Where To Feel Festive In London
FOR FUN COCKTAILS:
Miracle at Henrietta Hotel
Experimental Group is bringing its Miracle pop-up bar phenomenon from the US to London for the fifth time. The Christmas-themed pop-up bar, renowned across America for its creative cocktails garnished with a side of kitsch, is being hosted on the Henrietta hotel’s mezzanine from early December until Friday 23rd December, providing the perfect pitstop for a cocktail in Covent Garden. New creations on offer include the ‘Elfing Around’ made with gin, mulled wine, grapefruit and orange bitter; and the ‘Holiday Spiked Chai’ with cognac, rum, coffee liqueur, amaretto, chai and almond milk.
15 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8PS
FOR CHRISTMAS MOVIES:
Gaucho's Film Club
Gaucho is hosting an immersive film and dining experience at its Charlotte Street restaurant every Saturday until the end of the year. With two screenings each week (excluding Christmas Eve), guests can settle down in seats in the main dining room where you’ll be welcomed with a glass of Laurent-Perrier rosé champagne and popcorn to snack on. Then there’s a three-course meal, designed around each film and served while you watch the action on a huge projector. Movies include Home Alone (3rd December), Love Actually (10th December), Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (17th December) and Wolf of Wall Street (31st December). After the film, guests can head to Gaucho Charlotte Street’s upstairs bar to take advantage of a 25% discount on drinks. Tickets start from £65pp.
60A Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2NU
FOR FREE FESTIVE FUN:
The Southbank Centre has an exciting roster of activities on offer, including free events that make up part of its Winter Festival. Highlights include a daytime Christmas rave with Heart n Soul DJs (Sunday 18th December), an outdoor Christmas concert performed by local choirs (Wednesday 21st December), and a Caribbean winter carnival (Friday 16th December). There’s also an open-air light exhibition designed by international artists and set across various buildings, as well as a Christmas market featuring alpine-style chalets and food and drink pop-ups along the Thames – think hot chocolate, waffles and cheese toasties. Just across the road, you can book a winter igloo at Jimmy Garcia’s pop-up to tuck into raclette, fondue and s'mores.
Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XX
FOR DJS & DANCING:
The Little Scarlet Door
The Little Door & Co – known for creating fun, house-party style venues – opened an outpost in Soho a few months ago. Now, the team has gone all out with the Christmas decorations which include fun streamers and a huge Christmas tree in the ‘living room’, and Insta-worthy balloon displays in the ‘lounge’. In coming weeks, guests can expect late-night cocktails, kitchen discos and DJs on the decks until the early hours. The bar has themed its cocktail menu on Christmas films with drinks like ‘The Holiday’, featuring vodka, Cointreau, sloe gin, cranberry and prosecco, topped with a candy cane. Plus, the bar is serving ‘Boxing Day leftover sandwiches’ all festive season, filled with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and rocket, and served with a gravy dip. Don’t miss the baby Guinness chocolate truffles for a sweet treat.
12-13 Greek Street, Soho, W1D 4DL
FOR A SPECIAL LUNCH:
A buzzy old-school delight, Daphne’s has been transformed into a winter wonderland with beautiful Christmas decorations, new winter cocktails and a roaring fire. Thanks to a collaboration with Malfy Gin, visitors can enjoy drinks on the terrace, which has been decked out will sparkly foliage and lights. Choose classic Italian dishes from the à la carte menu alongside special festive cocktails including the ‘Peach Fizz’ made with Malfy Lemon, crème de pêche, Peychaud’s Bitters and tonic; and the ‘Snow Globe’ featuring Malfy Orange, Frangelico, Drambuie and orange bitters.
112 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, SW3 3AE
FOR DAZZLING DECORATIONS:
The Fabulous World of Dior at Harrods
Dior recently opened ‘The Fabulous World of Dior’ at Harrods – a series of immersive experiences, pop-ups and beautiful decorations. Visitors can take in an impressive installation outside the store created by artist Pietro Ruffo, as well as special Dior window displays. Inside, there’s a gingerbread house pop-up featuring some of the brand’s fashion and accessories, plus a special gift shop for Christmas presents. You can also visit two new Dior Beauty spaces and an exhibition featuring scaled-down versions of the brand’s iconic architecture, from Granville to La Colle Noire. Don’t miss Le Café Dior, designed to look like a Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house.
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL; until Tuesday 3rd January
FOR A HEARTY MEAL:
The Bishop at The Berkeley
The Berkeley has opened a pop-up pub on its ground floor. The Bishop’s name is a nod to the mitre hat from the hotel’s original logo, and everything inside pays homage to the hotel’s heritage. Open from Wednesdays to Sundays, the pub itself is divided into two areas, with a traditional bar on one side with beers on tap, old church pews and bar stools, and a dining room on the other. Ideal if you want something to eat after Christmas shopping, there are elevated pub classics like beef burgers, pies, battered fish and chips, and a slow-braised salt marsh lamb shank with mash. Leave room for sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice-cream, or a seriously decadent molten chocolate stout cake. Look out for pub quiz questions on the swanky beer mats, too.
Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RL
FOR A DAY OUT WITH THE KIDS:
WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes has created an outdoor winter light trail. Little ones can see illuminated sculptures of animals found at the centre, including owls, otters, ducks, geese and herons, and hop between giant interactive lily pads across the pond. Families can also take a peek into the real-life otters' den for the chance to spot the furry family tucking up for bed, before visiting the Twilight Tweatery for hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows. Tickets start from £14.50.
Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT; until Sunday 8th January
Sunday in Brooklyn
One of New York’s hottest restaurants – Sunday In Brooklyn – opened its first international location on Westbourne Grove last year. Known for its inventive spin on American staples, playful cocktails and popular brunch menu, the restaurant has now turned its ground floor into a white grotto with Christmas trees, wreaths and cosy blankets. All-day dining is available, but we recommend booking in for brunch to try dishes like scrambled egg sandwiches with cheese and potato crisps; shakshuka with grilled focaccia, crispy chicken sandwiches; and pancakes topped with hazelnut maple praline and brown butter.
98 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W2 5RU
FOR PRE-THEATRE DRINKS:
NoMad London Holiday Pop-Up
NoMad London hotel has opened a six-week festive pop-up at its new cocktail bar Common Decency. Ideal for pre-theatre drinks before a West End show, venture down to the lower-ground floor to find the bar transformed with Christmas decorations, festive music and a new cocktail menu – plus, there’ll be plenty of special surprises in the coming weeks. New drinks are split into the ‘Naughty’ list featuring classic cocktails and the ‘Nice’ list with lower ABV options. We like the sound of the ‘Not The Buttons’ made with bourbon, sherry, ginger, lemon and brown butter, and served with a gingerbread man. You can also order ‘Cocktail Explosions’ made for the table, or book one of the bar’s three snugs which seat up to 12.
28 Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7AW; until Friday 30th December
FOR WINTER IGLOOS:
Vinegar Yard in London Bridge has opened its winter igloos in collaboration with Grey Goose. Set on the venue’s mezzanine looking up to the Shard, four six-seater heated igloos have been done up après ski-style, with blankets and sparkling lights. Diners can order dishes from Vinegar Yard’s street food traders, including burgers and fries from Nanny Bill's, Indian-inspired plates from Baba G's, and Neapolitan pizzas from Bad Boy Pizza Society. Grey Goose has created a cocktail menu with options including espresso martinis and the ‘Gingergoose Martini’ made with Grey Goose vodka, ginger syrup and lime juice. After you’ve enjoyed the igloo, you’re guaranteed a table downstairs under the heated canopy to continue the evening.
72-82 St Thomas Street, London Bridge, SE1 3QX
FOR A ROMANTIC EVENING:
Mercer Winter Terrace
Vintry & Mercer Hotel has opened a cosy winter terrace on its rooftop. With views of St Paul’s Cathedral, guests can dine in igloos and cabins, decked out with sheepskin rugs and twinkly lights. Each one seats up to six, but the space is ideal for a special romantic evening for two. Diners can choose warming seasonal dishes from the lunch and dinner menu, like cauliflower and truffle cheese soup, crab and cod fishcakes with creamed leeks and tartar sauce, and apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard. Make a toast with a glass of champagne or house cocktail.
19-20 Garlick Hill, City, EC4V 2AU
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