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Guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs 2022

Discover festive markets and fairs in central, north, south, east, and west London in November and December 2022.

Visit one of London’s Christmas markets

Are you ready to shop till you drop this Christmas? If you’re looking for something a bit more atmospheric than a department store or high street chain, then one of London’s Christmas markets or fairs may just be for you.

Whether you live in east, west, north, or south, London, or are just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season the capital will see the return of some popular, long-term markets, such as the Southbank Centre Winter Market or Winter Wonderland, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend long fairs.

Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Some also offer Christmas activities, including crafting workshops, carol-singing and Santa’s Grottoes.

Discover London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2022 festive season:

Long-term Christmas markets in London

Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. Most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • 3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Southbank Centre Winter Market

Shop at riverside chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats on the South Bank. Open Sun-Thur 11am–10pm, Fri & Sat 11am–11pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 10 November – 24 December 2022 : Kingston Christmas Market

Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Open Sun-Wed -10am-6pm, Tues-Sat 10am-8pm. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.

  • 15 November 2022 – 2 January 2023 : Christmas By The River

Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. There will also be choir performances, outdoor film screenings and local community activations. Open daily 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023 : Christmas Markets @ Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. Tickets (must be pre-booked) Standard £5, Peak £7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £25 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

  • 26 November – 23 December 2022 : Canopy Christmas Market

Festive edition of the popular Canopy Market, with shopping stalls, food and drink, and live music. Open Tues–Thur 12-7pm, Fri 12pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.

 

One-off or short-term London Christmas fairs and markets

 

  • 17 – 20 November 2022 : Swedish Church Christmas Fair

London’s Swedish church opens their doors, offering plenty of Scandi treats, crafts and gifts. There will also be a cafe serving Swedish food and glögg. Open Thu 17 12pm-8pm, Sat 19 11am-6pm, Sun 20 11.30am-5pm. Entry: £3. Swedish Church, 6 Harcourt Street, Marylebone, W1H 4AG. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Marylebone. For more information, visit the church website.

  • 20 November 2022 : Blackheath Christmas Fair

Christmas charity fair selling festive gifts, gourmet food and drink, raffles and more. Open 10.30am- 4.45pm. Entry: £2.50. Blackheath Halls, 3 Lee Road, Blackheath, SE3 9RQ. Nearest station: Blackheath. For more information, visit the Blackheath Halls website. Christmas Mince pies

  • 24 – 26 November 2022 : Novikov Christmas Street Market

Mayfair restaurant Novikov host their annual festive market, featuring stalls, house DJs, Champagne Ice Bar, carol singers, food market, Ashai Bar, as well as Santa and his reindeer. Open 11am-9pm. Free entry. Mayfair Place, Mayfair, W1J. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Novikov website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in November 2022

Check out November’s best events and exhibitions, including London Mela, London Jazz Festival, Stylist Live and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018The nights are darker and it’s all getting a bit cooler. Although many may be gearing up for Christmas, there’s still plenty of non-festive special events and festivals on across the capital in November, such as the London Jazz Festival, the Lord Mayor’s Show and Stylist Live.

Although Christmas isn’t until next month, the festive preparation really ramps up in November for those super-organised, with events like Ideal Home Show Christmas, Spirit of Christmas and the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 6 November 2022 : Winter Art & Antiques Fair

Arts and antiques event, featuring over 70 dealers showcasing over 20,000 pieces, ranging in price from £100 to £500,000. Open Tues-Sun 10.30am–6pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £23.50, Children 13-16yrs £16. Weekends – Adults £25.50, Children 13-16 yrs £18, 12 and under free. National Hall, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.

  • 3 – 5 November 2022 : Oktoberfest London 2022

Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 4pm-10.30pm, Sat 11am-10.30pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£10, Bavarian £26-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Bahlsen snack and Bratwurst in bread). Lillie Road Recreation Ground, Fulham, SW6 7PD. Nearest station: Hammersmith or Barons Court. For more information, visit the Oktoberfest London website.

  • 3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Winter Festival @ Southbank Centre

Winter market, The Curling Club, pop-up food and drink experiences, including Jimmy’s Lodge igloos and festive shows, such as Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol and Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show. Times and prices vary. Free entry to winter market. South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Waterloo East or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • Now until 3 November 2022 : Jurassic World – The Exhibition

Immerse yourself in scenes inspired by the classic film franchise as you get up close with dinosaurs. Open Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults from £26, Children from £18.50. ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Custom House or Prince Regent. For more information, visit the Jurassic World Exhibition website. 🐻

  • 5 – 29 November 2022 : Wimbledon International Music Festival

A host of world-class musicians gather in Wimbledon for a series of classical, opera and jazz concerts and recitals. Artists include The Academy Choir, Philharmonia, The Brodsky Quartet, Lortie-Mercier and Chineke!. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including St. John’s Church, St Mary’s Church, Sacred Heart Church, New Wimbledon Theatre, and Trinity Church. Nearest stations: Raynes Park or Wimbledon. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.

