'Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to spread the festive cheer than by exploring London's merry markets? From twinkling lights to the aroma of mulled wine, we've unwrapped the city's best Chrimbo markets that are sure to sleigh your holiday spirit. Oh, and a list of the best restaurants, bars, and pubs for some downtime after a big Xmas flurry. You're welcome.
Southbank Christmas Market
Strolling around the Southbank Christmas Market is nothing short of a Chrimbo miracle. Meander amidst the artisan and craft stalls anytime from 2nd November to 26th December, pausing occasionally for a second round of hot choc, a bratwurst, or to glide across the sparkling ice rink. With a backdrop of the Thames and the London Eye, this market is a Christmas postcard come to life.
Fire & Fromage - The perfect escape from the cold, complete with cosy blankets, twinkly lights, and a whole lotta cheese, Fire & Fromage is back and better than ever with an UNLIMITED Raclette Bar complete with sides and a mug of mulled cider for just £35 per person. No, you're not dreaming.
The Green Room - Keep the festive buzz going with a voyage to The Green Room, a trendy hideaway on the South Bank with a heated garden and a timber-framed indoor dining area. They work with social enterprises and ethical suppliers and have an all-day menu serving handmade pizzas from scratch. Yum.
Jack & Boule - Open till 31st December, Jack & Boule is the coolest spot for urban boules, craft beer, and street food, with 8 boules courts, tasty street food, and a fantastic bar offering your favourite craft beer and cocktails, starting from only £4 per player, this pop-up is perfect for groups of 2 or 350.
Christmas At Covent Garden
It's not truly Chrimbo season until Covent Garden's cobblestone streets come alive with its iconic festive market. Adorned with dazzling lights and a 60 ft festooned tree, immerse yourself in the merry, whimsical atmosphere as this year marks the comeback of the much-loved mulled wine celebration, with photo ops adorned with festive themes and tonnes of yuletide ornaments for seasoned market-goers to enjoy.
Stereo - A late-night venue hidden beneath Covent Garden Market, STEREO has got it all - live music, delicious food, and killer cocktails. Inspired by the boozers in New York, with a touch of London and Paris nightlife thrown in for good measure, the bar is at the heart of the venue.
Opera Tavern - Looking for a fun haunt for a spot of tapas and tipples in Covent Garden's theatreland? Opera Tavern is where it's at, baby. Warm your cockles inside and down a couple of their ten variants of sherry. With swish interiors and a carefully curated wine list from Spain and Italy, it's the perfect pub for pre-theatre juice.
Lamb and Flag - Steeped in history, this charming pub has been around since 1772 and retains its cosy old-world charm. Offering great pub grub, cask classics and a roaring log fire, experience the Lamb and Flag's stories and ghosts for yourself - after all, even Charles Dickens was a regular here. Trust us, yule love it.
Christmas In Leicester Square
The festive buzz in Leicester Square is palpable, with an array of glittering stalls, seasonal treats, and even a vintage Spiegeltent hosting shows for those looking for a dash of entertainment. Embrace the yuletide spirit with a European-style Christmas market featuring an array of stalls offering sumptuous food, handcrafted goods, and gallons of mulled wine - just prepare to brace the crowds. Running from 8th November to 7th January.
Opium - A bar that needs no introduction - Opium is a trendy Chinatown haunt serving up banging Asian cocktails and a selection of quality dim sum, from crab and sapphire dumplings to Cantonese barbeque pork buns. Created by London bar moguls Dre Masso and Eric Yu, indulge in a night of fare and spirits to kick off the perfect night out.
Leicester Square Kitchen - A sizzling dining experience in the heart of London, this vibrant hotspot serves up contemporary Mexican and Peruvian tapas that will make your taste buds do a happy dance. From chargrilled cabbage steak with jalapeño truffle butter to paprika-dusted calamari, dont't we all need a bit of spice in our lives?
