Bold, brash, and bursting with energy, the Leicester Square Christmas Market is full of tipsy festive cheer. It’s all back for 2023 with more of the magic of the season.

By: Paul | Last Updated: 8 Dec 2023 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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No one would describe Leicester Square as sedate.

The square was laid out in 1670. In the 20th century, it became known for casinos, hotels, theatres, and entertainment venues. The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, and The Clash, played early gigs at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Its reputation as the heady heart of the capital lives on.

Over the holidays, the square transforms into a vibrant centre for entertainment. The Leicester Square Christmas Market is a bustling display of festive cheer.

Yes, it’s busy, yes it’s touristy and yes, it’s overwhelming. But it’s also undeniably enchanting. Grab Christmas by the baubles with our guide to the Leicester Square Christmas Market.

Collect it on our self-guided London Christmas Lights walking tour.

LA CLIQUE AT SPEIGLETENT

Speigletent is a travelling tent made of wood and canvas. It’s decorated with glass and mirrors from where the name originates. (Speigletent translates as “mirror tent”).

Throughout the 19th century, Speigletents were known for their wild and decadent ambiance. They were often used as dance halls, bars, and bohemian entertainment salons.

The tradition continues at La Clique, held in Speigeltent, Leicester Square from 8 November 2023 until 6 January 2024.

La Clique is the adults-only addition to your London Christmas event list and the highlight of a Leicester Square Christmas.

The Oliver Award-winning production was a standout at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Performances include a mix of cabaret, burlesque, comedy, and magic. It’s a thoroughly entertaining night out.

Book your La Clique Tickets.

LEICESTER SQUARE CHRISTMAS MARKET

In the heart of central London, the Bavarian wooden huts of Leicester Square Christmas give it a traditional atmosphere.

The market includes several outdoor bars from festival sponsor, Prahava. You’ll also find delicious food, traditional market stalls, and hand-crafted goodies.

Pick up a spiced festive drink from Amarula, or treat yourself to a fat bratwurst, downed with a mulled wine.

Entry is free but it’s one of the busiest Christmas Markets in London. If you’re looking for a raucous night out, you’re in the right place.

For a slightly more sedate experience, arrive earlier in the day when Leicester Square will still be waking up.

WHAT ELSE TO DO IN LEICESTER SQUARE?

When you’ve had as much festive cheer as you can handle, there are plenty of other great things to do in Leicester Square. Here’s just a sample:

PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA

Leicester Square is the London destination for Hollywood premiers. The four main cinemas Odeon, Odeon West End, Vue, and Empire charge ridiculous prices to see a movie.

However, the Prince Charles Cinema, just around the corner, is a much better option. It has a rotating program of cult, arthouse, and classic films screened alongside recent Hollywood releases.

It’s a lovely theatre and much better value.

CHINATOWN

Stroll the hub of Asian restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes in nearby Chinatown. Stone lions and Chinese-style gates decorate the area. Don’t miss the gate on Wardour Street, designed in a traditional Qing dynasty style.

SCENES IN THE SQUARE

Scenes in the Square is a series of 8 sculptures depicting characters from the last 100 years of film.

You’ll find Laurel and Hardy, Mary Poppins, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Gene Kelly, Paddington Bear, Mr Bean, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter and the Iron Throne.

TKTS LEICESTER SQUARE

The famous Tkts Booth in Leicester Square is the best place to buy on-the-day, discounted theater tickets for the West End. The booth is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30 am to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 4.30 pm.

You’ll generally get a great deal but the helpful staff are also very knowledgeable about theatre in London.

LSQ ROOFTOP BAR

The LSQ Rooftop Bar has indoor and outdoor seating with sublime London views. Located on the 9th floor of the Hotel Indigo, it’s the perfect place for your follow-up Christmas Party. After getting in the mood at the Leicester Square Christmas Market, book a table at LSQ Rooftop.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

The National Portrait Gallery has an excellent collection of notable and famous British people. It’s free to enter the main exhibition but there are regular temporary exhibitions that are worth looking at.

It’s one of our favourite galleries in London. Check what’s on at npg.org.uk.

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- Paul & Mark.