If you love Christmas, then visiting a London Christmas market should be at the top of your list during the holiday season. As an American living in London for six years married to a born and bred Londoner, there are some things I have learned after visiting Christmas markets here every season that I think you should know.
London Christmas Market Advice- Book Ahead
The biggest thrills are at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland every year. However, a lot of the super fun stuff requires booking in advance. For example, if you want to experience ice skating, Bar Hütte Karaoke, Ice Sculpting Workshops, Bar Ice, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, or The Giant Wheel, you need to visit their official Winter Wonderland website and get your tickets early!
So, before you check out a Christmas market in London, see what there is to do nearby that might interest you too.
London Christmas Market Advice- Arrive Early
From my experience going to the Christmas Market at Southbank, Trafalgar Square Christmas Markets, Leicester Square Christmas Markets, and others, arriving early means you won’t be getting smashed in to the crowds. Once I went to Winter Wonderland Christmas market on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and up until 12:30pm I felt like I had all of Hyde Park to myself. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But, I had tons of space to take photos and videos, plus there were no lines for food, drinks and festive things to buy.
If you arrive on a weekend night, you could be experience some very big crowds. In fact, at times they might limit people entering the more popular Christmas markets due to overcrowding.
So, if you are in London for a long holiday weekend, I would plan to hit the markets in the morning and early afternoon. Then, see a show in the evening instead.
London Christmas Market Advice- What to Wear
While you focus is on festivities, you want to look good too. Decorative Christmas jumpers (sweaters for American readers) are popular, but I prefer to celebrate the holidays with clothes that are chic and sophisticated but still comfortable. Further, Mr Sunny and I try to wear coloured caps so when Mr Sunny relaxes with a beer and I wander off to take photos and video- we can find each other faster.
Below are a few selections I like from Gant. It’s a brand that is making a huge effort for sustainability. If you’ve been in London any time over the past year, you know that it’s been a big movement here.
The featured items are from left to right:
And don’t forget to wear comfortable boots or shoes too. You might want to keep in mind that like any city, it does rain in London. This means it could get a bit muddy at the markets. Don’t wear shoes that can’t take a little wear and tear.
London Christmas Market Advice- What to Do
While all of the Christmas markets are fun, you will find that the basic activities are the same at each one. In fact, a lot of the same food and drink stands are at each market. For example, you will find a mini-pancake stall, a sausage stall, and stalls that sell mulled wine or hot chocolate. If you’re like Mr Sunny, you will probably seek a place that sells Steins. A few weeks prior to Christmas you want to eat healthy so you can indulge in all of the holiday treats.
You will want to save some money too because there will also be specialty retail stalls that have Christmas decorations or London themed souvenirs. Build in time to survey them if you are looking for something special to remember your visit to London or just the trip to a London Christmas market. Also, tickets to rides at Winter Wonderland can add up really fast, so budgeting for this ahead of time will help.
London Christmas Market Advice- Final Thoughts
By researching activities you want to do and booking them in advance, planning around crowded times, dressing comfortably, and saving calories and money before you go, you will better position yourself to be in the holiday spirit at a London Christmas market.
What’s your favourite London Christmas market to visit, Sunny friends? What questions do you have about going to one this year?