5 BEST Christmas Markets in London 2023 + Dates and Tips

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Christmas magic? London, the heart of Europe, is gearing up to dazzle you with its festive splendour this year. As the city’s streets light up with a symphony of twinkling Christmas lights, the aroma of mulled wine fills the air, and the sound of carolers warms your heart, you’ll know that the Christmas Markets in London have truly come to life.

From the bustling Borough Market to the iconic Trafalgar Square, London’s Christmas markets are a tapestry of joyful sights, delicious food, unique gifts, and so much more.

This year, we’re excited to guide you through the “5 Best Christmas Markets in London for 2023.” Whether you’re a local Londoner looking for new holiday destinations or a traveller seeking the quintessential Christmas experience, our curated list of must-visit markets promises to be your winter wonderland.

From the magical Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to the charming Leicester Square Christmas Market, we’ll explore the most festive and famous Christmas markets that London has to offer. So, grab your scarf and mittens, sip on some mulled wine, and let’s go on a journey through London’s most iconic Christmas markets. It’s time to unwrap the holiday season and discover the best destinations to make your Christmas market 2023 experience truly unforgettable.

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The BEST Christmas Markets in London 2023 + Dates and Tips

London‘s Christmas Markets are an absolute delight, offering a wealth of festive experiences. Here, it’s not just about indulging in mulled wine, savouring mince pies, relishing German sausages, or taking thrilling rides at the fairground. London’s Christmas Markets are a treasure trove of uniquely handcrafted gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. Amidst the myriad options, I’ve handpicked five of the very best Christmas Markets in London for you to explore.

Winter Wonderland, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, Southbank Centre London and a bonus tip for a truly unmissable Christmas Market in London.

1. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London

Winter Wonderland is one of London’s largest and most iconic Christmas markets, transforming Hyde Park into a magical wonderland. It features a variety of attractions, including an ice skating rink, circus shows, fairground rides, and a Christmas-themed circus.

Location: Hyde Park, London ( Nearest London Tube Station is Hyde Park Corner)

Winter Wonderland Dates: Possibly November 17, 2023 to January 2, 2024.

Opening Times: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Christmas Day: Closed.

Admission: Prior to your visit, it’s essential to acquire a ticket, which falls into one of three categories: off-peak, standard, or peak. These tickets encompass the entrance fee only; rides and attractions come with an additional cost. While off-peak tickets are available at no charge, they are still a prerequisite for entry. You can find out more here.

Highlighted Attractions at Winter Wonderland:

  • Santa at Santaland.
  • Ice skating at the open-air rink with stunning views of Hyde Park.
  • Explore the Christmas Market with over 200 charming Bavarian-style wooden chalets.
  • Witness the captivating Ice Sculpting Workshops.

Unique Features:

  • Enormous ice sculptures that create a captivating winter atmosphere.
  • The Magical Ice Kingdom, a mesmerizing ice and snow sculpture experience.
  • An extensive selection of international food and festive drinks.

Recommended Food and Drinks:

  • Try classic festive treats like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
  • Sample international cuisines from the many food stalls.

Shopping Tips: Visit during weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds. Book tickets for popular attractions in advance to secure your spot.

Accessible: Yes

Pet-Friendly? No.

group of people immersing themselves in the spirit of Christmas at Winter Wonderland London | Timeless Travel Steps
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London

Where to Stay in London during Christmas

For the best festive season experiences in London, choosing the right place to stay is crucial. Here are three categories to consider, luxury, mid-range and budget. I have chosen these hotels for best experience and by reviews where guests have rated either very good or excellent. These properties are offered by booking [dot] com which is my go to resource for accommodations.

Luxury: Treat yourself to a stay at one of London’s iconic five-star hotels like The Ritz or The Savoy. These establishments go all out during the festive season with lavish decorations, world-class dining, and stunning views of the city’s Christmas lights. Staying here ensures a truly magical and indulgent holiday experience in the heart of London. Alternatively, still within the luxury range, you may prefer:

Midrange: Opt for a comfortable and well-located midrange hotel in Covent Garden. Staying in this lively district means you’re just steps away from charming Christmas markets, theaters, and exquisite dining options, providing a perfect balance between comfort and convenience.

  • The Henrietta Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel and restaurant that includes breakfast every morning. Located within metres away from the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden Market.
  • ME London by Melia in the heart of Strand, London overlooks the impressive Somerset House which is famous for its ice-rink at Christmas. Located at just 2 minutes’ walk from the River Thames, Covent Garden, Somerset House and Soho, Melia ME is great hotel to stay at to experience all things Christmas.

Budget: Stay at a cozy and affordable hotel in areas like Paddington, near Hyde Park which is within easy access to Winter Wonderland and to central London.

