Instagrammers, get your fingers at the ready, hold down your camera button and get snap happy at these marvellous London locations that look even better than usual as they’re spruced up by Santa’s elves and given some wow-worthy festive makeovers.
OK, The Ivy, we’ve got to give it to you…this is pretty darn sweet (like, literally)! The Chelsea Garden restaurant will transform into a life-sized Hansel and Gretel-esque gingerbread house for the festive period. Can you eat it? Well yes actually! And whilst this could be deceived as a tad unhygienic, fear not; you won’t actually be taking bites into the walls of a resto next to other gingerbread fiends, but will instead have the opportunity to munch on edible sweet treats from the windows. Sure to be one for the gram, there will be rock candy, sweets and candy canes on offer, as well as gingerbread, in what we can only deem to be a kids dream. Why didn’t cool stuff like this happen when I was young, eh?! In keeping with the theme, guests can also gulp down Gingerbread Espresso Martini’s, a sweet way to refuel. The exclusive drink will feature a freshly pulled espresso shot, Wyborowa Vodka, Bepi Tosolini Expre liqueur and, the finishing touch, gingerbread Syrup. If your sweet tooth is crying out for more you can try The Ivy Pine Tree from the 3rd-24th of December made from Christmas pudding parfait with white choc mousse and brandy sauce.
Where: 195 -197 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EQ
The terrace at Le Pont de la Tour is always beautiful, snuggle under fur and this year enjoy their bespoke Truffle Hut. The truffle hut will be an intimate dining space for two. The romantically charged hut will offer a package including a four-course menu and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne and overlook the iconic view of le pont de la tour, which looks especially stunning this time of year. The menu, from Head Chef Orson Vergnaud, will centre on truffle, with a starter of ham hock terrine, truffle mayonnaise, shimeji mushrooms, which will be followed by heritage mushrooms, ceps ketchup & consommé. For mains, tuck into the Tournedos Rossini, foie gras escalope and truffle potato puree, and round things off with spiced chocolate mousse, mandarin macaroons and sesame tuile.
Opens 5th November
Where: 36d Shad Thames, Butlers Wharf, London, SE1 2YE, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.5 miles)
Website: Get tickets here...
Is this the most festive pub in London? Yep, we think it just might be! The Churchill Arms in Kensington proved it doesn’t do things in half measures as it turned on a blindingly good display featuring 21,000 fairy lights. If you love Christmas and the snugness of it all then this outrageously awesome display is bound to get you in the mood. The pub is somewhat renowned for its extravagance, having spent a whopping £25,000 on flowers each year. And whilst we can’t imagine that’s fun for those with hay fever, it does look pretty damn good…
The dazzling display also features 80 Christmas trees and, we can imagine, comes with a rather hefty electricity bill. However, the Kensington based boozer is proving just how much of a staple it is having been built all the way back in 1750, yet something tells us there weren’t Christmas lights such as these donning the outside then. The name comes as a result of Winston Churchill’s g’parents frequenting it back in the 1800s and we’re pretty sure he’d be a big ol’ fan of the grandiose nature of it all.
Photo credit: samo_mingus
Where: 119 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN
The Silver Chicken, A.K.A.’d as Coq d’Argent has one of the best rooftops in The City. With far-reaching views, it’s the perfect alternative to its brash neighbours over at The Ned and there’s nothing brash about their winter rooftop. Head up to Lodge d’Argent from 20th November when the magical terrace opens and transports guests to Courchevel in collaboration with Hennessy. The lodge will be up until the end of February.
Where: No 1 Poultry, Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Cannon Street (0.1 miles)
Fucina, you’re divine! From Tuesday, 20th November until 2nd January, the Italian resto will channel serious Father Christmas vibes with its interior of red poinsettia, towering in gargantuan glamour. For those who need to give their insta feed an xmas update, you’ll be able to find Christmas decorations a’plenty, from glittering baubles, rich red apples and gold pots alongside food and drink to go around for all the family to feast on.
Where: 26 Paddington Street, Marylebone, W1U 5QY
A double-whammy from sketch as their Glade Room, renowned for dazzling all that grace it with their presence, has had a huge Christmas makeover. Yes, Santa’s elves have worked their magic adoring the space with Christmas sprigs and woodland blooms.
