London’s Southbank has long drawn in the crowds thanks to its bustling markets, vibrant theatre and arts scene and quirky pop-ups, all right by the River Thames.
However, during the festive season it’s renowned for upping the ante with a jam-packed programme of events – and this Christmas is no different.
The Southbank Christmas market is offering everything you could want to get into the festive spirit from traditional market stalls to foodie delights and a cornucopia of dazzling shows that the whole family can enjoy.
No wonder it’s tipped as one of London’s best Christmas markets.
The festival will run until the 27th December, but to give you a helping hand, we’ve picked out the highlights you won’t want to miss if you’re planning a trip to London ahead of Christmas…
There’s plenty of opportunity to eat, drink and be merry this festive season thanks to the rows of traditional Christmas market stalls offering up artisan gifts, quirky trinkets and classic festive treats from mulled wine to mince pies.
Visitors can also enjoy a host of street food, craft beers and cocktails as they make their way around the stalls, or take in the epic London views to be had across the river.
Then there’s the Southbank food market’s offering with festive twists including raclette and bratwurst options, or for those with a sweet tooth you can indulge in the waffles and pancakes.
As for the entertainment, expect a host of dazzling shows, performances and workshops.
Best shows to look out for
Rumpelstiltskin: Suitable for anyone aged eight or over, this bonanza puts a new spin on the classic fairytale. Expect eye-catching costumes, quirky characters and plenty of fun and laughs. Running from the 18th December to 6th January. Tickets from £15pp and can be bought on the Southbank Centre website.
Circus 1903: Tickets from £25pp and can be bought on the website here.
Philharmonia Orchestra and The Bach Choir: Expect a series of festive themed concerts and classical music performances to get you ready for the big day. Tickets start from £16.50pp. You can see the full list of dates and music on the website here.
Top free events
The Southbank Centre will be playing host to plenty of free events for families, running until the 1st January. We’ve picked out some of the ones you won’t want to miss…
- Winter’s a DRAG: A day-long event with London’s best drag kings and queens. Taking place on 29th December.
- Winter Choir performances: Expect daily 30-minute sessions with the occasional sing-along in the Queen Elizabeth foyer. Taking place from 11th-23rd December.
- Strictly Winter Ballroom: Put your dancing skills to the test learning ballroom skills to live music and DJ sets. Taking place on 26th December.
- Learn to Swing: Try your hand at dances like swing, jive and jitterbug with Simon Selmon and Anna Lambrechts from SwingDance UK (you may recognise them from Dancing on Ice). Taking place on 24th December.
New Year’s Eve
Once Christmas is over, the party season isn’t quite done yet as it’s time to ring in 2019 in style.
This year, the Soutbank Centre will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Spectacular from 7pm, where the Royal Festival Hall will be transformed into five floors of themed club nights.
That includes seven bars, two live acts, 12 DJs, eight dance lessons and some prime views of London’s fireworks display at midnight.
Tickets start from £105pp.