Saturday 22 December 2012 1.13pm
I know it's not SE1 but it's close enough to be relatively convenient for most. Just been to the Christmas Arcade at Somerset House - been meaning to go for weeks - it's a collection of pop-up shops selling a range of quirky, interesting gifts, many hand-made, and nearly all things you won't get on Amazon or Oxford Street. It was calm and civilised, all indoors and linked together so you're dry at least for the duration you're in there.
Better known shops include Tatty Devine, Theo and Hope & Greenwood but there are is also Monster Supplies - fun things for children very reasonably priced - and English Eccentrics with some lovely hand-made British crafts.
Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone is grimacing at the thought of heading to the West End - might be worth a visit.