The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About [2019 Edition]

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
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The London Christmas Markets are not less impressing to those of for example German, so definitely worth a city trip this Winter!

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WINTER IS COMING! Are you ready for the holiday season yet? Here in London, we always are! Time to update this year’s London Christmas Markets post.

For a city break to England, I can recommend visiting in November or December, because there are a couple of really atmospheric Christmas markets and jolly Winter festivals around. Nothing beats a mulled wine or cider and roasted chestnuts, while walking along the festively lit South Bank, overlooking the Thames river, while browsing the many Christmas stalls, in my opinion. 

Here are some of my top suggestions on places you shouldn’t miss during Christmas in London this year:

BEST LONDON CHRISTMAS MARKETS LIST

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#01 – Southbank Centre Winter Market

Along the river Thames, from roughly the base of the London Eye, you can find the Southbank Centre Winter Market every year. Fun little wooden chalets with handmade gifts and food are lined up. One of the most fun (because…eh… free!) Winter activities in London!

This market is part of the Southbank Winter Festival, where you can also enjoy lots of music, theater and comedy for all ages.

TIP: don’t miss the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge for a mulled cider, my favourite winter drink. Yummyyyy!

When: First week of November to first week of January

Where: On the quay in front of the Southbank Center (next to the London Eye)

Metro: Waterloo Station (Bakerloo line, brown / Jubilee line, gray / Northern line, black / Waterloo & City line, mint green) or Embankment and then overflow the bridge (Bakerloo line, brown, Circle line, yellow, District line, green and Northern line, black)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: Free, with paid shows.

Website: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

Best 7+ London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals 2017 || The Travel Tester

 

#02 – Winter Wonderland London in Hyde Park

There is always a bit of a discussion among the locals whether Winter Wonderland is worth it or not. I have been there once and during my visit, it was quite atmospheric, but still very busy and expensive. You can enter the festival site for free, but you pay for all the attractions that you often have to reserve in advance.

In addition to a Christmas Market (which to me wasn’t that great, not compared the ones in Germany, for example) you will find several Christmas shows, a circus, a mirror tent, a large ice-skating rink and a Ferris wheel.

I would advice: if you have time left and are really crazy about fairground events, then it would be nice to visit, but take into account long waiting times before you can enter the area and great crowds (especially around the underground stations). Try to go throughout the week, then it is less crowded than on weekends.

When: Half November to first week of January

Where: Hyde Park

Metro: Your best options are: Hyde Park Corner Station (Piccadilly line, dark blue) or Lancaster Gate Station and Queensway Station (Central line, red)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: You can park for free on the terrain, but you have to pay extra for many things, such as the ice rink and shows.

Website: hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#03 – Winterville

Head over to Clapham Common for a few days of riding circles on the ice skating rink and roller disco, hitting balls at the crazy golf course, spinning in the Ferris Wheel and watching films at the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Night Garden.

At Winterville, there is enough food and drinks (there is even a pub on site) at the many food trucks. Of course, at the Christmas Market, you can buy many handmade gifts. The famous Spiegeltent hosts many party’s with live music and during the day you can watch comedy, cabaret and Christmas shows for the entire family here. Entrance to the festival is free, but you have to buy a ticket for certain shows.

TIP: there is a heated indoor area for the kids to play, with of course a meet-and-greet with Santa!

When: Half November to End of December

Where: Clapham Common

Metro: Clapham South Station (Northern line, black)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: Free, but you have to buy a ticket for certain events.

Websitewinterville.co.uk

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#04 – Christmas in Leicester Square

There is always a Christmas Festival at the famous Leicester Square in the center of London! Expect a not so big, but traditional looking Christmas market with food, drinks and fun gifts to buy, and of course a Santa’s Grotto for the kids. They also put up a Spiegeltent here for lots of shows that will entertain you throughout the festival.

When: Begin November to first week of January

Where: Leicester Square

Metro: Leicester Square Station (Northern line, black or Piccadilly line, dark blue)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: The market is free, you have to buy tickets for the shows.

Websitewww.christmasinleicestersquare.com

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#05 – Christmas London at KEW Gardens

Follow a beautiful path through KEW Gardens along more than a million lights illuminating the old trees and buildings in the gardens.

The iconic palm house is coming to life with a show of lasers, light guns and kaleidoscopic projections. For the kids there is also a Santa Claus with elves at the North Pole Village and you can also enjoy the Vintage Fair. Of course while enjoying a warm chocolate or mulled wine!

When: Half November to first week of January

Where: Kew Gardens

Get your KEW Gardens Tickets from the official Visit Britain Shop >>

Metro: Kew Gardens Overground Station (orange line)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: £ 16.50 to £ 23.50 per ticket

Website: kew.org/…/christmas-at-kew

 

Best 7+ London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals 2017 || The Travel Tester

Photo CreditUngry Young Man, CC BY 2.0

 

#06 – Christmas at Borough Market

While Borough Market is always a good idea to visit, it really gets cosy around Christmas Time! The market is open daily until Christmas, so you can stock up on the best seasonal produce and unique gifts for your loved ones. There will be a visit from Santa and usually there are also Christmas Carol Singers around, love it!

TIP: A real foodie? Delve into London’s thriving culinary scene with a three-hour guided gastronomy tour of the London Bridge and Borough Market area, and try plenty of delicious local food. Find out more about this food tour on the official Visit Britain Shop >>

Another great food tour is this Borough Market & Gin Distillery Walking Tour. Cheers!

