I travelled up to London last week by National Express to check out the Christmas by the River Market, near London Bridge. I’d actually never heard of it before, and presumed it was new, but, turns out, it’s been running for the last five years.
Coincidentally, about the same amount of time as I’ve been living out of London. So, figures.
I’ve been to most of London’s Christmas Markets so I was keen to see what this one had to offer, to see how it was different to the usual line up.
The star attraction, with a stunning sunset on the day I was there, was Tower Bridge. It looked amazing in the distance, always in the background of the Christmas Market. As proven by the selfie.
I think the other highlight of Christmas by the River, compared to other Christmas Markets I’ve been to, would be the chalets in the bar.
Look at these and imagine you and all your friends in there. Paaarty. Or at least, a nice mulled wine in a mature, grown up way.
Fancy some more winter travel tips?
Here are the best places to head for some winter sun, a guide to visiting Menorca in winter, Christmas by the River in London, the best Airbnbs in Levi, Lapland, and everything you need to know about visiting Jeju Island in winter too.
Christmas by the River
This Christmas Market was more of a foodie one, so make sure you arrive hungry or you might wonder what to do. There was all sorts of fancy cuisines to try, from burgers, to Korean, to Mexican and pancakes. I went for the little pancakes with smarties and chocolate sauce.
Yep, 34 years old and what?
The bars were serving mulled wine, one of them had Home Alone on the TV, there was a beautiful view and excitement in the air. There were a few stalls with traditional Christmassy things to buy, as well as some with artwork and prints.
I was there from 4-6pm on a Friday so it wasn’t peak time yet, but it felt like a more chilled out Christmas Market, by London standards.
And of course, the views just made it. Tower Bridge, the HMS Belfast, the skyscrapers over the river and the impressive buildings of London Bridge. Definitely a Christmas Market for anyone interested in architecture!
Christmas by the River details
Christmas by the River Market runs from 29th November to 3rd January 2018. Go and see and enjoy!
I’d say you need around an hour or maybe two, here, depending on how much you plan on drinking, or eating. Then, you can always go on to another market for a full London Christmas Market sesh.
More Christmas Markets in London
Southbank Centre Winter Market – go out the front of the Southbank Centre and you’ll find rows on rows of Christmas huts serving all kinds of food and drink. It seems like they’ve really hammed it up this year and when I went the other day there was a whole area sectioned off for a cider tent. Rekorderlig were the sponsor and cider was everywhere.
The Southbank Centre Winter Market was right next to the London Eye. Could make for a beautiful festive view from up there!
Winter Wonderland – the first year I went to this I thought it was great. The novelty has worn off over the years now though. It’s still fun to visit and is one of the biggest Christmas Markets in the City but mention it to a Londoner and they’ll probably grumble. The queues! The prices! Etc!
You can go ice skating, up on the ferris wheel, round the shops and of course, in and out of the mulled wine bars. Woo!
Winterville Clapham Common – really want to go to this one. Maybe next year. Let me know how it goes!
Getting to Christmas by the River
I travelled to Christmas by the River by National Express Coach. It was £16 return from Portsmouth to Victoria Coach Station, and took two hours each way. It was pretty much on time, despite a heavy traffic Friday. I got the last coach home, at 23:59, and enjoyed feeling safe and warm somewhere in the middle of the coach.
There’s Wi-Fi on the coach, it’s clean and one of the many benefits was the fact it didn’t stop every ten minutes at different stations. Also, no repetitive announcements, compared to trains.
I’m an advocate of National Express – I use it regularly, whenever I go to Heathrow Airport. You can get some great deals on prices and I’ve never had a problem with the service.
If you fancy checking out a French Christmas market, check out this post from Travel Mad Mum.
If you need / want to travel around England, or even Europe, this festive season, take a look at the National Express website. It’s the only national public transport network fully operating across the UK throughout the festive period with services on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day too.
You can also bring two medium sized 20kg suitcases on the coach, for no extra cost. And the driver will even assist you in getting them on board. Sounds much more appealing than trying to find a place for your Christmas presents on a packed train, hey?
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