Christmas in Covent Garden
Christmas markets and fairs have steadily been growing in popularity every year and this year sees even more than ever. As people move away from big brands in the hope of buying original or homemade presents for their loved ones, many are turning to markets and fairs for their Christmas shopping lists. For the organised among us, some fairs are taking place in November, with plenty in December for some last-minuters [yes dads, I’m looking at you ;-)]. As well as providing a more relaxed way of shopping than high streets and malls, these events also give you encouragement when it comes to getting into the Christmas spirit.
This guide is for the 2013 markets – click here for the 2015 guide
Long-term Christmas markets
- 15 November – 24 December : Christmas Market at Southbank
The German-style market returns to the Southbank as vendors sell food, drink and gifts along the Thames. Wooden huts pop-up alongside the Thames in front of the Southbank Centre. Free entry. While you’re there, you could pop along and have a skate under the London Eye. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 22 November – 5 January 2014 : Traditional German Christmas Market at Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland features a fun fair, food, drink, circus and an ice rink in Hyde Park over the festive period and includes a German market selling gifts too. Free entry. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
- 28 November – 23 December : Boutique Christmas Market and Christmas Village at Kew Gardens
A Christmas market and village will be open nightly alongside Kew’s illuminated trail. Free entry to the market and village, although will cost to enter the trail. Traditional wooden chalets will sell food, drink and gifts, while visitors can listen to live nightly carols. There’s also a Santa’s Woodland Grotto with the chance to meet the man himself, as well as ride a Victorian carousel. Kews Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 28 November – 22 December : Christmas Shopping at the Barbican
The Barbican’s foyers will be transformed into a Christmas shopping extravaganza with independent stalls and toy shops. Free entry. 12-8pm. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Barbican website.
One-off or short-term Christmas fairs
Tis the season for mince pies
- 21 – 24 November : Taste Of Christmas
Sister event to the hugely popular Taste Of London event which celebrates food. Four day festival in Wapping offers tastings, demonstrations, masterclasses and food theatre with Michel Roux Jnr, Mark Hix, Gizzi Erskine, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall among those giving their tips. Prices start from £23.65 (advance) or £26 (on door). Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest tube: Wapping (overground). For more information, visit the Taste of Christmas website.
- 24 November : Grand Festive Fair at Dulwich College
Christmas fair in the grounds of historic Dulwich College in South London featuring food, gifts, raffle, games, cafe and Santa Claus. 11am-4pm. Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, SE21 7LD. Nearest train: West Dulwich. For more information, check out the Grand Festive Fair Twitter page.
As well as stalls serving gifts, food and drink, there will also be a fairground, Santa’s Grotto, reindeer, face-painting, free screening of Up at the Everyman Cinema, circus acts and performances from Mica Paris, Mitch Winehouse, Culture Club’s John Moss and Bjorn Again. Free. 12-5pm. High Street, Hampstead, NW3. Nearest tube: Hampstead. For more information, visit the Hampstead Christmas Festival’s Facebook page.
Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry will open this year’s Christmas Fair, in aid of the Red Cross. Includes over 70 stalls and the chance to enter competitions to win great prizes. Tickets £20 (for preview evening on 27 November, featuring drinks and canapés for all guests) or £5 on the door (£4 online) on public day (28 November). Kensington Town Hall, Hornton St, W8 7NX. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the Red Cross website.
Riverford Organic Farms are hosting their Christmas fair at the Cecil Sharp House. Featuring food producers hosting their own stalls and cooking demos with Guy Watson and Kirsty Hale and children’s activities. Tickets: £6. Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, Camden, NW1 7AY. Nearest tube: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Riverford website.
- 30 November : Tottenham Christmas Market
Stalls, food, DJ and the turning on the Christmas lights. On the east side of Tottenham Green. Free. 12-6pm. Tottenham Green, N15. Nearest tube: Seven Sisters. For more information, visit Haringey Council website.
- 30 November – 1 December : Christmas Fair at Chelsea Psychic Garden
Two day festival at London’s oldest Botanical garden. Stallholders will be selling garden paraphernalia, unique jewellery, cashmere clothing, Ceramics, food, and leather goods, amongst others, in heated marquees. Guides will be available to show guests the gardens. Breakfast, lunch and mulled wine will also be on sale. Entry £5, friends of CPG free, Under 16s free. 10am-4pm. Chelsea Psychic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS. Nearest tube: Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Chelsea Psychic Garden website.
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