A German-style Christmas market has opened on the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and the London Eye.
The market features around 40 kiosks selling gifts and seasonal food and drink. There is also the opportunity to meet Father Christmas at 'Santa's Secret Village'.
"I'm totally delighted to be part of this opening ceremony," said Angela Spizig, deputy mayor of Cologne, who presided over the opening ceremony last week.
"I've been here before – in the summer – with my husband, but I never dreamed that I would be here opening a Christmas market.
"Cologne is a young and an old city on a big river – the Rhine – like London, except that we only have one million inhabitants. But we're just as [ethnically diverse] as London: our people come from 180 different nations. But they all love the Christmas traditions."
Mrs Spizig spoke about the Christmas market which takes place outside Cologne Cathedral which houses the relics of the three wise men believed to have visited Bethlehem soon after Jesus's birth.
"If you like this Cologne Christmas Market here in London, why don't you come over to Cologne some day to see the original?"
There is a prize draw taking place at the market where visitors can win flight tickets to Cologne.
"We very much hope that its the start of an enjoyable and productive relationship between Lambeth and Cologne," says Cllr Lib Peck, the borough's cabinet member for housing and regeneration.
"We're very lucky in Lambeth to have such a fantastic centre in the South Bank. I always consider it the real heart of London."
She added: "Lambeth has a real rich tradition of markets. Brixton is well-known for its iconic market. And just round the corner in Lower Marsh there has been a very traditional market for a long time. I'm very pleased that some of the traders from there are here.
"I'm pleased that they're using the opportunity to advertise the Lower Marsh market because while this is here for Christmas the Lower Marsh market and others are there all year round and it's very important that they are given our support as well."
Although the market opened on Friday 21 November, the planning application for the installation of the wooden chalets on the riverside walk was not considered by Lambeth's planning applications committee until Wednesday 26 November.
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