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London’s Christmas markets are among the best in the world, but Covid-19 has put paid to the likes of Winter Wonderland and Christmas in Leicester Square. So what is on this year? The Resident takes a look…

Lead image: Christmas by the River at London Bridge City

1 Selfridges Christmas Market 

NEW FOR 2020

Selfridges first-ever Christmas Market combines Covid-secure open air shopping with some of London’s best street food and family friendly fairground rides. A host of stalls, showcasing a number of small independent brands, offer rich pickings on the Christmas shopping front, with real Christmas trees, wreaths, decorations and hand-picked gifts and toys to choose from. Street food traders line Edward Mews offering seasonal food and drink, from mulled wine and buttered rum to Venezuelan cuisine by Pabellon, North Indian street food by Gully, fresh pasta made in a giant wheel of grana Padano by Cheese Wheel, and Christmas market staple bratwurst hot dogs by Pop Dogs. And since it’s Christmas, a helter-skelter and carousel fairground rides will help spread festive cheer to both kids and grown ups. Open daily throughout December from 4-9pm on weekdays and 12pm-9pm at weekends in compliance with the latest government guidance.

400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB;

2 Winter Wonderland Angel’s Market, Hyde Park


It’s hard to beat Winter Wonderland, one of London’s biggest festive attractions. It’s free to enter the Winter Wonderland site, so you can browse the 100+ fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden chalets of the Angel’s Market and pick out gifts for friends and family from jewellery and clothing to handmade crafts and Christmas decorations. Open during the day, but far more impressive at night, you’ll also find a sculptor and a blacksmith live demonstrating their crafts. You can also buy tickets to ice skate around the pavilion in Hyde Park or check out one of the many shows like Paddington on Ice, Mr Men & Little Miss – The Show, Cirque Berserk, ice sculpting workshops and more. Open from late November till early 5 January. Closed on Christmas Day.

Hyde Park W2 2UH;

3 Christmas by the River at London Bridge City


The iconic Christmas by the River at London Bridge City has 70+ chalet-style stalls selling gifts, food and drink against the beautiful backdrop of Tower Bridge, and an alpine-themed bar serving hot toddies at The Scoop. Running between the Pier and Tower Bridge, it’s one of London’s most picturesque Christmas markets, with frosted cabins and twinkling fairy lights, and was even voted the best Christmas Market to impress a first date in the UK in a study carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Premier Inn in 2018. As well as a great array of boutique vendors peddling artisan Christmas gifts, there are also pop-up food and drink stalls, live music, festive events, free craft workshops and more. Running from late November until early January.

London Bridge SE1 2DB;

4 Southbank Centre Winter Festival and Winter Market

CANCELLED FOR 2020 but check out the Winter Lights

Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival is an all-out celebration of Christmas. The Winter Market showcases traders from around the world, offering an array of handmade gifts and street food from wooden chalets. There’s also the Bar Under the Bridge, an Alpine-style lodge with heated chalet booths, board games, ping pong tables, mulled wine and food from Baggio Burger, and the Circus Bar, featuring fire pits, fresh-cooked street food and a secret cinema. Don’t miss the nearby Jimmy’s Lodge, with Alpine-themed private igloos, fondue and venison hot dogs, as well as the Applebee’s pop-up serving piping hot fish and chips, freshly shucked oysters and champagne. The Winter Market runs from early November until early January.

Belvedere Road, South Bank SE1 8XX;

5 Greenwich Market at Christmas

ON FOR 2020!

Greenwich Market is great all year round, but with the addition of sparkling Christmas lights, mulled wine, Santa’s grotto and the Late Night Wednesdays Arts & Crafts Gift Market – all set within a World Heritage site – it’s truly magical. Shop for gifts galore at up to 120 stalls with music, mulled wine and street food. It all kicks off with the annual Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights On (cancelled for 2020), with the procession starting in front of the Tourist Information Centre at the ORNC before the lights on and carol singing. Then, shop late through to 8pm on Wednesdays 9, 16 and 23 December 2020, or every day from 10am to 5.30pm. Kids can visit Santa’s grotto on various dates in December, or dial in to Santa’s virtual grotto (new for 2020).

