Festive Fun and Seasonal Shopping in London
It's the most wonderful time of the year and London really knows how to celebrate the festive season in style. The city is home to a sparkling array of traditional Christmas markets that sell everything from hand-crafted gifts and decorations to foodie treats and festive booze. Many of the markets offer entertainment in the form of family-friendly fairground rides, carol singing, and ice rinks so veer off the high street and stock up on lots of presents and tons of fun. And is there a better way to shop for gifts than with a mulled wine in hand?
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
This annual Hyde Park pop-up gets bigger and better every year. The sprawling site is home to an ice skating rink, fairground rides including a ferris wheel, traditional German-style beer halls, a circus, food stalls, and grottos. Over 200 market stalls sell gifts and trinkets from Bavarian-style wooden chalets, all lit by fairy lights.
When? 10 a.m. to 10 p.m every day from November 17, 2017 to January 1, 2018
Where? Hyde Park. The nearest tube stations are Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Victoria and Knightsbridge
Part of the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, an annual arts celebration that brings festive theater performances and family-friendly events to the Southbank, the market stalls here line the river bank and occupy traditional wooden chalets. Grab a steaming cup of hot chocolate and stroll along the Thames while shopping for unique gifts, Scandinavian-style tree decorations, and quirky stocking stuffers.
When? 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) every day from November 10, 2017 to January 4, 2018
Where? Southbank Centre. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo, Embankment, and Southwark.
Head to the Tate Modern to get an art fix and a festive fix in one hit. Pretty wooden chalets line the grassy area outside the gallery and sell jewelry, toys, presents and seasonal food treats including bratwurst, roasted nuts, and glühwein. The star of the show is a traditional Victorian carousel.
When? 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday) every day from November 19 to December 23
Where? Outside Tate Modern. The nearest tube stations are London Bridge and Southwark.
Christmas in Leicester Square
This compact winter wonderland is slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square. There's a Santa's Grotto for the little ones and in the evening, the traditional Spiegeltent features a fun line up of festive shows from the Underbelly team, including a cabaret, comedy gigs and kid-friendly events. The market stalls sell handmade toys, candy, and festive ornaments. And there are plenty of food and drink stalls for a festive refuel.
When? 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. (10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) every day from November 10 to January 6
Where? Leicester Square. The nearest tube station is Leicester Square.
Real Food Christmas Market, King's Cross
Stock up on gifts for the foodies in your life at the festive edition of the Real Food Market outside King's Cross station. You'll find a tasty selection of produce from top artisan food and drink suppliers and lots of treats to eat on the go.
When? 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day from December 14 to December 23
Where? King's Cross Square (in front of the station on Euston Road). The nearest tube station is King's Cross.
Sutton House Christmas Market
Sutton House in Homerton was built in 1535 and is east London's oldest residence. The property is decking the halls this year for a special festive event that features a traditional Christmas market. Expect stalls selling ceramics, cards, clothes and jewelry, and topnotch food and drink options. Entertainment includes carol singing, theater performances, and a surreal Santa's Sleigh.
When? 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. each weekend from November 26 to December 18
Where? Sutton House, Homerton High Street. The nearest (overground) tube stations are Homerton and Hackney Central.