  • 6 November 2022 : Veteran Car Run

Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 6.56am and 8.15am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route starts at Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website. 🐻

  • Now until 6 November 2022 : Spirit of Christmas

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 700 independent boutiques and artisan makers. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £23.50 (from £27.50 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £18, 12 and under free. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website. 🐻

  • 9 November 2022 : Belgravia Christmas Lights Switch

Watch the Christmas lights being switched on, along with live music, festive floral displays, canine fancy dress competition, Santa Claus, food and drink, shopping promotions and in-store events. From 5.50pm. In and around Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, and Pimlico Road, Belgravia, SW1X. Nearest stations: Victoria or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Belgravia London website.

  • 9 – 13 November 2022 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, food hall, workshops, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2022

Discover the capital’s best festivals and events this month. including the London Marathon, BFI London Film Festival, London Cocktail Week, Diwali, Frieze London, and much more.

Kew Gardens looks spectacular in autumn

October is one of London’s best months for events and festivals, including several art fairs, the return of London Cocktail Week, Frieze London, the BFI London Film Festival and various celebrations for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Usually in the spring, the postponed London Marathon will be taking place at the beginning of the month.

Of course, towards the end of the month is half-term so expect London’s attractions to be full of families, with many special events catering to little Londoners. Finally, October comes to a close with Halloween, so there will be plenty of spooky events and parties taking place all across town.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 30 September – 2 October 2022 : Whisky Show

Whisky Show returns to London for a physical event following last year’s online offering. Featuring masterclasses, tastings, whisky experts, food pairings, demonstrations and more. Tickets start from £80. Old Billingsgate, 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, City of London, EC3R 6DX. Nearest station: Monument. For more information, visit The Whisky Show website.

  • 30 September – 2 October 2022 : Homebuilding & Renovating Show

Homeowners looking to improve, extend, renovate or build their abodes can find inspiration. Featuring seminars, masterclasses, expert advice and exhibition hall. Open Fri-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4.30pm. Tickets from £12. ExCel London (East entrance), Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s website.

  • 1 October 2022 : Diwali 2022 @ Wembley Park

Celebrate Diwali at Wembley with dance and musical performances, light parade, food stalls and Diwali disco. 1pm-11pm. Free. Wembley Park, HA9. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website🐻

  • 1 – 2 October 2022 : HowTheLightGetsIn London 2022

The world’s largest music and philosophy festival has been moved from 17-18 September following the Queen’s death. Featuring music, cabaret, discussions, comedy and more. Including appearances from Mercury prize nominee Gwenno, Django Django (DJ), Girls of the Internet, Rosie Frater-Taylor, Rosie Alena, Amber Burgoyne, i.am.afiya, Vanity Fairy, Mumble Tide, David Hare, Esther Freud, Donald Hoffman, Thangam Debbonaire, Ahir Shah, Tatty Macleod and Alexandra Haddow. Tickets: Adults £28-£78, Under 12s free. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JR. Nearest stations: Highgate or Hampstead. For more information, visit the festival website. 🐻

  • Now until 2 October 2022 : STRETCH @ Eccleston Yards

A month-long wellness and fitness festival comes to Eccleston Yards, featuring workshops, classes, experiences, talks and more, such as outdoor painting, floral therapy, nutrition advice, marathon tips, yoga and more. Times vary. Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, 21 Eccleston Place, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Belgravia London website.

  • 2 October 2022 : London Marathon 2022

Usually in the spring, the postponed London Marathon will see 100,000 runners challenging themselves while raising money for charity. The 26 mile marathon starts in Greenwich/Blackheath and ends on The Mall. Free for spectators. For more information and spectator maps, visit the London Marathon website🐻

  • 5 – 16 October 2022 : BFI London Film Festival 2022

International film festival returns to the capital, featuring premieres, screenings, Q&As, special presentations, shorts, talks and more. Ticket prices vary between £10-£40, festival passes £21-£60. At various cinemas in London. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 5 – 26 October 2022 : Wellness Wednesdays @ London

To mark World Mental Health Day, the London Wetlands Centre will be offering half-price entry every Wednesday in October so Londoners can take time out and get close to nature. Open daily 9.30am-5pm. WWT London, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes Bridge. For more information, visit the WWT website. 🐻

  • 7 – 9 October 2022 : New Scientist Live 2022

Festival of ideas and discovery from New Scientist magazine returns with dozens of speakers and interactive experiences. Open Fri 9.30am-3pm (schools only), Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £42-£45, Children £17-£18. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House. For tickets, visit the New Scientist Live website. 🐻

  • 7 – 16 October 2022 : Streatham Festival

Explore the culture of this vibrant south London neighbourhood. Including talks, dance and music classes for kids, comedy shows, music and dance performances, art exhibitions, drag shows and much more. Various venues in SW16 and SW2. Nearest stations: Streatham Hill, Streatham Common and Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website🐻

  • 7 – 16 October 2022 : Herne Hill Music Festival

Music festival in Herne Hill, south London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including The Half Moon, Off The Cuff, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall, Herne Hill United Church, Community Greenhouses and The Prince Regent. Tickets range from free to £15. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.