When: All of December

Where: Borough Market, next to London Bridge Station

Metro: London Bridge Station (Jubilee (grey) and Northern line (black))

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: Free

Websiteboroughmarket.org.uk

 

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#07 – Greenwich Christmas Market

It’s always worth making the journey to Greenwich (it really isn’t that far!) and shop at Greenwich Market, especially during the holidays! There are over 150 stalls that sell a range of crafts, food, fashion items and the best (often handmade) stocking fillers! During the month of December, also expect festive music and seasonal food served up at the many street food stalls.

When: From November onwards

Where: Greenwich Market

TIP: One of the best ways to get to Greenwich is taking a river sightseeing tour from Westminster over the river Thames!

Check out this tour on the official Visit Britain Shop >>

Metro: Take the DLR-trains to stop “Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich DLR Station” (you can use your Oyster Card here)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: Free

Websitegreenwichmarket.london

 

Best 7+ London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals 2017 || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#08 – Christmas by the River

I love walking along the Thames on the promenade between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, especially when the Christmas by the River wooden cabins (over 70 of them) pop up around the end of November. It’s a traditional Christmas market (often with a bit of a theme going on) that stretches along the Queen’s Walk and gives you spectacular views of London’s skyline, including views of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London.  There is plenty of seasonal food and drinks, as wel as craft workshops, live music, performances and other activities supporting a charity each year. 

TIP: Some great tours in this area are the Tower Bridge Exhibition and a visit to the Tower of London. Check them both out on the official Visit Britain shop! 

When: End of November to first week of January

Where: Along the waterfront from London Bridge Station to Tower Bridge

Metro: London Bridge Station (Jubilee (grey) and Northern line (black))

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

Admission: Free

Websitelondonbridgecity.co.uk

 

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#09 – Christmas at Covent Garden 

When the decorations for the holidays have gone up, Covent Garden is a magical place that you must visit on your London Christmas trip! There are plenty of restaurants and shops in the area, but on the main square you can also find a crafts market (Apple Market) where you can score some unique Christmas gifts.  There are usually some dates when you can go late-night shopping as well as carol singers and other unique events. 

TIP: Explore the best of Covent Garden with this private walking tour with City Unscripted. See the best deals on the official Visit Britain Shop >>

When: From the first week of November

Where: Covent Garden

Metro: Covent Garden (Picadilly line – dark blue)

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>
Admission: Free

Websitecoventgarden.london

 

Christmas Shopping in Londen: 10x Shops For That Ultimate Christmas Feeling || The London Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#10 – Winter Ice Rinks in London

Besides all the Christmas Markets and Winter Events in London, there is one activity that you should definitely should check out this Winter, and that is ice skating at one of the pop-up ice rinks throughout London!

Your ticket usually includes skate rental and the rinks are located right next to some of the most historic places of the city. MAGICAL!

  • Tower of London Ice Rink – website
  • Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink – website
  • Winter Wonderland Ice Rink – website
  • Winterville Ice Rink – website
  • Natural History Museum Ice Rink – website
  • Somerset House Ice Rink – website

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

#11 – Christmas Lights Tour

One of the best things about London during Christmas, is that on all the main streets (Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street, Carnaby Street, etc.), the Christmas lights go on from November! It’s always a huge deal with ceremonies and everything, so make sure not to miss it.

Something fun we did was The Original Tour Christmas Lights Bus Tour, where you drive in an open-top bus to see all the lights. Loved it!

Website: www.theoriginaltour.com/en/tours/london-christmas-lights-bus-tour

 

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

BONUS – Other Christmas Markets

There are many more local markets and bigger fairs in London during Christmas, here are a few popular ones:

 

House & Garden Spirit of Christmas Fair

When: In the first two weeks of November

Website: www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk

 

Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

When: In the first two weeks of November

Website: www.countrylivingfair.com

 

Horniman Christmas Market

When: End November

Website: www.horniman.ac.uk/…/horniman-christmas-market

 

December Renegade Craft Fair

When: Second week of December

Website: www.renegadecraft.com/fairs/london

 

December Crafty Fox Markets

When: Various days in December

Website: www.craftyfoxmarket.co.uk/markets-events

 

Kingston Upon Thames Christmas Market

When: From half November to end of December

Website: inkingston.co.uk
 

Best 7+ London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals 2017 || The Travel Tester

 


 

The Travel Tester - Practical Information

LONDON MUST-HAVES

Get your Visitor Oyster Card in the official Visit Britain Shop before you leave! >>

 

GREAT LONDON HOTELS FOR CHRISTMAS

London Hotels around Hyde Park

London Hotels around Leicester Square

London Hotels around the Southbank

London Hotels around Greenwich 

 

These hotels are all centrally located, close to the shopping areas and Christmas markets in London. A great base for a weekend Christmas Shopping in London! Many hotels have Christmas deals, so keep a close eye.

 

 

The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

 

The Travel Tester - Further Reading

Make sure to also read:

Christmas Shopping in Londen: 10x Shops For That Ultimate Christmas Feeling

Afternoon Tea on a London Bus You Need to Know About: B Bakery Bus Tour

 

More fun things to see and do in London around Christmas:

 

Best activities in the rest of Great Britain: 

 

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The Best London Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

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