Just like excitable Edgar the Dragon from the John Lewis advert, we can’t fight this feeling anymore. We’re well and truly giving in to all the Christmas feels, whether December is here or not. If you’re keen to indulge in all things Yuletide or are a bit of a humbug in need of sparking some Christmas joy, here are the top 15 places to visit that will leave you as happy as Buddy the Elf on Christmas Eve.
Forget that it’s rained in London for about two months straight and head to the Montague’s adorable ski lodge. The alpine-themed bar will have you feeling like you’re in Banff rather than Bloomsbury with fake snow, a flickering fire, warming winter cocktails, gooey melted cheese dishes and even skis propped up against the charming wooden lodge.
Talk about photo opportunities, never one to be outdone by, luxury London members’ club Annabel’s have only gone and done it again with the most impressive exterior decorating skills we’ve ever seen. Even if you don’t have a membership it’s worth walking past for a nose and an Insta snap at the very least.
Granted, getting decent tickets for a good price is harder than Boris signing a Brexit deal, but if you do get the chance, there are few theatre experiences quite like this.
The iconic ballet tells the tale of Clara who, on Christmas Eve, receives an enchanted Nutcracker as a present. Adventure ensues as they take a trip that sees everything from a meeting with the Mouse King to a hot air balloon ride over London, ending in the glistening Land of Snow. From the tutus to Tchaikovsky’s score, old and young will be enchanted.
Too late to book a European Christmas market getaway? Head south of the river instead to the Southbank Centre, where you’ll find a Yuletide market to spark festive joy. Expect warming mulled wine, twinkling lights and sweet little wooden huts selling festive fair.
Also on the Southbank is Jimmy’s Lodge, or should we say Jimmy’s expanding festive lair. There’s a wooden lodge serving up warm Martin Miller’s Gin cocktail and unashamedly indulgent fondue, an outdoor bar (heated of course) and the show stopping igloos that sit on the side of the Thames. Book in a party of eight for a Christmas treat you’ll remember for years to come. Alpine sweaters and bobble hats, optional.
Covent Garden hotel, the Henrietta have launched a Miracle Bar pop-up and if this doesn’t get you in the festive spirit nothing will. The concept comes from the U.S. where Miracle bars are hugely popular at this time of year, and celebrate all things kitsch and Christmas. Think tinsel, tacky decorations, quirky cocktails and Christmas tunes galore. The Instagram opportunities are endless.
Read more about Miracle bar here.
If there’s one hotel in London that oozes Christmas sophistication it’s Claridge’s – there’s just something magical about the place. Each year, the five-star institution enlists a top fashion designer to reimagine their famous Christmas tree.
Previous years have included John Galliano, Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabbana and this year, Christian Louboutin. Fans of shoes and all things festive should get themselves down there from Thursday 21st November to check out arguably the most stylish Christmas tree you’ll ever see.
Read more about the Claridge’s Louboutin 2019 Christmas tree here.
Whether it’s Christmas or Chelsea Flower Week, the Ivy’s façade in SW3 always goes to town to satisfy all our selfie needs. This festive season, they’ve gone big with a Narnia-inspired wonderland. Think icicles dripping from the canopy, twinkling white lights, tumbling ferns, giant snowball-like baubles and, the best bit, an entrance that’s been transformed to look like the wardrobe door.
There’s no better time to indulge in a Champagne breakfast than at Christmas. Take the work out of hosting and book into Searcy’s at the Gherkin instead. Now that the iconic London landmark is open to the public, guests can head up to the top of the floor to ceiling glass building to see 360º views of the city, champagne in hand.
Laurent Perrier have teamed up with Searcys to put the breakfast on and will be serving up classic dishes from eggs benny to homemade waffles, all accompanied by a chilled glass of bubbles, of course.
Where: 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Saint Mary Axe, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0.2 miles)
Whether your festive jam is All I Want For Christmas or Fairytale of New York, belting out some Christmas classics gets everyone in the mood – especially after a few cocktails. Head down to Piano Works where their house performers will be making their way through all our favourites, at the audience request no less.
If the gift of endless Christmas tunes wasn’t enough, the Piano Works team will also be giving back with their #Giftmas campaign, giving guests the chance to win prizes from gig tickets to the O2 and Wembley to a visit to the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery. Proceeds will be helping a number of London-based charities, too.
Festive tunes will be playing at both Piano Works Farringdon and Piano Works West End.
Where: 113-117 Farringdon Road, corner of Ray St Farringdon, London, EC1R 3BX
Nearest station: Farringdon (London) (0.2 miles)
Backdrops don’t get much better than Tower Bridge, so head to the terrace at Le Pont de la Tour to snuggle under faux fur and enjoy their bespoke Truffle Hut. Returning for the second year, the Truffle Hut has had a makeover with walls cladded with bark and tree trunks, and a roof covered entirely with moss. Big enough only for two and covered in hanging lights, faux furs and cushions, it’s one of the most romantic Christmas dates you’ll find in the capital. Make sure your other half is a fan of truffles because, quite obviously, the entire menu is dedicated to them.
Where: 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, London, SE1 2YE, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.5 miles)
What some places make up for in Instagrammability, they lack in substance but not the Dalloway Terrace. The impossibly pretty terrace reinvents itself throughout the year to suit the season and is now decked out in Narnia-style snow sprinkled ferns, twinkling lights and faux furs.
But it’s certainly not style over substance, the food and drink are impressive too. Book in for the Afternoon Tea which is currently serving up such delights inspired by the uber luxe ski destination Gstaad, Switzerland. Think mini (and more posh) Toblerone, desserts inspired by Edel Weiss and Mont Blanc tarts.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)
Head over to French restaurant, bar and terrace Coq d’Argent and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a chic cabin in the Alps. The cabins can be booked out privately for up to eight guests and will be serving up true alpine fair including, warming Hennessy cocktails and an indulgent whole baked cheese. Dreamy.
Post-Christmas shopping on the King’s Road, dip into Chelsea institution Bluebird, and cosy up in their Swan Lake-inspired courtyard. Bursting with fairy lights, fake snow and Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes, they’ve turned their famous outdoor space into a charming winter wonderland. Sip on Ciroc White Grape cocktails such as the Sygnet Sour or White Ember.
Where: 350 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Imperial Wharf (0.8 miles)
If one turkey dinner a year isn’t enough for you, head to Smith & Wollensky where they’re putting on private feasts, all the trimmings and more at their restaurant just off the Strand. If you’re having to celebrate early with certain family members or want to get the gang together for a ‘friendsmas’ to remember, the team will put on an authentic feast in one of their private dining rooms.
Expect dishes such as Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon with Fresh Horseradish & Keta Caviar Crème Fraiche, Old Irish Christmas Pudding & Brandy Sauce and, of course, the show stopping Roast Free-Range Bronze Turkey with all the trimmings.
Where: The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, Covent Garden Riverside, London WC2N 6HT, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Charing Cross (0.1 miles)