  • 7 October 2022 – 31 January 2023 : Frameless

Explore a new way to engage with art in an immersive, multi-sensory experience. Visitors can travel through four galleries, coming up close to masterpieces from the likes of Cezanne, Kandinsky, Monet, Dalí, Van Gogh, Canaletto, Rembrandt and Klimt, among others. Opening hours vary. Tickets from £15, Kids under 5 yrs free. 6 Marble Arch Place, Marylebone, W1H 7AP. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For tickets, visit the Frameless website. 🐻

  • 8 – 9 October 2022 : Classic Car Boot Sale

Vintage lovers can shop pre-loved and upcycled goods, including fashion, homewares, fashion and more as this retro festival returns. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £5, free entry for under 12s. Granary Square, Lewis Cubitt Square and Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website.

  • 9 October 2022 : Diwali on Trafalgar Square

Celebrate the festival of lights with an evening event in the heart of the capital. Expect lots of light effects, food and drink. 4pm-10pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DX. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Diwali on Trafalgar Square website🐻

  • 12 – 16 October 2022 : Frieze London

London contemporary art fair returns to Regents’ Park, focusing on living artists. Expect over 160 galleries, performance-based work, talks and more. Tickets start from £49.95 (depending on day and entry time). Regents’ Park (south side), off Park Square West, NW1 4LL. Nearest station: Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in September 2022

Find out what events, festivals and exhibitions are on this month, including Open House, Life Lessons, Totally Thames and more.

Superbloom sees the Tower of London’s moat filled with flowers

Autumn has arrived, the kids are back in school and London’s festival season is busier than ever. With September usually still a warm month, there’s plenty of alfresco fun to be had around town. Among the big events are the month-long Totally Thames Festival, the hugely popular Open House Festival and the return of Frieze Sculpture.

Read on to find out what festivals, exhibitions and special events are on in London this September, including ticket prices, transport details and more.

Some events are subject to cancellation or rescheduling due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Keep up to date with organisers’ social media before you go.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 18 September 2022 : Portobello Film Festival

Two and half week festival returns to Notting Hill with screenings and events at the Gate Picturehouse and the Muse Gallery. Free. Nearest stations: Ladbroke Grove or Westbourne Park. For more information, visit the Portobello Film Festival website.

  • 1 – 30 September 2022 : Totally Thames

Month-long festival celebration the river and its heritage. Featuring a host of online and in-person events focusing on the heritage, environment and culture of the Thames. At various locations. Some events are free. For more information and booking, visit the Thames Festival Trust website. 🐻

  • 1 September – 2 October 2022 : STRETCH @ Eccleston Yards

A month-long wellness and fitness festival comes to Eccleston Yards, featuring workshops, classes, experiences, talks and more, such as outdoor painting, floral therapy, nutrition advice, marathon tips, yoga and more. Times vary. Eccleston Yards, Belgravia, 21 Eccleston Place, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Belgravia London website.

  • Now until 2 September 2022 : Summer by the River

A host of free entertainment returns to the riverside location, including family theatre, live music, DJs, film screenings, Platinum Jubilee events, dance classes and more. Times vary. Free. London Bridge City, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge (south of the river), SE1. Nearest stations: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information and listings, visit the London Bridge City website. 🐻

  • 2 September 2022 : Food & Play Pop-up

An afternoon and evening of food and fun comes to Wimbledon, featuring international food, cocktail mixing demos, beer and cheese pairings, DJs, and games (table football, Connect 4, Giant Jenga, board games and more). From 12pm-9pm. Free entry. The Piazza, Wimbledon, SW19 1QB. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information, visit the Love Wimbledon website. 🐻

  • 2 – 4 September 2022 : Pub in the Park – Chiswick

Celebration of food and music sets up camp in west London for the weekend. Featuring performances from Craig David TS5, The Sugar Hill Gang, Beverley Knight, Faithless DJ, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Christians, along with top celebrity chefs and London restaurants. Open Fri 6pm-10.30pm, Sat 11.30am-4.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm, Sun 1om-7pm. Tickets: Adults £43.40-£55.51, Children £27.13-£40.69. Chiswick House & Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. For more information, visit the Pub in the Park website. 🐻

  • 2 – 4 September 2022 : Meatopia

A festival for carnivores, for those who love cooking with fire. Featuring over 60 of the world’s top fire chefs, bars, live music, DJs, and more. Over 18s only on Friday. Open Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-6.30pm. Tickets from £26.50. Tobacco Dock (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest stations: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Meatopia website.

