Southbank Winter Market…ahhh. There’s so many christmas markets around London but the Southbank Winter Market is by far the best one in London. When it comes to Christmas, we think of lights, trees, presents, Santa, elves and decorations.
When it comes to Christmas in London, we think of Christmas by the Thames, Christmas events in and around London and Christmas lights in Central London. In this post, I will talk about Southbank Winter Market. For more information about the Southbank Centre Winter Market for next year click here. Click here for my post on 14 things to do in Southbank.
This is the moment when I went to the Southbank Winter Market to experience Christmas by the Thames.
Towards Southbank Winter Market
From where I live, I headed to London Bridge, London Bridge to Waterloo Station. It was already cold but it was a breeze. I enjoyed the cool evening weather since it wasn’t raining either.
The nearest tube to the Southbank Winter Market are Waterloo Station and Westminster Tube Station. From Waterloo, exit the station, turn left and you’ll steps going up to the Southbank Centre. Read my post on how to get the most of Southbank.
As I headed upstairs, I noticed a lot of people going towards the market. As it was by the river, I saw a row of stalls by the River Thames with lightbulbs surrounding the roofs of the stalls at the top. It was right bang under the train station as I could hear trains going past. Read about the famous River Thames here. You can also find things to see and do as well as accommodations by the river too on the website.
Southbank Winter Market
The Southbank Winter Market food stalls serves mulled wine, hot food like burgers, fish and chips and steak. Gloves and scarves as well as decorations were also available. At this point, the evening turned to darkness but the stalls made the atmosphere brighter and colourful. Don’t forget, these are all handmade goods that you can’t get from the high street.
I saw a few people coming together, solos like me, couples, families and friends Christmas shopping and enjoying hot food and beverage.There were plenty of people. Compared to the Christmas markets around the world, Southbank Winter Market is very simple, it looks very festive, but not as Christmasy as Singapore or the USA. I’ve been to both countries, I must say, London is not very over the top when it comes to Christmas.
In and around the market
Among the stalls, there was a beer garden by the Thames. It did feel nice sitting by the Thames, watching the riverboats zoom past and other boats on the way to their destination. It was still quiet and dark, only the chattering of people socialising and relaxing overlooking the river.
There was a corousel and a Star flyer where they swing you in circles up to 70 feet high. Since I’m afraid of heights, I didn’t go on the Star flyer but I could imagine the view of London glittering with different lights from the top. I thought that was something extra for the family and kids to enjoy (if you do enjoy heights.
Further on, I saw more stalls serving crepes, churros and wooden christmas decorations. I walked towards Underbelly Festival. Today, there was nothing on, it was to make way for the Christmas Market. I thought the stalls by the Thames were enough but there was more here where Underbelly Festival was.
There’s a small woodland area where there were steps going down. I couldn’t see any stalls selling Christmas products but sold more food and drink here than Christmas decorations. A really good selection I thought. They sold roast pork, steak, hot drinks, chocolate fountains with marshmallows and a Japanese themed stall serving sweet potatoes and other pan Asian dishes.
Bar Under the Bridge
The Bar Under the Bridge was not what I expected. I thought it would be busy but it was quite intimate since it was small. Probably, half the size of a tennis court. There were booth seats as well as seats in the middle of the bar, including a ping pong table. Since I was by myself, I didn’t have anyone play ping pong with, otherwise, it would have been good to play with someone. The bar served a good selection of alcoholic drinks. There is a street food stall serving Baggio Burger next door.
The website stated that board games were available but when I arrived, I didn’t see any. However, the best thing about this bar were the booths on the far side of the bar. Since I had already eaten, I didn’t get the chance to taste the Baggio Burger. The street food stall didn’t seem appealing to me and there weren’t a lot of people eating so that’s why I didn’t bother.
I think Southbank Winter Market is very festive, there are lights everywhere and it’s a place to socialise during the Winter months. It’s good for solos, couples and families during December. There are plenty of hot food and drinks and two interesting and intimate bars.
Bar Under the Bridge was quite intimate, Circus Bar had more going on since, inside, it had deck chairs and bean bags in front of a turned off TV. I felt relaxed though in both bars. There was a selection of different Christmas products that you couldn’t get on the high street as they were all hand made. There was also a selection of hot food and drinks, mainly street food such as the normal burger and chips, steak and roast pork.
Buying gifts at the market
If you want gifts, something different for your loved ones, go to the Southbank Winter Market. If you like to hang out in the cold, fresh breeze, drink mulled wine and eat hot street food to warm yourself up. Hang out at the beer garden overlooking the River Thames, put your feet up and enjoy the cold night air. Not for you? Go to the Circus Bar and just slump yourself into the bean bag and socialise. Whatever it is you want to do, there’s a lot going on than you might expect.
Just don’t judge the market before visiting. I thought to myself, it’s quite boring before I had a chance to see it since the market was quite simple with just hot food and drink and a few Christmas decorations and products. I found that there was quite a selection of things to do and buy. Have a look at the Southbank Centre’s website above for Christmas events for the family to enjoy.
Like I said, compared to most Christmas markets around the world (where it’s over the top), the Christmas market here in London is simple but there are plenty of things to do, you’d be surprised that you have little time to experience everything.
Till next time!!!
THE BAR UNDER THE BRIDGE