Christmas markets and fairs in London are a real festive treat. We round-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.
1. Southbank Winter Festival, opens Nov 10
This riverside Christmas market, not far from the London Eye, is one of the first to pop-up in 2017. The perennial Southbank street food 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. Cute! And we’ve started, so we’ll Finnish: this year there’s a sauna, so those of you who don’t commute on the Central Line can experience the thrill of getting sweaty with strangers.
2. Leicester Square Christmas Market, opens Nov 10
At the very heart of London’s tourist district, a 24-stall Christmas market is set to appear for the winter season. Along with food and gift stalls there’s also a large Speigeltent performance space, which will be hosting Christmas concerts, cabaret and children’s shows. Santa will also be in attendance at his grotto. Book tickets on their website.
3. Christmess, Borough, opens Nov 15
Christmess is a grown-up Christmas market with a difference: it’s ‘set in a parallel world where Christmas has been cancelled, and St Nicky is harbouring a group of rebel elves in an undercover hothouse of revolution thinly disguised as a present destruction factory.’ Hosted in an abandoned warehouse, the top floor is a decadent space for Christmas feasts and parties, but head downstairs for a makers market from London’s independent designers. 32 Southwark Street, SE1 1TU. Or attempt to use their frustratingly chaotic website!
4. Winter Wonderland London, Hyde Park, opens Nov 17
This great big Christmas fun fair draws Londoners, day-trippers and tourists from far and wide. It plays host to the world’s largest transportable rollercoaster (along with seven other theme park rides), shows from Cinderella on Ice and Zippos Circus, and this year there are even hireable karaoke huts to do you best Pogues singalong in. Entrance is free but attractions are not – tickets can be booked in advance.
5. Tate Modern Christmas Market, from Nov 17
We don’t have too much info on this right now, but expect, at a minimum, wooden chalets, bratwurst and some other stuff. (For fun, try appraising it like it’s a particularly challenging piece of modern art.) Afterwards, have a play on the swings installed in the Turbine Hall – a particular hoot after four or five Glühweins.
6. Winterville, Clapham Common, opens Nov 23
The trendy alternative to Winter Wonderland, Winterville is (apparently?!) moving from east London to south London this year. This Christmas market is expected to boast a street food line-up curated by Street Feast, film screenings from Backyard Cinema, laser crazy golf from PLONK and a lovely big ferris wheel. Fingers crossed for this one – a proper announcement is expected towards the end of October.
7. Christmas by the River, Bankside, opens Nov 30
The most easterly of riverside Christmas markets, you can find over 40 traders plying their Yuletide trades between London Bridge City Pier and Tower Bridge. There’s a snazzy modern take on a Christmas tree to spot, too! (Or at least there was last year.)
8. Wintertime Festival, Greenwich, opens Dec 1
A new contender for 2017, this one costs proper money to get into: £18 for grown-ups! Justifying the price tag, organisers are promising a professional ice-skating show on the covered ice rink, street performers and live music. Alas, meeting Santa and skating yourself costs extra. Crikey. Book tickets (or, y’know, wait until it opens to see how good it is) at their website.