For those looking to avoid the mad rushes of last minute shoppers in the capital, the festive markets can offer a haven of seasonal atmosphere.
To help you escape the rush, and find some warming food and special gifts, here are our suggestions for the best Christmas markets running in London throughout November and December.
All events are free entry unless otherwise stated.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
15 Nov – 24 Dec; more info
The Southbank Centre sits in one of London’s prettiest spots at the best of times, but during the Christmas period its market makes for a perfect diversion for an hour or two. There’s the usual mix of gifts and mulled wine and hot food, and if you’re still not satisfied you can try the Southbank Centre Square for the Chocolate Festival (13-15 Dec) or the Real Food Christmas Market (19-22 Dec), or head over to the Festival Village for the Designers/Makers Christmas Market (16-22 Dec).
City of London Christmas Market
Guildhall, Gresham Street, EC2V 7HH
19 Nov, 10.30am – 8pm, £5; more info
Always a big draw, this one-day market offers a fantastic range of gifts and live entertainment in the magnificent setting of Guildhall. Browse over 100 stalls offering a wide selection of presents you won’t find on the high street. As well as the fashion side of things, there’s also a big foodie offering.
Cabbages and Frocks Christmas Market
St Marylebone Parish Church Grounds, Marylebone High Street, W1U 5BA
20 Nov, 1pm – 7pm; more info
This market is timed to coincide with the switch-on of Marleybone’s Christmas lights and is a must for fashionistas. Organised by Cabbages and Frocks, the organisers of the popular London Fashion Designer Sales, there’s a strong focus on new designers, as well as vintage and retro styles. Not forgetting the mouthwatering food options from around the world.
Finnish Christmas Fair
The Finnish Church, 33 Albion St, SE16 7HZ
20 – 24 Nov; more info
See how our Scandinavian friends do Christmas with the annual Finnish fair on Albion Street just south of the river. Products on sale include classic Finnish design pieces and more affordable Moomin toys, Christmas cards and food – think rye breads, gravadlax, Fazer chocolates and “strange roundels of squeaky cheese”.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park, W2 2UH
22 Nov – 5 Jan; more info
One of the biggest festive markets in London with over 200 wooden chalets, the Hyde Park markets (part of the extravaganza that includes a fun fair, circus, ice rink and more) offers a huge array of jewellery, accessories, clothing, handicrafts, and culinary delights.
Dalston Christmas Market
Dalston Square, E8 3BQ
1 Dec, 11am – 7pm; more info
Dalston is a creative hub in London’s East End, and so it follows that it’s Christmas Market is more than your average mulled wine ‘n’ gingerbread affair. Held in the newly built Dalston Square, there will be offbeat designer clothes and jewellery, as well as live entertainment and music.
Horniman Christmas Market
Horniman Museum And Gardens, 100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
7 & 8 Dec, 10.30am-4.30pm; more info
A traditional festive event for all the family, with a Christmas market, as well as carol singing, seasonal food, mulled wine and mince pies.
Curtain Up Christmas Market
St Mary Abbots Centre, Vicarage Gate, W8 4HN
8 Dec, 11am-4pm, £1.50; more info
Actors from Bad Girls, Casualty, Doctors, Emmerdale and Coronation Street will be holding their annual charity Christmas market, with 40 stalls offering collectables, crafts, jewellery, fudge, handbags, cakes and more. Refreshments will be provided by Masterchef semi-finalist Julia Gray. All proceeds go to London Charity APPLE.
More London Christmas Market
More London, 2A More London Riverside, SE1 2DB
11 – 15 Dec, 11am – 6pm; more info
This year’s market, organised in conjunction with Shepherds Markets, features a number of start-up businesses – many based in South East London – who will bring their delicious food and handmade gifts (from around the world) to visitors. Expect around 20 stalls each day.
What’s your favourite Christmas Market and why?