Every year the concrete metropolis fills up with twinkling lights, festive decorations, tiny stalls, pop-ups, and a merry atmosphere to celebrate the jolliest time of the year. Christmas markets are a perfect preamble to winter holidays and they’re full of unique products with a variety so big you can complete your whole shopping list at one event. What’s more, shopping from small retailers helps the indies to fight back against high-street chains, while scoring you one of a kind prezzies that will please even the most difficult gift receivers.
From independent ceramics, vegan and plastic-free items, fresh produce and contemporary art, to litres of mulled wine, there is something for everyone.
To join our list of local Christmas events, we dug around to put together a list of East End’s Christmas Markets so you can choose the one that suits you best.
Urban Makers East, Mile End
Saturday 8 December and Sunday 9 December 2018
Urban Makers are returning to the Eco Pavilion with a two-day Christmas market on 8 and 9 December.
The festive market will showcase 50 designer makers each day, offering an enormous variety of hand-made products – including jewellery, home-ware, gardening tools, clothing, accessories, postcards, cosmetics and kitchen utensils.
It will be a good opportunity to do some Christmas shopping and support artists and makers from East London at the same time. With workshops for adults and children, face-painting, delicious hot dishes and drinks, this is a good day out for all the family. Some of the confirmed makers who will be trading at Urban Makers include 20 Seventh Letter, Vi Ceramics, Koco Kids, Finesse Knits, Dickens Ink, and LIHA Beauty.
You can expect a beautifully decorated hall with Christmas music and flickering lights, colourful stalls, and a festive atmosphere that is sure to put you into the holiday spirit.
The Ecology Pavilion
Mile End Park
Check out Urban Makers website for more info about the event
Here East Merry Making Christmas Market, Stratford
Wednesday 28 November 2018, 5pm to 9pm
With a focus on unique handmade items from 30 hand-picked makers from the East End and beyond, this Christmas market is the perfect opportunity to begin your festive season purchases. With a selection of Instagrammable pop-up stalls showcasing individual designer’s wares and plentiful supplies of mulled wine and hot spiced cider you’ll be kept cosy while you meander among the stalls. Put your artistic skills to the test in free drop-in craft workshops, from bauble decorating to terrarium making. Children and adults of all abilities can learn how to fold origami trees, reindeer, and wreaths in fun origami Christmas decoration workshops. When it gets dark, you can snuggle up in the corner of one of the cosy bars and restaurants on the canal side to enjoy a tasty meal and spiced cocktails.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Check out Here East for more info
Stepney City Farm Christmas Market, Stepney
Saturday 8 December 2018, 10am to 5pm
Stepney City Farm is hosting a Christmas market full of seasonal fun including 25 stalls full of food, drink, home-made gifts, craft, and live music.
This is a great opportunity to cuddle with goats, sheep, cats, and other farm furries and learn more about this unique city farm. You can complete your Christmas shopping list and stock up on hand-made items ranging from home accessories, kitchen utensils and home-made food products while snacking on a delicious seasonal breakfast or afternoon bites from celebrity chef Ben Tish. Also on the programme are carol singers and practice sessions, a live jazz band, and a special appearance by Santa and his little helpers.
All proceeds will go toward supporting the farm’s charitable activities, and helping to keep the farm free and open to all.
Stepney City Farm
More info at Stepney City Farm website
Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays, Bethnal Green
Every Wednesday from 28 November – 19 December 2018, 5pm to 9pm
Columbia Road is famous for its flower market but is fast becoming known for its late night Christmas events too.
Every Wednesday evening up until 19 December, the cobbled street lined with independent shops and Victorian street lamps will open to visitors looking for a late night shopping experience. With shops staying open until 9pm and all brimming with unique gifts, there are few better place to stock up on Christmas presents this winter.
It’s a chance to pick up stocking-fillers, grab your Christmas tree, select fragrant festive greenery, get serenaded by carols singers and sip on mulled wine while you shop. The tiny houses with unique and fairy-tale-like shopfronts are every plant-lover’s dream. From hanging plant pots, seeds, bulbs, hand-crafted gardening tools and kitchen utensils to vintage furniture and unique home decorations, there isn’t a better place to shop than here. And hey, if you see something for yourself, you can grab that too, since it may not be there next time.
After the shopping, you can get cosy with a drink in one of the nearby pubs and watch people shuffle through London’s streets full of flickering Christmas lights and decorations.
Find out more information about the events on the Columbia Road website
East End Christmas Take-Over, Old Spitalfields Market
Saturday 1 December 2018, 11am to 5pm
Join members of the East End Trades Guild at Old Spitalfields Market on Saturday 1st December.
Pick up your free East End Independents Map and discover a range of distinctive, fun, and quality Christmas gifts from a range of makers including Tatty Devine, the Duke of Uke, Artisans & Adventurers, the London Bike Kitchen, Outdoor People, and more. The event includes a special performance from the Wing-It Singers at 1.30 pm.
Support independent markets and artists this Christmas while treating your loved ones with unique gifts.
Old Spitalfields Market
16 Horner’s Square
Head over to the East End Trades Guild website for more info
Chrispmas Market, Poplar
Friday 30 November 2018, 2pm to 5pm
Chrisp Street Market gets a festive takeover on Friday, 30 November. Watch the Christmas lights twinkle, take a glide around the ice-rink, grab some delicious festive food, and locate that perfect gift for your loved ones from the stalls of local makers while being serenaded by local musicians and choirs. The day will feature face-painting, games, and live music alongside real reindeer (yup). This is a perfect market for families and children focused on festive activities.