Greenwich High Road SE10 9HZ;

Shop until late at Greenwich Market on Wednesday evenings in December

Selfridges has launched an alfresco Christmas Market

6 Christmas in Leicester Square

CANCELLED FOR 2020 but check out their virtual Santa’s grotto

Leicester Square, London’s home of entertainment since 1670, offers a sparkling programme of high energy entertainment and events, as well as a buzzing European-style Christmas Market. Christmas in Leicester Square transforms the central gardens into a festive pop-up market with more than 30 stalls purveying a fine selection of yuletide food, drink and gifts, plus a storytelling Santa’s Grotto. There’s also a line up of great shows curated by Underbelly and performed in a beautiful 1920s Belgian Spiegeltent including the likes of La Clique and The Puppini Sisters. Running from early November until early January. 

7 SAMPLE Christmas, Greenwich Peninsula

CANCELLED FOR 2020 but the Winter Weekender in Peninsula Square is ON!

Greenwich Peninsula’s annual SAMPLE Christmas market has grown to feature more than 100 trend-setting designer-makers from across the capital and beyond, handpicked by Wayne Hemingway MBE. For 2020, there’s a digital marketplace championing independent brands, as well as IRL fun to had during the Winter Weekender on Peninsula Square from 19-20 December, featuring street food trucks and live music surrounded by Scandinavian firs and twinkling lights. You can also take part in virtual festive workshops from 16-18 December with The Peninsulist Presents. Choose from gingerbread house decorating workshops, tie-dye duvet masterclasses in partnership with Ikea and intimate online jazz sets.

Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula SE10;

8 Christmas Wednesdays on Columbia Road

ON FOR 2020 (but different)!

Christmas Wednesdays at Columbia Road are something to behold. Taking place every Wednesday throughout December, the independent shops and artisan makers of one of London’s most famous flower markets come together for Christmas shopping evenings with serious atmosphere. Sadly, some of the best bits won’t be happening in 2020, like the wonderfully exuberant carol singers from St Peters in Bethnal Green and local vicar Adam Atkinson being wheeled down the street on a piano singing carols. But the street is still a treasure trove of more than 60 independent shops offering a diverse and eclectic range of carefully sourced products, from artisan jewellers and booksellers to homewares, children’s shops, perfumery and fashion boutiques, plus an almost Dickensian atmosphere. The shops are open from noon till 8pm on Wednesdays in 2020.

Columbia Road E2 7RG;

9 Crafty Fox Christmas Market, King’s Cross

ON FOR 2020!

Crafty Fox Market usually works its way around London at Christmas hosting a shopping events championing the UK’s finest designer-makers. This year there will just be the one, in partnership with Canopy Market in King’s Cross. Running 11-13 December, Christmas under the Canopy will be illuminated with glowing star lights hanging from the restored Victorian canopy, just off Granary Square. As well as great gift ideas, there will be seasonal food and drink curated by Real Food Markets. Expect mince pies, English artisan cheeses, rich Panettone, gin gift boxes, single estate olive oil, white truffles, hot mulled wine, spiced cider, buttered rum and a range of delicious street food.

West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross N1C 4BH;

10 Lower Stable Street Christmas Market, King’s Cross

NEW FOR 2020!

This year King’s Cross launches its first ever Lower Stable Street Christmas Market in Coal Drops Yard. Following its debut on Lower Stable Street earlier this year, the market will make a comeback this December to showcase an eclectic mix of independent brands, creatives and makers. Curated by Kiosk N1C, Lower Stable Street Christmas Market brings together food and flowers, craft and Christmas trees from some of London’s forward-thinking brands. The festive offering includes Christmas specials from cult sandwich sellers Dom’s Subs, natural and mulled wines from Top Cuvée, and sauces, pickles, vegan cheeses and more from Kold Sauce, Good Morning Neighbour and The Odds. There will be zines, prints, vintage tees and Christmas Trees too! Open every weekend through to 20 December.

Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross N1C 4LW;

SAMPLE Christmas makes way for Winter Weekends on Greenwich Peninsula this year (photo courtesy of Greenwich Peninsula)

Crafty Fox Market is headed for King’s Cross this year for Christmas under the Canopy (photo courtesy of Canopy Market)

11 Covent Garden at Christmas

ON FOR 2020!

Covent Garden is a shopping destination like no other, with fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores from world-class global brands alongside market traders offering a range of unique handmade crafts and goods from jewellery and prints to watercolours, soaps and sweet treats (find them in the Apple Market and the East Colonnade Market on the east side of Covent Garden). Plus, when the Christmas decorations go up in November its super magical (and Instagrammable). Dates for your 2020 diary include the immersive LEGO adventure (5 Dec-2 Jan), daily snow moments on the West Piazza (2 Dec-3 Jan on the hour 12pm-6pm), The Winter Warmer Fortnight, serving over 100 varieties of Mulled Wine, teas and hot toddies alongside festive dishes (running for two weeks from 10 Dec), and Benjamin’s Christmas Bazaar, a pop-up selling toys and decorations at the entrance to the Market Building (open daily 12pm-6pm throughout Christmas).

12 Ealing Christmas Market


Much-loved by locals and named one of London’s best Christmas markets in 2017 and 2018, Ealing Christmas Market at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre offers a rotating line-up of weekly pop-ups. You could treat your mother to a beautiful piece of jewellery by Lettie B, give the gift of cosiness to your sister with a bold knitted scarf by Miss Pom Pom, celebrate the newest addition to the family with kids clothing by Tomlin’s Baby Boutique, and make the man in your life feel extra special with Sweyn Forkbeard’s organic grooming products. You’ll also find sugar-dusted churros with chocolate sauce, buttery mince pies and German bratwurst. Plus, Santa and his helpers can be found behind The Magical Wardrobe every weekend while carol singers will lift spirits on Thursdays and Saturdays. Running late November until 24 December daily from 10am-6pm.

Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre W5 5JY;

13 Love Wimbledon’s Christmas Market on The Piazza

ON FOR 2020!

Wimbledon’s Market on The Piazza usually hosts 12 Days of Christmas with 12 markets days across five weekends throughout the festive period, but like most things, it’s been scaled back for 2020. This year the market takes place on weekends in December on the run up to Christmas, with up to 25 stalls at each market and different stallholders each weekend. Find original art, homewares, clothing and accessories – much of which is homemade or created by local artists. You’ll also find a wonderful variety of Christmas cakes, bakes and mince pies, as well as hot bratwurst and mulled wine to keep the chill at bay. Open 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 December 11am-6pm, with Friday lates on 11 & 18 December until 7pm.

Wimbledon Piazza SW19 1QB;

14 Pexmas Festive Market, Peckham

ON FOR 2020!

Pexmas will be a little different for 2020, with two weekends of open access Festive Markets featuring more than 50 unique small stalls each day. Open 12-13 & 19-20 December at Copeland Gallery, the market takes place in its usual format with independent boutique stalls peddling prints, plants, bath products, ceramics, clothes, accessories, jewellery, homewares, foodie gifts, craft beers and wines, as well as street food and Pexmas’ infamous mulled wine, but spread over more days to support distancing. You can also book a timed slot for the midweek Pexmas Emporium (16, 17 & 18 December), with more space, less queuing and around 25 unique traders each day. There’s also a Pop Up Shop open daily from 12-20 December, 11am-8pm, featuring bestsellers from traders from across the events.

Copeland Gallery, Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Road, Peckham SE15 3SN;

15 Hackney Christmas Market

ON FOR 2020!

Bohemia Place’s usual market will take a festive turn this December. Running over three weekends – 5-6 December, 12-13 December and 19-20 December – you’ll find artisanal gifts and Christmas decorations from ethical businesses, as well as great street food with plenty of vegan options and multiple bars with mulled wine, craft beers and cocktails. Pets are more than welcome and the entry is free.