  • Now until 4 September 2022 : The Beach @ Brent Cross

London’s largest beach returns for the summer, along with street food, games and rides. Open: Term-time (Sat & Sun only – 12pm-9pm), School holidays (Daily 12pm-9pm). Entry: £5 pp (£4 advance). Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Prince Charles Drive, Brent Cross, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Brent Cross. For more information, visit the Brent Cross website. 🐻

  • Now until 4 September 2022 : Doctor Who – Time Fracture

Fans of the Time Lord will love this immersive, theatrical experience as you ‘travel’ back to 1940s Mayfair during the Blitz. Times vary (experience lasts 2hr 15mins). Over 8 yrs+ only. Tickets from £29.95. UNIT HQ, 1-8 Davies Mews, Mayfair, W1K 5AB. Nearest station: Bond Street. For booking, visit the Doctor Who: Time Fracture website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in July 2022

Find out what events and exhibitions are on in the capital, including Pride, Cocktails in the City, London Zoo lates and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017Summer is in full bloom with long warm nights and a gargantuan choice of events on in London. Schools are breaking up for the summer holidays towards the end of the month so expect plenty of local and out-of-town families diverging on the capital looking to be entertained. Fortunately, there’s a host of family-friendly events on around town.

This month sees the long-awaited return of some popular events after being scaled back or cancelled over the past two years due to Covid-19.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 3 July 2022 : Feria de Londres

Three-day festival inspired by the Andalusian celebration of Spanish food and culture. Featuring Spanish dance and music performances and workshops, food traders, and drink vendors. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-3pm/3pm-6pm/6.30pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-4pm/4pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Under 16s free. Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For more information, visit the Feria de Londres website. 🐻

  • 1 – 3 July 2022 : The Allergy & Free From Show

Show for people who suffer from allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease, hay fever or eczema. Featuring cooking classes, seminars, expert advice, skin consultations, live music and more. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Free (register online). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s official website.

  • 1 – 3 July 2022 : Just V Show

Plant-based living for Vegans to Flexitarians. Featuring Vegan-friendly skincare, lifestyle products and food, seminars and both popular and new vegan brands. Tickets: Free (register online). ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the show’s official website.

  • 2 July 2022 : Pride in London

Pride is back with a bang as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in the UK. Parade starts at Hyde Park Corner and ends at Trafalgar Square. Timings TBA. Free to spectate. For more information, visit the Pride in London website.

  • Now until 3 July 2022 : Hampstead Summer Festival

The festival takes place in and around Hampstead, including the Keats Grove Community Mural Festival, Family Garden Party, The Taming of the Shrew production, Art Fair and more. Many activities are free. For more information, visit the Hampstead Summer Festival website. 🐻

  • 3 July 2022 : Pride @ Wembley Park

Celebrate Pride at Wembley with live performances, DJs, dance workshops (Zumba, pop and voguing), art classes, face painting, fitness sessions (yoga and Pilates) and drag queens. 11am-10pm. Free. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. 🐻

  • 3 July 2022 : Red Bull Soapbox Race

Enjoy one of the country’s most quirky races, with participants competing with their handmade vehicles. 12pm-6pm. Tickets: Over 25 yrs £29.99, Under 25 yrs £19.99. Alexandra Palace Park, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Red Bull website. 🐻

  • 4 – 9 July 2022 : RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021

The world’s largest garden show returns to the grounds of the historical Hampton Court. Attractions include show gardens, Market Theatre, live music, DJs, RHS Flower School, Festival of Roses, Floral Marquee, talks and demos. RHS members only Mon and Tues. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5.30pm. Tickets from £28.85 (cheaper for RHS members). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For tickets, visit the RHS website. 🐻

  • Now until 6 July 2022 : Masterpiece London

An imaginative art and antiques fair for traditional and contemporary. Featuring a week of cultural, culinary and social experiences. Open Thu, Mon-Wed 11am-9pm, Fri-Sun 11am-7pm. Tickets from £45. The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, SW3 4SL. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Masterpiece London website.

  • 7 July 2022 : City Beerfest

One day festival in the City of London raising money for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Featuring beers, street food, and live music. From 12.30pm-9pm. Tickets: £13.50. Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For tickets, visit the City Beerfest website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs 2021

Discover festive markets and fairs in central, north, south, east, and west London in November and December 2021.

With Christmas getting closer all the time and depressing warnings about ‘supply issues’ at the big chain stores, the thought of in-person shopping from independent traders is more appealing than ever. What better way to pick up some gifts for your loved ones, while getting an injection of festive spirit at one of London’s many Christmas markets and fairs.