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park London Timeless Travel Steps
Winter Wonderland Hyde Park, London

Best Tours for Christmas in London

The Christmas season in London is a time of wonder and enchantment, where the city’s rooftop bars and historic landmarks come alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and holiday cheer. To make the most of your visit during this magical time, consider exploring the best Christmas tours that London has to offer.

Whether you’re eager to discover the highlights of London’s iconic landmarks, immerse yourself in Christmas-themed events, or embark on a delightful culinary journey, there’s a tour to suit every festive inclination. Here, you’ll find tours that will ensure your Christmas experience in London is nothing short of extraordinary:

1. Highlights of Landmarks and Sights: During the festive season, these tours will lead you on a captivating journey through London’s most iconic landmarks and historic neighbourhoods, all dressed in their holiday finery. From the dazzling lights on Oxford Street to the grandeur of Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree, these tours are perfect for those seeking a festive immersion in the city’s rich history and culture. Find out more and book here.

2. Foodie Tours: For culinary enthusiasts, London offers a tantalising array of Christmas-themed food tours. From savouring traditional mince pies and mulled wine to indulging in festive afternoon teas and gourmet dinners, these tours promise a delectable exploration of London’s rich and diverse food scene during the holiday season.

Whichever category appeals most to you, these tours will help you create cherished memories and ensure that your Christmas in London is a truly unforgettable experience.

PRO TIP: Check out this bumper list of 72 Magical Things to Do at Christmas in London.

Tiffany & Co London Old Bond Street decorated for Christmas
Tiffany & Co London Old Bond Street decorated for Christmas

2. Leicester Square Christmas Market, London

Leicester Square transforms into a festive market, offering a delightful Christmas experience in the heart of London’s West End. Visitors can experience a harmonious fusion of classic charm and contemporary entertainment at the heart of London.

A distinctive feature of Leicester Square Christmas Market is the presence of a Spiegeltent, a mirrored tent that doubles as a stage for an array of performances. Here, you can enjoy a diverse range of shows, from family-friendly daytime acts to captivating cabaret-style performances in the evenings. The market also features a beautiful Christmas tree and a variety of stalls selling unique gifts and treats.

Location: Leicester Square, London (Nearest London Tube Stations are Leicester Square Station on the Northern Line or Piccadilly Circus on the Piccadilly Line).

Leicester Square Christmas Market Dates: Possibly from November 8, 2023 to January 7, 2024.

Opening Times: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Christmas Day: Closed.

Admission: Free. Find out more about tickets to Spiegeltent here.

No Santa and No Ice-skating.

Highlighted Attractions: Numerous stalls with artisanal crafts, decorations, and seasonal gifts.

Unique Features:

  • Proximity to West End theaters for a pre- or post-show visit.
  • A cozy, intimate atmosphere in the heart of London’s entertainment district.

Recommended Food and Drinks:

  • Enjoy a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate as you explore the stalls.
  • Savour traditional British treats like mince pies and gingerbread.

Shopping Tips: Check the market’s opening hours as they may vary. Combine your visit with a show in the West End for a complete evening of entertainment.

Accessible: Yes.

Pet-friendly: No

Leicester Square Christmas Market and lights
Leicester Square Christmas Market: Christmas lights decorations

3. Covent Garden Christmas Market, London

Nestled in the heart of one of London’s most renowned districts, Covent Garden transforms into a festive wonderland with enchanting decorations, twinkling lights, and a giant Christmas tree during the festive season. The market is known for its boutique stores and designer boutiques. The Covent Garden Christmas Market showcases top-tier craftsmanship and an extensive selection of artisanal culinary delights.

Londoners often say that Covent Garden is the place to find the best gifts for someone and the ultimate meeting point for friends. Thus, Covent Garden is one of the most popular shopping destinations in London at anytime of the year. It is unique because it is one place where you will find highend fashion names alongside market traders, all offering a very special shopping experience. There are over 200 stores and each offer their own speciality along with a wide range of distinctive handmade crafts and goods. From jewellery and prints to watercolours, soaps and sweet treats – all presenting a perfect opportunity to shop under one roof for that special gift at Christmas for your friends and family.

While strolling along the historic cobblestone square, you’ll encounter an abundance of stalls featuring one-of-a-kind gifts and may even be entertained by street performers, adding to the vibrant ambiance.

Beyond the handcrafted treasures, a tantalizing array of artisanal foods awaits, promising a thoughtfully curated epicurean adventure.

Location: Covent Garden Piazza, London (Nearest London Tube Station is Covent Garden on the Piccadilly Line).

Covent Garden Christmas Market Dates: Possibly from November 8, 2023 to January 3, 2024.

Opening Times: Monday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sunday 12 PM to 5:00 PM

Christmas Day: Closed.

Admission: Free.

Christmas Lights Switch-on date: Possibly on November 8, 2023.

