The Oxford Street Christmas Lights are on, Halloween and Bonfire Night are over, and pubs are starting to serve mulled wine; which means it's time to start thinking about your Christmas shopping. If you can't face the idea of struggling through the crowds at Oxford Circus, here are our top 5 ideas for alternative Christmas shopping trips, all with a cultural twist of course.
The V&A Shop
A peaceful wander through the V&A Museum followed by a mooch around their lovely gift shop is the antithesis of normal stressful Christmas shopping. With gorgeous products inspired by the museum's collections including books, jewellery, toys, stationery, home-ware and craft items, the V&A Shop is the perfect place to pick up some sophisticated presents for the culture-lovers in your life. There are also lots of lovely Christmas Cards on offer.
The V&A Shop is open 10am until 5.45pm daily, and you can also shop online here.
Hampstead Christmas Festival
Hampstead High Street is set to be transformed into a winter wonderland once more for a special one-day event on 29th November. There will be live music, art competitions, a Christmas grotto, children’s activities, reindeer, and a Christmas market with more than 80 stalls selling gifts and craft items.
Hamsptead Christmas Festival will take place on Sunday 29th November on Hampstead High Street. You can find out more here.
Cockpit Arts Open Studios
This year, Cockpit Arts are running Christmas Open Studios in two locations; Holborn and Deptford. Come along to see behind the scenes in the artists' studios and find out how the beautiful objects on display were created. There will be plenty of opportunities to buy arts and craft pieces, as well as late night shopping openings on Thursday evening; ideal for picking up a completely unique gift for someone special.
Cockpit Arts Open Studios are taking place 26th-29th November in Holborn and 3rd-6th December in Deptford. Entry is £5 for both sites.
If you're not a fan of large, soulless shopping centres, head to Brixton Village where you'll find a collection of tiny independent shops selling art, gifts and vintage items. The Brixton Maker's Market takes place on the second Saturday of each month, converting Brixton Station Road into a fabulous market of handmade crafts and contemporary art. This year, the December Maker's Market will fall on the 12th, giving you plenty of time to sort your shopping before Christmas.
The Makers' Market at Brixton Station Road takes place on the second Saturday of every month from 10am until 5pm.
Southbank Centre’s Winter Market
Enjoy mulled wine, tasty street food and handmade crafts at the outdoors market on the Southbank. With wooden chalets clustered alongside the river, the Southbank Centre’s Winter Market is the perfect place to get you into the festive spirit. There will be a wide selection of pretty gifts for sale, including some lovely baubles and tree decorations. Even if you don't buy anything, the market is well worth a visit just to soak in the sights and sounds of London at Christmas time.
Southbank Centre’s Winter Market is part of Winter at Southbank Centre with NatWest. The market takes place from 20th November until 24th December and is open from 11am to 9pm Sunday-Thursday and from 11am to 10pm Friday and Saturday.
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