Whether you’re in London for a quick trip, a week-long stay or it’s the place you call home, London’s Christmas markets are one of the most budget-friendly activities you can do and are sure to get you and the whole family well and truly in the festive spirit. They’re a fun way to spend a few hours, wandering round stalls filled with Christmas gifts and tempting foods, andsampling the mulled wine or cider while the kids (and teens) sip delicious hot chocolate and enjoy ice skating, fairground rides and other fun-filled activities.
Any excuse to get your kids and teens on the hunt to discover the magic of our great city!
Southbank Winter Market and Christmas Festival is brimming with festive treats your teens will adore. Parents can browse stocking fillers, secret santa gifts, decorations and crafts at a wide variety of stalls while enjoying the lights along the riverbank. Keep your belly merrywith savoury plates of truffle burgers, duck wraps, lobster rolls or gourmet cheese toasties; winter classics like fondue and raclette; and toasted marshmallows, Dutch pancakes and other sweet treats. Beyond the shopping and food, there’s storytelling, music and Christmas shows to help get the whole family in the Christmas mood. You could even try your hand at curlingat The Curling Club!
Where: Queens Walk, Southbank Centre
Sun – Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri & Sat 11am – 11pm
There is nothing like a Selfridges Christmas – browsing through London’s popular store and gazing at all of Oxford Street‘s Christmas lights is exciting enough.Located just behind their London flagship store The Christmas Market on the Mews is open for its third year, so let your kids ride the Helter Skelter and watch Santa perform as you browse the selection of delicious food stalls up and down the mews. Plus, Selfridges’ loos have been rated 10 / 10 for child friendlyness!
Where: Edwards Mews, Selfridges London
When: 4–9pm on weekdays & 12–9pm at weekends
Winter Wonderland is the UK’s biggest and most iconic festive event. Stroll through the charming traditional market lined with beautifully decorated wooden chalets packed full of unique gifts and handmade Christmas decorations.
With daily shows from family favourite Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk, to the Magical Ice Kingdom and the return of the UK’s biggest outdoor Ice Rink, there really is something for the whole family to enjoy. Santa Land, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland’s magical one-stop shop will transport visitors to the North Pole, where you’ll find Santa’s Grotto, and a host of family-friendly rides including Santa’s Spinning Coaster to Penguin Bumper Cars, Santa’s Flying Sleigh Ride and more. For the thrill-seekers among you, there are exhilarating rides such as Munich Loop, The Hangover, The XXL and Aeronaut Starflyer. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s an array of street food stalls to keep you going
Where: Hyde Park, West London
When: 10am – 10pm
Situated right in the heart of London, this delightful Bavarian-style Christmas market is full of food, drink and entertainment. As well as over 30 stalls, there’s a Santa’s Grotto and a whole host of events and shows to discover. Why not treat your older kids with tickets to the exciting cabaret show La Clique, or take the little ones to events such as Baby Loves Disco, A Very Merry Christmas Cabaret or Comedy Club 4 Kids in the Leicester Square Spiegeltent? The Christmas Market remains free, with or without a show ticket, but there’s plenty more to explore in the heart of our great city.
Where: Leicester Square, Central London
In sight of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London, wander amongst fairy-lit wooden cabins by the Thames and grab some stocking fillers from the range of handcrafted, artisan products. Enjoy yummy food from the pop-up stalls along the bank and make sure to treat yourself to a delicious hot chocolate or steaming glass of mulled wine! As well as the traditional Christmas market, the kids can enjoy a variety of activities such as outdoor film screenings, storytelling, choir performances and workshops at Christmas by the River.
Where: London Bridge City, Southwark, Central London
When: Sun – Wed: 11am – 9pm, Thurs – Sat: 11am – 11pm
Christmas Eve: 11am – 5pm, New Year’s Eve: 11am- 8pm 2nd January: 11am – 5pm
Another excellent place to pick up unique gifts is Greenwich Market, full of arts and crafts, jewellery and fashionable clothing. Expect lots of seasonal food and drink to keep you well-fuelled while you browse, too. While you and your family are in the area, you should check out Greenwich Grotto, where your kids can meet Santa and tell him all their christmas wishes (while you listen in attentively). All funds go to Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. Get something and give something back!
Where: Greenwich Market, Cutty Sark, South East London
When: 10am – 5.30pm
Stepney City Farm is a three-acre working farm, and a unique provider of environmental education and outdoor learning in Tower Hamlets, London. The Farm is free and open to visitors six days a week, and for the third year running, they’ll be hosting a Christmas Market at the venue, featuring 35 stalls of seasonal produce and crafts, live music, carol singers, and craft activities, plus a brass band performing sets across the day.
Where: Stepney City Farm, Stepney Way, East London
When: 10am – 4.30pm
Hang out with Nelson and his four famous lions in London’s most famous square. They’ll be wooden chalets filled with handmade crafts, gifts and tasty treats aplenty down at the Trafalgar Square Christmas market.
Afterwards, grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine at the bar while listening to carol singers perform festive tunes by the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.
Where: Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DN
Borough Market is a fun day out anytime of the year but it becomes even more magical at Christmas. Take your kids for a sing-along with the Christmas choir and taste test all the seasonal goodies from the market’s independent traders – including yule logs, sprouts, cheese and wine. On December 12th, the market’s expert cheesemongers will be hosting an Evening of Cheese, providing tips on how to create your own Xmas cheeseboard. Don’t miss out on all these incredible events!
