The best Christmas pop up bars, restaurants and events in London – from Christmas crafting to wreath-making and festive markets.
If you ask us, London is the place to be at Christmas. This bustling city is famed as a melting pot of ideas and unique events like Christmas carolling and festive afternoon teas, which all just get bigger and better in December.
From Christmas shopping events that showcase independent makers for truly unique Christmas present ideas, to experimental pop ups with festive decor and activities like carolling to match, there’s plenty (and we mean plenty) of things to help you embrace your inner Claus.
So, if you want to avoid looking back in January and thinking “I didn’t get that Christmassy feeling” then check out our edit of the best Christmas pop up bars, restaurants, events and shopping experiences in London from now until the end of December.
Best pop up craft events for Christmas
Berry Bros. & Rudd’s festive craft workshops
Where: 3 St. James’s Street, SW1A 1EG
When: 8 and 15 December, from 12noon to 2pm
What: This classic wine and spirit merchant is putting on two adorable sounding workshops before Christmas for those who fancy getting crafty with a wreath before the big day. The first is a contemporary wreath-making workshop offering a modern twist on the traditional Christmas decoration with Claire Victoria Bowen of Honeysuckle & Hilda. While the second is a Christmas table styling masterclass and centrepiece creation workshop with Hannah Bullivant of Seeds & Stitches.
How much: £35 each
The Winter Forest
Where: Broadgate Circle, Liverpool Street
When: 6 November to 24 December
What: Experimental bar brand, Mr. Fogg’s, has transformed this buzzing hub of restaurants into a winter forest with festive events and performances happening all the way until Christmas Eve. Not only will delicious drinks be on offer (like hot butter rum and mulled wine) but heartwarming music from school and amateur choirs, Christmas carol song-alongs every Wednesday and loads of creative craft workshops (like gift tag making, fairy light customising and wreath-making).
How much: Free
The Winter Retreat
Where: Regent’s Place, Fitzrovia
When: Every Tuesday until Christmas Day
What: This cosy tipi will be offering crafty sessions until Christmas to help you make the perfect gift for your loved ones. Each week is different, but all activities are focused on plants and taught by plant expert Victoria Hellum, of Plantjoy. Expect to to whip up creations like a seasonal terrarium or mounted Staghorn fern.
How much: £30-35 per class
Best bar pop-ups for Christmas
London Cocktail Club Shoreditch’s Supermarket Sweep
Where: London Cocktail Club, 29 Sclater St, E1 6HR
When: 1 December until 23 February, 12-9pm daily
What: Those who grew up watching Supermarket Sweep but never got the chance to fly round the aisles, grabbing armfuls of goodies will be delighted that this cheese-tastic Nineties game show has been brought back, and with cocktails! In this famous hospitality group’s East London branch, guests can race against the clock to pick out as many ingredients from the shelves as possible, from Coco Pops to Angel Delight, which will then be used to make cocktails for them.
How much: £30 which includes three cocktails
Sipsmith Christmas Gin Shop
Where: 192 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9EU
When: Until Christmas Eve
What: So this may not technically be a bar, but for what it lacks in banging tunes it makes up for in delicious (and Christmas-flavoured) gin, cosy Christmas decor, human-sized, personalisable stockings and festive workshops like botanical wreath making and gin tasting. Peruse the shop for an instant hit of jolliness or book onto one of the classes for an evening of merriment.
How much: £20-£75
Moët & Chandon at the Sky Garden
Where: Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch St, EC3M 8AF
When: from 23 November
What: The Sky Garden is beautiful all year round, but especially for Christmas champagne brand Moët & Chandon have given it a beautiful, frosty touch. Watch as the lush greenery turns into an icy winter oasis, bedecked in white and gold snow scenes with ice-covered sledges and penguins, too. Of course there’ll be Moët Imperial Brut on the menu (paired with truffle popcorn), but there’s also some yummy winter warmers like boozy hot chocolate, the Sweet Temptation, made from Hennessy fine, Disaronno, cinnamon syrup, chocolate and shortbread.
