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Top 6 Christmas Fairs and Markets in London

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When you think of London, no doubt images of cobbled streets, busy markets, and the sound of street vendors spring to mind. Borough Market, Greenwich Market, Portobello Road, Brick Lane – there are literally hundreds of markets scattered around the capital, and during Christmas time they all know exactly how to celebrate in a quintessentially British manner.

If you’re looking for some stocking fillers this year, look no further than London’s street stalls. Whether you’re after some new decorations, festive food or hand-crafted gifts, these six fairs and markets are definitely worth a visit.

Dusty Fingers German Winter Wonderland

The Dusty Fingers Christmas market couldn’t get any more traditional. This year it will set up around Hackney’s beautiful Round Chapel, and as always, will have a wide selection of stalls selling everything from vintage arts and crafts and home wares to authentic German cuisine. Along with Santa’s grotto and a lot of fake snow, it’ll also be housing an outdoor movie theatre. This will project black and white Christmas movies onto the walls for those who want to simply relax, take in the atmosphere, and warm their bones with a shot of mulled wine.

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland

No trip to London during the Christmas season would be complete without visiting Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Here you’ll find over 200 chalets selling traditional handmade arts and crafts, culinary delicacies, fancy decorations, and everything in between. If you want to do some last minute shopping – and experience a few heart pumping rides in the process – it’s definitely worth checking out.

Southbank Christmas Market

The Southbank is one of the most iconic districts of London and from the 5th November it’ll be one of the hottest spots in the city. The Winter Festival features live music shows, circus performances and festive burlesque dancing; and to top it all off, in the heart of it all will be a pleasant little Christmas markets with stalls serving everything from Scandinavian cakes to German sausages until the 5th January.

Kew Gardens Christmas Market

If you’re looking for a fair that’s away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Kew Gardens will tick all the right boxes. This boutique market will be tucked away among the woodland, and will house Santa’s grotto, a Victorian carousel and plenty of stalls serving hot drinks and tasty treats. For a family friendly day out, without hoards of Londoners or tourists getting in the way, there’s simply nothing better.

Hyper Japanese Christmas Market

The Hyper Japanese Christmas Market is probably one of the most intriguing markets of all. It’s surprising how much Christmas celebrations can vary across different cultures, so if you want to try something new, pop by for some traditional Japanese cuisine and entertainment. Aside from stalls selling festive food and exotic gifts, this year’s event will have martial arts performances, nail art workshops, and even Taiko drumming.

White Christmas Fair

The White Christmas Fair in Battersea has over 40 stalls stocked with decorations, wreaths, trees, greeting cards and jewellery. Highlights include the legendary Doodle Bar, which will be set up inside and serving mulled wine and snacks, and the London Distillery Company, which will be providing whisky sampling and tours. All-in-all the White Christmas fair is fairly small and charming in comparison to the others; however, that doesn’t make it any less special.

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The Most Picturesque Ice Rinks in London

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You don’t have to travel to a cold country to experience ice skating, in fact there are plenty of options right here in London. Whether you gracefully slide across the sheet of white or flap and flail like a lost penguin, ice skating can be a great pastime and will really help you get into the Christmas spirit. England may not be world leaders in winter sports, but we certainly know how to create rinks with style, and if you’re more interested in the atmosphere than anything else, not even Scandinavia could compete.

ice rink

Canary Wharf Ice Rink

Even the businessmen and bankers in Canary Wharf like to let their hair down every once in a while. This ice rink is surrounded by London’s tallest buildings and contains a very intriguing path down to the main space through a collection of luminous trees and sculptures. Outside the rink is equally impressive and contains a vast array of pop-up restaurants serving craft beer, mulled wine and hot chocolate.

London Eye Ice Rink

The London Eye Ice Rink – also known as Eyeskate – is situated in Jubilee Gardens. While it’s not the best rink in the city, it definitely has one of the most spectacular views – the glowing blue Eye spins in the background while you skate. The rink itself is 300 metres squared, making it one of the largest in the city, and sessions last for 45 minutes. Discounts are available if you also book a ride on the Eye.