Where: Borough Market, Southwark Street, South East London
When: Mondays to Fridays – 10am till 5pm; Saturdays – 8am to 5pm; Sundays – 10am to 3pm
The Christmas Edition of Canopy Market is packed with cheeses, festive treats, handpicked independent designers and craft-makers, as well as a host of street food and drinks options, including craft beer bar and natural wines. Check out the amazing events taking place such as the Vegan Christmas Market (2nd to 4th December), Mexican Christmas Market (9thto 11th December), Canopy Craft Gifting Special (9th to 22nd December) and Crafty Fox Christmas Market (11thDecember).
Where: West Handyside Canopy, Kings Cross, North London
When: Tuesdays to Thursdays – 12pm to 7pm; Fridays – 12pm to 8pm; Saturdays and Sundays – 12pm to 6pm; plus Monday 19 December – 12pm to 7pm
Not only does Eccleston Yards have live music and entertainment, the Christmas Market is perfect for families to roam and discover handcrafted homeware, accessories, jewellery, and too-good-to-miss baked goods. There are many other exciting events taking place in the area, such as Christmas Workshops with MasterPeace, Kids for Kids Candle Lit Christmas Concert as well as the popular St Paul’s Foundation Carol Service.
Where: Eccleston Yards, Victoria, London
When: 11am – 5pm
Perfect if you’re looking for an unusual creative gift, the Crafty Fox markets are full of pieces from independent designers, with a different mix each time, including artwork, jewellery and children’s items.
Expect pop-up stalls from popular traders such Lilou Bijoux, Stitch School and Emily Lupin. Inspire your little creatives and find something for everyone at this two-day extravaganza.
When: 11am – 5pm
The Independent Ceramics Market is heading to the Rich Mix arts centre in Bethnal Green for a special Christmas edition this December. Over 100 ceramic artists and DIY potters, from established names to up-and-coming talent, will be selling their wares giving you the chance to buy affordable pieces direct from the makers. They’ll also be mulled wine and festive food – plus, it’s just a quid entry.
DIY’s Independent Christmas Ceramics Market unites a community of incredible artists & potters, providing a unique opportunity for market-goers to buy affordable ceramic artwork, chat to the maker, and grab a mouth-watering bite to eat. A sub-section of The London Design Festival, the 100 ceramicists include current students, up-and-coming graduates, as well as established ceramic artists.
Where: Rich Mix Arts Centre, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6LA
When: 11am – 6pm
With over 65 stalls of foods and gifts, the Christmas Fair Weekend at Fulham Palace is not to be missed. After buying a few pressies and wolfing down a mince pie or two, why not explore the wonderful festivities taking place with your family? Kids can enjoy storytelling sessions from ECOhistories, free craft workshops with Paperbirds and Glue Gang, live instrumental music, face painting, swing boats, traditional fairground games, a mini Ferris, carol singing and more…
Where: Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Avenue, South West London
When: 10am- 4pm
This Christmas at Convent Garden is promising to be the most magical yet. This year sees the return of the legendary Christmas tree, an immersive LEGO installation, mulled wine stalls and daily snowfall your kids will adore. New for 2022 is the Covent Garden Christmas Sleigh which, along with the enchanted Wonder Wood, will provide the ultimate festive photo moments. All this can be found in the open-air Piazza with the surrounding streets of the West End.
Where: Covent Garden, West Central London
During the Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre, the courtyards are transformed with stalls selling artisan food, drink and gifts, live cooking demos, carol singing and more family fun. Not to be missed is the enchanting festive lantern and light experience inspired by the Royal Beasts.
Where: Hampton Court Palace, London
When: Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
Go back in time to the traditional Christmas Market of Kingston-upon-Thames, located on the outskirts of London. Discover over 40 wooden cabins full of stocking fillers. Head to Alpine Village and cosy up next to the fire pit with a bag of roasted chestnuts as the kids enjoy a ride on the vintage carousel. Feast on a hog roast roll, warm up with a mug of mulled wine and enjoy live entertainment under twinkling fairy lights. Oh and they’ve got curling this year too. But you have to book in advance!
Where: Kingston Christmas Market is spread over two main areas. Ancient Market Place in the centre of the town between Clarence Street and High Street. Alpine Village is located on the front lawn of All Saints Church, directly opposite John Lewis. Both areas are fully pedestrianised.
This Winter Wonderland Funland experience down in Manchester is a delight for the whole family, with limitless adventurous rides, games, circus activities, food and more. Your kids can show off their skills skating along the gigantic rink in the centre of the fair as well as meet clowns and acrobats at the extravagant Christmas Circus. Expect all the trimmings of your traditional circus with sweet and salty popcorn with a side of candyfloss.
Where: B.E.C Arena, Longbridge Rd, Trafford Park, Manchester
Ticket Price: £19.50 per person plus £1.95 booking fee. Under 3s go free.
Ok, so it’s a three-hour drive from London but this spectacular Christmas Market in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a themed event where stall holders and attendees dress in Victorian costumes – so well worth the journey if you’re after something different.
Expect entertainment throughout the town; a stage in Henley Street will host a programme of performances, traditional funfair at the bottom of Wood Street or simply browse through the Rother Street market area. A fun day out for all the family!
Where: Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon
Get ready to feel festive! Norwich is a wonderful place to spend a winter evening. The Tunnel of Light, in association with Phoenix Events, has returned with over 57,000 LED lights! The city centre is also decked with Christmas lights as well as breathtaking projections on Norwich Castle. While you are there, be sure to check out the Clutter City Christmas Market or even dine in your own pop-up igloo and celebrate the right way.x