How much: Free to enter
The Glenlivet Glade
Where: Rosewood London, Holborn
When: 6 November until 2 March
What: The Glenlivet Glade stands inside the hotel’s courtyard as an imagined woodland glade under a spectacular starry night sky. Taking inspiration from a winter’s scene in the remote Livet valley in Scotland, the Glade brings the outside in, welcoming guests into an unspoilt world of the Scottish Highlands. Of course, there’s gorgeously cosy decor and a host of festive cocktails to warm your cockles, too.
How much: Cocktails from £14
World of Narnia at St Martins Lane hotel
Where: St Martins Lane hotel, Covent Garden
When: 26 November until 4 January
What: This hotel lobby has had a fantastical makeover, taking inspiration from the classic tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Think snowy branches, faux fur throws, a wintery throne and secretive entrance to the speakeasy bar Blind Spot, where a Turkish delight-themed menu awaits you.
How much: Cocktail prices from £13
Narnia at Savage Garden
Where: Savage Garden at Double Tree by Hilton Tower Bridge Hotel, Bank
When: From 10 November
What: Inspired by C. S. Lewis’s treasured tale, this rooftop bar has taken on a new look for winter, transforming into that magical place beyond the wardrobe. Stroll past silver birch trees and notice Mr Tumnus’s iconic lamp post, even pausing to take a snap with the White Witch’s throne. As well as enjoying the surroundings, though, there’s plenty of Narnia-themed libations in store, such as Tumnus’s Tea – a hot toddy of Absolut Elyx, poppy tea, saffron, condensed milk and star anise. Also, venture a little further to the second terrace and you’ll find London’s latest igloos.
How much: Entry is free – but igloo bookings have a minimum of £25 per person
Winter at Skylight
Where: Skylight at Tabacco Docks, Shadwell
When: 1 November to 27 January
What: This rooftop bar in East London comes out on top pretty much every season. Through the summer there’s beanbags and lawn games, but we think it’s winter time that Skylight really comes into its own. This year looks to be the best yet, with not only an open air ice rink but cosy igloos, mountain huts and ice hockey too. There’ll be plenty of mulled wine and seasonal cocktails being served from the pergola bar as well as food from the Raclette Brothers and other street food vendors.
How much: Entry is free with bespoke packages available for igloo bookings. Ice skating is £10 and only to be bought on site.
Miracle at the Henrietta hotel
Where: Henrietta Hotel, Covent Garden
When: 23 November until Christmas Eve
What: Originally created in New York five years ago by restaurateur Greg Boehm, Miracle is a pop up concept which recreates the spirit of an Alpine living room on Christmas Eve. Over time many of Boehm’s friends in the industry have given it a go, and this year The Experimental Group have brought Miracle to Covent Garden, stringing up the fairy lights and stockings at the Henrietta Hotel. There’ll be exquisite new cocktails made with festive ingredients, like the Snowball Old Fashioned and Alpine-inspired snacks.
How much: Free to enter but booking essential
The Montague on the Gardens Hotel
Where: The Montague on the Gardens Hotel, Bloomsbury
When: 14 November until 13 January
What: The hotel’s outdoor deck is transformed into an alpine ski lodge with fairy lights, a cosy log cabin and selection of warming, wintery drinks such as mulled wine, spiced cider and homemade flavoured schnapps and vodkas, including candy cane, butterscotch and toffee.
How much: Ski passes are priced at £38 and include an hour and a half access, a seasonal spread of food including a mini turkey schnitzel and bratwurst and deep fried camembert; plus a choice of three festive drinks from the Ski Lodge bar menu.
Where: The Blind Pig, Soho
When: 19th November until 5th January
What: Jason Atherton’s flagship bar, The Blind Pig, has been turned into a cosy winter snug for Christmas. The speakeasy looks super festive with mistletoe, lights and wreaths as well as plush blankets and cushions to create a festive environment. The Blind Pig is famous for its experimental cocktails and has created two delicious sounding drinks for the pop up called the Cranberry Kir Royal and the Christmas Pudding, with champagne and cognac.
