During the cold winter months, Popping on your biggest coat and heading down to one of the many Christmas markets London has to offer is an activity you just can’t miss. With so many to choose from, you can of course visit the most obvious ones (Winter Wonderland, say) for a glass of mulled wine and some ice skating, or choose an alternative one like the environmentally friendly Zero Waste Market.
Regardless of which one tickles your fancy, each one has all the elements to really kick of the Christmas season and they make for great Instagram opportunities too.
We’ve put together a list of the best ones to visit in the city, so get out that puffer and head down to one of these Christmas extravaganzas.
The Winter Forest at Broadgate Circle
When: 6 November – 20 December 2019
Why: This year, The Winter Forest at Broadgate Circle features even more stalls and activities for visitors to enjoy. Head down to its launch party on the 6 November to get a first look at everything on offer (as well as the chance to mingle with some special guests) and from then on expect the likes of Mr Fogg gin tastings, Christmas workshops and live music. The Christmas market has also teamed up with Mind in the City mental health charity, donating all the proceeds made from event tickets to the charity, so you can do a good deed for charity while getting into the festive spirit.
Where: Broadgate Circle
Winter at Vinegar Yard
When: 30 November – 1 December
Why: Transforming into a cosy winter space for the Christmas season, Vinegar Yard are launching70s themed bar Abigail’s and restaurant Nanny Bill’s to join the line-up of street food vendors at the popular spot below the Shard. For one weekend in the lead up for Christmas, it will also be host to a Christmas market featuring live music, over 40 stalls perfect for buying some unique gifts and of course all the food and drinks vendors you know and love.
Where: St Thomas Street, SE1 3QU
Christmas by The River
When: 26 November 2019- 5 January 2020
Why: Set along the river with views of Tower Bridge, Christmas by the river is home to over 70 wooden cabins filled with food, drinks and all the Christmas trinkets you could possibly wish for. This year’s theme is ‘vintage ski’ so expect to find lots of après themed bars. You can also join in with wreath making, jumper decorating and enjoy live music.
Where: London Bridge City, SE1 2DB
Southbank Centre Winter Market
When: 8 November 2019- 5 January 2020
Why: Traders from all over the world will be bringing their handmade goods, street food and warm drinks to the Southbank over the Christmas season. Some of the food pop-ups that are being featured this year include Applebee’s – serving up fish and chips, shucked oysters and Champagne – and Bar Under the Bridge, an alpine-style ski lodge with ping pong tables and board games to keep you busy. You can also visit Jimmy’ Lodge igloos next to Waterloo Bridge.
Where: The Queen’s Walk, SE1 8XX
When: 21 November 2019- 5 January 2020
Why: It would be a sin not to include one of London’s most popular Christmas markets in this article. It is rare that you will find someone that hasn’t been or isn’t planning to go to Winter Wonderland at some point over the festive period. With an ice skating rink, fairground rides, hundreds of market stalls and some great food, no matter how crowded it may get, you can’t deny it will definitely get you in the Christmas Spirit. Food-wise, give the Bavarian Village a visit, or pop down to Bar Ice for a cocktail. There are plenty of street food vendors too.
Where: Hyde Park
Winterville Clapham Common
When: 15 November 2019 – 23 December 2019
Why: Taking over Clapham Common for the festive season, Winterville offers up the likes of ice skating, theatre shows, mini and roller disco. Food-wise try one of the many street food vendors including Henhaus, Up In My Grill and Chin Chin dessert bar.
Where: Clapham Common, SW4 9DE
Kingston Christmas Market
When: 15 November 2019 – 31 December 2019
Why: If you fancy venturing down to zone 6 during the Christmas season, Kingston’s Christmas Market takes over the town centre with wooden log cabins selling Christmas trinkets and sweet treats. In the middle of it all you can enjoy a German hot dog, some live music and a glass of mulled wine. The gigantic Christmas tree is pretty impressive too.
Where: Ancient Market Place, KT1 1JS
Leicester Square Christmas Market
When: 8 November 2019 - 5 January 2020
Why: Located slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square, pay a visit to one of London’s most centrally located Christmas markets. With lots of glittering stalls filled with Christmas goodies to choose from, you can give this market a quick visit if you are passing by as its only little compared to some of the others around the city. If you have kids, get some tickets for the Santa’s grotto too.
Where: Leicester Square, WC2H 7DE
Greenwich Christmas Market
When: 4 December 2019 – 31 December 2019
Why: During the Christmas season, this historic spot changes from a regular to a Christmas market, featuring festive parades, over 100 vendors and lots of food stalls to choose from. Every Wednesday you can also visit for the late night market, if you’re too busy in the day to pop down for a visit. As it’s not in Central London, this market is usually a little less crowded than the big markets so ideal if you aren’t one for crowds.
Where: 5B Greenwich Market, SE10 9HZ
Zero Waste Christmas Market
When: 7 December 2019
Why: If you fancy a slightly alternative Christmas market, running for the second year in a row, why not try the Zero Waste Christmas Market? With the Christmas season comes a hell of a lot of packaging, single use plastic and food waste, so if you are trying to be wary of your impact on the environment this year, the Zero Waste Christmas Market is for you. Featuring zero waste brands, workshops, a zero waste wrapping station and a deposit-mug scheme for mulled wine, you can learn how to have a guilt free Christmas this year. Tickets are £7.49 and all the profits go to re-building the rainforest.
Where: Oval Space, E2 9DT
Borough Market at Christmas
When: 4 December 2019 – 1 January 2020
Why: Changing into full blown Christmas market mode on 4 December, you can enjoy all the stalls you know and love but with a Christmas twist at Borough Market. From special seasonal dishes, to mulled wine and Christmas decorations, Borough Market goes all out. It even has special themed days. For example, on the 11 December, from 6-8pm you can enjoy an evening of cheese. It’s open all the way to Christmas Eve so if you need to do some last minute Christmas food shopping, it has you covered.
Where: 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Ealing’s Ultimate Christmas Market
When: 27 November – 24 December 2019
Why: Get ready for Ealing’s fourth year of Christmas market madness with a plethora of fairy-lit wooden cabins filled with an amazing selection of food, drink, and shops. There will be a flux of weekly pop-ups keeping the market interesting with international artisans, taste-bud tingling cold weather classics like chocolate doused churros and mince pies galore. Carol singers will be spreading the seasonal joy and love alongside Santa and his handy little helpers around a sparkling Christmas tree.
Where: Ealing Broadway Centre, W5 5JY
Mexican Christmas Market
When: 6 – 15 December 2019
Why: Mexican restauranteurs are bringing all the Christmas cheer with a mariachi twist to Coal Drops Yard. Artisanal vendors will be offering a chance to buy handcrafted clothing and craftworks created by independent designers while food stalls will be selling delicious traditional Mexican foods like sweet breads and hot chocolate. Amongst the Puebla hand-embroidered textiles and Huichol craft jewellery music will be playing and piñatas being whacked.
Where: Coal Drops Yard, N1C 4DQ
Can’t get enough of Christmas activities in the City? Check out our round up of the best igloos in London