Shop till you drop: where and when are the local Christmas markets?

Festive cheer on Roman Road. Pic: Roman Koblov

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and Croydon, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and Lewisham are gearing up for their annual festivities. Eastlondonlines took a look at the Christmas markets that can’t be missed in our area.

Croydon’s Christmas lights will be switched on in the North End Road this Thursday, November 28, and their market opens the same day. Pop down to begin your shopping when the ‘Christmas Chalet’ stalls open at 10:00am, and stick around for live music and cultural performances under falling snow from midday. The market is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm every day until December 15.

Catford Broadway Christmas Market Pic: Heatheronhertravels

Special guests on the first day include players from Crystal Palace FC, who will be in Whitgift Square from 4:00pm; Croydon’s Mayor, Councillor Patricia Hayes-Justice, who will be switching the lights on; and, finally, no less than Santa Claus and his elves!

The “switch-on countdown” begins shortly after 6:00pm, and the event is supported by Gatwick Airport.

Admission to the Christmas Market is free.

Pic: Check Out Croydon

Croydon BID and Check Out Croydon – the two organisers of the market – are also running an advent calendar competition starting on December 1. The ultimate prize is a sunrise hot air balloon flight for two with champagne.

Matthew Sims, from Croydon BID, told Eastlondonlines: “The festive season has well and truly begun. We’re excited to welcome over thirty traders to our traditional chalets, offering a wealth of food, drink, arts and crafts. Looking forward to seeing everyone as we get ready for Christmas.”

Croydon in snow. Pic: Peter Trimming

In Hackney, the Christmas Markets on Bohemia Place will be back for their second year, across three weekends;  November 30 and December 1, December 7 and 8, and December 14 and 15. They will be open from 11:00am to 6:00pm.

Opposite Hackney Central Station, over 50 independent traders, dealing in Christmas-themed goods will be plying their wares; next to Santa’s Grotto and a giant snow globe for photos. 

Admission is also free for the Christmas Markets on Bohemia Place. 

Zak Avery of the Arcane Agency, the organisers, told Eastlondonlines the markets were a “one stop shop for all things festive, with a conscious twist; offering a diverse range of handmade independent makers and creatives, conscious crafters, zero waste products, ethical attire, forward thinking fashion, swap shops, the finest Christmas trees, vegan delights, mouth watering Christmas cuisine, festive feasts, hot toddies, mulled wine and, of course, fun for all the family.”

Pic: Bohemia Place Market

In Tower Hamlets, there are two key events. The first is the “Chrispmas Winter Wonderland” at the Chrisp Street Market on Friday November 29 from 2:00pm to 7:00pm. 

Activities on show in Chrisp Street will include an ice rink, performances from local school choirs and other musicians, and roller skating Christmas puddings; which sound like they have to be seen to be believed.

Entrance to the Chrisp Street Markets is free.

The second big market in Tower Hamlets is the Urban Makers Christmas Markets at the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park from 11:00am to 5:00pm on December 7 and 8. 

The Urban Makers markets are now in their fourth year of selling Christmas wares that are sustainable and ethical, welcoming designers of every kind. Entry is free.

Ilka Dickens, one of the founders of Urban Makers, told Eastlondonlines: “There will also be five workshops taking place including candle making, festive punch, needle and embroidery, Christmas wreath making and learn how to make your own natural skincare. Warming food will be served alongside artisan coffee and festive cocktails. “

Urban Makers Founders Julia Redgrove and Ilka Dickens. Pic: Urban Makers

In creative Lewisham, the Cockpit Arts Winter Open Studios offer the chance to shop directly with over 140 of London’s finest makers from December 6-8.

Advance ticket sales are over, but you can grab entry at the door for £4 at their location at 18-22 Creekside in Deptford Bridge area. If you’re a Lewisham resident, entrance is free for the first hour.

The market will be open from 11:00am to 8:00pm on Friday December 6 and 11:00am to 6:00pm both days that weekend.

Annie Warburton, Cockpit’s CEO, said in a statement: “I love how people’s faces light up as they discover something new or get lost in browsing, conversation and the warmth of Cockpit’s atmosphere. It’s a convivial experience, far away from the affray of the high street, and many come back to us year after year to see what’s new. There’s a special magic, like nowhere else – and gifts bought here carry that magic with them.”

And, finally, Brockley Christmas Market is returning on Saturday December 7, from midday to 6:00pm at the Brockley Brewery on Harcourt Road. While you’re there, grab a drink and a mince pie to pass the time before watching their Christmas Light Switch On at 7:00pm.

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