Whether you live in north, south, east or west London, or just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season we’ll see the return of some popular, long-term markets, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend fairs.

Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Be aware that some events are asking visitors to register for a free ticket online so they can control crowd numbers as the pandemic continues.

Here’s a guide to London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2021.

Long-term Christmas markets in London

Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. Most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • 4 November – 24 December 2021 : Southbank Centre Winter Market

Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the river on the South Bank. Open daily 11am-11pm. Free. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  •  12 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas in Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market in Bavarian-style huts. There will also be a Santa’s Grotto for kids and a Spiegeltent, which will host a production of La Clique. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Free entry to the market, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.

  • 16 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Christmas By The River 2021

Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. Open daily 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 18 November – 24 December 2021 : Kingston Christmas Market

Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Times TBC. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, and the 2nd in front of All Saints Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.

  • 19 November 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Winter Wonderland Market

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. General entry: (must be pre-booked) Peak £5-£7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £20 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

 


One-off or short-term London Christmas fairs and markets

  • 1 – 7 November 2021: Spirit Of Christmas Fair

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.

Visit one of London’s Christmas markets

  • 7 November and 4 – 5 December 2021 : Crafty Fox Christmas Market @ Mercato Metropolitano

Buy gifts directly from crafters and makers, enjoy food and drink from street food stalls or take part in a make-your-own-botanical-necklace workshop. 11am-5pm. Free entry. Mercato Metropolitano, 47 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6BD. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information, visit the Crafty Fox website.

  • 10 November 2021 : Merry Marylebone

A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 10 – 14 November 2021 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website.

  • 10 – 14 and 22 – 26 November 2021 : Finnish Church Christmas Fair

Christmas market featuring live music, Finnish treats and gifts, food and drink from the cafeteria. Opening hours vary. Free entry. Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7JG. Nearest station: Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Finnish Church website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in November 2021

Find out what events are on in the capital in November, including the Lord Mayor’s Show, motor shows, Christmas shopping events, and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Autumn is in full swing

November is here, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder… but on the bright side, it’s all getting a bit Christmassy. After last year’s lockdown, this year Londoners will be wanting to make up for lost time and prepare for a fabulous festive season. As well as host of Christmas shopping events, expect to see light shows and trails; the Lord Mayor’s Show; Oktoberfest, Diwali celebrations, music festivals and the return of Winter Wonderland.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 7 November 2021 : Spirit of Christmas

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 600 independent boutiques and artisan makers. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website. 🐻

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : Winter Art & Antiques Fair

Arts and antiques event, featuring over 70 dealers showcasing over 20,000 pieces, ranging in price from £100 to £500,000. Open Tues-Wed & Fri-Sat 11am–6pm, Thur 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £21, Children 13-16yrs £14. Weekends – Adults £23 (advance, more on the door), Children 13-16 yrs £16, 12 and under free. National Hall, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : Diwali @ Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf celebrates the Hindu festival Diwali with a floating flower installation. Lights on from 5pm-11pm. Free. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻

  • 3 – 14 November 2021 : UK Green Film Festival

Watch documentaries exploring environmental issues. The UK-wide festival will be hosting London screenings in Dalston. Times and prices vary. Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 2PB. Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction. For more information, visit the festival website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Diwali Festival @ Devonshire Square

Head to Devonshire Square to celebrate the Indian festival of lights. Featuring a dance show with Indian folk and classical dancers; complimentary tastings of Indian confectionary, Diwali canapes and tamarind soda drink from Cinnamon Kitchen; and the visual art of Rangoli lit by candles. 5.30pm-8pm. Free to attend, but register for a place through Eventbrite. Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Carnaby Christmas Shopping & Dining Party

Festive evening sees over 100 shops, boutiques and restaurants of the Carnaby district are offering 20% discounts, in-store events, free drinks and goodie bags. Carnaby Street’s festive light installation will also be switched on. 12pm-8pm. Register online for a free ticket. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. 🐻

  • 4 – 6 and 11 – 13 November 2021 : Oktoberfest London

Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£15, Bavarian £21-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Brezel snack and Bratwurst in bread). Dock X, Canada Water, 40 Surrey Quays Road, Docklands, SE16 7DX. Nearest station: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information and tickets, visit the Oktoberfest London website.

  • 6 November 2021 : Regent Street Motor Show

Dozens of vintage cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day. Featuring entertainment and interactive displays. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic. 10.30am-4pm. Free. Regent Street, W1B 5TD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street Motor Show website. 🐻

  • 7 November 2021 : Veteran Car Run

Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 6.56am and 8.15am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route starts at Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website. 🐻

  • 10 November 2021 : Merry Marylebone

A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website. 🐻

  • 10 – 14 November 2021 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website. 🐻

  • 11 November – 18 December 2021 : The Great Feast

A new music and food festival pops up at the Selfridges Hotel. Featuring Michelin-starred chefs, immersive dining, creative cocktails and live music. Over 18s only. Open 11-20 Nov: Thu-Sat 6pm-12am, 25-27 Nov: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-12am, 1-18 Dec: Wed-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Tickets: £20-£60. Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, Marylebone, W1H 6HJ. Nearest stations: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Great Feast website.

