Shop London’s incredible range of festive fare at seasonal fairs all over the city

With the start of December comes the start of Christmas market season, and that means sparkling lights, food and drink from around the world, quirky Christmas gifts, and, in the case of some of the most successful markets, lashings of German charm. Follow our guide to the best of the bunch, and leave plenty of time for exploring.

Winter Wonderland
Boasting London’s biggest ice rink (which is illuminated with 100,000 fairly lights and features a central Victorian bandstand) this fair is big, bold and bursting with fun. Pack in a Father Christmas meet and greet in Santa Land or investigate the mysterious Deep Sea Adventure. The park will be brimming with enticing trinkets, tankards of beer, cups of hot chocolate and steaming glasses of mulled wine. Entry is free, and Hyde Park is a beautiful place to be at Christmas, so throw a scarf around your shoulders, grab a bag of candy floss and venture forth.

Southbank Centre Winter Festival
Brilliantly located right on the Thames with views up and down the river, the Southbank Centre runs a series of activities, Christmas stalls and food and drink pop ups alongside its ingenious festival programming. Between lunchtime performances from folk duo Ninebarrow and Vintage New Year’s Eve Parties, the festival will provide something thrilling for everyone. Magical shows for the young and young at heart are par for the course, too, and kids will love exploring the musical instruments carved from ice. Adults can pick up a few mulled wines at the Southbank winter market just outside, and then cross the river and wander over to St Paul’s to admire the cathedral in the afternoon light.

London Bridge City Christmas Market
Another fantastic market option along the river bank is the London Bridge City Christmas Market, with views of the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and a beautifully lit arched canopy. An extensive selection of homemade gifts and delectable foodstuffs are sold by over 68 independent traders from German-style chalets, plus there’s plenty to drink in the way of mulled wine, hot cider, craft beers and specially mixed Christmas cocktails.

Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
Most famous for its vibrant flower market, Columbia Road plays host to an exciting range of cheering late-night Christmas events throughout December. When the Christmas season arrives, over 50 participating shops and stalls get involved every Wednesday evening and there are plenty of festive gifts to browse. It’s a popular option for locals who are looking to track down elegant wreaths or a choice Christmas tree, and there are always carollers and atmospheric lights for all the family to enjoy.

Christmas in Leicester Square
Christmas will be coming to Leicester Square for the second year running in 2017. The ‘square’ is transformed into a glittering grotto, where more than 25 food, drink and Christmas gift stalls will be open for your perusal. Don’t miss the vintage mirrored Speigeltent, which will stage productions of a Christmas cabaret put together by the dynamic Underbelly team.

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