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London Christmas Markets: 10 most beautiful Winter Markets

London is versatile, exciting, and always worth a trip. This is especially true for the Christmas season. Did you know that there are numerous great winter markets in London - comparable to the German Christmas markets?

Many travelers can't resist the lure of the megacity, especially at Christmas time. Understandable because pre-Christmas London exudes a very special charm.

An important tip beforehand: Make a tour plan for your stay in London! At Christmas time, the city is transformed after dark into a huge, glittering sea of lights that attracts countless visitors.My tour guide is meant to serve you as inspiration for the most beautiful and atmospheric Christmas markets. With my tips, you are guaranteed to experience an unforgettable Christmas season in London.

Created on24.11.2022
Biggi & Flo from the travel blog Phototravellers

 

The 10 most beautiful Christmas markets in London at a glance

Especially in the period between the end of November and the beginning of January, the metropolis of London unfolds unique magic. So let’s go to the colorful and dazzling capital of Great Britain. I show you my top 5 sights in London at Christmas in the list:

By the way, in our extra article we tell you the top attractions in London.

Tip: To explore London and its many sights as cheaply as possible, we recommend the Go City Pass London (order here*).

1. Covent Garden Market

Lanterns for Christmas
What’s to see in London at Christmas? Advent atmosphere everywhere – the contemplative time with lights shining. London is definitely a cool thing to do at Christmas!

Covent Garden is something special even for the locals. Almost every Londoner raves about this extraordinary place. However, the term “place” is not quite correct because Covent Garden is actually a district.

In the heart of this district, a Christmas market takes place every year that is unique. So it’s hardly surprising that Covent Garden Market is one of the most popular places to go in London, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

But what is the special flair of this location, which, by the way, you can currently admire as the perfect backdrop in the current hit movie “Last Christmas”? You’ll get an answer to this question when you enter the piazza – a true feast for the senses awaits you there.

A Christmas tree decorated with 30,000 lights draws the focus before your gaze wanders over the festively decorated marketplace. Visitors can look forward to probably the most beautiful Christmas decorations in the entire city, including oversized Christmas baubles, glittering reindeer, and plant decorations as far as the eye can see.

If you can tear yourself away from the colorful stalls of the former fruit and vegetable market, you can expect an overabundance of jewelry, clothing, souvenirs, and pubs in the market halls. By the way, there are 25 types of mulled wine – crazy, isn’t it?

The famous Apple Market also offers a wide range of arts and crafts. In addition, street artists and musicians offer their skills. A must-go in London at Christmas time!

2. Southbank Centre Winter Market

The first impression of the winter market, located directly on the southern bank of the Thames, could not yet convince me completely. Maybe it was the rainy weather or the crowds. The longer I strolled between the countless huts with all kinds of homemade decorative items and typical winter textiles, the more the desire to change the place grew.

Until I finally left the central square at the Southbank Centre behind me and following the flow of people was washed onto the promenade directly next to it.

The evening atmosphere of this market with its countless culinary temptations – from hot cider to Mulled Wine to Pies and Fish & Chips – could then convince me completely. It’s definitely a top thing to do!

The acrobats and jugglers, who earn a few extra pounds with their tricks, also provide the best entertainment. The Southbank Promenade also offers a fantastic view of Big Ben and Westminster opposite. An absolutely must-see Winter Market in central London.

3. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

The Bavarian Village in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Where to visit the biggest Christmas Event in London? In the Bavarian Village in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland! It’s an amazing thing to do!

Anyone who steps onto the historic lawns of Hyde Park between mid-November and early January will rub their eyes in wonder: Is this still a Christmas fair or already a commercial fair?

In any case, “London’s biggest Xmas event” is a successful mixture of both. A huge playground with Christmas attractions from all over the world.

A visit to the legendary Hyde Park in the heart of London is, therefore, a must for all travelers to London. And not only because of the Bavarian Village, a rather successful imitation of the Munich Wiesn’ with all its marquees, lovingly decorated wooden stalls, beer gardens, and fairground rides.

The Winter Wonderland is a mixture of spectacle, culinary delight, and Christmas show – something for every taste. Whether on the ice rink, in the circus tent, or in the tepee: it’s worth it!

The Winter Wonderland is predestined for families (with a loose wallet) but is of course also suitable for all other Christmas market fans. Admission is generally free, only some shows in the evening are chargeable. And the rides, of course, too. My tip: Plan a longer stay here because it’s one of the best things to see in London at Christmas.

Where to stay in London at Christmas time?

Christmas markets, mulled wine, and beautiful Christmas lights – that’s what London stands for at Christmas time. We also have the ultimate tips for you, where you can best sleep, so you can perfectly dedicate yourself to sightseeing and the Winter Markets.

The 5-star Montcalm Royal London House hotel (check rates here*) boasts a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views over the rooftops of London. The exclusive Shangri-La Hotel (check prices here*) also has 5 stars and is in a prime location in London’s tallest building – The Shard.

The 3-star Motel One London-Tower Hill (check rates here*) is also only about 800 meters from Tower Bridge and boasts excellent guest reviews.

The Luxurious Apartment “N22” (check prices here*) is an apartment with a garden view, which is not very common in London. It will take you a little longer to get to the city center to the south but the Piccadilly Line will get you from Wood Green Station to Piccadilly Circus in about 25 minutes.

4. Hay’s Galleria

Hay's Galleria at Christmas time
Hay’s Galleria is a popular meeting place around Christmas. A visit here is an unusual thing to do!

