It’s that time of the year — nearly.
It may still be a good few weeks before the big day itself, but London is already into the Christmas spirit with various markets chock-full of mulled wine and delicious mince pies.
There are Bavarian beer halls, street food delicatessen, fondue igloos and lots of other wintry delights to be had.
So, pull on your best Christmas jumper, grab your Santa hats and go down to one of these merry markets.
Southbank Centre’s Winter Market
The Southbank Centre’s famous Winter Market is returning this year with a collection of yuletide delights. Cheese enthusiasts should go to Bar Under the Bridge. It will be serving up a range of festively themed Fromage bites and cocktails, while the Circus Bar will be on hand to offer meaty dishes and plenty of mulled wine and cider to wash it all down. Elsewhere there will be a range of stalls providing winter street food favourites from around the culinary globe. Instagrammers require to head to one place, though: Jimmy Garcia’s cheese fondue igloos.
From November 8 to January 5, Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 7PB, southbankcentre.co.uk
Winter Wonderland is probably the most popular festive extravaganza in London, bringing in thousands of people from throughout the land each year. Much is going on, but the best spot to get the traditional Christmas market experience is in the Bavarian Village. It’s packed with bars, cafes and eateries, serving up the kind of fare you’d find in a winter market over in Germany, bratwurst, flame-grilled salmon, mulled wine and similar. There’s also a large beer hall for the adults to entertain in some boozy treat. Elsewhere, there’s much more to feed the enjoyment, from rollercoasters and ice rinks to stand-up comedy and circuses.
From November 21 to January 5, Hyde Park, W2, hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Christmas in Leicester Square
Leicester Square will get a full festive makeover once again for Christmastime. The market is at the heart of all the seasonal follies, selling a variety of Christmassy snacks and drinks, as well as hand-crafted gifts. When you’re done walking the market, head into Santa’s Grotto, where Father Christmas himself will be telling a festive story and giving small gifts to all of the children in-crowd. There’s also a Spiegeltent entertaining all manner of events — including improvised Jane Austen group Austentatious, a tribute (in drag) to Girls Aloud and a family-friendly beatbox show.
From November 8 to January 5, Leicester Square, christmasinleicestersquare.com
Kingston Christmas Market
Just a little step out of the city, and you’ll find Kingston Christmas Market — a friendly event set in the area’s historic marketplace. There’ll be classic Christmas comforts on offer from November 14 onwards, including mulled wine, street food, exciting market stalls and live entertainment. Markets are also the perfect choice for families, featuring fairground rides and activities to keep the children occupied.
From November 14 to December 31, Kingston upon Thames, Clarence Street, KT1 1BW, inkingston.co.uk/christmasmarket
Also check out:
Belgravia Christmas Sunday
This unique event, taking place on one day only on December 1, welcomes visitors to experience a luxurious Christmas event at Elizabeth Street and Eccleston Yards in Belgravia. The yearly market is home to 60 boutique stalls, offering guests the opportunity to stock up on top-end stocking fillers in the lead up to December 25. It’s not just shopping though; visitors can expect lots of carolling, as well as mulled wine and Christmas food.
11 am-5 pm, December 1, Elizabeth Street, Belgravia, SW1W, mayfairandbelgravia.com
Hampstead Village Christmas Fair
For a Christmas market with a traditional feel, head to the Hampstead Heath Village Christmas Fair on December 1. Hampstead High Street is being pedestrianised for the event, getting a complete festive transformation for one day only. If it’s anything like last year, children will have the opportunity to meet Santa and his reindeer in the cave, as well as enjoying street food stalls, fairground rides and musical entertainment.
12 pm-5 pm, December 1, Hampstead