Christmas markets and fairs in London are a real festive treat. We’ve rounded up some of the best winter markets the capital has to offer.
Mulled wine! Mince pies! Fairground rides! And if you’re lucky, a chance to meet Santa himself. These London Christmas markets are all worth a visit, if you ask us.
Classic London Christmas markets
The big names amongst London Christmas markets will run throughout the festive season. Check ’em out!
1. Southbank Winter Festival, until Dec 27
This riverside Christmas market, not far from the London Eye, is one of the first to pop-up in 2018. The perennial Southbank street food market vendors will be adding festive fare to their menus (melted cheese on everything, please!) and there’ll be gifts and trinkets to buy from little wooden huts. There’ll also be an array of shows and performances, including Circus 1903 and Rumpelstiltskin. Find out more here.
2. Leicester Square Christmas Market, until Jan 6
At the very heart of London’s tourist district, a sparkling Christmas market is set to return for the winter season. Along with beautiful food and gift stalls, there’ll also be a large Spiegeltent where you’ll be able to watch hilarious and fabulous performances from the Briefs Boys, as well as a Burlesque Carol Concert and so much more (including plenty of child-friendly shows and events). Read more about it here.
3. Winterville, Clapham Common, open Nov 15 – Dec 23
The trendy alternative to Winter Wonderland, Winterville is heading back to south London this year. This Christmas market is expected to boast a spectacular street food line-up, film screenings from Backyard Cinema, crazy golf from PLONK and a lovely big ferris wheel, plus ice skating and roller disco opportunities. Brought to you by the folks behind Field Day and Street Feast, this promises to be a bobby dazzler. More information here.
4. Kingston Christmas Market, open Nov 15 to Dec 31
Filling the town centre with festive cheer, Kingston’s traditional Christmas Market will have hand-crafted gifts and mulled wine galore! The market stalls are all housed in lovely wooden cabins adorned with Christmas decorations. It’s the perfect place to get into the festive spirit and start looking for those stocking fillers! More information here.
5. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, open Nov 22 – Jan 6
This great big Christmas fun fair draws Londoners, day-trippers and tourists from far and wide. It plays host to the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, an ice bar, loads of festive food stalls, and even hireable karaoke huts so you can work on your best Pogues impression. Entrance is free but attractions are not – tickets can be booked here.
6. Christmas by the River, Bankside, opens Nov 29 – Jan 2
With a beautiful backdrop of Tower Bridge and the city skyline, Christmas by the River has been illuminating the riverside for the past four years. Back again for 2018, it’s promising lovely stocking fillers, pop-up bars, and lots of delicious street food. Read more about it here.
Short-run London Christmas markets
From crafty Christmas markets to local Christmas festivities, this lot are only around for a short while!
7. The Festive Edition of Taste of London (Nov 15-18)
Kick off the Christmas season in style at the festive edition of Taste of London, running November 15-18 at Tobacco Dock in Wapping. Discover a world of Christmassy cuisines, where you can create your own tasting menu with signature dishes from some of London’s best restaurants. Taste the magic and book your tickets here.
8-10. Crafty Fox Market, Elephant & Castle, Kings Cross, Brixton, between Dec 1-15
Although they’re a year-round outfit, Crafty Fox run some charming Christmas markets all over town. Three foxy markets will run this year, in Elephant & Castle‘s Mercato Metropolitano (December 1st), Canopy Market in Kings Cross (December 7-9th), and The Department Store, Brixton (December 15-16th). More info.
11. Pear Tree Christmas Market, Battersea, Dec 1-2 & 8-9
On the shores of Battersea’s boating lake, you’ll find this Christmas cracker. Expanding for two weekends in 2018, the Christmas market run by the Pear Tree Cafe is loaded with artisan produce, making it perfect for foodies. Meanwhile, carols come courtesy of the Chelsea Pensioners Choir, which is just lovely. More info.
12. Belgravia Christmas Sunday, Dec 2
Perhaps the fanciest of London’s Christmas markets. Well it’s Belgravia darling, what did you expect? Sixty boutique stalls will be selling rather nice items, and you’ll also find carols, festive food, rivers of mulled wine, and a visit from Santa and his reindeer. More info.
13. Hampstead Village Christmas Fair, Dec 2
After a fab festive debut last year, Hampstead Village return with their version of the Christmas market, hoping to bring in the crowds. Food and craft stalls, Santa’s grotto, vintage fairground rides – expect to see them all on Hampstead High Street. More info.
14. SAMPLE Christmas, North Greenwich, Dec 2-3
Greenwich’s biggest craft market will once again undergo a festive makeover. SAMPLE hero creators from the worlds of fashion, art, design, and homeware, and throw delicious street food into the bargain too. A seriously stylish affair – more info here.
15. City Christmas Fair, Bank, Dec 3
Christmas markets in stunning locations really are what dreams are made of. Drapers Hall once played host to Oliver Cromwell and Henry VIII, but now it hosts a charitable festive affair. Run by Wellbeing of Women, which focuses on the healthcare of women and babies, the market features independent retailers and a silent auction, and is best enjoyed whilst sipping on champagne. Cheers! More info.
16. Pexmas, Peckham, Dec 8-9
Christmas is one pexy beast south of the river. Well-established, and punderful to boot, Pexmas’ Christmas Market sees local traders hoping to show off the best that Peckham has to offer. You’ll also find mulled wine, street food, and a tune or two as well. More info.
17. Urban Makers East, Mile End, Dec 8-9
If you’re looking for a distinctly mum-pleasing gift, this is your best bet. A huge range of designers and crafters descend on Mile End Park each year, selling everything from toys and ceramics, to stationery and textiles. The lineup differs across the two days, so there’s a prime opportunity to make a weekend of it. More info.
18. Renegade Craft Fair, Brick Lane, Dec 15-16
Not so much a Christmas market as a Christmas extravaganza, with 200 makers turning up for this one. They’ll fill the Old Truman Brewery full of crafty creations, arty bits, and anything else you fancy buying (or keeping for yourself). If you can’t find the perfect gift here, then it probably doesn’t exist. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news. More info.