London is a place everyone should visit at least once. Why? This city is home to many museums (don't miss Tate Modern) and historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace and London Tower Bridge. Not to mention all of the seasonal activities that are available!
One of the most exciting things about visiting in the wintertime is the Christmas markets in London open. Delicious fare and treats like mulled wine are part of the festive season in many cities, so be sure to look for them while here. Although London doesn't get much snow, you will still see it change as the festive season approaches and Christmas trees, lights, bells, wreaths and decorations begin to appear on buildings and along the streets.
From ice rinks to theatre productions every city brings its own take on the holidays. No doubt you'll be out and about Christmas shopping and seeing the sights. Don't be weighed down by special purchases and heavy bags. Instead, stow your belongings in a London luggage storage facility and explore the markets from one end to another!
Visiting Christmas markets is a traditional part of the season even if you don't celebrate the holiday, so consider stopping by a few while you are in the city! Most of them are open from mid-November to early January.
Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
London's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is by far the biggest and most popular of all the London Christmas markets. It is always held in the South End of the park and is a magical place for all the family to enjoy. Browse through over 100 different market stalls, visit Santa Land, skate around on an ice rink, admire impressive ice sculptures or take a trip on the fairground rides!
There are also ice bars for visitors who are of legal drinking age. The market is free to enter during off-peak periods although certain experiences and rides will cost money. It can also get very busy so prepare for big crowds.
What to do near Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
Although you will probably be occupied by the Christmas market there are some other great activities to check out in the same area. Why not go for a stroll down Bond Street and Oxford Street to admire all of the Christmas lights, or see a Christmas show at the Royal Albert Hall?
Greenwich Christmas Market
This year round market transforms with Christmas decorations during the holiday season to turn into a traditional Christmas market. Greenwich is a World Heritage Site so you can get a history fix while you are here!
Make sure that you reserve a few hours to explore the 150 different stalls selling all sorts of Christmas goodies as well as London themed souvenirs. It is the perfect spot to find gifts or stocking fillers. Greenwich Market is smaller and much quieter than the Winter Wonderland mentioned above, making it a nice alternative for those who want a more relaxed experience.
What to do near Greenwich Christmas Market
This is the biggest holiday themed event in the area but there are still lots of other fun things to do near Greenwich. We suggest visiting Greenwich Park to catch amazing views of the city in the distance or stopping by the National Maritime Museum (a terrific activity for families!). There is also an ice skating rink located just next door at Queen's House.
Southbank Centre Winter Market
Every year at Christmas time the Southbank Centre's winter festival makes an appearance for more festive fun. The Southbank Christmas Market is the optimal destination for finding gorgeous stocking fillers and unique gifts since there are lots of stalls to shop in.
Keep an eye out for goodies like holiday decorations, mulled wine and handmade crafts! Even if you've already bought your Christmas gifts it is a nice spot to visit and you will really feel the festive spirit as you walk around the traditional wooden chalets lining the area.
What to do near Southbank Centre Winter Market
Once you are done exploring the gift stalls in the market, take a nice walk down the River Thames; the fairy lights draped around will make it feel magical. Otherwise, take a ride atop the famous London Eye to see the market stalls lit up from above, or visit Circus 1903 for some family fun!
Christmas in Leicester Square
This is another one of the best London Christmas markets where you can find beautifully decorated wooden chalets selling all sorts of festive goodies.
The Leicester Square Christmas Market is situated right in the heart of the theatre district which means that live performances and pop-up events are regular occurrences; even Santa might make an appearance! There are only about 30 market stalls in this one, but you will be too busy watching the theatrical performances to shop anyway.
What to do near Christmas in Leicester Square
While you are in the market, make sure to take a photo next to the huge Christmas tree! Then, stop by one of the nearby theatres like The Old Vic or the London Coliseum for a show. Most of them will be playing holiday favorites like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol.
Kingston Christmas Market
If you make your way to the outskirts of the city you just might find one of your best loved London Christmas markets. Find about 40 different stalls selling street food and all sorts of fun gifts, plus live entertainment for you to enjoy.
Take a ride on the vintage carousel or sit by the fire pit and roast marshmallows. Some of the things that you can buy at this artisan Christmas market include handmade crafts, artisan cheese, or crafted clothes and jewelry. The Kingston Market is open year round but the real Christmas fun begins in November.
What to do near Kingston Christmas Market
Since you've traveled all the way from central London to Kingston you might as well find more things to do nearby. Take a walk down the Christmas light trail at Kew Gardens for some festive cheer or visit the Hampton Court Festive Fayre.
Bringing the Christmas Spirit to London
You know that holiday time is upon us when the markets start popping up, bringing the Christmas cheer to town. Listed above are some of the best places to celebrate the season in the city and you should make sure to stop by some of them before Christmas eve!
Now you are ready to enjoy the Christmas markets in London. For more things to do in London, check out these other guides: