About the London Christmas Markets
Most cities and large towns in the UK now have a Christmas market that follows a familiar theme: wooden chalets, a continental feel, international stallholders, hot food, mulled wine, and hundreds of gift and decoration ideas. But London being the city that it is, there can't be just one such market – each Christmas, at least ten large ones are set up, as well as many smaller ones dotted around the outer districts.
So, if you're asking, "Where is London Christmas market", the answer is everywhere.
This new breed of festive trading started appearing around the turn of the millennium (although Lincoln Christmas Market claims to be the oldest, dating back to 1982). The concept has since continued to grow, with the only dent appearing during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the winter of 2020.
Christmas markets usually start around mid-November and pack up a few days before Christmas. They're always popular for after-work food and drinks, as well as for getting the kids even more excited about Christmas.
For some of the stallholders, this is a really lucrative period, with many coming to the UK annually and putting their feet up for the rest of the year.
How to get to the London Christmas Markets by train
If you're going to travel by rail to the capital's Christmas markets, you should plan your journey using the Underground map, as they all sit close to Tube stations. Avanti West Coast trains stop at Euston Station, so you can quickly hop on the Underground and go to any station in the city. Here's a quick travel guide for getting to the main markets from Euston Station.
- Leicester Square: direct to Leicester Square (Northern).
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: direct to Green Park (Victoria), with optional change to the Piccadilly Line for Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner.
- Southbank Centre Winter Market: direct to Waterloo (Northern).
- Covent Garden: direct to Leicester Square (Northern), then 100m walk (or change to Piccadilly Line for 1 stop).
- King's Cross: direct to King's Cross (Northern).
- Borough Market: direct to London Bridge (Northern).
- Trafalgar Square: direct to Charing Cross (Northern).
What to do at the London Christmas Markets
Although all the markets have a lot in common, each one has its own unique features that make it a favourite for some visitors.
King's Cross Canopy event is held in the covered West Handyside Canopy just outside the station, so it's a great place to go when the weather isn't quite up to scratch. If you're a foodie, you probably already know about Borough Market, which is a hub of delightful cuisine and ingredients all year round; but in November, up go the Christmas lights and the place takes on a festive feel that keeps visitors coming back for more winter warmth.
Leicester Square is, as you'd expect, big and bright, and as a central hub of London, it can also get very busy. This makes it perfect for groups but is best avoided if you like a quiet browse (although during the day it's usually less busy). The Southbank Centre has all the food and gifts you could ever want, and has the added bonus of snaking its way down the Thames, so you can stroll along here and be sure you've seen every stall.
London Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is probably the most family-friendly of all the events and has everything in one place for people who just want to make a single journey. While you've got the stalls, there are also spectacular shows, fairground rides and the magical Santaland where kids can divulge their own Christmas wishes to the big guy.
Ways to save on your train ticket to the London Christmas Markets
If you're planning to travel by rail to London for some Christmas shopping, how, when and where you buy your tickets can make a big difference to the price, so here's how to make sure you get the cheapest possible train travel.
- Buy your tickets as far in advance as possible – the sooner the better.
- Avoid peak times (before 10:30 and between 14:30 and 20:00, Monday to Thursday).
- Get a Railcard – it will also help you save on other train journeys throughout the year.
- Don't buy tickets from a third-party vendor like Trainline; use this website or the app.
- If you're with a group or family on the same train, consider a family or group ticket for more savings.
Get the app
The Avanti West Coast app is essential for your phone if you use the train frequently. It's available on Android and Apple, and lets you purchase and store tickets electronically, check train times, plan your journey and avoid third-party booking fees. And if you have a Railcard, you can add it in the app so your ticket discounts are made automatically. It's your perfect rail companion if you travel regularly on the railways, whether it's for the Christmas markets or a summer trip to the seaside.