Everyone talks about Christmas in New York but London’s got it going on!
You don’t need to cross to the other side of the pond and besides it’s not as cold here.
I know Winter Wonderland is the mothership but at this point it’s too crowded to be enjoyable and London has so much more to offer so try something different. Here are my favourite ways to get into the festive spirit:
Wintertime market and the Finnish sauna at Southbank
You will find over fifty wooden chalets here selling Christmas presents, indulgent food like mac and cheese and gorgeous Christmas wreaths. Perhaps most excitingly this year brings a new Finnish Sauna. You can book in for an hour long session costing only £15 and there are showers and even a bar so you can tuck into some mulled wine afterwards. For anyone who struggles with the colder temperatures this season, this is a must.
Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House
Occasionally Christmas can feel a bit samey but this is a really unusual experience that is guaranteed to get you into the festive mood. It’s also wonderful for all the family. Some of these lanterns are Christmas themed, others are not like the giant Chinese temple but either way I was awe struck at the magnitude of thousands of handmade lanterns. Some are absolutely huge but surprisingly lifelike when shaped like elephants, jellyfish, turtles, teapots, reindeers etc it really has to be seen to be believed. I suggest arriving soon after gates open and loading up on hot wine before you saunter around the gardens.
Christmas carols at The Ned
This monolith has now firmly established itself on the London scene but frankly it was made for Christmas. The giant trees set amongst the huge green marble columns is a sight to behold. Make a reservation immediately for Gareth Malone’s choir singing all your favourite seasonal tunes on 10th or 17th December. Tables can be booked at Millie’s Lounge and Cecconi’s for £75 per person and The Nickel Bar for a minimum spend of £60 per person.
The giant cheeseboard
A new event and one I absolutely can’t wait for. You can have as much cheese and mulled wine as you want for £35. There will be DJs, a photo booth and a giant fireplace to snuggle with your favourite Christmas elves. What more could you wish for? The fun takes place at Studio 338 in Greenwich. Maybe not where you usually hang out but for this event I think it’s worth making the trip. Book tickets quick because sweet dreams really are made of cheese. Should you dis-a-Brie fear not- there are vegan options too!
Winter House by Bourne and Hollingsworth
This is brand new for this year in a very unusual venue, a chapel! It’s absolutely beautiful inside, with a domed roof and arches. Stop by for a cocktail anytime but plan ahead and make a reservation for lunch or dinner which costs £55 per person. On Saturday 9th and 16th December there will be very special banquets with dancing and other entertainment. The Bourne and Hollingsworth parties have a very well deserved reputation for being great fun so I have no doubts this will be marvellous. Drinks are in the crypt but dinner is in the grand hall, this is a truly remarkable venue, the kind that you don’t often find in the West End so make the most of it.
Winterland in Fulham
I’m so excited about this place, Christmas has definitely come early here. Get ten of your friends together and book a lodge in the enchanted forest. You will be served fondue and winter warmers and when you’ve had enough head out to the curling rink. The loser should buy the next round of drinks! If competitive winter sports aren’t your thing, try ice sculpting, you could make something really beautiful. Just remember that any scratches you make at the back will be seen at the front sine really careful. Winterland is my new winter wonderland!
Stay warm people and don’t be a Scrooge! You can do your Christmas shopping online but get out and about because London is filled with winter wonder!