in a nutshell
You’ll find tourists and local alike thronging the crowds at this fun, contemporary seasonal market, which breaks the traditional Christmas market mould. Less about the wooden chalets, Bratwurst and baubles you’ll find elsewhere, this market ties in to the innovative cultural themes of its setting. Its location in the heart of the South Bank means you can sit with a festive drink at a cosy outside bar and indulge in a spot of people-watching by the river, before watching a show, strapping on skates or taking in an exhibition or play.
about the market
This popular winter market is back for its eighth year by the Thames, and forms part of the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, running until 25 January 2017. This year, the the Centre has been working with leading designer Wayne Hemingway MBE to “create an immersive experience to capture the magic of Winter", so you can expect something pretty special.
Food and drink are a real focus: alongside stalls offering international street food, you’ll also find gourmet and artisan goods, and plenty of treats for the sweet-toothed. A big draw this year is the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge, a two-storey pop-up bar in typical Scandinavian style where you can warm up with a tot of something strong and nibble on Scandi street food. Or you might prefer the Hop Locker with its covered outdoor seating, whose selection of craft beers changes daily.
But the festival isn’t just for adults. There’s a lot to keep the kids occupied, too, from catching all the “Gonks" (mythological Scandinavian creatures resembling Wombles in tall hats) to skidding around the Bump rollerdisco, costing £15. Adults can strap their skates on, too, and special weekend club nights see DJs taking the helm.
There are more thrills to be had with contemporary Welsh circus outfit No Fit State, who are bringing their Bianco show to the festival over the winter. They describe it as “an all-consuming theatrical explosion blending sensational circus and physical theatre with untamed elegance and a subversive edge", and with the acrobats performing in and around you, it should be immersive.