Christmas Markets are quite a big trend in Europe and I only just realized that two weeks ago. London is looking very festive now that the holidays are literally right around the corner (read next week) and amongst all the Christmas markets popping up all over the place, one in particular is quintessential to London and that is The Winter Wonderland Christmas fair.
The markets have one common factor – they all have vendors selling nice little holiday trinkets that you can’t find at a normal store and a lot of homemade decor, accessories. The food at these markets my goodness! So much variety and so much yummy goodness from all over the world, all under one roof.
Okay I’m going to stop reminiscing now and give you a recap of three out of very many Christmas markets in London that you should visit.
Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park
Winter wonderland is one huge ball of fun just placed right in the middle of Hyde Park for everyone to enjoy. If the huge ferris wheel doesn’t grab your attention as it did me, then maybe the Wilde Maus XXL rollercoaster ride is more your speed.
The rides are the main attraction here at Winter Wonderland for the young and the young at heart. For those of us who would rather avoid anything adrenaline filled, the Angels Market and the Outpost are where we should probably be. Walk over to the Mad Hatter Tea & Sweet shoppe for some homemade fudge and all the sweet treats you could ever want. Further down along the way is a little crepe stall where they serve the cutest, itty bitty dutch pancakes, drizzled in warm butter and topped with cinnamon sugar and icing powder. These pancakes were the highlight of my day, I did not eat anything else there until I got to the second market of the day.
Winter Wonderland opens in late November and stays from Friday to Sundays, 9:30am to 11p.m all the way till January so you have plenty of time to indulge throughout the holidays.
Foyles Christmas Fair – Foyles Bookstore
This fair is the first of its kind for Foyles Bookstore and for their first time, they did pretty well. Located in their Soho branch, the Foyles Christmas Fair was more craft based and hosted vendors with all sorts of merchandise and accessories.
Lila’s Macaron stand was one of the few food stalls there and her delectable macarons make such a perfect gift for loved ones or as stocking fillers. I learnt about Japanese style safe boxes that require you to solve a puzzle to get it open – best safe ever in my opinion even though you may lock yourself out of it from time to time. The fair of course would not be complete without some books being sold such as a signed copy of a large, illustrated copy of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone. Perfect collector’s item for any Harry Potter nerds like myself.
If you want a more chilled out Christmas Market, then Foyles Christmas Fair is for you. Hopefully they have one every year after this one.
Southbank Winter Festival – Southbank Centre
My last stop for the day. Located right off the River Thames, the Southbank Centre is a creative arts space with so much to offer. I can’t believe I never knew about this place before, so made a mental note to go check it out again. Aside from the stunning views of Big Ben, the London Eye and the River Thames, the Southbank Centre was home to an annual winter festival that catered to every single age group at any time.
On one end, there were stalls selling their fill of Mulled Wine (wine lovers should try this if they haven’t already) and German, Indian and Italian cuisine. A make shift lodge was set up for those looking to just have a drink with friends, while their kids play in on the festival rides. On the other end, a classic carousel is filled with happy kids riding along to the playful tune playing loudly, while stalls selling cashmere scarves, vintage accessories and other clothing were lined up to your left. A skating rink can be found just beyond the centre and a rollerblading arena with an old school theme is set up right at the entrance.
Think this one was my favourite one of the day because it had a more mature feel to it and attracted more of an adult crowd as opposed to Winter wonderland.
Well there you have it, your ultimate guide to Christmas Markets in London, well kind of, since I only managed to see three. If there are any markets/fairs you have been to in London that you think should also be on this list, leave a comment below, I would love to hear about others that I can visit this holiday season.
Major thanks to TimeOut London for providing an extensive list of Christmas Markets to choose from.
Have a great weekend ahead.
Photography by Diana Odero