Once again the independent shops and artisan makers of East London’s Columbia Road will open their doors for the Christmas Wednesday Shopping Evenings on the four Wednesday evenings preceding Christmas Day: 29th November, 6th, 13th and 20th December.

Shops will be open from 5pm to 9pm.

On Christmas Wednesday evenings the street is a treasure trove of independent shops offering a diverse and eclectic range of carefully sourced products not found elsewhere.

An almost Dickensian atmosphere with festive lighting makes for a unique setting in which to shop for beautiful individual gifts, and to celebrate the advent of the festive season.

With over 60 shops participating you’ll find all you need to tick off your Christmas list without the stress of the high street: Choose from artisan jewelers and booksellers to gift shops and galleries, antiques and homewares, children’s shops, perfumery and fashion boutiques.

Products are often sourced or made by shopkeepers themselves. There is a clear connection between the makers and the merchant. Each shop or restaurant has a story behind the business, and each business reflects the character and personality of the owner.

After crossing off that final niggling item on your Christmas list, reward yourself with a much-deserved drink or a bite to eat from the many critically acclaimed restaurants and pubs in the street.

The wonderfully exuberant carol singers from St Peters, Bethnal Green will also be there in full voice. Local vicar Adam Atkinson and his congregation wheel a piano down the street, carol sheets are hand out, and many shopper stop and join in. The sound of Christmas carols echo down this Victorian thoroughfare.

And if you can’t face the usual Sunday morning crowds, you can also pick up your Christmas tree and festive greenery. Columbia Road at Christmas is heavy with the scent of pine needles.