favourites are the Nutcracker On Ice production, performed by the talented Imperial Ice Stars for its first year, as well as the ice rink itself, which you can try out for yourself. Get your skates on in one of the bookable 50-minute ice skating sessions on this beautiful frozen plaza, set with the park’s Victorian bandstand as its centrepiece. Look up to the 100, 000 or so Christmas lights hanging above you as you glide your way around and realise why Winter Wonderland is for the big kids as well as the small.
For the adults…
If you’re looking for something slightly more refined and adult-focused, why not check out the renowned Southbank Centre Christmas Market. This tasteful market is alive with carol singers, festive food stalls and of course the classic wooden chalets, selling gifts and home made arts and crafts. Grab yourself one of the mouth-watering Hog Roasts and look out towards the Thames and the London Eye in style. Similar is the atmospheric Christmas market at the Tate Modern, but with that quintessentially arty twist. The wooden chalets here hold a collection of handmade wooden toys, jewellery, Christmas tree decorations and more. Sink your teeth into some German bratwurst, roasted chestnuts and hot, tantalising gluwein (the German version of mulled wine, as it should be) and embrace the traditional festive cheer outside this famous gallery. And perhaps the best part is that it’s open until 8pm on weekdays and 10pm at the weekends, making for the perfect apres-gallery treat. And we simply have to recommend the fascinating Camden Lock Market, taking place every Thursday night from the 17th November. This ever-changing market is a chameleon: it changes theme each week, making for a whole different experience every time you visit. Enjoy incredible gifts and toe-tapping live music as well as the usual food and drink of the season to keep you going through the night. You’ll can even buy yourself a Christmas tree here for the fully authentic experience – once you’ve gotten the Dutch courage to carry it home from the hot toddies and mulled wine at the North Star bar, of course!
For the foodie…
And for those of us who love our food, the Real Food Winter Market is our first stop for some proper, traditional Christmas shopping, and it’s gourmet all the way. Conveniently located in the square outside of King’s Cross station in the centre of the city, this is your one-stop-shop for everything artisinal this British winter. Find a wide selection of sustainable, ethically produced food to buy as gifts to take home for your loved ones or your pantry, or simply just to nibble on then and there as a delicious as-you-go lunch. Find all the continental cheeses that you could wish for, with wheels a-plenty and tasters ready to be sampled and the cured meats of your dreams to either save for your pantry or put into a hamper for the perfect festive gift. Munch your lunch break away with mulled wine and mince pies galore as you potter around the many interesting local, British food stores. Land yourself the perfect homemade Christmas pudding that you can pass off as your own and leave this market with that warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach…
Or how about trying a range of top food stalls from across London in one place at the TASTE OF LONDON WINTER
? Ignite your taste buds to everything festive at this pop-up event, giving you the chance to try and purchase the best seasonal ingredients for your Christmas cooking. Watch and take part in live cooking demonstrations and taste your way to the Tobacco Dock without ever looking back. Or for an even more luxurious Christmas foodie treat, why not do your shopping at Fortnum & Mason’s pop-up Christmas shop, the Christmas Arcade at Somerset House? An experience in itself, wander through the multifarious themed rooms in the West Wing of this historic house and enjoy the new fresh food range, open this year, with everything from the perfect mince pies to locally cured smoked salmon for your plate.
So, it’s clear that there really is something for everyone in the London Christmas market scene this year, the only difficult bit is knowing where to find it (and not getting distracted by the mince pies…).