The heady scent of wine, cloves and cinnamon fills the air, you can hear juicy, fat sausages sizzling on the grill, the festive music playing and you can’t move more than six feet without being offered another continental cheese sample; Christmas market season is here.
Although many people venture across the Channel to Europe to enjoy these festive markets in an authentic setting, if you’re staying at one of the Montcalm hotels in London during November or December, you’re still in for a treat.
With all of the same sights, smells, sounds and tastes as the European markets, close your eyes for a second at one of London’s festive markets and you could be in a Belgian village in the run-up to Christmas.
Here’s our pick of some of the capital’s best Christmas markets, along with advice on how to get there from our hotels.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Situated on the bank of the River Thames, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market is running until January 25th 2017, allowing you to keep the festive spirit going well into the new year. With all of the usual handmade gifts, European sweet treats, warming hot chocolates, German bratwursts and a chance to see Father Christmas himself, the Southbank is the perfect place to enjoy some festive cheer in the run-up to December 25th.
How to get there: For those staying at the Marble Arch by Montcalm London, a Central Line tube will take you from Marble Arch station to Holborn, from where you can catch the number 188 bus to Southbank, with the entire journey taking no more than 25 minutes.
Christmas by the River
Christmas by the River at London Bridge City is another riverside festive event, opening on November 30th and running until January 3rd. If you want to combine your Christmas shopping with some iconic sightseeing during your visit to the capital, this is the market to come to. It overlooks some of London’s most historic buildings, including Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, with the stalls selling a multitude of traditional festive wares.
How to get there: The Montcalm Royal London House is our closest hotel to Christmas by the River, with visitors able to hop on the Underground at Moorgate, getting off at London Bridge, which is just a stone’s throw from the markets. Alternatively, for a slightly different experience, you can catch a ferry across the Thames to reach your destination.
Fortnum & Mason Christmas Arcade
The great British weather can be unpredictable, particularly during the winter, so if you want the guarantee of staying warm and dry while you sip your mulled wine and enjoy some hot roast chestnuts, Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas Arcade was made for you. Situated in the West wing of the world-famous department store, the Christmas Arcade is the place to buy the finest teas, chocolates, decorations and luxury gifts from the globe’s finest brands. What’s more, Fortnum & Mason is located just around the corner from the Somerset House ice rink, giving you the chance to exercise your inner Torvill or Dean before heading back inside for another soul-warming mulled wine.
How to get there: The Montcalm Hotel on Park Lane is just a short bus ride away from Fortnum & Mason, with the route covered by several, including the numbers 6, 23, 94 and 159.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Finally, we think you’d be hard pushed to find many places on Earth more festive than Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. The annual event is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, and is home to its own festive pop-up markets, as well as a wide variety of Christmassy entertainment. Highlights include the stunning Nutcracker on Ice show, an ice bar and a festive-themed circus, meaning there’s something to get everyone in the festive spirit. There’s also a giant Ferris wheel from where you can see the Winter Wonderland – and a great deal of the rest of London – from above.
How to get there: Hyde Park is just a five-minute walk from The Montcalm Hotels on Great Cumberland Place, meaning it really couldn’t be any easier to enjoy some Christmas cheer during a stay with us this winter.