While doorsteps in the States are flooded with pumpkins and turkey wreaths, life across the pond is already well into counting down the days until Christmas. With hundreds of light crawls & market stalls throughout the city, make sure to not miss these holiday festivals, freezing ice rinks, and snowman themed afternoon teas this Christmas in London.
As many streets are still hanging lights and planning unveils, Oxford Street lit up the notable shopping district on November 1st, marking an all time record for an early start to the Christmas countdown. After strolling through Oxford Circus and buying a Christmas present or two, the next stop for a Christmas light crawl must be to Covent Garden’s piazza for the commencing light show and accompanying mulled wine festival on November 12th. Never complete without a gaze at the towering 70 foot tall Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, the annual gift from Norway since 1947 signals to London that Christmas has officially arrived on the first Thursday of December with caroling, parades, dancing and more.
With a hot cup of cocoa in hand, a Christmas bucket list through London would not be complete without skating through one of the countless ice skating rinks around the city. While the Tower of London and Eyeskate Rink offer the perfect backdrop for an instagram post (or five), the hidden rink in London’s financial district Canary Wharf, is number one to skate through this season. Surrounded by dozens of lighted trees and towering glass skyscrapers, a night at the rink transforms into a winter wonderland of snowmen, spiced rum, and post-frozen fondue.
And now for the best part of all: the markets!
With the city glowing and ice skating plenty, London’s Bridge City Christmas Market, hosted between the London and Tower bridges, is the go to place for secret santa presents, intricate ornaments or just a hot wine and a view. With over a hundred pop up market stands selling everything from seasonal fudge to handcrafted trinkets, don’t miss out on the best market with the best view from November 30th until January 3rd.
Just a bit further down the Thames, the Tate Modern Market hosts an array of homemade toys, jewlery, and household decorations making it a real life etsy.com. Hopping between artist’s homemade stands, Christmas shopping takes a break with roasted nuts, a warm cup of glühwein, or a just crêpe or two.
Kicking off November 25th, Greenwich Market gets even better (if that’s possible) by switching on twinkling lights and transforming into Santa’s Christmas Workshop. With caroling, shopping, pies, and wines, the 100 stalls that weekly stand in Greenwich’s town centre transform into a winter wonderland of antiques, ornaments, jewelry, and crafts.
With too many markets to visit, lights to see, and ice skating to freeze through, it’s no wonder Oxford Street kicked off the Christmas countdown so early this holiday season.
P.S. Last but not least, make sure you don’t miss the adorable Christmas Afternoon Teas at London Hilton’s Podium and the Georgian at Harrod’s. Complete with tasty sandwiches, snowman cakes, and bubbly drinks, England makes no mistake at spreading holiday cheer when it’s Christmas in the city.