It’s that time of year where we put on scarves and bobble hats and head to the nearest Christmas market to browse Christmassy trinkets, sip hot chocolate and down mulled wine (and pretty much anything with cinnamon in it). From Greenwich to Hyde Park, The Handbook has selected a smattering of the best London Christmas markets where you can get your jolly-on, and keep your eyes peeled for Saint Nick.
Christmas Markets and Iconic Views
Back for its fifth year, Christmas by the River will host stalls and workshops galore against a backdrop of some of London’s most iconic views. The backdrop? Oh just the iconic Tower Bridge and the city’s skyline. There will also be a range of tastings and storytelling events to dose you in festive spirit.
From Thursday 29th November to Wednesday 2nd January
The Candy Cane Forest might sound like something from Elf, but this year it’s actually a place sitting in snug in Kingston. The children’s entertainment area will be popping up as Ancient Market Place and the surrounding streets are transformed into a Christmas market, Kingston style! The stocking-filler hot spot will be awash with wooden cabins, mugs of mulled wine and street food a’plenty.
From Thursday the 15th of November to Monday the 31st of December
Canopy Market is filled to the brim with mulled wine, seasonal food and all the Christmas present inspo you need in the form of dazzling gifts and keepsakes. The King’s Cross based affair will play host to a variety of culinary workshops, carols, festive music and a whole bar dedicated to mulled wine. You lucky devils! It’s a Christmas market not to miss, that features an Insta-worthy centrepiece Christmas tree with fairy lights in their bucket loads.
From Friday the 30th November 2018 until Sunday 16th December 2018
Where: West Handyside Canopy, Just off Granary Square, King’s Cross N1C 4BZ
Hackney has got its own thing going on this year in the form of a food and drink fuelled Christmas market. Organised with East London makers there will be free workshops for you little elves to get busy at. Everyone loves a makeshift Christmas pressie right? The Christmas Market is a snazzy little way to begin Christmas proceedings with bauble decorating, wreath making and origami Christmas decorations to get you in the mood, alongside a host of restaurants canalside.
On Wednesday the 28th of November
Where: Here East Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E15 2GW
A Scandinavian Christmas
This year the annual Scandinavian Christmas Market will be taking place from the 23rd –25th of November, and will bring together the Finnish and Norwegian Churches. You’ll be able to find Nordic gifts, Swedish street food, drinks and presents from the likes of Blåbär, Nyborg-London, Nordic Nic Nac and Proper Piirakka. Come along and embrace the Danish concept of ‘hygge‘ this winter.
From Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th of November
Where: Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7HZ
Fondue and Cocktails
Winter at Southbank isn’t just your average Christmas market, alongside buying stocking fillers and gifts you’ll also be eating fondue in a snow globe, sipping mulled wine in a bar, listening to choirs and concerts. Plus this year there will be some new pop-up bars and restaurants on site; Bar Under the Bridge will be serving cheese- based food and cocktails, alongside sizzling fire pits serving steaks and hot mulled wines and ciders. There will also be a daredevil entertainment of a turn-of-the-century circus with animal puppetry.
Friday 9th November to Sunday 6th January
Where: Southbank, Waterloo, SE1
There mightn’t be a partridge, but at least there’s definitely a pear tree at Battersea Park’s Pear Tree Christmas Market. Held on the terrace by the Pear Tree Cafe, overlooking the boating lake, over 30 shops and stalls will be opening selling all sorts of luxury gifts as well as artisanal food and drink. The marquee is turned into a Winter Wonderland, with people from far and wide coming along to join in with the festivities. So, mull the mulled wine, gorge on the georgous dishes and shop at stacked stalls surrounded by candles and fairy lights.
From Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December and Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th December
Where: Battersea Park, Battersea, SW11 4NJ
Hyde Park Does Christmas
This is the big one. The tourists might all be heading toward the circus or the rides, but the discerning visitor to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland will be treading a path straight to the Christmas market. Over 200 stallholders will be converging on the festival to sell their wares from Bavarian style fairy lit wooden chalets. When you’ve been back and forth and seen all the artisanal producers, homemade bits-and-bobs makers and so on then you can always try your luck with the UK’s largest open-air ice rink or the enormous ferris wheel.
From Friday 23rd November to Sunday 6th January
Where: Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, W2 2UH
Mayfair’s Novikov Restaurant provides a Christmas Market that shuts down the whole of Mayfair Place W1 – must be pretty razzle dazzling right? The restaurant and bar provides visitors the chance to shop, eat and drink until their bellies protrude like Santa’s. The hand-picked range of stalls featuring luxury gifts including Este Estilo’s coveted collection of stoles and scarves. On the foodie front, there will also be Cinco Jotas’ celebrated acorn-fed 100% Ibérico ham on offer, a leg of which you can pre-order for Christmas. So, shop ’till the music drops, as Novikov DJs, Sally Kettle and Spencer Mac provide the beats at the Louis Roederer Ice Bar.
Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December
Where: Mayfair Place, W1
Regardless of whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Winterville is coming to town. Clapham Old Town. London’s relentless appetite for artisanal foodie pop-up street markets knows no bounds, which is why Clapham Common is about to get a makeover in the form of at least 25 traders, plus live music and general festivities, all behind a big metal barrier that’ll spoil your sunset Instas but presumably keeps the riff-raff out. And what’ll I see?
Plenty of street fooders, that’s what. Notably there’s the Street Feast arena. Street Feast are pretty much the kings of the genre, so expect big things. The likes of Up In My Grill, with their fondue steak sandwiches, INK, who will be bringing their spiced Christmas fish nuggets, Raclette Brothers and their cheese machine plus soughdoughists Born & Raised.
There’s also a pudding area, so grab some DIY s’mores (think homemade Wagon Wheel) courtesy of Chin Chin Labs, crispy Churros with Belgian chocolate dipping sauce from Love Churros, while You Doughnut will be on hand with hot, fresh doughnutty goodness.
Drinks will be a’plenty, thanks to Brew Camp (craft beer), or try a Frozen Toffee Vodka from one of the Happy Cabins, or hang out in Winterville’s own on-site cozy pub, the Bar Humbug.
From Thursday 15th November until Wednesday 23rd January
This Christmas is definitely one for those who triumph Christmas food over pressies. The Taste of London Festive Edition at Tobacco Dock allows Christmassy customers the chance to create their own tasting menu using Christmas related cuisine alongside and food from landmark London restaurants.
Thursday 15th of November until Sunday 18th of November
Where: Wapping Lane, St Katharine's & Wapping, E1W 2SF
Ealing Christmas Market
For those a little further West, the Ealing Christmas Market is now here to cater for your Christmas pressie needs for its third year. Amidst the picturesque wood cabins, twinkling lights and traditional decorations, bespoke gift boutiques, are gathering their wares ready for your perusal. The market will be open every day from 10am and Father Christmas will be there every weekend to wish you all a merry yule tide.
From Wednesday 21st November to Monday 24th December.
Where: Ealing Broadway Centre, Ealing, W5 5JY
This annual Christmas market on Elizabeth Street is somewhat like the outdoor version of Westfield, 60 boutique stalls and festivities to boot. There will be carol singing , festive food and mulled wine, alongside a special appearance by Papa Claus, making it a definite for all the family.
Sunday 2nd of December
Where: Elizabeth Street, SW1W