How To Plan A Festive Day Out In London

How To Plan A Festive Day Out In London

Whether it’s a fun day out with the girls or quality time with your family, London has something to suit everyone this festive season. Here are some of our favourite ideas for a day out in the capital this month.

FOR A GIRLS’ DAY OUT

Bombay Bustle
Steven Joyce

Shopping

Selfridges at Christmas is a no brainer, and there are few cool new things taking place there this year. In addition to the annual Christmas Market on the Mews, champagne house Veuve Clicquot has opened Le Tram, a retro pop-up bar where guests can play their favourite songs through speakers while enjoying festive drinks. TBalance Crystals also has a fun pop-up in the jewellery department where you can purchase personalised crystal bracelets – an ideal gift for friends (or yourself).

Over in Kensal Rise, interior designer Matilda Goad is opening the doors of her studio until Saturday 18th December; shoppers can take advantage of a click-and-collect service or have a piece of her stylish homeware gift wrapped. Alternatively, if you’d like to donate to a worthy cause, make a beeline for the Choose Love pop-up on Carnaby Street, where you can donate gifts and services to refugees around the world.

Dinner

Head to The Parlour at The Ned to enjoy festive dishes, cocktails and live jazz. Or book a table at Mayfair Indian restaurant Bombay Bustle which has transformed its dining room into a ‘winter carriage’, complete with pink Christmas decorations by designer Molly Mahon and a new menu (£90pp) featuring cafreal chicken or cauliflower shawarma; venison rogan josh with dal, naan and raita; and rum punch pudding with mixed berries, white chocolate and sour cherry ice-cream. Foodies will also love The Great Feast food festival at The Old Selfridges Hotel, taking place on Thursdays to Sundays every week until Saturday 18th December. There are four experiences to choose from, all of which give you the chance to try a range of food from top chefs and London restaurants – we suggest buying ‘Magic Garden’ tickets (£30pp).

Going Out 

Christmas-themed pop-up bar Miracle has returned to the Henrietta hotel in Covent Garden, where guests can enjoy drinks and snacks, surrounded by impressive decorations and Christmas songs. Located on the mezzanine, there are fun cocktails on offer, like the ‘Jingle Balls Nog’ made with cognac, cream sherry and vanilla, and the ‘Christmas Carol Barrel’ made with tequila, coffee liqueur, dry curacao and spiced chocolate. 

If you’re not quite ready to finish the night, book a table at Ronnie Scott’s. The iconic jazz club has a different show each night until Christmas, whether you want to enjoy music with cocktails or venture to the top floor to dance the night away. Every Friday night, Upstairs @ Ronnie Scott’s hosts its Cuban-themed night, Viva Cuba. If you want to try something new, the Middle Eight hotel in Covent Garden has just opened The Green Room, a basement speakeasy where guests can listen to live jazz music, followed by DJs until 2am.

FOR A MOTHER-DAUGHTER DAY

Breakfast

Start with breakfast at Lilly’s Café inside new five-storey townhouse venue 3 Henrietta Street. On the ground floor, Lilly’s is headed up by ex-Claridge’s pastry chef Kimberly Lin who has created a clever take on traditional cakes and pastries, as well as an all-day menu and a range of juices, teas and zodiac-inspired lattes. You can’t go wrong with the baked eggs on toast.

Activities

The V&A has just opened an exhibition about the life and work of Russian craftsman Carl Fabergé – the man who brought luxury goods to Russia in the early 1900s. At Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution expect to see a range of Fabergé’s iconic eggs, adorned with diamonds and jewels, plus luxury jewellery and accessories from the Queen’s own collection. If you want to get creative yourself, Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is hosting a series of wreath-making classes where you’ll learn how to create a wreath using winter foliage adorned with festive berries and seed heads.

Lunch

J. Sheekey in Covent Garden has launched a festive menu in collaboration with Nyetimber. To celebrate the restaurant’s 125th anniversary, the terrace has been decorated with an elaborate gold fisherman’s net, complete with sea creatures like lobsters, crabs and oysters that also feature on the menu. ‘The Greatest Story Ever Gold’ menu includes shellfish platters; a selection of caviar; roast dinners with seasonal sides; and a rhubarb, Nyetimber and panettone trifle served in Victorian glassware. If you’d prefer afternoon tea, Peggy Porschen has created a Christmas menu at The Lanesborough hotel, while Lily Vanilli is serving her classic patisserie treats with a festive twist at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. You could combine a West End show with afternoon tea at The Langham hotel which is offering a special menu alongside tickets to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of Cinderella. 

Dinner And A Show

At this time of year, it doesn’t get much better than The Nutcracker at Royal Opera House. Combined with Tchaikovsky’s iconic score and designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, the magical production opens this month with a reworked version of the festive favourite, focusing on the journey of Clara and her Nutcracker to the Land of Sweets. Alternatively, Brown’s hotel is putting on its own performance of The Nutcracker on Sunday 5th and Sunday 19th December when guests can watch the story unfold while enjoying a three-course dinner (£98pp). Actors, magicians and ballet dancers will narrate the story of Clara and the Nutcracker, while waiters dressed in Christmas outfits will serve glazed beetroot and goat’s curd, chicken with onion on chestnuts, and gingerbread crème brûlée. 

FOR A ROMANTIC DAY

Activities

During December, Grosvenor Square will be illuminated with 25,000 white glowing roses. The Ever Garden is open daily from 12pm to 8pm, but we suggest getting there around 4pm to see them at their best. Connaught Village has created a beautiful light display inspired by Love Actually – from tomorrow, its ‘Tree of Love’ will display neon signs with quotes from the Christmas film. 

Dinner

Al fresco bar Double Standard and restaurant Isla at The Standard hotel have been transformed into a festive yurt, complete with firepit and toast-at-the-table s’mores. Ideal if you want a light supper or casual dinner, there are festive dishes and snowball slushies – a take on Double’s famous iced cocktails. Don’t miss the impressive Christmas tree in the lobby. 

If you’d rather enjoy a candlelit dinner, Stoney Street by 26 Grains in Borough Market has created three festive menus. Couples should ask for the Christmas set menu (£39pp) which includes burrata with quince and maple walnuts; slow-roasted duck leg with cavolo nero, lentils, Jerusalem artichoke crisps and salsa verde; a selection of Neal’s Yard cheeses; dark chocolate and ginger ganache with spiced cream and a biscuit crumb; and tea and mince pies. 

Festive Cinemas

Watch a classic Christmas film at Backyard Cinema in Wandsworth. The studio has been transformed into a winter night garden with Christmas lights and festive canopies. Guests can order popcorn and a bottle of red, before hunkering down for the evening to watch The Holiday, Elf, Love Actually, Home Alone or The Grinch, to name a few. If you’re in east London, go to Backyard Cinema at Troxy where you’ll also find mulled wine and festive popcorn.

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