Joshua's Tavern At The Londoner - This rustic spot off Leicester Square is the perfect watering hole for those who appreciate a quality tipple. With a whopping 57 gins on offer, you'll be spoilt for choice - and we haven't even mentioned the craft beers and gastro bites yet. Adorned with glistening copper accents, Joshua's Tavern is the perfect spot to unwind.
Trafalgar Square Christmas Market
A throbbing Christmas market under the fairy-lit lights is just what Santa ordered. Experience the magic of Christmas in London with a visit to Trafalgar Square. Lit up with festive cheer and a controversial Christmas tree stealing the show, this market is rafted by the same magical minds behind Leicester Square's market, boasting 20+ stalls waiting to be explored. Sounds perfectly jolly to us.
The Rooftop St James - Perched atop The Trafalgar St James Hotel, The Rooftop is practically bragging about her jaw-dropping views of Trafalgar Square and beyond. Cocktails are the stars of the show here—think classic sips like Sidecar and Aviation; pair these with their Asian-style bites for a delicious party in your mouth. Trust us, you're in for a sky-high treat.
Baranis - This chic Chancery Lane haunt whisks you to Southern France with intimate booths in a vaulted cellar and the UK's sole indoor petanque court—perfect for post-work sips. Down their bespoke 'Pastis Old Fashioned' while nibbling on a sharing platter loaded with Provencal & Corsican Charcuterie. It's a quirky French experience you wouldn't want to miss.
The Admiralty - Ahoy matey... A pub steeped in history, The Admiralty takes you back to the glory days of HMS Victory and the Battle of Trafalgar. With a view of Nelson's Column, it's London's most central watering hole, serving up the finest British pub grub alongside Fuller's cask ales—the ultimate pie-and-pint pitstop after a day of shopping.
Winter by the River at London Bridge City
A one-stop destination for all things merry and bright, Winter by the River has made a comeback this winter with its cluster of winter cabins set up along the riverside, filled with creative handicrafts, pop-up bars, and street food stalls. The latest addition to the wintry theme is the 'Karaoke at the Pier' experience, promising brilliant music and the finest prosecco by the bottle.
Gaucho Tower Bridge - Bringing the heat with not one, not two, but five cracking Christmas menus, keep the festive buzz going with a voyage to one of Gaucho's many branches. Whether you're after a snug winter meal, a big bash, or exclusive jolly events, this Argentinian joint's festive dining scene is THE place to ho-ho-host your Christmas celebrations this year.
Pizza Pilgrims London Bridge - Nestled in the archways of London Bridge Station, boasting their classic digs and a brand-spanking new menu, Pizza Pilgrims is all set with festive pies and a barrel of fun. Gather your crew of 8 or more and give their feasting menu a whirl (£32pp)—served up family-style, it's a four-course festivity featuring a special Xmas delight.
London Bridge Rooftop - Top off your trip to the market with a waddle to the 240-cover terrace decked out with Christmas trees galore. With epic views of The Shard, indulge in pigs in blankets, mince pies, quirky teapot-delivered mulled wine, and hold onto your hats... a giant Yorkshire pudding served with all the trimmings.
Old Spitalfields Christmas Market
Get set for a holly, jolly time at Spitalfields Christmas Market, a powerhouse destination offering everything you need under one roof—blending indie stalls with big-name icons and a feast of festive bites. And the cherry on top? The UK's first zero-waste theatre, The Greenhouse, premieres their festive play, 'The Lost Library of Spitalfields Market,' from 1st December to 24th, adding a sprinkle of cheer to your festive calendar.
Honest Burgers Spitalfields - This lowkey burger joint serves up a banging selection of meaty sandwiches loaded with tasty toppings. Their festive special? A bonanza of Christmas jollity topped with deep-fried camembert, smoked bacon and cranberry sauce for £14.8 a pop. Got beef with beef? Don't fret. Their vegan Christmas burger is just as special.
The Gun - Christmas shopping is thirsty work; head to the historic The Gun for a pint or two as you watch the world go by. An East-London hub since the 17th century, you can't miss this boozer's Christmas lunch with delights like gin-cured salmon and braised beef cheek on offer for only £39pp.