  • 11 November – 30 December 2021 : Club Curling

Try your hand at curling as the winter sports pops up at King’s Cross for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute curling slot on one of the six synthetic ice rinks, before enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children under 12 free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for more details. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Destination Star Trek

Europe’s official Star Trek convention comes to London, with the chance to see some of the series’ iconic faces, including George Takei, Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Doug Jones, Robert Beltran, Marianna Hill, Mark Rolston, Alice Krige and more. Open Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: One day £29 (Sat or Sun), Weekend £44 (Sat & Sun), three day £54. Premium ticket packages also available. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Destination Star Trek website. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Balance Festival 2021

Wellness festival returns to the East End for a weekend of mindfulness, fitness, relaxation and more. Opening times vary (morning and afternoon sessions). Tickets vary depending on day and session. Adults start from £26.50 (half-day), from £50 (full-day). The Old Truman Brewery, 15 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Balance Festival website.

  • 12 – 21 November 2021 : EFG London Jazz Festival

International jazz stars gather at venues all over the capital, including Dave Holland and John Scofield; Nu Civilisation Orchestra; Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita; Gwenifer Raymound; Black Midi & Moor Mother; Robocobra Quartet & Archipelago; Archie Sheep and Jason Moran; and many more. Gigs range from free to ticketed. At various locations across London. For listings and bookings, visit the EFG London Jazz Festival website.

  • 12 – 28 November 2021 : Enchanted Woodland

Follow an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum of Syon Park. Lighting will transform the trees, plants and lake. Hot food and drinks available for sale. Open Fri-Sun, entry slots every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £7.50. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website. 🐻

  • 13 November 2021 : Lord Mayor’s Show

The spectacle is known as the oldest and largest civic procession in the world and marks the new Lord Mayor of London in a three-mile procession. The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am, passes St Pauls before heading down Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, then returns via the Victoria Embankment (approx 1.15pm-2.30pm) to Mansion House (arriving 2.30pm). Free to spectate. Nearest stations: Mansion House, Temple, Blackfriars, St Paul’s and Cannon Street. For more information visit the Lord Mayor’s Show website. 🐻

  • 13 – 28 November 2021 : Wimbledon International Music Festival

A host of world-class musicians gather in Wimbledon for a series of classical, opera and jazz concerts and recitals. Artists include Sir Willard White, Imogen Cooper, The Tallis Scholars and Tango Club. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including King’s College School, Trinity United Reformed Church, St. John’s Church, Wimbledon College Hall, Wimbledon Synagogue. Nearest stations: Wimbledon or Raynes Park. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.

  • 13 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Hogwarts in the Snow

Visit your favourite Harry Potter sets, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle, which have been transformed with snow for the festive season. Tickets from £47. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information and tickets, visit the WB Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • Now until 14 November 2021 : Remember the Future exhibition

Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: Free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.

  • 17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas at Kew

Follow a magical trail around Kew Gardens, through tunnels of light, past dancing waterfalls, illuminations and the Fire Garden, and a light display at the Palm House. 4pm-10pm. Tickets: Standard advance adult: Off peak £21.50/Peak £26.50, Children: Off peak £14/peak £16.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in June 2019

Find out what’s happening in London, including festivals, gin and Pride.

Summer is here at last! Expect to see plenty of outdoor festivals, with Pride, World Gin Day and the month-long London Festival of Architecture among the highlights of June. If you’re short on cash, there’s plenty of free events, including Soho Music Month’s free gigs and London Seafood Festival.

For a guide to Wimbledon screenings in London, click here.

For a guide to London’s outdoor and pop-up cinemas this summer, click here.

Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best London events on in June.

  • Now until 1 June : Herne Hill Free Film Festival

The free film festival returns to Herne Hill for the seventh year. Films include Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, The Babadook, American Animals, Wreck It Ralph 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, Isle Of Dogs and more. Venues include The Lido Café, Station Hall, Prince Regent pub, Brockwell Lido, The Half Moon, Herne Hill Velodrome and more. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more details, visit the Free Film Festival website.

  • 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture

A month-long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘boundaries’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debate, conferences and the ‘Lunch Break’ installation. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.

  • 1 – 30 June : Soho Music Month

A month-long series of events celebrating the cultural heritage of Soho. Featuring DJ sessions, panel discussions, free gigs, special food and drink menus and more. At venues around Soho, including Carnaby and Newburgh Quarter. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit Carnaby website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the event.

