The Best London Christmas Markets & Fairs | 2018
Last Updated: 29th November 2018
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 halls are thoroughly decked, and your bells jingled all the way.
And so, without further ado…
Southbank Winter Market
The iconic winter market on the Southbank is back for another year, with fairylit chalets selling festive wares; a Circus Bar serving mulled cider and wine around crackling firepits; festive street food from raclette to bratwurst; the return of the Jimmy’s Lodge pop up with its igloos and hot cocktails; and the cosy Bar Under The Bridge, serving “cheese-themed food”, a.k.a cheese.
Details: Daily from 11am until 27th December | Southbank Centre Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | Free Entry
Christmas By The River
Keep walking far enough and you’ll come to Christmas by the river; another Bavarian-inspired market with over 60 twinkly huts selling food, drink and handcrafted gifts. There’s even festive workshops on the go, and you’re just across the river from Leadenhall Market if you’re after something a bit bigger than a stocking filler.
Details: Until 2nd January, 11am-7pm | London Bridge City, SE1 | Free Entry
Maltby Street Night Market
The Maltby Street Market is already pretty decent during the day… but at night the Ropewalks’ Victorian railway arches are beautifully festooned with lights, there are carollers providing a little ambient festiveness, and some mulled wine adding a little warmth. If you want to get some fancy food & drink for the special people in your life this Christmas, look no further.
Details: 30th November & Fridays in December (7th, 14th, 21st) | Maltby Street Market, SE1 3PA
Fair Christmas Fayre
The Fair Christmas Fayre proudly proclaims itself to be “London’s longest running ethical Christmas fair”, and we’re inclined to believe them given how unethical it would be to mislead someone about that. They’re essentially a conscience-friendly alternative to the high street, with 20+ stalls selling eco-friendly, recycled, Fairtrade, upcycled, and socially aware gifts & cards.
Details: 1st December | Regent Hall Salvation Army, 275 Oxford Street, W1C 2DJ
Soho Christmas Market
Berwick Street Market has been doing its thing since 1778, so it’s safe to say that they know how to put on a Christmas market – expect free Christmas craft workshops, a live soundtrack from Soho Radio, mulled negronis from Polpetto, and plenty of top-shelf stalls…
Details: 1st December | Berwick Street, W1F 0PH
Christmas at Netil Market
Netil Market are running a series of Christmas specials every Saturday in December – focussing on jewellery, vinyl, ceramics and bottles respectively. And since they’re all manned by the designers and producers themselves… you won’t get stung.
Details: 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd December | 11-25 Westgate Street, E8 3RL
Wine Car Boot
Ironically for a Christmas wine market, there’s no need to mull this over – because it’s a ‘car boot sale’ entirely populated by independent wine shops and producers. You can score tasters at each stall before plumping for a full glass to sip, bottles to take away, or even one to BYOB at nearby Aquavit, who are offering free corkage all day.
Details: 1st December | St James’s Market, SW1Y 4AH | Free Entry
The Anti-Christmas Fair
Know someone who doesn’t like Christmas? Then here’s the perfect place to find them something for Christmas. They’ll have dozens of left field vendors slinging banned books, taxidermy, “magickal paraphernalia”, curios, vintage jewelry, posters, prints, badges, patches and so much more…
Details: 2nd December | The Old Baths, 80 Eastway, E95JH | £3
Kingston Christmas Market
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 market, where German street food will be served up alongside mulled wine, live music, and a sprawling colony of market stalls.
Details: Daily 10am-late | Kingston Market Place, Kingston-Upon Thames, KT1 1JS | Free Entry
Winterville promises anything but a frosty reception this year, with stalls selling handcrafted wares popping up every weekend inside their retro Spiegeltent, and an entire street food village with raclette, dumplings and hot toddies to keep you going.
