Christmas Markets & Fairs | London 2016
We went to a pretty underwhelming Christmas party last year. The decorations were up, the presents were wrapped, but the guy playing Santa dropped out last minute.
It was just a revel without a Claus.
And with our resolve firmly strengthened never to be the victims of such a festive let-down again, we’ve decided to compile a list of the best Christmas markets and fairs popping up around London this year, to make sure your bells are jingled all the way and your halls are thoroughly decked.
And so, without further ado…
BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Southbank Winter Market
If you haven’t already visited the scenic Southbank Winter Market, with its mini chalets offering mulled wine, street food and Christmassy wares (everything from fried chicken to bratwursts, to vegan specials) garnished with a healthy dollop of fairy-lights, then literally drop everything and go now. And this year they’ll also feature craft beer bar The Hop Locker.
You must have been very good this year.
Details: Until 30th December 11am-10/11pm | Southbank Centre Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Free Entry
Leicester Square Christmas Market
Head down to Leicester Square this year, and you’ll find a clutch of Bavarian market stalls, Santa’s Grotto, a shower of glitter and fairy lights, shows from the Black Cat Cabaret, Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, A Christmas Carol, and even an improvised Jane Austen novel.
Details: Until 7th January 2017 | Leicester Square, W2 | Free Entry; tickets for La Soirée are available HERE.
Tower Bridge Christmas By The River
Tower Bridge, hitherto known only for being mistaken for London Bridge, has only gone and organised a ruddy charming Christmas market and an even more ruddily charming pop up bar, serving craft beers, mulled wine and festive cocktails.
Details: 30 November 2016 – 3 January 2017, 11am-7pm | Tower Bridge City, SE1 | Free Entry
Kingston Christmas Markets
They say you are what you eat, and if you’re a fan of German sausage, that officially makes you the wurst.
But it also means you’ll have a whale of a time at the Kingston Christmas markets, where German street food will be served up alongside mulled wine and a sprawling colony of market stalls, an Alpine Village and an all-new candy cane forest.
Details: Until 31st Dec | Kingston Market Place, Kingston-Upon Thames, KT1 1JS | Free Entry
Hyper Japan Christmas
Given the out-and-out insanity of Japanese culture, to call this festival Hyper Japan is, if anything, an understatement. And when the festival itself has cosplayers, manga artists, J-pop bands, sake tasting, wasabi demos (trust us, your mind might just be blown) and more, it begins to make sense. And this year’s will also see the launch of the Ramen Experience, allowing you to try four different dishes and understand the differences each one brings to the table.
Details: 24th-26th November | Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, E1W 2SF | £15-£43
Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
It must be fete that after 150 years of operating as a sheep and cattle byway, a Victorian-era shopping arcade and London’s most famous Sunday morning flower market, Columbia Road’s 65 tantalising trinket and tidbit shops will open late on Wednesday nights throughout December, offering up vintage fashion, off-beat artwork, quirky home wares, carol singing and mulled wine.
Details: Wednesday the 29th Nov, and 6th, 13th and 20th of December, 5pm to 9pm | Columbia Road, E2 7RG | Free Entry
Ealing Christmas Market
Not only can Ealing’s Christmas Market boast festive fare, independent craft stalls and hand-designed gifts courtesy of The Wonderland Collective, they’ve also constructed an ice cave filled with gingerbread versions of Ealing landmarks.
Details: Daily from 10am until 24th December | Ealing Broadway Centre, W5 5JY | Free Entry
Crafty Fox Markets
Popping up all over London in the run up to Christmas, Crafty Fox showcases a motley bunch of independent designers, artists and makers, selling everything from unique illustrations to pottery and textiles. There will also be interactive workshops like screen printing, so you can make personalised gifts too – you crafty fox, you.
Details: Various dates and locations | Free Entry
Hackney Flea-Mas Market
If you feel there’s no cheer like yesteryear, look no further than the festive edition of the Hackney Flea Market, which will be brimming with all manner of vintage goods, from clothes and accessories to atomic age electronics and mid century furniture. Also mulled wine.
Details: The Big London Christmas Flea – 19th Nov, 11am-6pm | EPIC Dalston, 3-15 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH | Free Entry
Hackney Flea-Mas Market – Dec 16th 11am-6pm | Abney Public Hall, 73a Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AS | Free Entry
Urban Makers Market
They say that the best thing about Christmas is giving. This isn’t always true for the people receiving your presents. So make sure you get it right by browsing the Urban Makers Market, which this year features over 100 independent vendors over the weekend, offering anything from wall art to quirky jewellery and fashion.
Details: 9th & 10th December | Mile End Ecology Pavilion, Haverfield Road off Grove Road, E3 5TW | Free Entry
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
A 10th anniversary is usually associated with plain ol’ tin. Winter Wonderland, however, have decided to celebrate with a kingdom of ice sculptures made from 500 tonnes of ice, an observation wheel, skating rink, over 100 rides and games, a Bavarian beer garden, street food, Christmas market stalls, a fire pit and an ice bar.
Let’s hope those last two aren’t next door to each other.
Details: Until 1 Jan 2018, 10am-10pm | Hyde Park, W2 | Free Entry, with some ticketed events HERE
Winterville in Clapham Common
Oh. Em. Gee. Winterville is going hard for Santa’s good list by giving Londoners a collection of festive treats including an ice rink, a wintery popup cinema, a rollerdisco (they’re Christmasey, right?), some crazy golf (okay maybe not this one, but it’s still fun), a fairground, and street food from none other than Street Feast.
Details: 23rd November-January 1st | Clapham Common, SW4 9DE | Free entry
Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens literally has the world’s largest collection of living plants… but apparently that’s not quite impressive enough for some people, so they’re adding a mile of insanely pretty lights, plus lasers, installations, a fire garden, vintage rides, and more. Hopefully, that should do it.
Details: 22nd November-January 1st | Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, W9 3AB | £7-18
(Main Image Credit: Andrew West. Image has been modified)
Still not feeling festive enough? Check out our guide to the best London ice rinks