  • 2 June : London Pizza Festival

Help find the world’s best pizza as six pizzerias battle to be crowned the winner. Sample different slices, while enjoying a beer and listening to a DJ. 12pm-6pm (entrance at timed slots). Tickets: £28 (inc 6 quarter slices of pizza, 1 beer or soft drink and entrance to the festival). Borough Market (Green Market), Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Young & Foodish website.

  • Now until 2 June : Swinging Sixties exhibition

New exhibition celebrates the fashion, textiles, homewares and furniture of the Swinging Sixties. Including vintage designs by Mary Quant, Laura Ashley and Terence Conran. Open Tues-Sat 11am–6pm, Thurs 11am-8pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: £9.90. Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the museum website.

  • Now until 2 June : Sundance Film Festival – London

The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, comes to London to showcase the best of independent movies, featuring UK and International feature film premieres, shorts and special events. Tickets prices vary. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.

  • Now until early June : Sculpture In The City 2018/2019

Free public art exhibition, bringing contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the City Of London’s official website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the 2017/2018 exhibition.

  • 3 – 9 June : Pittsburgh Art on the Bank

Pop-up art exhibition comes to the South Bank for one week only, featuring pieces from Pittsburgh’s established and emerging artists. Visitors can also enter a competition to win a trip to Pittsburgh with British Airways by snapping a selfie with their favourite piece. South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Visit Pittsburgh website.

  • 5 – 6 June : Beating Retreat

An evening pageant of music, horses, cannons and fireworks against the backdrop of St James’s Park and Horse Guards Parade. A military precision drill from the Household Division in the week preceding Trooping The Colour. 8pm. Tickets from £20. Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, SW1A 2AX. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Embankment or Westminster. For more information, visit the Household Division’s website.

  • 5 – 9 June : World Gin Day Festival

Four day festival celebrating ‘mother’s ruin’ from Drink Up London – the people behind London Cocktail Week. Some of London’s best bars will be offering special £6 gin cocktails to those with a festival pass. There will also be a World Gin Day Festival hub in Devonshire Square. Bars include Basement Sate, Two One Four, Bluebird Chelsea, Flight Club, Graphic, Le Pont de la Tour, Nine Lives, Oriole, The Little Yellow Door, The Ned and many more. Festival pass: £10 on the Drink Up London app (valid for four days). For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website.

  • 6 – 7 June : Poetry & Lyrics Festival

Versatile music and poetry festiva, covering jazz, neo-soul, punk, and disco. Headliners include Lavinia Greenlaw, Village Hall Disco, Belinda Zhawi and members of Steam Down Collective. King’s Place, 90 York Way, King’s Cross, N1 9AG. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For tickets, visit the King’s Place website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Imagine you’re in the country at Polo In The Park

  • 7 – 9 June : Polo In The Park

Bringing polo from the country estates into London. As well as watching the polo, there is plenty of entertainment and food and drink venues, including The Grazing Paddock (restaurants and street food), Champagne Lanson Garden, Mahiki and Polo Bars, Slingsby Cocktail Bar, PIMM’s Bus, Fever-Tree Bar and Garden, Luxury Shopping Village and Little Hooves Kids’ Club. Tickets start from £15.20 (adults), £10 (children). Hurlingham Park, Fulham, SW6 3RH. Nearest station: Putney Bridge or Parson’s Green. For more information and tickets, visit Chestertons Polo In The Park’s website.

  • 7 – 9 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival

Annual literary festival returns to various venues around Stoke Newington. Tickets range from free to £8. Venues include Abney Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Ryan’s Bar, Mascara Bar and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.

  • 7 – 9 June : Carters Steam Fair @ Walthamstow

The vintage travelling fun fair sets up camp in East London, featuring rides from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Open Fri 4-10pm; Sat 12-10pm and Sun 12-8pm. Free admission. Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4PP. Nearest station: Walthamstow Central. For more information, visit the Carters Steam Fair website.

  • 7 – 28 June : Zoo Nights @ London Zoo

London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as checking out the animals, you can follow a trail, listen to music, enjoy a drink and feast at the world food market. 6pm-10pm. Tickets: £19.95. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website. Read the rest of this entry

Review: Visiting the Tower of London with a Context Travel tour

Exploring the history of the Tower on a three-hour semi-private tour.

Tower of London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

One of London’s most historic and important sights – the Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the capital’s most iconic sights. It’s been standing on the fringes of the City, looming over the River Thames, for over 1,000 years. With such an amazing heritage, the layers of history within the Tower walls can be overwhelming for a visitor. I previously visited the Tower of London as a teenager and didn’t really absorb the stories of the complex as I knew I would as an adult. Over the Easter Weekend, I paid a long-awaited return to the Tower on a semi-private tour with Context Travel.