Tower Ice Rink

The Tower of London is one of the most iconic landmarks in the entire country. The ice rink is situated in the moat that surrounds this gigantic building and the magnificent fortress battlements provide the perfect backdrop, especially when they’re illuminated in the evenings. The Tower of London has also had the privilege of being awarded the title of “most dramatic setting for an ice rink” by Red Magazine.

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a must for anyone in London this December. It’s one of the biggest and best festive events in the country, featuring everything from food markets to roller coasters. Slap bang in the middle is the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, which is the largest ice rink in the United Kingdom and features a huge fluorescent backdrop of fairground attractions.

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

The Natural History Museum has to be one of the most visited buildings in London, but at Christmas it’s not just the prehistoric beasts that people want to see. The ice rink is 1,000 metres squared and placed right in front of a row of trees that frame the iconic building. Overlooking the rink is a very charming café, which is ideal if you want to warm your bones with a post session cuppa.

Wembley Park Ice Rink

The Wembley Park ice rink is in the perfect location; the glittering arch hovers above the ice and it’s just a moment’s walk from the London Designer Outlet Centre and German Market. The best thing about skating in this 600 metre squared rink is that with every ticket you also get a free hot chocolate for after the session.

There’s nothing like an ice rink to get you into the Christmas spirit. While these locations are the most visually striking, London has plenty more on offer, such as at Westfield, Hampton Court Palace and Vauxhall.

If you want an even more picturesque view of London’s ice rinks take a flight on the London Helicopter and see them glimmer from above.

Spectacular Christmas Light Displays in London

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What’s great about London during the Christmas season is that every borough goes all out. The result – a city full of sparkling tinsel, lights and festive spirit that even the North Pole would struggle to compete with.

Oxford Street

The Oxford Street Christmas light switch-on is one of the most celebrated in London and occurs in early November. This display is one of the priciest in the entire country, costing in excess of £11 million. The illuminations and festivities are absolutely fantastic and attendance is always in the tens of thousands. Hollywood stars often take to the stage to flick the switch, so if you want a spot near the front, best get there early.

Greenwich Lantern Parade

The Greenwich Lantern Display takes place in one of the most picturesque places in London – the Old Royal Naval College. This year the event will be hosted by CBeebies presenter Sarah Jane Honeywell, who will guide the local schoolchildren through the town as they march homemade lanterns into Greenwich Market. Characters from the Greenwich Playhouse’s pantomime will switch on the lights in the street, and then everyone is welcome to gather around and join Father Christmas in his grotto for some festive carols.

Harrods Department Store

There’s no better place to go Christmas shopping in London than Harrods. Throughout November and December the entire store is converted into a captivating winter wonderland. Literally every room, from the deli to the winery, will feature sparkling decorations that’ll make every step you take feel like you’re in Santa’s workshop. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, it’s still definitely worth a visit. Starting from Friday 7th November the world famous store will be opening their Christmas Grotto, where children can meet the in-house Santa, in what’s without a doubt the biggest and best department store grotto in the country.

Regent Street

As always Regent Street will be one of the highlights of London this Christmas and will be turning the festivities into a day-long event. The whole street will be closed, and the lights aren’t the only thing that’ll captivate the thousands of spectators; there will also be a firework display during the switch-on. Like Oxford Street there is bound to be a bunch of famous faces partaking in the fun – some of whom will stay around for autograph signing.

Fayre of St. James

The Fayre of St. James is one of the most underrated Christmas events in London and is certainly one to check out if you prefer the more traditional side of things. The event takes place on Jermyn Street in Piccadilly and there are always plenty of celebrity guests bringing a little glamour to the proceedings. The Fayre of St. James starts with a 500-strong crowd singing traditional carols, before moving out onto the street for the grand Christmas lights switch-on. The end of the night concludes with a VIP party at one of Mayfair’s prestigious restaurants.

Christmas in London may not always have the snow covered streets that seems to adorn it in the movies, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Besides, it certainly doesn’t shy away from traditional festivities. The events usually start in early to mid November, and continue until 5th January. Sadly, with so much going on in and around the city, it would be impossible to do and see everything.

Don’t like the crowds? If you’d prefer to bypass the cold winds, wet weather and busy streets, then why not view London’s Christmas lights from above on the London Helicopter?

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