Christmas in London – A guide to the festive markets

This month I had the pleasure of kicking off December with one very Christmassy trip to London! So here is my lowdown on a few of the Christmas markets you can find dotted around our capital city.

So if you’re like me and from a big city you’ll have the Christmas German Markets come to you every year. Possibly you’ve also had the pleasure of visiting a few in Germany itself, Prague or Belgium also. But being from Leeds, the German market is not even close to being a quarter of the size of the one in London!

Until this year I’d never even heard of the event but it turns out it’s a pretty big deal..

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

The event takes place in Hyde Park and spans quite a hefty portion of the place! You can’t miss it with all the major rides and attractions sticking out above the tree tops.

We went on a Saturday night where the atmosphere was merry and with it being the first weekend in December the event was very busy. At first glimpse of the queue to get in I felt like it wasn’t going to be my kind of thing at all, turns out I was wrong..

Winter Wonderland is full of Christmas magic with handcrafted stalls, food and beverage carts, rides and fun houses and all those stalls that make you want to win a prize you don’t need. The place was full with delicious smells and so much excitement as people fill up with mulled wine and hot chocolate!

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I highly recommend a trip here as it really gets you in the festive spirit and the large scale of the event means it isn’t overcrowded like other Christmas markets.

If you get chance then visit again during the day to enjoy a different atmosphere and a little more space to shop!

South Bank Centre Winter Festival

As we were exploring London we stumbled upon a bunch of market stalls along the river. Along the South Bank you’ll find a mini version of Winter Wonderland with the same variety of little gifts and treasures on offer.

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My personal favourite part about this market was the separate bundle of food stalls complete with a Rekorderlig Cider hall! I enjoyed some yummy Halloumi Fries not too over priced for London and worth every penny with how tasty they were!

There are even some fairground rides and all the usual entertainment you’ll find down on South Bank!

Christmas in Leicester Square

The smallest of the few Christmas markets we explored that weekend but worth visiting if you’re short on time. Leicester Square is transformed in to a Christmas village with all the German market stalls offering the same handmade gifts as the other markets but on a smaller scale. This market is similar to Leeds German Market in size but with the added bonus of being right in the heart of the West End. There’s a lot going on in London and this is the place to be for entertainment, restaurants and all the greatest musicals!

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Christmas by the River at London Bridge City

Last and by definitely no means least! Christmas by the River is a market exactly how it sounds…by the river Thames. Once you cross the famous London Tower Bridge like we did you’ll stumble upon this little gem.

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My personal favourite, I highly recommend visiting this market! We had no idea that it existed and stumbled upon it accidentally and it was such a blessing. The reason why this one comes so highly recommended from me is because of the wide variety of completely different stalls and products on offer!

All the markets mentioned previously, including Winter Wonderland, were selling the exact same things, you could tell that it was almost like one big chain of mass produced items from Germany. Christmas by the river is NOTHING like this. It is mostly local sellers but all the products we were looking at were nothing like anything we’d seen at the other markets. My favourite factor was that there was plenty of opportunity to try before you buy! And it definitely works because we walked away from this market having spent close to £100 between us! We got all our Christmas gifts from this market and even left with a tasty bottle of Hazelnut Moonshine for our own Christmas treat.

With it being mostly local and small sellers they are much more interested in showing you their products and offering you samples of the different foods which I found to be a really nice personal touch. The market continues in to Hay’s Galleria also.

So if you’re heading to London this December then there is plenty on offer all over the city. If you’ve missed out this year I’m sure all the markets will return next year too.

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Merry Christmas to all of you and here’s to making 2019 another year of adventure!

sophie

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