Christmas isn’t Christmas until you’ve consumed your body weight in mince pies and turkey and washed it down with lashings of mulled wine and hot chocolate under a twinkly winter night sky. Fortunately, with a festive market practically in every borough, you won’t need to stray far from your accommodation near Paddington station in London to get your cinnamon scroll and hot cider fix.
Explore some of London’s most festive Christmas markets using our ultimate guide to this year’s fairs, which never fail to spread Christmas cheer with après style bars and food. ’Tis the season to be merry!
Year-round; 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Borough Market is open all year and should be on the agenda of every visitor in London. At Christmas, the market is decorated and transformed into a jolly hang-out favoured by local residents and commuters. This market is purely for food, so come to Borough Market for turkey and cranberry rolls, eggnog and mulled cider. You can stock up on mince pies to keep the nibbles at bay during your stay at the Park Grand Hotel and seasonal produce to take back home. The market is open daily, but closed on Sundays so plan accordingly.
Christmas at Canopy Market, King’s Cross
Year-round; West Handyside Canopy 1 Wharf Road, Kings Cross, N1C 4BZ
The market at King’s Cross is another year-round market which gets spruced up for the festive season and has extended opening hours. Usually a weekend affair, from late November the market will be open daily.
With crumbly mince pies, flowing mulled wine and a wistful rendition of Fairytale of New York from live performers – you don’t have to venture too far from your accommodation near Paddington station to get a slice of the festive atmosphere. With pop up stalls from revolutionary independent designers, talks on the history of design from experts at the V&A and the Royal Academy, and a host of special design-themed events – this market is perfect for the artistically minded.
Zero Waste Christmas Market
7 Dec; The Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
For the environmentally-conscious Christmas shopper, this East London market is the place to pick up gifts that will help to keep your carbon footprint low. Explore the wares from over 50 sustainable and ethical brands who are committed to bringing Christmas cheer at the same time as doing their bit to save the planet. Enjoy festive vegan treats and discover cruelty-free goods. You can even take part in family-friendly, Christmassy craft workshops and listen to inspirational talks from eco-warriors. Don’t forget your bag for life!
Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
6 – 8 Dec; Hampton Court Palace, Molesey, KT8 9AU
The medieval-themed fayre at the palace of Henry VIII is best enjoyed as a full day trip during your stay at the Park Grand London Hotel The event takes place for one weekend only, and features a Tudor kitchen, free cookery demonstrations and live music. Goods include port, cakes and bakes, cheeses and international cuisine with festive touches – a golden opportunity to stock your pantry for the holiday! Tap on a visit to the palace and gardens whilst you’re there.
Winter Market at the Southbank Centre
Now until 27 Dec; The Queen’s Walk, SE1 8XX
This treasured, annual market takes place along the stretch of river between the London Eye and the Southbank Centre. You’ll find plenty of bars, food stalls and artisans selling their handmade wares from cute wooden log cabins. It’s open all day but come here by night to appreciate fairy lights and a twinkling London skyline from the riverbank. You must take a spin on the iconic, vintage carousel and if you’re feeling flush you could book one of the festive igloos hosted by Jimmy’s Lodge and tuck into some alpine dishes.
Christmas in Leicester Square
Now until 5 Jan 2020; Leicester Square, WC2H 7DE
It’s worth wading through the crowd to see Leicester Square decked out in Christmas lights and traditional alpine huts. They have a Santa’s Grotto, so this market is lovely for very young children. If you’re coming to London to catch a West End show, make a pitstop here for your pre-theatre dinner. The market even offers its own schedule of fabulously festive shows in the beautiful surrounds of a traditional 1920s Spiegeltent. The line-up includes family events and cabarets strictly for the eyes of grown-ups.
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park
Now until 9 Jan 2020; Hyde Park, W2 2UH
Winter Wonderland is the largest and perhaps the most famous of London’s markets over the Christmas season, and remarkably, entry remains free. Whatever festive fodder you fancy, you can find it here among the hundreds of stalls along with tipples including hot whiskey. The fairground features everything from white-knuckle rides to make you scream to a zen Ferris wheel. You’ll also find a circus, workshops and a comedy club to keep you entertained day and night. Big players for this year’s Christmas programme include Paddington on Ice and A Christmas Carol at the Magical Ice Kingdom.
Christmas by the River
Now until 5 Jan 2020; Queen’s Walk, SE1 2DB
This annual market isn’t too far from its Southbank neighbour and usually offers a slightly quieter spot to enjoy a Bratwurst. These market stalls are nestled between London Bridge City Pier to The Scoop at More London, providing amazing views of the London landmarks the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Homemade gifts and winter warmers can be purchased from vendors in cosy German-style chalets. Enjoy a winter cocktail or craft beer from the alpine bar whilst live music keeps the atmosphere feeling celebratory. They host a couple of free craft workshops too, such as wreath-making. Utterly romantic, there’s certainly a reason why Christmas by the River was voted the best Christmas Market to impress a first date, in a study carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Premier Inn last year!