Bohemia Place, Hackney E8 1DU;

Pexmas at Copeland Park, Peckham

Covent Garden (photo: PinPep)

16 Portobello Road Christmas Markets

ON FOR 2020!

London’s famous Portobello Road is great any time of year, but Christmas markets will pop up along the iconic street on Sunday 13 & 20 December 2020, from 10am to 5pm. Expect to find quirky gifts, clothes, art and antiques that you just wouldn’t find in other parts of London, as well as a buzzing atmosphere and a range of street food and drinks including festive favourites like mulled wine and mince pies.

Portobello Road, Notting Hill W11 3DB; @portobello_road_market

17 Festive Flea, London Bridge

NEW FOR 2020!

Flea London has launched Festive Flea, a sustainable market selling gifts from vintage and independent traders running every Saturday and Sunday until 20 December. Find more than 40 stalls of handcrafted goods, from jewellery and homewares to clothing, vinyl and ceramics. There’s also festive dishes from Vinegar Yard’s food traders Nanny Bills, Nik’s Kitchen and Baba G’s, warming mulled wine and churros, plus Christmas trees, wreaths and baubles. 11am-6pm. Entry is free.

Vinegar Yard, St Thomas Street, London ​Bridge SE1 3QU;

18 Chelsea Physic Garden’s Annual Christmas Fair


Chelsea Physic Garden’s annual celebration, which usually takes place over a weekend in late November, showcases top British suppliers in everything from chocolates to handmade decorations, all within the beautiful surroundings of the garden. For those looking for an experience that extends beyond shopping, there are also festive activities including gift-wrapping masterclasses, wreath-making, a Santa’s Grotto for the little one and festive crafts and activities for all ages. Mulled wine is usually in plentiful supply at the garden’s pop-up bar and carol singing adds to the festive atmosphere. Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, the botanical garden is renowned for its collection of rare medicinal plants and houses Europe’s oldest rockery. Tickets £7 or free to Friends of the Garden.

66 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 4HS;

19 Novikov’s Mayfair Christmas Market


Novikov Restaurant & Bar’s annual Mayfair Christmas market returns in late November, turning Mayfair Place into a traffic-free winter wonderland. This year the Yuletide extravaganza is set to be even bigger and better than before, with a hand-picked range of stall holders presenting a veritable cornucopia of luxury gifts from jewellery and clothing to handmade crafts and Christmas decorations. There will also be carol singers, roaming minstrels, Father Christmas and Novikov DJs creating a festive vibe. With the whole of Mayfair Place W1 closed off to traffic all day long, you can shop, eat and drink – in no particular order – at your leisure. Entrance is free of charge. Running from Thursday 28 November 2019 until Saturday 30 November from 11am-9pm.

50 Berkeley Street W1;

20 Guildhall Christmas Market, the City


Guildhall’s annual Christmas Market is a fundraiser for the British Red Cross, where you can shop unique gifts in a the grand, historic setting. Many of the stalls are run by London’s livery companies, including the Worshipful Company of Glovers, the Gardeners, the Tallow Chandlers and the Feltmakers. Some of the best vintage designer stock from Red Cross charity shops is put aside for the renowned Kindness Wardrobe, and sustainable brands Pause Fashion Hub and Kmana also donate stock. There’s usually a catwalk show and a celebrity appearance or two, but sadly the event is not taking place in 2020.

Guildhall, Gresham Street EC2V 7HH;

21 Love West Dulwich Christmas Fair


The Love West Dulwich Christmas Fair takes place every year on a Saturday in late November. Organised by local residents and businesses, it’s a great community event with a Santa’s grotto, live music, carol singing, dancing, arts and crafts stalls, street food, local beer and wine. There are always plenty of offers and promotions in the shops on the day, so it’s a great chance to kick start your Christmas shopping and support local business. The kids will love it too, with the chance to meet Santa, Miss Christmas and Snowflake, makes some Christmas decorations, face painting, storytime and face painting. Free entry. 11am-4pm.

Croxted Road / Park Hall Road / Rosendale Road SE21;

Festive Flea at Vinegar Yard

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