Many would say London is one of the best cities in the world come Christmas, and who are we to argue? As the big day fast approaches, these are some of the CF team’s favourite places to celebrate the season.
Whether you’re a fan of sparkling lights and seasonal theatre, or want to take your skates for a spin on the ice followed by a mulled wine, Christmas in London is set to be special this year. Here, the Citizen Femme team reveal their seasonal plans, each and every one with a festive spin.
Sheena Bhattessa, Founder
Christmas lights and theatre
I love venturing to see all the Christmas lights switch-on, from Marylebone Village to Chelsea’s Christmas lights. They are very family friendly and definitely get you in the festive spirit. Plus, so many of London’s hotels display beautiful trees with such interesting collaborations; this year the Claridge’s tree is designed by Louis Vuitton, the Shangri-La tree by Jo Malone, and of course there’s the Annabel’s hot air balloon façade. Christmas in London will be filled with warm coats, hats and gloves – and plenty of walking around. Also, as someone who loves the theatre, I have everything booked – from the Christmas ballet for families, Snowman at Sadler’s Wells to Santa Rocks, A Magical Family Santamime.
Katie Silcox, Managing Editor
Miracle Bar at Henrietta Hotel
Covent Garden is one of the most festive spots in London, but it’s hiding an even more cheery secret: Miracle Bar at Henrietta Hotel. Enter via the hotel’s main door and head up the stairs for a Christmapolitan or Carol Barrel cocktail, surrounded by all things kitsch and beautiful: think fake snow, shimmering disco balls, shiny tinsel and larger-than-life candy canes. Yes, it’s chintzy – this is far more of a Deck The Halls than a Silent Night Christmas experience – but it’s also oh so much fun. While the space is almost fully booked online already, they do accept walk-ins – and it’s worth the effort of trying.
Gemma Louise Deeks, Fashion Editor
A festive weekend in Covent Garden
As a former ballet dancer, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the Royal Opera House to watch The Nutcracker. It’s such a sparkling festive treat that has cast a magical spell over me, year after year. I’ll be making a weekend out of it by staying at One Aldwych Hotel – also located in Covent Garden and just a few minutes walk away – as it becomes a magical winter wonderland, with a wild and natural installation reaching the lobby ceiling. Graceful branches covered in lichen and decorated as if foraged from the forest floor are dreamt up by the hotel’s incredible resident florist, Mark Siredzuk. I’ll be admiring the installation from the Lobby Bar whilst sipping festive Sapling Spirits, before indulging in the vegan tasting menu at Indigo restaurant.
Becki Murray, Beauty Editor
A quiet walk to see the lights
Despite living in London for eight years, this is the first time I will be spending the whole Christmas period in the capital. On the day itself, I’ll be taking my parents and the family golden retriever for a long walk along the river, before enjoying a piping-hot mulled wine (brought from home) overlooking Tower Bridge. I’m really excited to see London when it’s at its most quiet and, as the sun goes down, I’ll be detouring through central to take in all the Christmas lights and displays one last time. London really does them better than anywhere else.
Morag Turner, Citizen Enfants Editor
Maggie’s Centre Carol Service at St. Pauls Cathedral
I love a traditional carol service and, as well as all our school performances, every Christmas my husband and I attend one in aid of charity. This year we are supporting Maggie’s Centre, a wonderful cancer charity, who are hosting a concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral, which I always think is the most beautiful church in London, especially at Christmas time. Afterwards we are off to Cecconi’s at the Ned, which is just around the corner from the cathedral, for supper and a glass of festive fizz. The perfect pre-Christmas night out.
Alexandra Carello, PR Director
Afternoon Tea at The Lanesborough
I am a complete Christmas nut, and I don’t think any city does it better than London. But, while I love the traditionally Christmassy offerings here, this year I’m excited to see what the capital has to offer in the way of Christmas traditions from other cultures. The Milan-born chef Mitshel Ibrahim has designed the festive tasting menu at Ombra; I’m particularly excited to try his experimental take on an Italian Christmas classic – venison, dark chocolate, Jerusalem artichoke and bitter leaves.
Bibiana Obahor, Head of Graphic Design
Skate at Somerset House
Nothing says Christmas in London quite like a whirl around the ice. As London decorates with twinkling lights and celebrates with festive cheers, I’m looking forward to joining in the seasonal fun at Somerset House. Set against a backdrop of grandeur and festive lights, it’s the city’s coolest winter meet-up, quite literally! Whether you’re there to show off your skating skills or just to grab onto the sides for dear life (like me), Somerset House delivers a super fun ice experience. Don’t forget to grab a glass of bubbly or mulled wine when it’s over.
Ella Mansell, Editorial Assistant
Columbia Road Flower Market
I love seeing the seasonal flowers for sale at Columbia Road Flower Market change throughout the year, from my favourite peonies in late spring to vibrant autumnal dahlias. Christmas is no exception. I’m already looking forward to buying my Christmas tree from one of the local growers – there’s nothing better than the twinkle of fairy lights and familiar pine scents wafting through my flat. While there, I always make time to browse the independent stores which line the flower market where artisan, handmade gifts will give you all the shopping inspiration you need. You’ll also never see me without a well-spiced mulled wine from Printers & Stationers on Ezra Street or the local pub.
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