Here at www.eastendtours.com we know that the build up to Christmas is arguably the best part of the whole holiday. The excitement, the magical atmosphere and the merriment all manage to brighten up even the dingiest of winter days.

Of course, one of the top things to do in London at this time of year is visit the various Christmas markets and winter festivals in the city. There are so many to choose from, but to get you started, here are five of the best London markets to visit this Christmas.

Southbank Centre Christmas Market (11th November – 4th January)

A superb seasonal destination, the Christmas Market is part of the Southbank Winter Festival. As well as a general festive feel to the place, there are 50 charming wooden chalets to explore, all traditionally decorated and selling a wide range of unique gifts and handcrafted pieces. In addition to a gift shopping experience, you can explore the wonderful food and drink on sale; enjoy winter warmers, classic Christmas favourites and exciting new festive flavours.

Greenwich Market at Christmas (1st December – 24th December)

Hundreds of twinkling lights strung up amidst the stunning London architecture makes Greenwich Market the perfect place to visit at Christmas. There are 150 craft and design stalls, as well as a selection of shops and boutiques. Everything on sale is original and the whole place oozes that festive feeling. Even the traditional food and drink on offer adds to the overall experience.

Camden Market (all year)

A little bit different to your standard structured market, Camden Market is one of London’s most fun places to get festive. Wind your way through the labyrinth of stalls, take in the foodie smells and enjoy the buzz of background noise. As you dart in and out you will find bright twinkling Christmas lights adding to the vibrancy so characteristic to this part of town. If you’re lucky enough to go on a crisp winter’s day, you can even enjoy a brisk walk along the Lock with a hot chocolate in hand.

Covent Garden (all year)

Covent Garden has long been an iconic London market, not just for its fabulous central location or its stunning architecture and history, but for the feel of the place when you are there. The draw of this market is its rowdy stalls, quaint shops and the feeling that you’re wandering through a different world – or at least, a different time. The Covent Garden charm is only enhanced when Christmas comes around. Decorated ready for the season, complete with real live reindeers on Saturdays, this is the perfect place to pop for a spot of Christmas shopping. Visit our website for the original East End tour, that takes in sights such as Whitechapel and Brick Lane!

Brick Lane (all year)

If the hustle and bustle of the tourist-heavy West End doesn’t tickle your fancy, and you would prefer something a little less traditional when it comes to your Christmas market experience, try Brick Lane in the East End. The East End’s history is just as intriguing as any other part of the city, and its personality is unmatched. Throw in a bit of the Cockney Christmas Spirit and you will be in for a real treat. Wander up and down Brick Lane, look around the eclectic mix of shops for those special gifts and if the area whets your appetite, you can explore it further on one of our East End Tours.

These five shopping spots are just a handful of the fun and festive markets around London this Christmas. Whether you are looking for a traditional gingerbread-and-hot-chocolate experience, a fun and quirky Christmas vibe, or a little bit of everything, London’s Christmas markets will keep you entertained.