Highlighted Attractions:

  • The 60-foot British grown grand Christmas tree in the historic piazza, decorated with over 30,000 lights.
  • Unique boutique shopping experiences in Covent Garden’s stores. Freshly baked mince pies, unique flavoured chutneys, and a range of plant-based meals.
  • Various Christmas events such as The Christmas Sandwich Festival.

Unique Features:

  • A charming, historic setting with street performers and entertainers.
  • High-end shopping for those looking for unique gifts.

Recommended Food and Drinks: Enjoy gourmet dining options in Covent Garden’s renowned restaurants. Sip on champagne or cocktails in one of the stylish bars.

Shopping Tips: Covent Garden can get crowded, so consider visiting during weekdays or earlier in the day for a more relaxed experience.

  • A charming, historic setting with street performers and entertainers.
  • High-end shopping for those looking for unique gifts.

Recommended Food and Drinks: Enjoy gourmet dining options in Covent Garden’s renowned restaurants. Sip on champagne or cocktails in one of the stylish bars.

Accessible: Yes

Pet-friendly: Yes but not recommended due to large crowd.

Check here for the latest info.

the giant Chritmas tree that Covent Garden is famous for and a display of Christmas trees which is a focus for photos | Timeless Travel Steps
Covent Garden Market, London
Covent Garden Christmas Lights | London's Christmas Lights
the Apple Market, Covent Garden, London: Christmas is especially beautiful here when the Apple Market is decorated (don’t forget to look up). The Market pulls out all stops when the Christmas decorations go up making Covent Garden a magical haven and an instagrammable hotspot!

4. Trafalgar Square Christmas Market, London

Trafalgar Square hosts a charming Christmas market with traditional wooden chalets, offering a festive atmosphere in a historic setting. It’s known for its Norwegian Christmas tree, gifted to London by Oslo as a symbol of gratitude.

Situated on the terrace in front of The National Gallery, this compact market is one of my London favourites for its intimate setting, charming ambiance by the fountains, delightful music, and cultural spirit. It offers a unique and heartwarming festive experience. Within the stalls, you’ll discover an assortment of Christmas ornaments, cozy hats and gloves, an array of delectable street food options, and an array of distinctive gift ideas ideal for your loved ones. And, while you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the magnificent Trafalgar Square Christmas tree.

Location: Trafalgar Square, London; a short walk from Charing Cross Station (served by Bakerloo and Northern Lines on the London Tube system) or Leicester Square Station (served by Northern and Piccadilly Lines).

Trafalgar Square Christmas Market Dates: Possibly from November 10, 2023 to January 2, 2024.

Opening Times: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Christmas Day: Closed.

Admission: Free

Highlighted Attractions:

  • The iconic Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
  • The Christmas market’s unique Scandinavian-themed gifts and crafts.

Unique Features:

  • A focus on Nordic and Scandinavian traditions and products.
  • A cultural experience with Nordic food, music, and crafts.

Recommended Food and Drinks: Savour Scandinavian delicacies like æbleskiver (Danish doughnuts) and hot cider. Enjoy a taste of gløgg, the Scandinavian mulled wine.

Shopping Tips: Visit the market during the tree lighting ceremony for a special experience. Explore the Scandinavian-themed gifts and crafts for unique holiday presents.

Accessible: Yes.

Pet-Friendly: Yes but not recommended due to large crowds and the compactness of the area.

Trafalgar Square at Christmas Timeless Travel Steps
Trafalgar Square, London at Christmas

5. Southbank Centre Christmas Market:

The Southbank Centre Christmas Market is a beloved holiday destination located along the Southbank of the River Thames. It’s one of London’s most iconic Christmas markets, known for its stunning riverside setting and vibrant atmosphere. This iconic market boasts charming Alpine-inspired wooden chalets and a wide variety of street food vendors. offering a unique outdoor festive experience in the heart of London. Regular live performances further enhance the vibrant ambiance.

Location: The Queen’s Walk, near The London Eye.

The Southbank Centre Christmas Market Dates: Possibly from November 2, 2023 to December 26, 2023.

The Southbank Centre Winter Festival Dates: From October 28, 2023 to January 7, 2024.

Opening Times: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Christmas Day: Open

Admission: Free

Christmas Lights Switch-On Date: Possibly November 2, 2023.

Highlighted Attractions:

  • The market boasts over 80 festive chalets, adorned with twinkling lights, selling a wide variety of holiday gifts, decorations, and crafts.
  • Visitors can explore unique artisanal products, including handmade jewelry, artwork, clothing, and more.

