Christmas markets are a long-standing tradition in the UK, although they suffered somewhat after Oliver Cromwell’s ban in the mid Seventeenth Century on feasting, music, festive fun and (possibly) Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’.
The UK’s strictest Puritan put an end to any festive fun, and the UK’s Christmas markets didn’t re-emerge until centuries later. Today, many of our Christmas Markets – or Fairs (or, shudder, ‘Fayres’) – have a distinct continental feel, with French, German and Italian traders, in particular, taking part in the events. London has a wealth of markets to visit in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
Don your hat, gloves and scarf and check out some of the best in the capital…
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Visit Website / Now – 4th January
Alongside the ice rink, the circus shows, fair ground rides, Magical Ice Kingdom and other amazing attractions, Hyde Park plays host to a Christmas market during the festive season. Over 200 wooden chalets lit by fairy lights feature jewellery, accessories, clothing, handmade crafts, traditional Christmas decorations and more. Plus, of course, there’s a superb selection of festive food and drinks.
More London Christmas Market
Visit Website / 8th December – 21st December
Located at the More London Riverside location, this is another traditional Christmas market overlooked by Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
Gifts, crafts and foods from around the world are all featured. Add in local choirs singing carols, live reindeer and a Santa’s grotto and you’ve got a perfect festive day out.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Visit Website / Now – January 4th
This is a very traditional and charming market featuring wooden chalets filled with hand-made gifts, food, drink and festive treats.
Southbank Centre’s Christmas Market is part of the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival, where you can also enjoy Christmas shows, as well as free music and events.
Southbank Centre Real Food Christmas Market
Visit Website / 19th December – 23rd December
As the name suggests, this is a celebration of festive food and drink. Don’t eat lunch before you visit!
Barbican Christmas Market
Visit Website / 12th December – 21st December
Now in its second year, the Barbican Christmas Market plays host to 35 stalls (varying daily) featuring independent designers, makers and artisans.
Products on sale include vintage and designer clothes, arts and crafts, jewellery, books, toys and more.
Shoreditch Christmas Market
Visit Website / Friday December 5th, Saturday December 6th, Friday December 12th, Saturday December 13th, Friday December 19th and Saturday December 20th
Red Gallery (Rivington Street EC2A 3DT), in association with Night Tales, is hosting some of the best designers, crafters and bakers that the East End has to offer at Shoreditch Christmas Craft Market.
The market features unique gifts including vintage items, art, cakes, clothing, jewelry, knitted goods, leather wares, pottery and stationary. Refreshments are also available, while visitors can watch crafters exhibit the skills of their trade – and even take part in a craft workshop.
Fancy some further reading? Check our guide to London’s Winter Wonder Attractions, from ice-skating to skiing and even climbing an ice-wall.
Why not ask our hotel staff and concierge for their tips on visiting Christmas markets when you’re in town, at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross?