During the Christmas period, London becomes even more beautiful: between Christmas markets, decorations on the streets and buildings, Christmas trees in streets, squares and stations, the city changes and the atmosphere becomes that of an almost magical place. It will be that everything starts here in mid-November, it will be that the lights of Christmas are always the lights of Christmas (and make fun), but for about two months it seems almost a city of fairy tales! A few years ago I embarked on a week in London dedicated primarily to the Christmas markets, to talk about them on the blog. This year I would like to dedicate this post generically to the Christmas markets of London including, therefore, both the markets and Christmas decorations (used on the streets of the centre, the buildings and the windows of shops and shopping centres).
Brief general note: All (or a big part of) the markets are closed on December 25 and have reduced hours on the 31. However, I leave you some links at the end of the article, with more information about it. I have not divided the data into sections separated by subject (“markets” or “Lights”), but I speak of the places according to a route that runs from the Thames to Hyde Park in a logical sense. At the end of the post, then, you will also find indications for more Christmas markets and places.
Christmas by the River
It is located near the City Hall, and not far from Tower Bridge, it is spread along the Southbank promenade. Small market, but very characteristic: find us, collected in chalets in “German style”, gadgets and various trinkets (which could also become small gifts of Christmas) and food. Open from the end of November, it will close on 3 January 2019. How to get there: Waterloo or Tower Hill underground station (on the other side of the bridge. It can be an excuse to walk across the Tower Bridge).
Southbank Centre Winter Market
This Christmas market is held every year in front of the Southbank centre, between the Embankment Bridge and the Waterloo Bridge. Food, music, lights and colours dominate the wooden stalls. You can find us, of course, souvenirs from the market, mulled wine and typical delights from the flea market (then, if you do not want to eat here because it’s cold, in the area you’ll also find restaurants, pubs and places indoors). Open from November 9th, it seems to close on December 27th. How to get there: the nearest metro station is Embankment, on the other side of the Embankment bridge.
Christmas decorations in Covent Garden
Covent Garden, for me, is a compulsory stop at any time of the year. During the Christmas period it is decorated with decorations on the ceiling and walls, and on the outside, there are Christmas trees, reindeer and other lights. This should be a solid stop at any time of year, but under Christmas, it has an extraordinary charm. How to get there: the nearest metro station is, of course, Covent Garden. If you want to take a walk, however, you can also get off at Leicester Square or Charing Cross.
Christmas Market in Leicester square
I discovered this market for the first time on New Year’s Eve 2018, when I was in London to celebrate the arrival of the new year, and this year I decided to include it on an evening Christmas tour. The entrance is near the kiosk for the purchase of theatre tickets (called “TKTS”), and the security staff will ask you to have a look inside your bag. You find objects, Christmas trinkets and food (not very much and mostly sweet). How to get there: the nearest metro station is, of course, Leicester Square. Alternatively, if you feel like walking, you can get off at Covent Garden.
Decorations at Regent Street
In my opinion, these are the best Christmas decorations in London! For 2018, the street was decorated alternating angels and geometric figures with white/clear lights (which naturally resume the idea of the angelic figure). Regent’s Street is also a regular stop on a trip to London, particularly for shoppers, and even in this case (like Covent Garden), Christmas lights give another charm to the street. How to get there: the nearest underground station is Piccadilly Circus. If you feel like walking, you can walk to Leicester Square in just a few minutes.
In 2018, the decorations follow the Bohemian Rhapsody theme (on the occasion of the film released in December). They were not my favourite of the year, it is true, but it is still one of the most iconic places in the city and in any case it is objective that the lights of 2018 are still bright and designed to amaze (as in the whole town). Getting there: the street is approximately in the middle of Regent Street, so the nearest underground station is Piccadilly Circus.
The shopping street par excellence could not be exempt from Christmas decorations, of course. The windows of shops and department stores, from Selfridges to Primark, decorate their windows, which are a party of lights, colours and Christmas characters.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Built inside Hyde Park specifically for the Christmas season, this is my favourite flea market. I talked about it several years ago in a post dedicated only to flea markets because this is not just the market: half is made up of stalls, while the other half is practically a fun fair! Admission is free, even if some attractions of the fairground have a ticket to pay. The entire area is open from 10 to 22 until 6 January, and on the official website, you will find all the useful information you might need.How to get there: the Marble Arch underground station (central line).
These that I have listed are not, of course, the only markets or streets lit up for the party: there would still be many other Christmas places not to be missed and that, sooner or later, I would like to see during a trip to London. In my list of “must see” there are: the Winterville market at Victoria Park, the Greenwich Wintertime Festival and Christmas at Kew (at Kew gardens, the London botanical garden). On the website visitlondon.com, you will find all the useful information to organise a trip to London under Christmas.