This is a sponsored article on behalf of In Kingston.
Flashing light? Check. Traditional Christmas market? Check. Live music, mulled wine, picturesque streets? Check, check, check.
No, not a Christmas market in a remote corner of Europe, but rather the charming party scene that awaits you much closer to home in Kingston this year. Throw in pubs and restaurants by the river, more shops than you can shake your credit card at, and arts and crafts workshops, and you’ve had a super-Christmas day out.
Just 28 minutes by train from Waterloo, Kingston is the best of both worlds – close enough to central London that you can easily visit in one day, but lively enough to make you feel like you’ve been on a festive short break, without the stress of traveling abroad.
This year’s festivities are centered around the Christmas market, which takes over Kingston’s historic town center, including Ancient Market Place and the ski-themed All Saints Church, which has a campfire to roast marshmallows. Wooden huts adorned with garlands and balls spread among the picturesque buildings and allow you to pick up some unique gifts for your friends and family. Jewelry, scented candles, eco-friendly bath products, leather goods, scarves and Christmas decorations are among the products offered, as well as fudge, cheese and Turkish delight.
Warm your hands on a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate while you browse, and keep an eye on the roaming brass band, which gives pop-up performances in various places in the city and lifts the festive mood one step further.
Live music, singing and open microphone evenings take place every day on a purpose-built stage at Ancient Market Place. Time your visit to a Saturday in December to see giant reindeer stilt walkers (intriguing …), acrobatic Santa Claus, elf dancers, balloon sculpting roller skaters (impressive!) And LED-winged ballerinas as they delight shoppers all over the city center.
Do you have the kids in tow? There is plenty to keep younger visitors happy this December, including a cheeky elf trail. Help them find all ten toys and decorations in windows around the city center so they have a chance to win a Bentalls voucher of £ 100. Artful children and their parents can also make their own Christmas cards, wreaths or miniature Christmas trees at free art workshops led by Cass Arts staff artists and teachers from a local children’s art school.
Do you still have a little shopping? Kingston is home to lots of major brand name retailers, including John Lewis, as well as independent stores. And when you’re done shopping, you can plow yourself and your suitcases down at one of the city’s bars and restaurants on the river for a much-needed refreshment.
Alternatively, head to the food and beverage stalls at the Christmas market for bratwurst, Yorkshire pudding wraps, Belgian waffles … and maybe another cup of mulled wine from Pyramid Bar next to the music stage, which also has an impressive selection of German and local brewed beer.
Before jumping back on the train, get a few snaps for the ‘gram’. Kingston goes all out in Christmas decorations – think of festive lights and giant Christmas trees in the streets, nutcracker figures, an illuminated candy hat and giant ball installations, a vintage carousel and a magical conservatory decorated with snow-covered trees. Throw in historic buildings and scenes by the river, and it’s really starting to look like Christmas in Kingston.
Start your Christmas story at inkingston.co.uk. Gift shops at Kingston Christmas Market are open Nov. 18-24. December. Food and drink stalls are open November 18-31. December.