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Market Marvels

Our pick of the best Christmas markets London has to offer

Written by . Published on December 7th 2011.

Market Marvels

YOU simply cannot go wrong with a spot of Christmas shopping at Old Spitalfields, Portobello or Camden Market. Each offer a bustling atmosphere and a serious variety of gifts ideas, comfort food and post-shopping drinks. These markets will, however, be with us all year round (result), so why not stop by a few of London’s annual markets that dedicate themselves entirely to Christmas? We've picked of our favourites to make life that little bit easier. 

Duckie Christmas Market 
10 – 30 December
Barbican Centre 

This indie Christmas Market offers a conscience and more excusable helping of consumerism with its handmade products. Expect artwork, fashion, food, literature and lotions, all with a homely twist. There will also be ad hoc workshops and pop-up performances alongside professional artists and craftsfolk, perfect market for anyone wishing to sell in good old car-boot style.

Designers and makers at Somerset House 
Until 8 January
Somerset House 

Somerset House is dedicating its East Wing to this Christmas ‘upmarket’, selling unique jewellery, ceramics, art, glass and stationary pieces by British designers and makers. Prices range from £20 to £200.

Bad Santas Grotto 
Until 10 December
Graffik Gallery 

This market-esque event strays from tradition and celebrates alternative artistic abilities. The ‘Bad Santa’ in question is depicted in terms of painting, rapping and beat-boxing. Don’t forget to check out the street art photography and the more general Christmas market that also features at the Gallery.

Crafty Fox

Crafty Fox Christmas Market 
10 – 11 December
The Dogstar 

Another popular market dedicated to handmade arts and crafts. It also features ‘how to’ workshops and a pop-up tearoom. Get there early as the first 30 foxes through the door get a tote bag of goodies.

Candlelit Christmas Market and Carols 
7 – 14 December
Petersham Nurseries

A truly atmospheric candlelit Christmas fair littered with Christmas trees and Christmas wreaths made by florist Ronny de Koning. Also, Italian chef Tito Bergamaschi will be selling cheeses from the province of Lodi. There will be plenty of hot drinks, mince pies and other goodies on sale and the sounds of carol singers from Petersham Playhouse guiding your path.

Chocolate Festival 
9 – 11 December
Southbank Centre Square 

Time to fully embrace your chocolate addiction – it is Christmas after all. The Chocolate Festival features outdoor stalls selling a whole host of chocolaty products from renowned chocolatiers and chocolate companies. Not only that, there will be baking demonstrations and tutor-led tasting sessions. Expect appearances from famous chocolatier William Curely and chef Andrew Gravett. Visit www.festivalchocolate.co.uk for more info. 

Cologne Christmas Market 
18 Nov – 24 December
Southbank Centre 

After much success in the last four years, this market has already won London’s heart. It features more than 70 wooden chalet stalls beside the Thames between the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye and is a wonderful addition to a much-loved pedestrian promenade. It is the perfect market for your fill of traditional Christmas gifts, foods and decorations. The hog roast and warm crêpes are brilliant accompaniments to a chilly winter’s day. The carousel rounds off the traditional feel perfectly.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 
Until 3 January
Hyde Park 

This classic German Christmas market boasts over a hundred stalls selling crafts and food, and never fails to impress. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland epitomizes you can expect from a Christmas Market in true London style – busy, atmospheric and memorable.

Until 8 January
National Theatre 

Alternatively, Dazzle, the largest and most reputable exhibition of contemporary jewellery, is showcasing items from European Designers – the perfect place to discover new talent and fresh designs with well over a thousand items. Another Christmas ‘upmarket’.


Ham House Christmas Fair

Ham House Christmas Fair 
3 Dec – 18 December
Ham House 

This successful National Trust Christmas fair takes place over three consecutive weekends in a (heated) marquee situated in the landscaped grounds of a beautiful Stuart mansion by the Thames near Richmond. Local traders come together to sell art, craft and artisan food. There are plenty of refreshments and much to keep children occupied with balloon modelling, storytelling and a mini carousel. Booking is essential as the house puts on carol concerts and festive music events during the evening. Tickets include entry to the fair.

Columbia Road Christmas Shopping Evenings 
Until 21 December
Columbia Road 

These east end stores offer a variety of vintage fashion pieces, unusual artworks, homewares and quality foods. Music, entertainment and refreshments characterize the cobbled streets in the build up to Christmas, with late night shopping on Wednesday evenings – a welcome contrast to the markets in the west. 


Real Food Christmas Market 
16 – 23 December
Southbank Centre Square 

The Real Food Market runs every day during the build up to Christmas. Its seasonal gastronomic produce such as wild game, ham, charcuterie, cheeses, chutneys and pickles are of outstanding quality. Or, as with most of London’s Christmas markets, simply come along for the mince pies and mulled wine.


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