London’s top five Christmas markets 2011Culture
The Chocolate Festival – South Bank
Chocoholics and choco-haters alike would be stunned at the sheer amount of chocolatey goodness on offer this year at South Bank’s very own Chocolate Festival. From chocolate pretzels and nibs to truffles and hot chocolate, you are sure to find something which tickles your sweet tooth. Whether it’s a special treat for you or a present for a loved one, among the rows upon rows of confectioners and salesmen there is sure to be something that takes your eye, or in fact your stomach.
There aren’t only gifts and treats on offer, like humungous cakes, chocolate-saturated brownies and marzipan fruit, but there is also the rare treat of a chocolate demonstration and baking lesson from the celebrity chocolatier, William Curley. If you’re feeling the chill you can even indulge your senses in a sumptuous and creamy hot chocolate. Whether it be spiced or traditionally laden with marshmallows and whipped cream, it’s sure to be a hot chocolate to remember, reminiscent of days on the slopes and nights in the après-ski bars in the likes of Switzerland. However, the crowds of shoppers are sure to bring you back down to earth as they bumble amongst the stalls, reminding you where you really are.
When: 9th December – 11th December
Time: 11am-8pm Fri-Sat, 11am-6pm Sun
Where: South Bank Centre Square
Nearest tube: Waterloo
Traditional Christmas Market – South Bank
Located between London’s South Bank Centre and the famous London Eye, lies London’s very own Traditional Christmas Market. German in theme and German in taste, feast on Bratwurst and gingerbread to get you into the festive mood. If you’re feeling thirsty you can also indulge in some mulled wine to really get you into the swing of things.
Good food, drinks and shopping seem to be at centre of this Christmas Market; this is clear from the wooden huts adorned with every Christmas present possible. From hand-made leather bound diaries to furry animal-head hats there is something for everyone, and this really is an occasion for the children you may have with you – and the kid inside you too. Magical carousels and action-packed rides aren’t the only things to enjoy here but I am sure you will find just as much pleasure in watching their gleaming faces as I.
Although the view is fantastic on a good day, running adjacent to the river Thames and in the eye-line of St Paul’s and the Royal Festival Hall, at night it really comes alive. Buzzing, welcoming lights and steaming hot, tasty drinks are sure to really get you into the festive spirit.
When: 18th November – 24th December
Time: 11am-8pm Mon-Thurs, 10am-10pm Fri-Sat, 10am-8pm Sun
Where: South Bank
Nearest tube: Southwark, Waterloo
The Real Food Christmas – South Bank
South Bank really seams to be pulling out all the stops this year with another Christmas Market under its belt. But this Christmas Market really is one with a difference.
The foodies amongst us really won’t want to miss this display of gastronomic goodies, brought to you by the creators of the annual Real Food Show, The Real Food Christmas Market is located in the South Bank Centre’s Square and really is a feast for the eyes.
Not only can you try before you buy here, but you can ensure that you have the best and most unique presents and products this Christmas to wow your friends and family. Choose from over 40 stalls of selected products of yummy Christmas food, from delightful mince-pies to Artisan bread and coco-based treats, you are sure to be the talk of the town with your hand-selected produce and your speciality treats for your friends and loved ones. A food market with a Christmas theme and a Christmas Market with a twist that foodies and fatties with salivate over. Eat your heart out!
When: 2nd December – 18th December
Time: 11am-8pm Fri, 10am-6pm Sat, 12pm-6pm Sun
Where: South Bank
Nearest tube: Waterloo
Traditional German Christmas Market – Hyde Park
You probably have all heard of the notorious Winter Wonderland held annually in London’s Hyde Park but did you know that it also houses the capital’s most traditional market? Well now you do.
You really can get everything here, from crystal and silver jewellery to handcrafted wooden toys. You definitely will not to be disappointed by the goods on offer here. Not only does this market house rows upon rows of traditional-style taverns and Hog Roast stalls if you need to quench your thirst or you’re feeling a little peckish, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth your also in for a treat.
Open late into the night, you can really get your festive groove on in the taverns, being entertained by dozens of carols and even the odd festive pop-song. Candle light and mulled wine really set the mood whilst you decide whether or not to indulge in a spot of open-air ice-skating, not for the fainthearted.
When: 19th November – 3rd January
Time: 10am-10pm everyday
Where: Hyde Park
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner
Water Poet Christmas Fair – Shoreditch
This pub-come-Christmas Fair really is something of a distinctive taste, with its beer garden turned into a food hall and plenty of stalls selling goods seeping with yuletide cheer, be prepared to be drawn in in wonderment. This is a very unusual setting for such a pretty “market”. Selling plenty of vintage and kitsch Christmas goods for those more offbeat in the style stakes. Indulge in homemade cards and roasted chestnuts as you take in all aspects of this fantabulous drinks emporium. Whether it’s a cocktail or a cask ale of the Christmassy variety that you’re after, it would be pretty hard to avoid in this special place. Perfect for a cold winters day, away from the crowds and high street chains. Perfect if you really are on the look out for something delightfully different.
When: 10th December
Nearest tube: Liverpool Street