The Culpeper - A classic Spitalfields watering hole offering heart fare and herbal cocktails, head on over to The Culpeper for a spot of brekkie or to browse their quirky drink menu and revel in one of London's most glorious rooftop spaces. The perfect pitstop after a gruelling day of roaming the streets.
Greenwich Christmas Market
If you think you're running out of Chrimbo markets to visit in London, there's always one more. Open daily from 10am to 5pm and completely decked out for the festive szn, Greenwich Christmas Market is a giant shopping wonderland with tons of independent sellers offering creative, handmade crafts and a range of original artwork. Bring the kiddos along; Santa's Grotto is a must-visit for a great cause.
Oystercatcher - Set alongside the Thames, Oystercatcher is a stunning two-floor haunt with riverside views and a trendy, understated atmosphere. Their festive platters, ranging from £12 to £17.50 per person, are crammed with goodies like crispy chicken and pigs in blankets. Perfect for a merry celebration by the river.
Davy's Wine Vaults - Celebrating Christmas since 1870, Davy's Wine Vaults is a treasure trove of character and charm - and your ticket to a cork-popping good time. Nestled in historic Royal Greenwich, it's a local haven for wine buffs, with a selection of 100+ wines sourced from their very own vino cellar.
Gun - Nestled in the heart of the Docklands, this Grade II listed gem is steeped in history and promises an unforgettable experience. Housing the cosiest nooks and crannies, Gun's riverside terrace is the it-place for panoramic views of the River Thames and the O2—perfect for pre-dinner champers and a bottle of wine.
King's Cross Christmas Market
Sigh, the aroma of roasted chestnuts, the warming scent of mulled wine and fairy lights all around, we're not surprised King's Cross Christmas market is the talk of the town during the festive season. Taking place from 23rd November to 23rd December, tick items off your shopping list while browsing a range of eclectic stocking fillers, hearty food and vegan treats with the only background noise we approve of: live music.
St Pancras by Searcys Brasserie and Champagne Bar - A holiday hotspot setting up shop inside the station, St Pancras by Searcys is serving your annual festive fizz fix. Their three-course menu at £49pp includes a succulent turkey, their legendary Christmas pudding toast and Searcys English sparkling wine. It's a flavour journey with every sip.
RAILS Restaurant At Great Northern Hotel - If you need to duck away from the crowds after a day of snapping up goodies, head over to RAILS. A haven of modern British delights with a dash of French flair, from indulgent Chateaubriand to quick bites like steak frites, their warmly lit ambience pays tribute to their Parisian connection and the allure of travel.
Rotunda - This modern hub houses a bar, restaurant, and private dining room, along with a sprawling waterside terrace. From à la carte delights to weekend brunch escapades, they've got your cravings covered. Sip on stellar cocktails, explore handpicked craft beers, and get lost in their expansive wine collection—it's a liquid feast, to say the least.
Christmas At Borough Market
The mother of all yuletide markets, Borough Market is a foodie's heaven, even more so during the festive season. Sourcing some of the finest seasonal treats for your food-loving friends and family (and yourself, of course), they've also got one-off happenings like 'An Evening of Cheese' from 13th December from 6–9pm.
Swift Borough - The prelude to an epic night out, Swift is the ultimate sip spot for London's Southsiders and seasoned commuters. Boasting seasonal brews inspired by Borough Market's freshest harvest, each month, they unveil unique cocktails crafted around a seasonal favourite. Sip, sip, hooray.
BAO Borough - Bao's latest near Borough Market doesn't just bun around. Highlights? The Taiwanese fried chicken with hot sauce and the spiced butter scallops steal the show. Let's not forget the fluffys; while the classic braised pork bun hits the mark, brace yourself for the flavoured fireworks of the chicken nugget bao.
Bedales of Borough Market - A cosy wine sanctuary away from all the hustle and bustle, discover a trove of tapas-style European fare and bistro delights, all inspired by Borough Market's freshest picks. With a carefully curated glass list as changeable as the British weather, sip, savour, and snag a bottle to-go.