1. Francis Road
First up, it’s the Christmas Lights switch-on from 530pm, Friday November 25th. It feels like this hasn’t happened for a couple of years – the last one we remember was 2019, packed to the rafters as you can see from our main image. 2022’s must-eat is undoubtedly Morny’s smorgasbord of one-night-only treats, including raclette, brisket doughnuts, vegan hotdog croissants, mince pies and more. Wash it down with drinks from Phlox (seen their cocktail menu?), Marmelo or Yardarm, of course. And on Sunday 27th is the also-excellent Francis Road festive street party (11am-3pm) with live music, Santa’s Grotto and stalls. Weather forecast is grim, so wrap up, and sup on, yep. more mulled wine.
2. Fellowship Square Christmas Lights
Meanwhile, a mile or so north in Walthamstow on Saturday afternoon (26th) is the big Waltham Forest Christmas lights switch on in Fellowship Square. There’ll be 18 Christmas-inspired market stalls so you can gorge on local food and drink while lapping up a full programme of live choral performances by schoolkids and choirs by the rather mesmerizing fountain. It runs 3pm-8pm, lights on at 4pm.
3. Leyton & Stone Designers’ Market
Back in central Leytonstone, you can enjoy the magical light installations throughout December (starting today, 24th, with the official lights switch-on at 4pm), including roaming deer projections, shop illuminations and a festive colour wash over St John’s Church. Then, on Saturday 26th, it’s the annual Christmas makers’ market right there at St. John’s Churchyard (11am to 3.30pm) with a selection of local artists, designers and makers, plus live music with the Francis Road Buskers (ft. Rocking Santa). There’ll be local honey, soaps and candles from Bushwood Bees, as well as ceramics, living advent calendars, clothing, preserves, art, skincare and jewellery. Follow @lnsdesigners, more here
4. Winter Songs Folk Concert
Leytonstone Folk is a club initially formed by four local people who meet in St John’s Church Hall on the first Thursday every month and sing songs to each other. Sounds nice, huh? The forthcoming Winter Songs will be the third concert they perform at St John’s. All proceeds are invested in the club, and they have halved ticket prices for December’s Winter Songs to enable more people to attend and enjoy the concert. December 9th, tickets from £6, more here or follow @leytonstonefolk
5. Swedish Choir Norrsång
On the subject of atmospheric music, over in Walthamstow on the same night as Winter Folk is the tenth anniversary of Norrsång, a candlelit and rather traditional Swedish export. This nod to a centuries-old choral ceremony is set to take place across three events at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Walthamstow (Dec 9th and 10th). Tickets now on sale for three performances here.
6. Go East Vintage
7. And finally, Emerge East at Barking Riverside
Taking place next weekend, on Saturday Dec 3rd, Emerge East is a one-day winter festival in the brand-new riverside area just beyond East London’s latest Overground station, Barking Riverside (it’s only a 15 mins or so from Leytonstone High Road). Expect streetfood, live music, cocktail bar, a riverside Finnish-style sauna, live home cooks, floating musical bingo and more. It’s free to attend, so why not read more in our partner feature here.