How much: Entry is free and cocktails are priced at £12
Best foodie pop ups for Christmas
Jimmy’s Lodge on the River
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
When: Restaurant sitting times are 12.30, 5pm and 8pm. Open-air bar is open 12-11pm. Both Monday to Sunday.
What: Jimmy Garcia is famous for his atmospheric foodie pop-ups, but this might just be his one cosiest yet. Set on the South Bank looking out over the Thames, this multi-platform venue has it all, with an impressive upstairs ski lodge-themed dining room as well as an open-air hot cocktail and street food bar. But, the piste de résistance (geddit?) has to be the heated private igloos, available to hire for groups of up to 10 people, they make for a very special way to get your pals together for Friendmas festivities.
How much: Igloos are a minimum spend of £600, but everything else is just pay for what you get.
The Alpine Village at Flat Iron Square
Where: Flat Iron Square, Borough
When: Until March 2019
What: The collection of bars and restaurants in Flat Iron Square are receiving an Alpine Village makeover with new festive shop fronts, a Yule-tide focused flea market and winter-themed menus. Throughout December there’ll be opportunities to see carollers, wreath making classes and a brass band.
How much: Free to have a walk around, with classes and menus priced individually
Where: Black Swan Studios, London Bridge
When: 10 to 21 December
What: This Scottish-themed festive extravaganza promises hot toddy cocktails, a karaoke room, Christmas games, DIY DJ station, a roaming treat sled, Old Fashioned on tap, live music and lots of other festive action.
How much: £65
Winter at Dalloway Terrace
Where: The Bloomsbury Hotel, Bloomsbury
When: Until January 2019
What: This terraced restaurant changes with the season, and its winter update is even more beautiful than we had imagined. Designed by florists Wild at Heart, this floral display is an icy haven of crystallised white, pink and silver petals with an abundance of champagne coloured frosted foliage. Not only does it look visually stunning, there’s also Swiss and truffle fondue on the menu, winter warmer cocktails and spiced pumpkin pie for dessert.
How much: Drink prices start from £12
Aviary’s Arctic Rooftop Escape
Where: Aviary Rooftop Restaurant and Terrace Bar, Shoreditch
When: From the 8 November to 16 March
What: This restaurant’s igloo pop-up is now famous. Each igloo benefits from a 10-storey view across the city and has been decked out with Nordic touches like faux fur, hanging winter foliage and pine and natural wood decor. Igloos can fit up to 10 people, and the menu is comprised of festive sharing plates with Christmassy fare such as rare roast beef and Yorkshire pudding canapés, pigs in blankets with brussel sprouts and roast potatoes.
How much: Packages start from £200 - £350 and include arrival cocktails, a selection of snacks/bar bites and a bar tab
Best Christmas shopping pop ups
Wild by Tart Christmas Fair
Where: Eccleston Yards, Victoria
When: 8 December from 10am to 10pm, and 9 December from 10am to 7pm
What: Boutique catering company Tart is setting up shop with a curation of unique Christmas gifts from independent brands like Être Cécile, Poplin, Madeline Thompson, Cloe Cassandro and By Sarah London. There’ll be plenty of clothes, jewellery, food and art, as well as wreath-making classes from Wild at Heart.
How much: Optional £2 charity donation which will go to Save The Children
SAMPLE Christmas market
Where: Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula
When: 1 and 2 December, 11am to 7pm
What: This Christmas, Greenwich Peninsula’s seasonal SAMPLE market returns bigger than ever before as an extended two-day pop-up with a programme of festive workshops, Christmas shopping, street food, drinks and performances extending late into the evening. For the first time ever there’s a visual spectacular in the form of a Rainbow Halo, an illuminated starry archway installation by jewellery designer Tatty Devine and plenty of unique traders such as design brand Darkroom, sustainable slow fashion brand IDIOMA and globally sourced homewares by pelican story.
How much: Entry is free
Images: Courtesy of brands and venues