For once Hollywood hasn’t let us down – Christmas in London is as magical as the movies would have you think. From the stunning lights strung through the city to whimsical storefronts, ginger snap cookies and steaming mugs of marshmallow decked hot chocolate, there really is something special about Yuletide in the city. With a wealth of creativity, years of tradition and throngs of people from the world over, London offers something special for everyone to enjoy – including a wealth of Christmas festivals and markets.
Let’s get the Santa spirit stirring, pick up a mince pie and explore the spectacular Christmas festivals and markets in London this year (2022).
Southbank Winter Festival
Nov 3rd 2022 – Jan 8th 2023
Running for two months, the Southbank Winter Festival offers an exciting Christmas program with a community vibe. From a Christmas carol singalong to Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol musical, and performances by the Philharmonia Orchestra, taking time to visit the festival is a must-do for any traveller in London this Christmas.
Top Tip – Don’t miss The Guilty Feminist Presents Camp as Christmas on December 3rd. It’s the fun packed Christmas event this winter!
Southbank Christmas Market
As you can see, London’s Southbank really knows how to put on a show, and this Christmas is no different. Part of the larger Southbank Winter Festival, this market is full of delightful stores selling authentic winter wares. This Queens Walk event promises delicious pop-up food stalls, mulled wines, and handmade crafts from some of London’s favourite creatives and designers. You can expect all the usual Christmas trinkets to be on offer as well – wouldn’t it be lovely to hang a wreath from your hostel bed?
3 Nov – 26 Dec, 11am
Sun – Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri & Sat 11am – 11pm
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Nov 18th 2022 – Jan 2nd 2023
One of London’s best-loved Christmas experiences, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland pulls out all the stops to create a magical festive town for all. Family friendly and simply spectacular, head over to Winter Wonderland and step into a world of giant ice rinks, two extravagant circus tents – Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk – and an 60ft observation wheel that offers a view over the lights of London. Let’s not forget the Magical Ice Kingdom, where you can wander through a forest of ice and snow, inhabitated by frozen mythical creatures and a real ice castle. Encourage the child in you to explore before retiring to one of the numerous bars and indulging in a glass of hot mulled wine. Entrance is free during off-peak times and you’ll need to pay to go on the rides.
Winter Wonderland Christmas Markets
There are around 200 quaint wooden huts at the Winter Wonderland Christmas Market – wrap up warm and wear comfy shoes. You’ll find every gift and stocking filler you could want here, from jewellery and crafts to handmade Christmas decorations – delightful baubles and nativity scenes. However, our favourite things about the market are the bars and food stalls – craft beers, smooth and creamy cocoa, the aforementioned spiced mulled wine served alongside fresh-baked pastries and a mix of Bavarian and English cuisine.
Top Tip – The best time to visit Winter Wonderland would be Monday – Wednesday to avoid crowds. If you plan to visit on the weekend don’t be put off, simply grab a drink and embrace the Christmas crowds with a smile.
Monday to Sunday from 10am to 10pm
Smaller London Christmas Markets & Fairs
Leicester Square Christmas Market
Christmas magic is in the air! Come and watch various international circus, cabaret and comedy performers from La Clique with a mulled wine in hands under the Spiegeltent. If this doesn’t put you in a festive mood, what will?
9th Nov 2022 – 7th Jan 2023
Kingston Christmas Market
This traditional European market won’t disappoint – expect Christmas decorations and festive gifts, perfect to fill your stockings, as well as live music and seasonal street food. Plus, if you enjoy winter sports, come and play curling with family and friends, how fun!
10th Nov – 24th Dec 2022
Covent Garden Christmas Market
Who can get bored of mulled wine? If you thought there was only one recipe for mulled wine, think again! Join the Winter Warmer Festival and discover 25 recipes – there has to be one that’ll surprise you! So grab a drink and have a stroll in the market to keep warm while you look for gifts for your loved ones.
From 8th Nov 2022
Crafty Fox Christmas Market
The hipster Christmas market gathers an unusual collection of hand-picked stalls featuring emerging designers and craftspeople. Crafty Fox is a family run company and promises to have you leaving with the most beautiful gifts to put under the tree. You’ll find them at The Crossing in Kings Cross, so come and join the festive fun!
Dec 11th 2022 – 11am to 5pm
The Finnish Church Christmas Fair
To travel to a Christmassy destination without leaving London, visit this Scandinavian Christmas fair in Rotherhithe! There, you’ll find many traditional goods such as toys and Christmas cards, and you’ll be able to taste Finnish traditional festive food such as reindeer stew and cinnamon buns.
Nov 25th – Dec 4th
Borough Market at Christmas
Ok, you got us! This isn’t officially a Christmas Market, but a visit to Borough during the festive season is a must-do for all you foodies out there. This recently restored venue is a fabulous food market selling everything a food lover could desire. From fabulous cheeses (try the heavenly aged Gruyere!) to delicious cured meats, deli items from glorious olives to sun dried tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, home made pasta and oh yes chocolate to die for! You could do pretty much all your Christmas shopping here and all your friends and family would have very happy bellies! Insider tip: free samples abound at Borough so grab a mug of mulled wine, wander round and try a bit of this and a bit of that … festive perfection!
Christmas lights will be going up on November 15th.
Monday to Friday: from 10 am to 5pm
Saturdays: 8am to 5pm
Sundays: 10am to 3pm / 10am to 4pm in December
Closed from December 25th to 27th 2022
To Sum Up
There are many Christmas festivals and markets to choose from this year to keep you in the festive mood! If like us, you’re a Christmas fan, plan in advance to be able to visit them all. And for the best experience, taste a Christmas dinner in London and stay with us!
Check out Clink261 Budget Hostel or Clink78 backpackers youth hostel in King’s Cross. And if you’re travelling as part of a bigger group, check out cheap group accommodation in London.