winter festival @ southbank

07 December 2014

I don't know about you, but I am currently well into the festive spirit! My sister's recent visit to London was the perfect excuse to kick off the season in style - meaning feasting on good food (a given), and doing the classic rounds of the Christmassy department stores and decorations. 

Although it is easy (and understandable) to be at least slightly bah-humbug at Christmas time in London, what with the crazy crowds and the pushing and shoving and drunken people wearing santa hats, I refuse to let it get to me. Everything is sparkly! Everyone is singing White Christmas! Everywhere is covered in tinsel and fake snow and smells of hot chocolate! You might as well ride the wave, y'know?

In all seriousness though, I do absolutely love this time of year. Bundling up in layers and scarves, slapping on a festive red lip and clutching hot cups of mulled wine = completely in my element. And of course, it's winter time, meaning you need to eat more to insulate yourself from the cold. It's scientific fact, there's no disputing it.

My sister and lovely friend J and I headed to the Winter Festival at the Southbank to make sure we got on with the whole insulating thing. It was a weekday afternoon so it wasn't too manic, and they have some seriously good food stalls there.

It's also just a great place to soak in the sights if you're visiting London.

Do you remember those amazing duck confit burgers we had at the Feast festival in August? Well, we spotted their stall at the festival, and after some perusing around, my sister settled on one with raclette cheese. We also got some fries and truffle mayo - holy yum.

There was a Swedish food stall (I can't remember the name and can't find it online, but it's the one next to the indoor seating area) where J got meatballs from, and I got a Swedish burger because her meatballs looked so good. They were both delicious - my burger was very fresh and a twist on the usual. It wasn't particularly cheap at £8.50, but for the quality of meat (I believe it was from The Laughing Stock) I couldn't complain. The indoor seating area was very handy as it was pretty cold that day, and they have heaters and comfy seats which I imagine get very busy on the weekends and evenings!

We weren't done yet though - there was definitely room for dessert. My sister grabbed a hot chocolate with almond milk (I love that so many places offer it as an option now!), and the three of us shared piping hot churros with chocolate dip. This is not one to be missed if you visit the Southbank!

The whole market area is decorated with fairly lights and walls of pine trees, even the scroogiest of us would smile a little wandering around here. 

Afterwards, we hopped over to Selfridges for a spot of shopping and admiring the Christmas displays. I rarely go into department stores "just for a browse", but what is it about this season that makes all these places have this special something that lures you in? Am I just a marketer's dream? Don't answer that.

You can't deny it though - London is one heck of a gem, tube problems and bad weather and all. The city centre during the holidays is something that I pictured as being the ultimate Christmassy scene when I was younger, especially when I lived in Japan. So many of the picture books I read would feature these images of European cities that have now come to life. It's a strange and wonderful thing.

All this festiveness is making me mushy! Or is that the mulled wine? 

I'd better pace myself, there's a whole month of merry-making ahead of us. 

What are your favourite places to go this time of year, whether in London or abroad? 


  1. This time of ŷear is certainly one of my most favourites. Your beautiful pictures capture it so well and as for all the food pics yummy! I love the duck confit burgers but have only ever had them once. xx

  2. Oh I went to this market a couple of weeks ago! The view over the London eye from the tree maze was gorgeous <3 I love Christmas markets :) xx

  3. Last night I saw Nick Cave 20000 Days on Earth and by he way he talks about Brighton I think I would like to go there now beside Island which is my permanent wish. Still, for this New Year I will spend a long weekend in Graz and I don't mind it at all. The atmospehere cathced well (-:

  4. I had a wonder around Southbank Christmas market on a friday evening- it was packed, but I loved it!. The atmosphere was amazing, and it made me feel so festive! Also those churros look delicious x

  5. stunning photos! now I am insanely craving churros though...:) x

  6. I haven't been down to the Southbank recently- I'll have to make a point to soon! X

  7. I'm in a quite festive mood as well c: Awesome market you've
    been! The food looks yum! Xx

  8. love all the sparkling goodness over there! i am definitely in festive spirits! :)

  9. I love London at Christmas (I just posted about it too!). I feel like I need to visit this market just to check out that AMAZING looking hot chocolate stall! x

  10. the southbank is one of my favourite places ever. I love Udderbelly in the summer and I love the Winter Festival. Its gorgeous!

  11. I do find some Christmas markets incredibly tacky but this one looks really cute and cosy. The food sounds incredible too!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  12. I really love your food shots! And that last short of out of focus photo! I'm working on my food photography but getting good shots outside is tricky!

  13. Wow, what a gorgeous festival! So many gorgeous photos. :)

    <3 Kelsea | Kels Shark

  14. My favorite place to go this time of year is Europe haha. It's a hundred million times more festive with all the Christmas markets and everything ahh. I'm here roasting in Southern California and I miss the snow and the cold and bundling's not very Christmassy when you're still wearing summer clothes! Your pictures are gorgeous as per usual...I am obsessed with the Christmas tree ones, it looks like walking through a perfect Christmas forest. Unreal. And if you want to mail me some of those churros I wouldn't complain lol. Also that last picture is BEAUTIFUL, I love the lights on the right side.

  15. Holy the foodporn overload. I would love to have that burger, right. now. :)

    x Jessy

    Everything is Makeable

  16. Ahhh! Stunning! I'm so jealous of those in europe and in places with cooler more wintery weather! I love the look of those painted light/lanterns! I would totally use it as a cover for a candle on a coffee table! And those churros look amazing!


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