Every month in London there is a wide range of festivals and fairs that highlight every strand of culture and art, promoting the city as one of the world’s major tourist destinations. Here are ten of the finest events taking place in the month of December.
Hyde Park, 20 November-3 January
Get into the festive spirit as Winter Wonderland returns to London’s Hyde Park, delivering fun and excitement for adults and children alike. This free-to-enter event includes an array of Christmas-themed activities, including big top shows, an observation wheel and a giant Christmas market. If you’re a thrill-seeker, there are plenty of rides to try. Younger children can enjoy the more gentle ones such as carousels, helter skelters and funhouses, while older children and adults will love the adrenaline-fuelled rollercoasters.
Business Design Centre, 2-4 December
Indulge yourself in all things chocolatey at the London Chocolate Festival. Taking place in the comfort of a characterful indoor venue, the festival offers a unique visitor experience and a chance for chocoholics to not only discover the best and newest artisan chocolates, but also to indulge their senses in Britain’s first celebration of its kind. This year’s edition will feature a Cocoa Spa, a Chocolate Café, a Health Zone offering raw chocolate and a Chocolate Market featuring top artisan chocolate companies.
Spitafields, 4-11 December
This December, the historic area of Spitafields in East London will play host to 8 days of live music, dining experiences, film screenings, historic walks, singing workshops and family entertainment. Visitors can enjoy exquisite performances by artists old and new, with this year’s line-up including the likes of Melvyn Tan and the Siglo de Oro choir.
Southbank Centre, 11 November – 25 January
The annual festival on London’s southbank will once again feature a host of events, activities and pop-up fun, with this year’s edition promising to be the biggest and best yet. The popular Christmas market will be serving up festive treats while NoFit State will be bringing contemporary circus to the stage, plus there’ll be showings of the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ musical packed with tunes by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Other notable attractions will include Bump Roller Disco, family-friendly skating and club nights.
Oxford Street, 10 December
The true spirit of Christmas is exemplified at this unique ethical fair held on the prestigious avenue of Regent Street in Central London. Featuring a vast selection of Fairtrade, handmade, eco and vintage gifts, the family-friendly event is designed to promote ethical living and encourage shoppers to consider the impact of disposable goods on mother earth. What better way to avoid the commercialism of Christmas than to stock up on items that are both easy on the planet and the conscience!
Victoria Park, November 26 – December 23
Billed as the antithesis of Christmas theme parks, Winterville returns to East London with another packed programme of attractions and entertainment. Built around the Winterville clock tower, this little festive town offers seasonal classics and dazzling alternatives for all ages. Event highlights include a ‘Bizarre Bazaar’ and Pop Shop market, alternative club nights, high quality food and drink, pantomime, cabaret, theatre and live music. Entry is free.
Alexandra Palace, 4 December
Antiques and collectibles have always carried a powerful attraction for those with a taste for nostalgia and a keen eye for social history. International Antiques & Collectors Fairs, organisers of the UK’s largest antiques events, are experts in the field and this December they welcome a new addition to their calendar – the Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair. Among the exhibitors will be Pop Up Vintage Fairs London, who it is hoped will attract a fresh, young audience to the event at the historic entertainment venue in north London. Their stalls will include a mix of vintage ladies and menswear, vintage jewellery and accessories, retro homeware and mid-century collectables and curios.
St John’s Smith Square, 9-23 December
There are few things that will get you into the Christmas spirit than enjoying a festive themed choir. Luckily, the stunning baroque church of St John’s Smith Square has a rich history of serving up just that. The venue, which is regularly used for classical music concerts, will be staging their 31st Annual Christmas Festival, which over three decades has grown to include a series of top quality concerts by a diverse mix of musical talents singing choral masterpieces.
Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, 4 December
Anyone interested in the intriguing world of ephemera will not want to miss the Ephemera Society Special Fair that comes to London this December. Among the absorbing and nostalgia-filled items on sale at the fair will be trade cards, board games and labels as well as ballads and other street literature. Established in 1975, the Ephemera Society has grown to be recognised as the world’s leading authority in the field of ephemera, counting among its members libraries, museums, colleges and universities, as well as ephemera dealers and private individuals in twenty or more countries. Opening times are 11am-4pm and entrance is £3 per person.
London Olympia, 13-19 December
The world’s biggest equestrian Christmas party, Olympia, The London International Horse Show, returns to the capital with a thrilling line-up showcasing the very best horsemanship from around the globe. Organisers are expecting another record attendance as equestrian fans head on their annual pilgrimage to the famous Olympia Exhibition Halls to watch the World’s top riders compete at the week-long equine extravaganza.