December events diary

Christmas markets and designer events offering unusual and hand-crafted gifts flood the capital this month so make present shopping fun and enjoy a glass of mulled wine.
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East London Design Show
Find original presents at the East London Design Show

East London Design Show

2-5 December
This vibrant show, on the go now for over 15 years, is a fab double whammy – design and Christmas in a potent mix of textiles, ceramics, glass, woodware, metalwork, and toys, of course – all with that original touch that makes a present really special. Look out for the 38 new exhibitors this year. Tickets cost £4 for adults, £2 concessions; children under 16 go free. Kids workshops for mini-maestros cost from £10 to £25.
* Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1;

Eco Design Christmas Fair

4-5 December
Doing what it says on the label, these contemporary designers centre their work around sustainability and fair trade, to offer Christmas gifts, natural body care, alternative technologies, home accessories, fashion, jewellery, baby clothes, toys and greetings cards. You can even join a bunting workshop with the Seaside Sisters, three great London girls who’ve collected a treasure trove of old fabrics and trimmings, and will enthusiastically share their design expertise. Or sew your own Father Christmas or fairy doll, again from reclaimed fabrics and lace.
* Islington Town Hall, Upper Street, N1; 020 7625 7779;

Tulpe Bowls by Michael Ruh
Meet the makers and buy unique gifts such as these Tulpe Bowls by Michael Ruh at Hidden Art

Hidden Art Open Studios

4-5 December
This is the 17th year the members of Hidden Art (London’s unique body to promote design) have thrown open their studios. It's a chance to meet the makers and buy unique Christmas gifts. Those present staples of mugs, cushions and tea towels are transformed into desirable, original artefacts but still at affordable prices. You can even commission a bespoke winter outfit for a pampered pooch, or blow your own glass Christmas bauble for just £15. Watch out for discounts, sample sales, and special offers for recessionary savings. Studio times vary, but are usually from around 11am to 5pm.
* Across London, with full details on; 0207 729 3800

We Make London Christmas Craft Show

4 December
This is a new event that has been running for only two years. It’s selling handmade goods from over 80 designer makers. Plus fancy dress competitions, Christmas tree decoration, craft activities for kids, guest appearances from Snow White and Peter Pan and a café serving seasonal treats. Original gifts abound. A special attraction is the birds made from London clay excavated from the site of an old Victorian warehouse in Islington.
* Chelsea Town Hall, King's Rd, Chelsea SW3;

Pullens Yards Winter Open Studios

3-5 December
It’s worth a trek to South London to find clothing, jewellery, ceramics, fine art and photography from some of London’s top makers. Look out for Yard Sale Project's incredible one-off furniture, hand-crafted instruments from Lutes and Guitars and Hidemi Asano's minimalist, nature-inspired jewellery.
Clements Yard, Iliffe Yard, and Peacock Yard, SE17; 020 7701 2422;

Cockpit Arts Christmas Open Studios

3-5 December
This studio group is another independent design hotspot in South London, offering a studio welcome in festive fashion with gifts, homewares, or just a treat for yourself. Admission £3, Friday free.
Cockpit Arts Deptford, 18-22 Creekside, SE8; 020 7419 1959;

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
Hyde Park's seasonal makeover as a Winter Wonderland is open now until 4 January

Cologne Christmas Market

Open now until 22 December
The Germans are famous for their Christmas markets, and one has come to London along Queen's Walk (which runs from the Southbank Centre to the London Eye). A line-up of decorated wooden chalets sells hand-crafted gifts and German delicacies, with warming wine and snacks.
Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Rd, SE1; 0844 847 9910;

Winter Wonderland

Open now until 4 January
Hyde Park's seasonal makeover includes an array of traders selling Christmas crafts and gifts. Then there’s an ice rink, a “giant observational wheel”, “Cirque d'Hiver” from the family-friendly Zippo's Circus (in a heated big top), plus various rides and attractions. Entry to the site is free and a leisurely stroll – particularly after-dark – makes a pleasant break from Christmas crowds elsewhere.
Hyde Park, W2;

Clerkenwell Christmas Market

3 December
Stalls at this festive charity fair (in aid of St John’s Ambulance) are selling Christmas food, jewellery, knitted fashions, hand-made glass and greetings cards. First-aid demos will teach life-saving skills, alongside carol-singing and mulled wine.
Smithfield Market, Charterhouse St, EC1; 020 7324 4177/4154;

Real Food Christmas Market

3-5 December
Go get those gourmet Christmas treats – such as fine cheeses, pickles and chutneys, charcuterie, and chocolate, not to mention traditional mince pies and mulled wine. Also enjoy tastings and pick up some cookery tips at live demos.
Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Rd, SE1; 0844 847 9910;

Fair Christmas Fayre

4 December
Take a break from the big stores and support the Salvation Army, with 30 stalls selling eco gifts including cakes, homewares and fashion, plus a DIY craft corner, and a service for recycled gift-wrapping.
Regent Hall, 275 Oxford St, W1; fairchristmasfayre.wordpress

Handknitted hot water bottle
Handknitted hot water bottle, £29, by Strikk Handknits at Tea & Make

Chocolate Festival

10-12 December
For a chocaholic rendezvous, find dozens of stalls in the open air selling “chocolate-related products”, as well as workshops and demos. Yummy.
Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Rd, SE1; 0844 847 9910;; 0871 620 7064

Tea & Make Pop-up Shop, SE14

Open now until 11 Dec
A select band of ten artists include Random Studio with screen-printed accessories, plus embroidered reclaimed knitwear, cards and bags. Then there are the workshops, where you can bone up on seasonal tricks for pressies and decs.
Opposite Goldsmiths College, Lewisham Way, SE14;

London Wetland Centre Winter Wonderland Weekend

11-12 December
Find eco Christmas gifts and decorations, Father Christmas in his grotto, and meet the huskies.
Queen Elizabeth's Walk, SW13; 020 8409 4400;

Dock Kitchen
Tom Dixon's Christmas Market will have food and wine stalls by the acclaimed Dock Kitchen

Angel Christmas Fair

11-12 December
Browse around 50 stalls selling contemporary mixed media paintings, badges and stickers, hand-printed cards and wrapping paper, and knitted accessories.
Candid Arts Trust Galleries, 3 Torrens St, EC1; 020 7837 4237;

Homunculus Plumb wall piece by David Taborn
Homunculus Plumb wall piece by David Taborn: Reclaimed at LASSCO

The Dock Christmas Market

16 -19 December
Design and fun at designer Tom Dixon’s Christmas Market includes food and wine stalls curated by the acclaimed Dock Kitchen (on the canalside terrace), with presents for design lovers in the Tom Dixon Shop. Make your own cards, gift-boxes and tags with Playlab, buy your Christmas tree and listen to the Bonfire Band playing on the Thursday night.
Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, W10; 020 7183 9723;

Reclaimed by David Taborn

2-21 December
Known for its wonderful architectural salvage, LASSCO is holding an appropriate exhibition of over 30 three dimensional wall-pieces made from objects and materials "that have had a former life". Many have a surreal touch - a musical typewriter set in a mirror, for example, or a sliced-up chair.
Brunswick House, 30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall SW8; 020 7394 2100;;

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