Context Travel is a specialist walking tour company, which offers private, semi-private and custom tours in over 50 cities worldwide. Aiming to put tourist sights ‘in context’, the tours are hosted by experts in their field, giving you an in-depth knowledge while taking you off-the-beaten track to find hidden places and details. Context Travel semi-private tours are in small groups, which immediately appealed to me because I’m not a fan of sharing my travel/tourist experiences (even in my hometown of London!) with a huge group of people.

Tower of London Tour © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The White Tower is over 1,000 years old


Tower of London Tour © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

One of the Tower Guards on duty

My three-hour tour started on a sunny Sunday morning so the weather was on our side. Myself and two other participants met our guide Lesley outside Tower Hill station and headed straight to the entrance of the complex. The immediate bonus of visiting on a group tour I noticed was being able to bypass the long queue and we were within the tower walls within no time.

We swiftly passed through the Middle Tower and crossed the now-dry moat before passing under the Byward Tower for our first stop on the tour. Looking at the complex, I would find it hard to identify the ages of the different parts. However, Lesley shared her great knowledge of each buildings’ history, which King (or Queen) was responsible for its building and how their use had evolved over time.

Before delving deeper into the various sections, Lesley suggested we head straight to the Jewel House to visit the world-famous Crown Jewels. As guides aren’t allowed to accompany tour groups inside during busy periods, Lesley gave us easy-to-remember pointers on what to focus on inside. Covering 800 years of the British monarchy, the Jewel House contains some truly amazing sights and spectacular examples of wealth. I recognised many crowns and other regalia and vestments I had seen worn by Queen Elizabeth II over the decades. It was great to see them in the flesh so to speak – albeit surrounded by heavy security.
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Get away from the crowds in beautiful Montenegro

Escape to Montenegro and explore the Bay of Kotor, Budva Riviera and the mountains.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The stunning scenery of Sveti Stefan on the west coast of Montenegro

Eastern Europe as a travel destination has been rising in popularity over the past decade, with countries such as Croatia and Poland attracting huge numbers from around the world. Of course, the downside of this is overcrowding, sometimes sparking a backlash from local residents. When planning a summer holiday, I was looking for somewhere in Europe a bit more off-the-beaten track with a lot less tourists and I thought about Montenegro. When I mentioned the country to a few friends, hardly anyone had been and many could not even point it out on the map.

Montenegro shares the same Adriatic coastline as Croatia, Albania… and if you go even further south, Greece. By European standards, it’s a relatively small country and takes a few hours to drive from the Albanian border to the Croatian. When it comes to flights from the UK, some of the budget airlines fly direct to Tivat (Bay of Kotor) and the capital Podgorica. However, these flights aren’t daily (at time of writing) and were quite expensive, so we opted to fly to Dubrovnik and rent a car from there, which is only 17km north of the border. As this piece is about Montenegro, I won’t linger too long on Dubrovnik. We decided to spend a total of two nights in the Croatian resort at the beginning and end of our holiday, staying at this cute little B&B Guesthouse Rustico in the Old Town. Daytime in the old town was pretty overwhelming thanks to the huge crowds of cruise ship travellers, but once they headed back to the boats in the evening, it’s was a lot more enjoyable and less frantic.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Weaving through the alleys of Kotor Old Town

When it comes to renting a car for our trip to Montenegro, we looked at a variety of options, but decided renting a car from Dubrovnik would be easier. We had seen a few horror stories online regarding so-called ‘damage’ and high insurance excess from some local car companies so stuck to Hertz. Whatever car you rent, you must make sure you are insured to drive it in Montenegro (some companies may charge extra for leaving Croatia) and you must have the right car documentation to show at the border. When we drove into Montenegro, they didn’t ask for it, but on the way back to Croatia, they did request the vehicle paperwork. Overall, it was pretty straightforward process. The queue at the border was about 45 minutes, although it was a lot quicker returning to Croatia a week later.

After crossing the border, within 15 minutes we reached the stunning Bay of Kotor – one of Montenegro’s most popular tourist destinations. It is a stunning span of water surrounded by mountains with Venetian settlements dotted along the bay. If you want to cross to the southern part of the Bay, you have two options – drive all the way around or get the short car ferry connecting Kamenari and Lepetane. For our first trip around the Bay, we wanted to drive the whole way so took the scenic route past the various villages and towns, such as Herceg Novi, Lipci and Perast. Kotor town is one of the main hubs in the Bay and is often a stop-off for cruise ships during the day. As we were seeking a bit more tranquillity, we rented a self-catering apartment in Muo – a waterside fishing village 1.5 miles away from Kotor. We had a huge apartment with two double beds and a seaview balcony, with free parking and bike rental available. Within a couple of minutes walk, there were plenty of small, empty pebbly beaches or piers so you could easily go swimming in the clear blue waters.
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