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Leadenhall Market, a historic landmark in London, is renowned for its stunning Christmas displays and rich history. The market, dating back to the 14th century, initially served as a meat, poultry, and game market. It is one of London’s oldest markets, notable for its unique blend of Victorian and contemporary architectural styles. The current structure, designed by Sir Horace Jones in the 19th century, is celebrated for its striking wrought iron and glass roof.
The market’s history is intertwined with the city’s evolution. The original market, designed by John Croxton in 1440 and completed in 1449, was an expansive rectangular quadrangle with two stories, featuring a public granary, massive storage rooms, and a small chapel. In the 1400s, Leadenhall became a central hub for buying meat, game, poultry, and fish. By 1488, it was the only place in London where leather was sold, hinting at its name’s possible origin from ‘Leather-hall’, although this is still a matter of debate.
In more recent times, Leadenhall Market has gained fame as a filming location for the Harry Potter* series, where it represented Diagon Alley in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. It was also one of the first places in London where women were allowed to work, marking its significance in social history.
Christmas at Leadenhall Market is a dazzling affair, drawing locals and tourists alike. The market becomes a vision of festive splendor with one of London’s prettiest Christmas trees and light displays. This transformation adds a layer of brilliance to the already picturesque interior, renowned for its historical significance and cinematic fame. The festive season kicks off with the unveiling of the market’s effervescent light display, marked by a special ceremony where the current Lord Mayor switches on the lights. This event includes a performance by a children’s choir and firework fountains near the tree.
The centerpiece of the Christmas celebration is an eight-foot-tall tree adorned with LED lights and baubles, creating a captivating spectacle. The lighting ceremony, complete with a performance from the London Youth Choir, is just the beginning of the festive season at Leadenhall. Visitors can enjoy guided walks to learn about the market’s history with a festive theme, exploring its roots from Roman times to the Victorian era. These walks, blending historical insights with the market’s Christmas spirit, occur on Wednesdays between November 22 and December 13.
Leadenhall Market’s Christmas season offers a unique blend of historical exploration and festive joy, making it a must-visit destination during the holidays in London.