Unique Features:

  • Spectacular Riverside Setting: The market’s location along the Thames offers breathtaking views of London’s skyline and iconic landmarks, such as the London Eye and Big Ben.
  • Festive Entertainment: The Southbank Centre is known for its cultural events and performances during the holiday season, including concerts, theater shows, and seasonal exhibitions.
  • Food and Drink: Indulge in a culinary journey with a range of international street food stalls and enjoy warming mulled wine, hot chocolate, and other festive beverages.

Recommended Food and Drinks: Sip on mulled wine or spiced cider to keep warm in the winter chill. Sample a variety of international street food, including German sausages, Belgian waffles, and British pies. Don’t miss out on the sweet treats like gingerbread cookies and crepes.

Shopping Tips: Visit during the late afternoon or early evening to enjoy the magical ambiance as the market lights up. Be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends and closer to Christmas. Consider combining your visit with a show or exhibition at the Southbank Centre for a complete festive experience.

Accessible: Yes

Pet-Friendly: Yes, but keep dogs on lead.

The Southbank Centre Christmas Market is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, shop for unique gifts, enjoy delicious food and drinks, and take in the stunning views of London’s riverside. It’s an experience that captures the magic of Christmas in the heart of the city.

ice rink at Natural History Museum London Timeless Travel Steps

BONUS TIP

Borough Market, near London Bridge

Borough Market offers a unique Christmas market experience with its focus on gourmet food and artisanal products. It’s a food lover’s paradise during the holiday season.

A vast selection of gourmet food stalls, offering everything from artisanal cheeses to freshly baked pastries. A festive atmosphere with holiday decorations and music. Emphasis on high-quality, locally sourced food and ingredients. Perfect for foodies and those looking for unique culinary gifts.

Come hungry! Be prepared to sample a wide range of international cuisines and gourmet treats. Explore the mulled wine and craft beer offerings. Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends.

Related Articles for Christmas Inspiration

Before you go, take a look at some of our articles about Christmas:

Visit also the resourceful pages about England and Scotland. For travels in the EU, visit our Europe pages which include highlights about Lake Como, Amsterdam, Budapest, Bordeaux, Milan and Verona.

FAQs

What is the most famous Christmas market in London?

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is London’s most famous Christmas market. Its sheer size, variety of attractions, ice skating, and entertainment make it an iconic holiday destination, drawing visitors from around the world.

How long is the Christmas Market in London?

The duration of Christmas markets in London can vary depending on the specific market. London’s Christmas markets typically run from mid/late November to early January, offering about seven to six weeks of festive fun and holiday shopping opportunities for visitors and locals alike.

Are Christmas Markets better in the day or at night?

Christmas markets are delightful both day and night. Daytime offers a stress-free shopping experience, while the evening enchants with magical lights. You can explore in the day and return at night for a captivating and cozy ambiance.

Is London good for Christmas markets?

London shines during Christmas with its diverse and enchanting markets, from Winter Wonderland’s grandeur to cozy squares’ intimacy. The city’s historic backdrop, cultural diversity, and festive ambiance make it an exceptional destination for holiday markets.

What are the best days for Borough Market London?

Borough Market in London is at its liveliest and best from Thursday to Saturday when a wide variety of vendors offer their finest fresh produce, street food, and artisanal goods.

In sum…

Spending the holiday season in London and exploring its enchanting Christmas markets is a truly worthwhile experience, especially when you choose to stay in the heart of the city.

Staying centrally allows you to effortlessly access the city’s most iconic sites, making the most of your time in this vibrant metropolis. As you wander through the cobblestone streets of Covent Garden or savour delectable treats at Borough Market, the convenience of being in the heart of London becomes abundantly clear. It’s the perfect base for your holiday adventures, ensuring you can easily explore other holiday highlights like the dazzling Christmas lights on Oxford Street, the festive window displays of Harrods, and the enchanting ice rink at Somerset House.

For a fantastic Christmas experience, consider joining a Christmas highlight tour. These tours will take you on a magical journey through London’s most beautifully decorated neighbourhoods and landmarks, providing insight into the city’s rich holiday traditions and history.

For all the food enthusiasts out there, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a Christmas foodie tour. London’s culinary scene truly shines during the holiday season, offering everything from festive afternoon teas to gourmet Christmas dinners. Exploring the city’s diverse culinary offerings is an experience in itself, and it’s a delightful way to warm your heart and taste buds during the chilly winter days.

So, whether you’re admiring the twinkling lights, indulging in seasonal delights, or discovering unique gifts at the markets, London during Christmas is a city that comes alive with festive magic. Make the most of your visit by staying centrally, taking in the holiday highlights, and savouring the city’s culinary delights.

Happy holidays and may your London Christmas be filled with warmth, joy, and wonderful memories!

Happy and Safe Travels Always, Wherever Travel Takes You xx

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Christmas Markets London 2023 pin1 with dates and tips
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This post was first published in October 2021, and last updated on September 17, 2023.