The 8 best Christmas markets in London
While Germany may be the best known destination in Europe for Christmas markets, it’s definitely not the only place worth traveling to for the market scene!
London becomes magical at Christmas, and one of the reasons I actually prefer the Christmas markets there is simple.
They speak English.
It’s not that I can’t navigate a German Christmas market, I absolutely can, but after almost a year living in Germany I find the UK to be a welcome change from trying to figure out a foreign language.
Not only that, but many of the Christmas markets in London rival those found in many German cities. Beautiful markets and a language I know? It’s a win-win!
Winter Wonderland - Hyde Park
One of the largest Christmas markets in London, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has over 100 wooden chalets selling all types of festive food and gifts. It’s also home to the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, where you can skate to live music.
If you get tired of shopping and skating there’s still plenty to do. Take a ride on the Observation Wheel and observe the lights from above, or take a walk through the Magical Ice Kingdom with over 500 tons of ice sculpted into secret passages and an ice slide.
Southbank Center Christmas Market
Enjoy festive drinks and street food while strolling along the banks of the Thames. You can pick up lots of stocking stuffers from the variety of artisan stalls set up in traditional chalets along the river walk. Sample winter classics like bratwurst, fondue and and mince pies, warm up with a cup of mulled wine or a hot toddy, and enjoy a variety of holiday performances and art along the river.
Christmas at Borough Market
Consistently one of London’s best markets, Borough Market takes on new charm during the holiday season. Decked out with holiday lights, the market extends its hours over the holidays to allow extra time to enjoy all the festive food and drinks.
The market will also be hosting their annual Evening of Cheese on December 15. Led by the market’s cheesemongers, you can enjoy tastings and learn how to put together the perfect holiday cheese board. Enjoy cheeses from Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
City Hall Christmas Market
On the south bank of the Thames, across the river from the Tower of London and between the Tower Bridge and London Bridge, you’ll find the City Hall Christmas Market. It’s a small market, but you can’t beat the location and view of both the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
Enjoy the festive food and a cup of warm apple cider or mulled wines while you browse the wares at the 30 wooden huts set up specifically for the market.
Leicester Square is especially popular with tourists due to its location in the center of many of London’s top attractions. It’s one of London’s smaller markets, but well worth a visit to catch one of the many performances and shows ranging from cabaret to cirque, dance to comedy.
Best known for their seasonal skating rink, Somerset house also has a small market where you can enjoy a bit of festive food or drink before or after your skating session. If you’re not a skater that’s ok, watch them glide by on the ice while enjoying the lights, Christmas tree and carols.
Another year-round market, Greenwich Market pulls out all the stops for the holidays. The market’s normal 120 stalls are decked out with Christmas lights, and you can buy all kinds of gifts and stocking stuffers while sipping on mulled wine.
While you’re in the area, make sure to take some time to wander through Greenwich and enjoy the historic neighborhoods at their festive best.
Covent Garden is always worth a visit, but even more so at Christmas. If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas market Instagram photo this may be your favorite spot.
Their three separate markets are full of stocking stuffers and gifts that are sure to delight everyone on your list. You can also listen to bands, enjoy a variety of mulled wines on the heated terraces, and sample some of the best food in the West End.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking for a traditional European Christmas market or holiday performances and entertainment, you can find what you’re looking for at one of London’s many Christmas markets.