Details: Weekends 12-5pm until 23rd December | Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, SW4 9DE | £2 entry
Crafty Fox Markets
As present-giving D-Day draws ever nearer, you’re going to need the DJs and bars at the Crafty Fox Markets to see you through. Popping up everywhere from Brixton pop up stores to Italian wonderland Mercato Metropolitano, Crafty Fox showcases a motley bunch of independent designers, artists and makers, selling everything from unique illustrations to pottery and textiles. There’s also drop-in workshops, from collage making to tea-towel screen printing, so you can make personalised gifts too – you crafty fox, you.
Details: Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle): 1st/2nd December; Canopy Market (King’s Cross): 7th-9th December; The Department Store (Brixton): 15th/16th December | Free Entry
Decking its Victorian steel and glass hall with fairylights and a giant Norwegian spruce, Canopy Market is opening for a two week festive extravaganza featuring takeovers from vinyl and craft markets, live Christmassy jazz, talks from the RA and V&A, and more.
Details: Daily 30th November – 16th December | West Handyside Canopy, N1C 4BH | Free Entry
The Pear Tree Café Christmas Fair
The Pear Tree’s got everything but the partridge for their Christmas fête, with stalls running the gamut from candles to cheese; mulled wine; raclette and carolling Chelsea pensioners – plus, during the week, there’s workshops and activities including yoga with eggnog. Eggnoga.
Details: 1st -2nd, 8th-9th December | Pear Tree Café, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ | Free Entry
Hampstead Village Christmas Fair
Hampstead High Street looks like a quaint Dickensian village as it is, so adding in fairy-lit trees; carousels; market stalls; carollers; street performers and actual reindeer can only be a good thing.
Details: 2nd December, 12-5pm | Hampstead Village | Free Entry
E17 Designers Christmas Market
The good thing about the E17 Designers Christmas Market is that, even if you somehow don’t find a present among the 30+ craft stalls, you can still have a perfectly good time drinking mulled wine and eating cakes from the food stalls.
Details: 2nd December | Waltham Forest Community Hub, 18a Orford Road, E17 9LN
Spitalfields Christmas Lates
Spitalfields has got your Christmas shopping all wrapped up. Quite literally. Because they’ll be offering free, beautiful gift wrapping at their late openings this month, alongside festive specials from their street food traders, in-store discounts, mulled wine and mince pies, live music, Christmassy lights, wreath-making workshops and an ethical pop up market.
Details: 5th & 12th December | Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW | Free Entry
Columbia Road Market Christmas Wednesdays
If you’re looking for an excuse to miss the Sunday morning crowds at Columbia Road flower market, their late Wednesday openings are the perfect opportunity – you’ll find carollers, Christmas trees and shops open till 9pm.
Details: 5th, 12th & 19th December | Columbia Road, E2 7RG | Free Entry
Stepney City Farm Christmas Market
The only market to fully commit to the whole ‘away in a manger’ theme, Stepney City Farm is adding 25 craft market stalls to its charms, alongside live Christmas swing, carollers, craft workshops, an appearance from SC and a kitchen takeover by former Salt Yard chef director, Ben Tish.
Details: 8th December, 10am-5pm | Stepney City Farm, Stepney Way, E1 3DG | Free Entry
Urban Makers Market
For the person in your life who goes “ooh, I dunno, get me anything”, there’s the Urban Makers Market, which this year features over 50 independent vendors, offering everything from embroidered wall art to illustrations of succulents.
Details: 8th & 9th December | Mile End Ecology Pavilion, Haverfield Road off Grove Road, E3 5TW | Free Entry
Deptford Bites at Christmas
Deptford Bites has got plenty to get your teeth into this Christmas, hosting an all-day extravaganza of festive street food (including mulled wine crumble and s’more crepes); hot cocktails and Baileys hot chocolates; and a host of independent craft stalls, where you can also try your hand at making your own Christmas wreath, arm-knitted scarves, and more.
