Christmas Markets & Fairs

’Tis the season to be jolly

Take your pick from all kinds of Christmas markets that pop up around the capital from the end of October, in the run up to Christmas: from traditional-style wooden chalet stalls along the Southbank, festive artisan food markets and handmade gift stalls to the big Christmas fairs in Hyde Park, complete with giant observation wheel and large outdoor ice rink. Here is a selection running this year:

Spirit of Christmas Fair

This is effectively the biggest Christmas market in London, with a curated list of over 800 boutique and designer exhibitors to start your Christmas shopping off in style. The Food Hall has a mix of artisan food producers, Royal Warrant holders and Great Taste award-winners to tempt you — think gourmet preserves, handmade Cornish cheeses, oak-smoked Scottish salmon, truffles and caviar. Enjoy it with a Louis Roederer Champagne tasting masterclass or cookery workshop with chefs from London restaurants such as Hakkasan and Le Pont de la Tour.

30 October to 5 November
Olympia London  
Kensington Olympia  
W14 8UX 
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Taste of London - The Festive Edition

Four days of food, drink and festive fun, as the capital’s best restaurant festival cooks up a storm at East London’s Tobacco Dock. Plenty of the capital’s world-class chefs will be on hand whipping up their signature dishes to sample, with masterclasses, demonstrations, wine, whisky and craft beer tastings and food shopping from a host of gourmet producers. Last year there was even a kissing booth. Tickets are sold for either afternoon or evening sessions, for four to five hours each.

16-19 November
Tobacco Dock  
Docklands  
E1W 2SF
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Christmas in Belgravia

Belgravia will be transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas lights, festive window displays, markets and more. On Sunday 4 December, Elizabeth Street will be filled with handmade craft stalls and boutique market sellers, children's entertainment, choirs, brass bands and delicious festive food and drinks.

4 December 11am-5pm
Elizabeth Street
Belgravia
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Country Living London Christmas Fair

Gifts, handmade decorations, homewares, jewellery, knitwear, beauty products and artisan food picked by Country Living Magazine.

8-12 November
Business Design Centre
52 Upper Street  
Islington
N1 0QH
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Others

Southbank Wintertime Market
10 November - 4 January 2018
Southbank Centre Riverfront,
SE1
Visit Website 

Hatfield House Frost Fair
16-19 November  
Hatfield House  
Hatfield  
Hertfordshire
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Hyper Japan Christmas Market
24-26 November  
Tobacco Dock 
Docklands  
East London E1
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Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair
25 November  
Swan Walk  
Chelsea, SW3
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Need to know

Christmas markets have sprung up in towns across Britain over the last 15 years, modelled on a German tradition that goes back to medieval times. Such markets were once a common feature of the English winter, but were stopped after Oliver Cromwell’s parliament effectively banned the celebration of Christmas in 1644.

Frost fairs were held on the River Thames on five occasions when the river froze over deep enough between 1683 and 1814. They were reportedly raucous affairs with bear baiting, coach and horses races, whole oxes roasted on a spit roast and much dancing, drinking and carousing ― a cross between a Christmas market, old fashioned circus and carnival on water.

Dates

30 October 2017 - 4 January 2018

Location

Various locations