Nordic Christmas Markets in London

Each November the Norwegian and Finnish churches in Rotherhithe, South East London hold a Christmas Market - I didn't know these churches were even there until I read about the event in Time Out. I guess not being Nordic is part of the reason for not knowing, but I was surprised to find not one, but two Nordic churches in the same London street. So with a free afternoon, and looking forward to discover some Moomin goodies I went along to visit.

With a bus and tube ride to Canada Water I set off in what I thought was the right direction. Unfortunately I missed the turning I needed so had a detour around some of the residential streets around Canada Water tube.  A very nice walk, but it wasn't the Christmas Markets I'd come for...

image.jpg

With the help (and later hindrance) of google maps I was back on track before it decided to take me on a three-sided-loop-of-the-building-I-wanted detour, but I made it and reached St Olav's Square and the Norwegian church. There's been a Norwegian church in London since the 17th century and this church was consecrated in 1927. And in case you're wondering St Olav's Square was named in 1990.

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

Moving inside the church I was hit with Christmas, which was odd as it was early for me but I soon got caught up with it all as I wandered around the church admiring the views and goods available on each stall. 

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

I was very tempted by the felted Father Christmases above, along with the angels I shared for Sunday's black and white photo. These spatulas also caught my eye and raised a smile. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

And then I had angel confusion.  I couldn't decide between these knitted singing angels or the blushing smiling angels, and sadly I came away with neither. I should have applied my usual approach and bought both, next year maybe...

image.jpg

There was, as you'd expect a lot of red around. It was a Christmas market after all and a Norwegian one at that and this extended to the outdoor part of the market set up as stalls and in a large marquee in Albion Road.  But it wasn't all Christmas decorations...

image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

There were plenty of food stalls, and yes... well, it would have been rude not to! It was huge though and I struggled (but just about managed) to finish this before moving onto the Finnish church. 

image.jpg
 I'm sure their beards were growing as I watched them...

I'm sure their beards were growing as I watched them...

The Finnish church is much different to the Norwegian one down the road and this church building was opened in 1958. It's distinctive architecture has earnt it Grade II listed building status - it even has its own sauna - and on their website they sum up their Christmas market as

"9200 customers, 3000 sausages, 1500 cinnamon buns, 1300 carelian pies, 30 reindeer hides, 460 jars of plum jam, 50 hours of Christmas songs and much more..."

And the church definitely had a friendly and welcoming feel, and was a hive of activity. 

image.jpg
image.jpg

And there were plenty of Moomin products, in fact everything you could ever want Moomin!

image.jpg
image.jpg

And these gorgeous rugs.

image.jpg
image.jpg

Back outside and I spotted these giant snowflakes and the reindeer hide covered chair and I was oh so tempted to try it out!

image.jpg

I had a great afternoon wandering around the two markets and their churches discovering more about London which had remained undiscovered to me until now. And maybe just maybe, I was starting to feel little of that Christmas magic...  

What and when does the Christmas magic start for you?