Chrisp Street Market
173A East India Dock Road
Find out more via Time Out
Wapping Great Christmas Fair, Wapping
Saturday 1 December 2018, 11am to 5pm
Not so much a market as a fair, the Wapping Great Christmas Fair describes its highlight as a marquee ‘full of Christmas delights’ culminating in the Wapping Christmas Tree being lit at 5pm. Entry to the fair is free and attractions include festive stalls, presents and gifts, hot food stalls, Christmas Choirs, Tombola, Lucky Dip, Kids Crafts, free face-painting, photos with Mickey Mouse and Mrs Christmas, Father Christmas’s Grotto with gift (£3), and of course mulled wine and mince pies. A great preamble to Christmas in the company of family and friends.
Find out more info about the event on the Love Wapping website
DIY Christmas Market, Rich Mix
Saturday 8 December 2018, 11am to 9pm
Buy unique, affordable artwork direct from a diverse community of artists with a wide range of artistic backgrounds – illustrators, designers, independent publishers, ceramists, all exhibiting alongside their up- and-coming contemporaries.
The broad selection of artworks for sale will include, ceramics, zines, independent publications, patches, custom t shirts & tote bags, art prints, risograph & screen prints, jewellery, and artist books.
With over one hundred artists exhibiting over four floors of Rich Mix London Arts Centre, this event is the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique Christmas gift.
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd
Find out more via Rich Mix‘s website
Independent Ceramics Market, Rich Mix
Sunday 9 December 2018, 11am
This free weekend market will showcase over 90 ceramicists, including students, up-and-coming graduates, and established artists from various studios.
With a diverse range of original ceramics for sale – including lamps, tableware, vases, and sculptures – this is the ideal location for discovering a new wave of ceramic artists and picking up quirky Christmas presents. The best part is that all the items are sold at a reasonable price directly from the makers, which means you can pick beautiful gifts for your loved ones without burning a hole in your wallet.
35-47 Bethnal Green Rd
Find out more via Rich Mix‘s website
Geffrye Festive Makers’ Market, Kingsland Road
Saturday 8 December 2018, 11am to 4pm
This family-friendly event will be taking place in the beautiful front garden and Georgian room of the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton.
Featuring live music, hand-made gifts, cool beer, hot street food, and a range of workshops offering the opportunity for free Christmas decoration making and crafts or more serious festive wreath designs and winter wellness survival kit making workshops (bookable in advance. See the website for further details and prices). Join in for a day full of festive activities, admire the beautiful Christmas tree and, if the weather outside gets frightful there will be tours of the Geffrye’s historical almshouse available (adults £5, under 16s free).
The Geffrye Museum
136 Kingsland Rd
Find out more information at Geffrye Museum website
E17 Designers Christmas Market
Saturday 8 December 2018, 10.30am to 3.30pm
Over 30 designer makers meet in Walthamstow for the annual Designers Christmas Market.
Visitors can expect to browse beautiful hand-crafted items, listen to festive music from Choir17 and Tony Tunes on the gramophone and drink mulled wine and cider while completing last minute Christmas shopping list. Suzie Cakes is in charge of supplying tea, cake and Christmas puddings and E17 VIllage Market will bring their street food and coffee scene including Greek Café, Dear Prudence Creperie, Walthamstow Dogs and Wood Street Coffee. For the third year running, Project Peru will be running their charity raffle.
Waltham Forest Community Hub (Asian Centre)
18a Orford Road
Find out more via I Love Markets website.
Zero Waste Christmas Market, Hoxton
Saturday 8 December 2018, 2pm to 9pm
Avoiding excessive waste during Christmas time is difficult. From wrapping paper, plastic packaging, food surplus, and cheap crap we order on Amazon – Christmas time is the most wasteful time of the year. Thankfully, zero waste lifestyle is becoming more common and people are beginning to shop more ethically, so it’s no wonder that London is hosting its first ever zero waste Christmas Market.
Organised by Zero Waste Goods, who have teamed up with brands that offer ethical, green and high-quality gifts and festive must-haves that don’t damage the Earth, so you can choose well and buy better for yourself and your loved ones this year. All profits from ticket sales go to Cool Earth – to prevent deforestation and offset carbon produced in hosting the event.
You can look forward to beautiful up-cycled and sustainable items, including clothes, candles, accessories, food products, and home ware, plus great vegan and hand-made gifts all packed in 100% reusable and recyclable wrapping. Don’t forget to bring your mugs and KeepCups and fill them up with mulled wine, cider, and vegan churros.
There will also be a Christmas Prize Giveaway with over £100 worth of zero waste gifts and goodies for one person to take home. Plus, they have a runner-up hamper with the support of As Nature Intended; a tote bag stuffed with £85 worth of As Nature Intended’s favourite brands and products.
402 Cremer Street
Book tickets via Eventbrite
Turning Earth Winter Ceramics Market, Hoxton
Saturday 24 November to Sunday 25 November 2018, 12pm to 6pm
Go potty at this ceramics fair in Hoxton where over 150 of London’s coolest ceramists will be selling their wares.
Now in its fourth year, what was once an off-the-beaten-track event involving a handful of budding artists has now become a beloved institution for the East End’s community of design-lovers. You can pick up hand-made festive gifts while also supporting young talents and unique artists, enjoy live music from The Turbans, and knock back Christmasy drinks and artisan coffee. Sri Lankan street food provided by Pavilion Cafe will also be on offer, the proceeds of which are donated to charity. You can also look forward to seeing Big Sky Studios opening its doors to showcase the work of the Turning Earth community of graduates.
All electricity used to fire the kilns at Turning Earth now comes from renewable sources. The studios encourage shoppers to play their part by asking people to bring in their old bubble wrap and newspaper to be used as packaging in order to eliminate plastic waste.
Railway arches 361- 362
Find out more info at Turning Earth website