It comes once a year: the sounds of familiar Christmas songs, the smell of fresh pine, and the warmth of pastries and other delicacies associated with the winter: Christmas time has come.
A great place to start shopping for Christmas themed items to get into the spirit (or that last minute present) is at the many Christmas markets located around London. No need to go to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: there are plenty of options in town that are either free to enter, or much less crowded compared to the bigger markets or Winter festivals. Whether it is the annual Leicester Square Christmas Market, to the eco-conscious Zero Waste Christmas Market at Hoxton Arches, there is a market to suit every crowd and wallet!
No matter what Christmas market you find yourself in, the range of products you find all have the recurring themes: winter themed and locally produced, or consist of items central to the location of the market itself (especially in a town like Oxford). From the essential ugly sweaters to ornaments to decorate around the house or the tree; even hand-crafted nativity displays and Christmas figures, there is always something you can find that may interest you or possibly someone else who may appreciate it. It also gives you an opportunity to support your local businesses and craftspeople, and know the area in greater detail.
But if you already have enough gifts, the markets are also a great place to indulge in various winter goodies! While there are British favorites like Nutella fondue fountains or pick’n’mix fudge booths, some treats from Europe have also made their way across into England in these festive markets, and are a great way to warm up in the cold! Miniature Dutch pancakes, Bratwurst, and cheesy poutine are just some of my favorites that I have found at the markets I’ve explored. Feel free to wash your treats down with a hot chocolate or mulled wine: a staple of any Christmas marketplace.
Many markets are open daily, from late afternoon until evening, and will continue to go on until the first week of the New Year as well, in case you have not had time to check at least one for yourself.
Until next time: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a wonderful New Year!