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? Opens at 4 p.m. 21 November 21, 2019, then 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day until January 5, 2020.
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? November through January
Where? Southbank Centre. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo, Embankment, 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? November 8, 2019 through January 5, 2020
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? Mid-December through Christmas
Where? King's Cross Square (in front of the station on Euston Road). The nearest tube station is King's Cross.