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Trafalgar Square Christmas Market

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This post covers everything you need to know about visiting the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market in central London. 

The market is now open and will remain so until the start of January!

We include details about festive activities, decorations, winter markets, and other fun things to see and do.


Overview

Trafalgar Square can sometimes be looked down on by Londoners as "too touristy".

Howerver, throughout the year, the Square plays host to numerous events and activities that bring visitors and locals alike here into the heart of London.

And the most magical of all the yearly events is the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Market is not as big as others like the Leicester Square Market or the Southbank Christmas Market.

But, it is centrally located, perfectly beautiful, and is full of plenty of things to eat, drink and buy.

And the true treasure in Trafalgar Square is the Norway spruce that serves as the official Christmas tree of London every year!

Oh, and of course our London Christmas Lights Tour will bring you right here!

London Christmas Lights Tour

Dates

The Market will be open from the 11th of November until the 2nd of January 2023.

The tree lighting will take place on the first Thursday in December.


How to Get Here

Trafalgar Square is right in the centre of the city so is easy to access no matter where you are coming from.

Nearest Underground Stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Embankment

Nearest Rail Stations: Charing Cross

Bus Routes: 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 87, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453


Things to Do

As one might expect, there are many activities to partake in at this Christmas Market, including food, drink, singing, and both a tree and minora lighting.


Grab a Bite Eat

Make sure you come hungry to the Trafalgar Square Christmas Markets!

There's no need to calorie-count during this time of year

So, help yourself to delicious traditional German bratwurst, miniature pancakes, sky-high chocolate fountains, hot sandwiches and freshly made chips.

There's also the option to buy sweets and hand-made fudge to enjoy at the market, to take home, or to give as gifts!


Enjoy a Festive Drink

It's not a Christmas Market without hot cups of steaming cider and fragrantly spiced mulled wine.

Tuck in to your favourite festive drinks at the market bar. For teetotallers, help yourself to incredible Belgian hot chocolate.


Do Your Christmas Shopping

Some of the finest hand-crafted gifts in London are waiting for you at the Market.

Think unique pieces of jewellery, aromatic wax candles, and charming Christmas ornaments.

You'll find handcrafted leather goods, lanterns and lights, souvenirs and more.

There's also always plenty of stylish hats, scarves and gloves as well as traditional decorations so you can take the spirit of Christmas back to your own home!


Listen to Live Christmas Carols

Throughout the holiday season, the Greater London Authority arranges for different groups of Carole's to take up hour long sets in front of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree.

In an effort to keep it traditional, there are no microphones or PA systems, providing the audience with an intimate, authentic holiday experience.

Performances usually take place between 16:00 - 20:00 on weekdays and 14:00 - 18:00 on weekends.

The 2022 schedule isn't yet finalised but the Mayor of London's Website will have all the information as soon as it is available.


See the Country's Most Famous Christmas Tree

Trafalgar Square is home to THE London Christmas Tree.

Sent to us from Norway every year, the official lighting of the tree draws hundreds of people from all over the country in a tradition that has been taking place for decades.

This iconic tree has an incredible history which you can read more about below!


Celebrate Chanukah

In addition to the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, you will also find one of London's largest menorahs.

Photo by Garry Knight CC 2.0

The candles are lit every day during Chanukah and the first time celebrated with traditional Jewish music and dancing.

Dates for 2022 are TBA.


Read a Unique Christmas Poem

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is known throughout the world, but at the base of the tree is an often undiscovered bit of Christmas magic!

Every year The Poetry Society works with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in London to create a poetry project inspired by the London Christmas Tree.

A new poet is commissioned every year to produce a new poem celebrating the Tree.

That poem will be read out at the Tree Lighting Ceremony (the first Thursday in December) and then displayed around the base of the tree.

This one is often overlooked, even by regular visitors, so make sure to keep an eye out!


Visit a World Class Gallery

Trafalgar Square is an oft-visited location in London regardless of the time of year as the Square plays host to two of Britain's finest art galleries:

Note that the National Portrait Gallery is undergoing construction so will not be open this Christmas season.

However, the National Gallery, a FREE museum, remains open and sits on the northern edge of the Square, overlooking the Christmas Market.

There are incredible pieces of art inside from The Entombment by Michelangelo, Belshazzar's Feast by Rembrant, The Virgin of the Rocks by da Vinci, The Water Lily Pond by Monet, to The Arnolfini Portrait by van Eyck, The Fighting Temeraire by J. M. Turner, The Ambassdors by Holbein and Sunflowers by van Gough (now tomato soup-free..!).


Take a Tour

Want to take in all the Christmas lights that London has to offer? 

Make sure to sign up to London's first pay-what-you-like Christmas Lights Tour!

London Christmas Lights Tour

This tour includes a visit to the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market and finishes within walking distance so you can come back for more whenever you're ready. 

If day time touring is more your thing, then jump onto the Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown, Rock and Roll, Westminster or Harry Potter Tours to explore the neighbourhood nearby!


The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

One of the most famous Christmas tress in the world, London's iconic tree is a yearly gift to the United Kingdom from the people of Norway.

In a tradition begun in 1947, the tree is a token of gratitude for British support to Norway during World War Two

Photo by Editor5807 CC3.0

The tree is always a Norway spruce, aged between 50 - 60 years and standing a minimum of 20 feet tall.

The tree is cut during a ceremony in November which is attendee by the British Ambassador to Norway, the Lord Mayor of Westminster, and the Mayor of Oslow.

The tree is them shipped by boat to the United Kingdom.

Once here, the tree is decorated in a classic, traditional Norwegian style and plays host to over 500 glowing white lights.

The tree is lit on the first Thursday in December in a ceremony attended by thousands.

It then serves as the focal point of the Trafalgar Square Christmas festivities until Twelfth Night when it is taken down for recycling.

There is a plaque which goes ono display yearly at the base of the tree which reads:

This tree is given by the City of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-45.

A tree has been given annually since 1947.


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About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: December 1st, 2022
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