London's Best Christmas Markets Will Get You in the Holiday Spirit
Here are 10 markets worth checking out this winter:
1. Southbank Centre's Wintertime Market
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Southbank Centre's Wintertime Market will feature food, drinks, and gift vendors occupying Nordic-style wooden "chalets." Expect to find sing-alongs to winter choirs, holiday treats, and mulled wine until January 4.
2. Covent Garden
Open year-round, Covent Garden really comes to life around the holidays with twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, and one of the largest trees in the city. Take family photos in front of the decor before heading to the nearby Royal Opera House for a Nutcracker performance, or stop by the historic Apple Market to shop for antiques, jewelry, artwork, and other unique gifts to put under the tree.
3. Winter Wonderland
Every year in mid-December, Hyde Park undergoes a transformation into Winter Wonderland for six-weeks of festive fun including ice skating, holiday shopping, an ice bar, and a giant ferris wheel with views of the city below. Go early on a weekday to miss the crowds, and be sure to pre-book tickets for attractions like the Magical Ice Kingdom, a collection of ice sculptures, for a fast-track through the lines.
4. Borough Market
Borough Market is another destination open twelve months out of the year, but it’s a must-see in December. In years past, extended hours have given visitors ample time to shop for seasonal treats like gingerbread and mulled cider, and to enjoy cooking demonstrations from guest chefs and community choirs singing holiday songs.
5. Country Living Fair
Kick-start your holiday season with a trip to the Country Living Fair. Visit the on-site Drunken Duck Champagne Bar for a glass of bubbly or take in a crafting workshop or a cooking demonstration.
6. Leicester Square
Christmas in Leicester Square includes live music (previous acts include Adele), comedy and cabaret, carnival rides, and Santa's grotto where you can meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus for yourself. It's free to peruse the markets with handmade goods and treats, but rides and performances will cost you. (It's worth it!)
7. The Markets At Clapham Common's Winterville
From mid-late November through New Year's, Clapham Common is transformed into the spirited town of Winterville which features an ice rink, carnival rides, and a slew of indoor markets. Expect to find independent and local designers, vintage wear, and a bar right in between the stalls just in case you get thirsty while you shop.
8. London Bridge City's Christmas By The River
For the fourth year, London Bridge City will host a Christmas By The River, a charming array of lighted stalls along the banks of the Thames. While you peruse the views of Tower Bridge and the city skyline along the water, you can find artisanal gifts and handmade treats for stocking stuffing (or face stuffing). Expect local bands and artists to garnish the market.
9. The Spirit of Christmas Fair in Olympia
The self-titled "expertly curated Christmas shopping" experience certainly delivers. London's expo center, Olympia, will be filled with independent boutiques handpicked from House and Garden UK. Expect to find anywhere from couture home-goods to designer baked-goods.
10. Kingston Christmas Market
Set in the old town's center, the Kingston Christmas Market offers handmade gifts, mulled wine and festive eats, and a candy cane forest. Expect guest appearances from an old-timey town crier, Santa, and an exceptional Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.