If you’re craving some respite after all that exhausting Christmas market browsing, Hay’s Galleria is the place to go. The imposing mall on the south bank of the Thames (between Tower Bridge and London Bridge) is the perfect place for a stopover.

The market stalls are just as inviting as the cafés and restaurants in the historic warehouse, which later also served as a shipyard. The bronze statue “The Navigators” (1987) by David Kemp is also a reminder of this era in the second half of the 19th century.

In the evening, special spotlights bathe the Galleria’s roof in a subtle blue light. From Hay’s Galleria, moreover, you can enjoy a great view of Tower Bridge.

5. Christmas by the river

“70s ski lodge magic” was one of the mottos of this Christmas market idyllically located on the banks of the Thames near London Bridge. For British weather conditions, this theme may be a bit exaggerated but it fits the pre-Christmas booth magic perfectly.

Although the narrow promenade lacks larger corners and niches to linger, these can be found at the eastern end of the market directly in front of Cityhall.

In addition, the “Christmas by the river” scores with a breathtaking view of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. A walk along the promenade you should therefore not miss.

6. Christmas in Leicester Square

The Leicester Square Christmas Market in London
The Leicester Square Christmas Market is one of the most beautiful markets in London. A visit here is a top thing to do!

Small but mighty. This is an apt description of the Leicester Square Christmas Market. Londoners love this market on the square of the same name in the heart of their city, which has served as a center of cultural entertainment since 1670 (!).

Accordingly, it’s “busy” here, especially in the evening hours. And yet I would recommend a visit after dark because the beautiful lighting of the tree-lined square really comes into its own in the evening.

In addition, you can look forward to some high-quality music performances and other artistic interludes, especially at a later hour. It’s actually logical, since Leicester Square is located in the middle of the famous West End musical district.

If possible, go and see one of the shows (for a fee) in the Belgian Spiegelzelt. This year, top-class show acts “La Clique” or “Spice Gals” (a musical homage to the “Spice girls”) will perform there, among others.

7. Christmas Lights of London

Carnaby Street in London at Christmas time
Carnaby Street is a great place to visit at Christmas time

Sure, they’re what give Christmas London that certain something: the dazzling Christmas lights on the city’s most famous streets.

Anyone who has ever been on Regent, Carnaby, or Oxford Street at Christmas time will immediately fall under the spell of the Christmas lights.

It’s always fascinating to see how creative they are. The people in charge sometimes even stage entire stories or song lyrics via LED – in the most absurd variations.

The lighting concept in Oxford Street alone consists of 220,000 sparkling lights. A streetwalk along the aforementioned paths will definitely be an experience – and that’s even without Mulled wine, brownies, and pies.

8. Insider Tip: Kingly Court

The Kingly Court in London
The Kingly Court is a real secret place for Christmas

What else is in London to do at Christmas? Few tourists are likely to have ever seen the beautiful Kingly Court from the inside. But since we are here at Phototravellers, I’ll tell you a real insider tip.

It’s hard to believe but Kingly Court is a haven of peace during the day … and that’s right in the middle of Soho. Perhaps that’s because few people know about the inconspicuous entrances on Kingly Street, Beak Street, or Carnaby Street.

The idyllic courtyard offers exposed seating under trees and a panoramic view of the three-story building ensemble with its balconies in front. While it’s a great place to eat and drink (various eateries and bars), the 30 or so stores around the outside offer a great shopping experience. Compared to the sometimes hectic main shopping areas, Kingly Court still has small fashion labels, vintage stores, and hip outlets with acceptable price structures.

During the day, Kingly Court is ideal for a stop at the pub or for browsing. In the evening, the tranquil place awakens and mutates into the meeting place for many locals. But pssst – you know nothing about anything!

9. Christmas Carol in Trafalgar Square

What else to do in London at Christmas? A visit to the famous Trafalgar Square in the heart of London promises a cool thing to do. In addition to the probably most beautiful Christmas tree in the entire city – an annual gift from Norway on the occasion of British aid during World War II – a musical highlight awaits you here.

Every day from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (on weekends from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.), more than 40 carol-singing groups will enchant visitors with traditional Christmas music (carol singing). Completely free of charge! The perfect prelude to an atmospheric Christmas Eve.

10. Christmas in Canary Wharf

Deep in East London, you’ll find Canary Wharf, one of the most exciting places in the City and definitely a must-do on your sightseeing tour. The skyline in the heart of Docklands, the former port area of the British capital, is not only home to the tallest buildings in the country (only “The Shard” is higher) but also forms a fantastic contrast to the waterways that make their way between the commercial buildings.

As part of the redevelopment of Docklands in the 1980s, great places to eat and drink have settled here. From cozy beer gardens to dining on a sailing yacht, there’s something here for every taste and budget.

Canary Wharf is particularly worth seeing during the Christmas season. At Montgomery Square, for example, a wonderful Christmas market has spread out (up to and including 24.12.).

Just a few corners away in Canada Square, you’ll find a wonderfully illuminated ice rink, while in beautiful Cabot Square you can listen to free performances by top-class musicians (daily from 12 noon).

Reuters Plaza and Jubilee Square are also full of atmosphere. Around Canary Wharf, you can also enjoy decadent (Christmas) shopping, or rooftop parties. Be sure to bring enough time – it’s worth it!

With these tips for the most beautiful Christmas markets in London, you are guaranteed to spend a few unforgettable days in the British Thames metropolis. Merry Christmas!

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