Details: 8th December, 11am-6pm | Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4BX | Free Entry
The Geffrye Museum’s Christmas Market
Head to the picturesque front garden of the Georgian almshouses that make up the Geffrye Museum, and you’ll find a bevy of traders selling handmade goods, street food, craft beers from Hackney Brewery, as well as workshops on origami wreath making and botanical winter survival kits like scented pillows and candles. Plus, the following week, they’ll be screening a classic B&W rom-com in one of the restored almshouses.
Details: 8th December, 11am-4pm | The Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, E2 8EA | Free entry, workshops from £30
Turning Earth Ceramics Christmas Market
East London’s preeminent pottery studios are, ahem, throwing another set of their wildly popular Christmas fairs this year. Over 150 independent ceramics makers will showcase their wares alongside live music from Balkan Klezmer (gypsy) band The Turbans, mulled wine, Climpson’s coffee and Sri Lankan street food from Victoria Park’s Pavilion Café.
Details: 8th & 9th December | Turning Earth Lea Valley, 11 Argall Avenue, E10 7QE | Free Entry (and likely to be VERY busy)
The Hackney Christmas Market
The railway arches opposite Hackney Central are about to be filled with over 50 independent traders flogging gifts, homeware, cards and wrapping paper, alongside charity stands and collections of clothing donations for the homeless – so that you can give more than just presents. Plus, the permanent residents – including ABQ & Sinner, Night Tales and St. John at Hackney Brewery – will be flinging open their doors for food, drinks, and DJ sets.
Details: 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th December | Bohemia Place, E8 1DU | Free Entry
Japanese Christmas Market
Japan has some excellent festive customs – like, for example, the traditional Christmas Day KFC feast. So it stands to reason that their Christmas markets are also pretty great – this one will see dozens of stall holders touting traditional Japanese crockery, hand-knitted accessories, pottery, prints and more, all alongside freshly made sushi and bento boxes.
Details: 9th December | St. Mary’s Parish Church Hall, Cranley Gardens, N10 3AH | Free Entry
Borough Market is getting spruced up (quite literally) with Christmas trees and garlands for the festive season, and – cutting straight to the chase with what everyone really wants from a Christmas market – hosting a night dedicated entirely to cheese, with pairing tips, demos, carol-singing, and a parmesan cracking contest. Whatever that is.
Details: 12th December, 6pm-9pm | Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
‘Winter Wonderland’ would, frankly, be an embarrassment of a name if it didn’t include an entire transplanted Bavarian village, complete with festoon-lit chalets filled with bratwurst, beers served in steins, and live music every night, all under the benevolent gaze of this giant man and his bird.
Details: Daily until 6th Jan (not Christmas day) | Free Entry
Flat Iron Square Christmas Market
Flat Iron’s Flea Market is stepping up its game for a pre-Chrimbo weekend of shopping, with carollers, live brass bands, mulled wine and wreath-making classes. Plus, once you need to take a load off, you can head into their pop up Alpine chalet for hot cocktails.
Details: 15th & 16th December | Flat Iron Square, SE1 1TD | Free Entry
Hackney Flea-Mas Market
Give festive cheer from yesteryear with the eclectic array of vintage goods – from clothes and accessories to atomic age electronics and mid century furniture – on offer at the Hackney Flea-Mas Market. Plus, cheer yourself on as you shop with a bit of mulled wine.
Details: Markets in Peckham, Stoke Newington & Hackney – check here for dates | Free Entry
Ealing Christmas Market
Not only can Ealing’s Christmas Market boast festive fare and independent craft stalls, they’re bussing in some of the neighbourhood’s best choirs to keep you company while you browse. Just don’t get too carried away
in a manger.
Details: Until 24th December, daily from 10am | Ealing Broadway Centre, W5 5JY | Free Entry
Main image: Leadenhall Market – Herry Lawford/Flickr
Still not feeling festive enough? Check out our guide to the best London ice rinks