13 Winter-Themed Events In London That Are Merry & Bright
It’s the season of shorter days and numbing winds. Although it’s technically still autumn in the UK, chilly temperatures signal a premature winter, slashing all plans for scenic walks surrounded by falling leaves. Despite the gloom and doom, a spark is lighting up London and is hard for residents to ignore, who react by bundling themselves and their families for outdoor experiences and festivities galore. From Christmas fairs to glittering trails and date-appropriate ice skating, here’s where locals and tourists alike will be braving the cold for throughout the season.
Ah, the hallmark of winter is in the grandeur of its seasonal markets! Winter markets are popping up in various key locations and we’re all spoilt for choice. The aroma of mince pies, mouthwatering waft of grilled frankfurters and the sweet heat of mulled wine are aplenty among stalls of gastronomic delights. A salutation to a theme is where the fun’s at, and we’ve rounded up 5 Christmas markets that never fail to stoke the festive feel.
1/13 Christmas In Leicester Square
Set under a traditional 1920s spiegeltent, this market gives the central London hotspot a makeover with an array of shows and booths touting crafted foods and goods. Eat your way through piping-hot wintry delights and stop for a pint of beer, then proceed to explore various events the family will enjoy, like Santa’s Grotto, award-winning cabaret La Clique, and the toe-tapping Journey Through Jazz, among some.
Nov 8, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020, christmasinleicestersquare.com
2/13 Southbank Winter Market
Over by the River Thames, Southbank Centre’s Winter Market is in full swing, twinkling in a tinsel-like glow, peppered with seasonal delicacies, fairy lights and festive drinks. Wooden chalets house tantalising street food with a Christmassy spin (look out for the Raclette cheese and bratwurst sausages), and hang around for a spot of shopping amongst handmade trinkets.
Nov 8, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020, southbankcentre.co.uk
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3/13 Guildhall Christmas Market
London’s original Christmas Market returns for just 2 days: the historic Guildhall in the heart of London will host a 2-day high-end event kicking off with a Grand Opening flowing with bubbly and canapes. The next and last day promises a day of retail with over 100 stalls, and a fashion show taking place come evening. There’s also a silent auction and raffle to take part in.
Nov 25-26, 2019, redcross.org.uk
4/13 Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
No winter market list is complete without Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Promising a theatrical affair grander than before, this year’s will boast old favourites like carolling, an open-air ice rink and new attractions like the world’s tallest Observation Wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom and Winter Wonderland Comedy Club and debut of Cedar & Spruce Bar + Kitchen.
Nov 21, 2019 - Jan 5, 2020, hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
5/13 Kingston Christmas Market
Set in an Ancient Market Place and Alpine Village is this Kingston Christmas fair that can only be described as classic. Wooden cabins are laden with quirky stocking fillers and the Eden Crafts Marquee is a treasure trove of Christmas decorations and creative gifts across 30 stalls. Then, fuel up with a mug of steaming mulled wine, winter delights, and a fire pit to warm your bones and to toast marshmallows over.
Nov 14 - Dec 31, 2019, inkingston.co.uk
They’re not just Christmas-postcard-perfect, ice skating rinks are the romantic cornerstones in all of winter festivities. Let the frosty rink be your stage glide away with carols ringing in your ear, wind in your hair, and hand-in-hand with loved ones at these gorgeous ice-skating venues.
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6/13 Tiffany & Co. Ice Skating Rink
A slice of New York will take over the east piazza of Covent Garden in this scented ice-skating rink peppered with the most whimsical touches. Enter through a bridge inspired by Central Park into a scene of snow and oversized Tiffany & Co. jewellery boxes, before setting eye on a 4-ft tall Tiffany Eau de Parfum in a snow globe. Winter couldn’t get more magical.
Nov 29 - Dec 26, 2019, eventbrite.co.uk
7/13 Queen’s House Ice Rink
Fancy sailing under the fairytale backdrop of The Queen’s House, a UNESCO Heritage Site, the only outdoor rink in South London. The selling point is really an beautiful ice skating setting with the Royal Museums Greenwich and River Thames in the distance, as you soak in the dazzling beauty of winter while gliding upon the ice…
Nov 29, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020 www.rmg.co.uk
8/13 Skate At Somerset House
An undisputed icon of winter would be the gleaming rink of Somerset House. This beloved attraction takes over the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, where skaters from all walks of life gather for the annual tradition of skating, with beginner lessons on offer to the more hip Skate Lates DJ series, under a grand 40-ft Christmas Tree. Don’t miss the Fortnum Christmas Arcade for exquisite seasonal shopping!
Nov 13, 2019 – Jan 12, 2020, somersethouse.org.uk
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9/13 Ice Rink At Natural History Museum
A familiar sight and haunt of museum goers and South Kensington dwellers is this beloved ice rink, framed by fairy lights and pine trees laden with frost. The scene makes quite a priceless impression, with flickering décor and the historic Waterhouse building for backdrop, that has witnessed countless memories being made.
Oct 19, 2019 - Jan 12, 2020, nhm.ac.uk
Seasonal Pop Ups
With so many Christmas events saturated with festive cheer, you won’t feel the depressing chill winter brings forth. An extension of Christmas markets are seasonal events taking place in the great outdoors, but promise to warm hearts and bring people together.
10/13 Kew Garden
Come rain or shine, Kew chooses to let its natural beauty break through, more so this winter. For the seventh year, Kew Gardens is bringing back its luminous winter trail for scenic walks, topped with interactive touches upon trees, arches, vines and bushes. Imagine walking beneath leafy canopies glittering with Christmas colour, through a flickering Fire Garden, and branches with changing ribbons of light. These are just a few examples of what await.
Nov 20, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020, kew.org
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11/13 Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland
The nights may be longer, but we’d give up staying indoors at the thought of ambling down illuminated, vibrant paths of Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland. Wrap up in sturdy winter kit and swing by for an idyllic walk stretching round a glassy lake, onto the historic arboretum Syon House before arriving at the Great Conservatory. High chances you’ll return again.
Nov 15 to Dec 1, 2019, enchantedwoodland.com
12/13 The Winter Forest
Broadgate Circle’s festive wonderland comes with all the Scandi-style trimmings: think snow-dusted fir trees, Alpine wooden huts, and hundreds of fairy lights. The Winter Forest is a paraphernalia of the season, complete with Insta-worthy nooks, quiz nights, carols, live music, craft classes, and a Fever-Tree Winter Lodge that’s appointed for cosy evening sessions. Sit back on the comfy seats under wreaths and foliage and sample a gin pairing menu from the bar.
Nov 6, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019, broadgate.co.uk
13/13 Hogwarts In The Snow
Last but not least, fall under the spell of an enchanted Christmas at the Wizarding World of Hogwarts in the Snow. As part of the Harry Potter’s Studio Tour, the grounds will be transformed with Christmas trees lining the Great Hall, and lay eyes on a stage as seen at the Yule Ball. Explore all things snow and go on a hunt for the various festive makeovers outfitting the set. It’s as eye-opening as it is unforgettable.
Nov 16, 2019 - Jan 26, 2020, wbstudiotour.co.uk
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