Festive things to do in London
by Dinah Hatch (October 2015)
Yes, yes, we know it’s only November but if you want to enjoy England’s capital city at Christmas then it is wise to book ahead! Somehow London excels itself come December, with hundreds of events and activities to enjoy, from chatting with Santa to boozing in a real ski lodge. Here’s a few of our favourite things to do to get us in the mood for the Man in Red’s big visit….
Showing below are all 5 records in "Festive things to do in London"
Basil Street, Knightsbridge, London
Go to Harrods and meet Santa No city does Christmas quite like London and no shop does Santa visits quite like Harrods. Kick off the festive season by booking the family onto this iconic experience which includes a journey through Father Christmas’ toy workshop before meeting him in his winter cabin. Harrods goes all out to make the moment simply magical for little ones who will then receive a gift. Afterwards, tuck into afternoon tea in the store’s Georgian restaurant where adults are treated to a spot of yuletide champers. Stay: The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge really is a stone’s throw from the city’s most famous department store and provides a luxurious haven from the urban hubbub. Think roaring log fire, thicken woven rugs everywhere and giant armchairs in which to flop and be waited on. Sip cocktails expertly shaken at the bar before you even think of retiring to your room…
372 Strand, London
See a show Oh come on, who doesn’t like to hiss and boo at the baddies at a good old British panto or swoon with delight at a traditional festive fairy tale? Whether it’s a West End rendition of a Dickens classic or a double-entendre filled panto, this is an activity that’s bound to get everyone in the mood for the holiday season and London has got some crackers lined up this year. From Elf The Musical at Covent Garden to The Nutcracker On Ice at the Old Vic, there are masses of shows to tickle your fancy. How about new musical Wonderland, based on Lewis Carroll’s work, at the Olivier Theatre or Jack and the Beanstalk at the Hackney Empire. Stay: The Strand Palace is a quick stroll over Waterloo Bridge to the Old Vic and is a London institution. Once the owner of the fanciest hotel entrance in London, its grand revolving doors were so ornate that they are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. These days it’s more about the location than the lobby and you could not be more central than this, with the theatres and bars of Covent Garden just along the street.
10 Park Road, Hampton Wick, Kingston upon Thames
Take to the ice… Ice skating rinks pop up all over the capital come December but there can’t be many in more beautiful a setting than Hampton Court Palace. The rink offers amazing views of the redbrick Tudor frontage of King Henry’s VIIIth dazzling palace on the banks of the River Thames so stick on your ear muffs and cosy jumper and take a spin. Winter drinks and festive snacks await you at the Ice Bar and Café after your invigorating skate – a perfect Christmas evening…. Stay at: The Chase Lodge Hotel sits in the 500-year-old village of Hampton Wick, a very short drive from Hampton Court Palace. Just 12 carefully designed rooms with gorgeous period furniture and fabrics make this is an intimate little stayover – and you are minutes from the bars and restaurants of Kingston and the acres of grounds of Bushy Park to boot.
190 Queen's Gate, London
Carols by candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall Surround yourself with the splendour of the Royal Albert Hall illuminated beautifully by candelight and decorated in full festive regalia as some of the world’s best musicians, dressed in full 18th century costumes, belt out Handel’s Zadok The Priest from the Messiah, Mozart’s Alleluia from Exultate Jubilate and Vivaldi’s Gloria as well as all the classic carols. There will also be readings from Dickens and The Scriptures by actor Christopher Timothy Stay at: The Gore Hotel, slap bang round the corner from the Royal Albert Hall, is a classic British hotel from which you will find it very hard to extricate yourself. After your right royal sing song, ensconce yourself in Bar 190 (like the Rolling Stones used to) – possibly the most discreet and romantic drinking hole in London. Rooms are small but fabulous and the drawing room at the back screams old money and class. An institution since 1892.
53 Park Lane, London
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Opening at the start of November and running until January 3, we defy anyone not to get the Christmas spirit after ten minutes at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Feast on sizzling German sausages, pick and choose your fave ales in the giant beer hall, take in Zippos Circus in the Megadome or explore the magical Ice Kingdom, with real ice sculptures and snow drifts. Don’t forget to pick up some wooden decs for your tree too. Stay: The Dorchester. Go on, spoil yourself. This Art Deco grand dame of the London hotel scene needs no introduction and has been the home to just about every visiting celeb you care to mention. With glorious views of the park, rooms exquisitely decorated and The Promenade one of the smartest places to take afternoon tea in the world, what’s not to salivate over? Feeling flush? Book one of the suites on the roof, soaked in superstar glamour and fit to house a princess (which they undoubtedly have).
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