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.
East London 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.
To join our list of local Christmas events, we dug around to put together a list of East London Christmas Markets so you can choose the one that suits you best. Here they are in brief, with full descriptions below:
- 24 November to 2 January – Christmas markets at Old Spitalfields Markets
- 27-28 November & 11-12 December – Urban Makers at the Eco Pavilion
- 1 to 22 December – Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
- 2 to 23 December – Hackney Bridge Festive Fair Market
- 3 to 17 December – Aldgate in Winter
- 4 December – Grow’s Christmas Future Fair at Grow
- 4 December – Winter Fest at Redchurch Street
- 5 December – Bow Arts’ Christmas Makers Market
- 11 December – Stepney City Farm Christmas Market
- 13 December – Christmas Independent Ceramics Market at Rich Mix
- 15 and 22 December – Christmas Shopping Lates at Spitalfields E1
From independent ceramics, fresh produce, contemporary art, to a winter BBQ and litres of mulled wine, there is something for everyone.
Christmas markets at Old Spitalfields Market
24 NOVEMBER to 2 JANUARY
Old Spitalfields Market will be holding a series of shopping events and host a wonderful array of guest markets in the run up to Christmas. Markets include an antiques and vintage market every Thursday (said by some to be the best antique market in London!), and a series of vinyl markets where all musical styles are catered for, from obscure psychedelic 60’s to 90’s New York hip hop. There is something for everyone at this original Victorian East London market place.
Head over to the Old Spitalfields Market website for more info.
Urban Makers at the Eco Pavilion
27- 28 NOVEMBER & 11-12 DECEMBER
Urban Makers is returning to the Eco Pavilion with two weekend Christmas markets.
The markets 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.
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.
Check out Urban Makers website for more info about the event.
Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
WEDNESDAYS from 1 DECEMBER to 22 DECEMBER
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 18 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 11pm 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
Hackney Bridge Festive Fair Market
THURSDAYS from 2 DECEMBER to 23 DECEMBER
With the festive season now upon us, Hackney Bridge will host its weekly markets on Thursday evenings. Whether you are browsing for a loved one or looking for something to treat yourself, the Festive Market is the perfect opportunity to begin your festive season purchases; pick up unique gifts, Christmas decorations, and much more. After browsing and buying, enjoy some mulled wine or head to its food hall, with its tantalizing array of delicious street food cuisine, local craft beers and cocktails.
Check out Hackney Bridge for more info.
Aldgate in Winter
2 – 17 DECEMBER
Aldgate in Winter is returning for the fifth year! For just over two weeks, enjoy festive food, music, performances and activities in one of London’s most historic sites. Kick off this season’s festivities with a wreath-making workshop or head to Aldgate Lantern Parade as it weaves through the city streets led by Barbican’s Drum Works. There will also be light installations that will illuminate windows across the area.
Find out more via the City of London‘s website.
Grow’s Christmas Future Fair at Grow
Grow’s cool and creative space in Hackney Wick is becoming even cooler this winter through its Christmas Future Fair. Buy unique gifts and support local makers who challenge the status quo through conscious consumerism and explore a future founded on self-sustainability, wellbeing, and equality. With so much to see, do, drink and eat (a winter BBQ anyone?), alongside DJs and live music sets, this is a vibey market you don’t want to miss. And what’s more, Main Yard Studios next door also has their Christmas Market on the same day…. so much to see and do!
Head to Grow‘s website for more.
Winter Fest at Redchurch Street
A celebration of small businesses and local creativity, Winter Fest at Redchurch Street market traders and shops for its first winter festival. After having enjoyed hot chestnuts and mulled wine while watching Bobby Bubbles, try your hand at a wreath-making workshop, or get your fortune told at tarot reading. There will also be a gift-making workshop that promotes awareness of Bengali cultural heritage, as well as ticketed candle-making and embroidery workshops. Alongside market stalls, check out the festive offers in-store from Aesop, Sweaty Betty, Sunspel, and more.
Visit on Redchurch‘s website for more.
Bow Arts’ Christmas Makers Market
Bow Arts is holding its first-ever festive makers market, a chance to browse and buy locally-made unique gifts from some of the charity’s over 500 artists and makers. The market will include carol singers from historic Bow Church, drop-in family-friendly activities, and a variety of tasty treats from the Nunnery Cafe.
There will be more than 25 stalls specialising in a number of ware, including small gifts, textiles, bags, prints, cards, jewellery, home wares, and ceramics. Support Bow Arts’ network of artists and makers and celebrate the festive season all in one go.
Find out more via Bow Arts‘ website.
Stepney City Farm Christmas Market
After a year off, Stepney City Farm Christmas Market is back. Shop local for Christmas, with over 30 stalls offering delicious seasonal produce and festive crafts. Soak up the atmosphere with some mulled wine, and a brass band performing sets across the day. Stepney City Farm’s own resident artists will be opening their studios for the day, and you’ll be able to enjoy lunch with wide offerings from both street food vendors at its onsite cafe, The Allotment Kitchen.
Visit the Stepney City Farm website for more info.
Christmas Independent Ceramics Market at Rich Mix
Taking place over four floors of Rich Mix Arts Centre, Christmas Independent Ceramics Market provides a unique opportunity to browse and buy, direct from the maker, a diverse range of affordable ceramic artwork. With over 90 ceramicists, that includes students, young graduates, as well as established ceramicists from various studios, it’s an ideal location to discover a new wave of early career and more established ceramic artists: the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique Christmas gift!
Find out more via Ceramic Review’s website.
Christmas Shopping Lates at Spitalfields E1
15 and 22 DECEMBER
two nights of late-night shopping on Wednesday 15th December and Wednesday 22nd December.
Avoid the Christmas panic-present-buying weekend rush by heading to Spitalfields E1 for some late-night shopping under the twinkly lights of market stalls. Spitalfields E1’s market traders and boutique stores will remain open until 9pm.
Find out more via Spitalfields E1’s website.
If you liked this piece you may be interested in where to buy Christmas trees in East London.
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