Where: 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, W1S 2XG
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.3 miles)
All we want for Christmas is for our toilets to look like these! Sketch has done it again with their Christmas loo offerings, making us wonder whether Santa has arrived early and given London’s most Instagrammable toilets a festive sprucing-up. They wow-ed us with a spooky facelift during Halloween and now, the loos that have customers spending more time in there “doing it for the gram” than sat at the table dining are getting ready for the festive season, wrapped up in festive theme. We definitely give a cr*p about them, that’s for sure… A scroll through Instagram has already seen a dazzling amount of photos akin to the one pictured above, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Kudos to Sketch who’ve most definitely done it again and, we imagine, will be fixing themselves a solid spot on Santa’s nice list! It appears that Sketch itself has rustled up a festive makeover; the entrance has been turned into somewhat a grotto with faux-snow and sparkling presents lining the way.
Where: 9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, W1S 2XG
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (0.3 miles)
You probably feel like you’ve been to SushiSamba even if you never have. The second venue on the list of most Instagrammed places in London, SushiSamba serves sushi and cocktails *almost* as photogenic as the view – well, London from the 38th floor is pretty spectacular. The fairylit red tree on the terrace is the most popular photo, although the restaurant itself is pretty spectacular, especially at night.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
You might not be able to literally escape to the Scottish Highlands, but you can figuratively go, with The Churchill Bar & Terrace’s Highlands Hideaway! The terrace will feature all things synonyms to good ol’ Scotland; faux fur throws, pine trees, woodland features and, of course, tartan! Accompanying the cosy atmosphere will be a selection of sumptuous drinks led by Head Bartender Daniele Bresciani, including classics made from Scotch whisky concoctions that’ll have you saying Sláinte all night long!
Where: Hyatt Regency, 30 Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 7BH
It’s a rooftop, but it’s a terrace too. Les Alpes (French for- well you know what it’s French for) have come to London with an alpine winter terrace. Not only that, there’s a menu of mountain classics from chef patron Igor Tymchyshyn. Inspired by the rustic chalets that dot France’s mountain slopes and an abundance of frosted fir trees and planters, a magical feel is guaranteed.
Where: 55 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5RB, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Regent's Park (0.4 miles)
The Montague on the Gardens are back with their Ski Lodge for another year. The Bloomsbury hotel will become London’s hottest après ski escape, with pine trees, snowmen, ski racks (could be useful if it actually snows this year), strings of fairy lights, piste maps, the lot. And they’ll be complimenting the decidedly wintery decor with a selection of flavoured schnapps and vodkas (including candy cane, butterscotch and toffee), or stick to tradition and knock back mulled wine and spiced cider. Our personal fave sounds like it’ll be the ‘hot choctails’. Food-wise try a selection of seasonal bits, like turkey schnitzel, bratwurst and deep fried camembert.
Opens on 14th November
Where: 15 Montague Street, London WC1B 5BJ
Nearest station: Russell Square (0.3 miles)
You should never step into a wardrobe lest it shut behind you. Unless you’re walking into a wardrobe that’s actually a lift, in which case that’s fine. Especially if it leads into Savage Garden’s Narnia terrace. The White Forest is in collaboration with Absolut Elyx Vodka and will see you travel 12 storeys up in the lift (anyone else feel a Lion, The Witch and the Great Glass Elevator mashup coming along?) before stepping out into a magical world with enchanting views, complete with lamp post, fairy lights and copper lanterns. See quotes from C.S. Lewis’s allegory, or just grab a selfie on the White Witch’s throne, Edmund style.
Where: 7 Pepys Street, Tower Hill EC3N 4AF
Nearest station: London Fenchurch Street (0 miles)
And the Narnia mantle passes to the St Martin’s Lane Hotel, who have brought the White Witch’s kingdom to Covent Garden. Step into the hotel lobby and you’ll find yourself immediately transported into a winter woodland, with faux fur throws and rugs, snow underfoot and a grand wintery throne, set on a plinth against ornate stained glass, which ‘will bring the splendour of Cair Paravel to London’. Enjoy Turkish delight, Edmund’s favourite, thanks to chocolatiers Rococo, the bar, Blind Spot, will be lit by a Narnia style lantern and you can join Mr and Mrs Beaver in The Den for an afternoon tea.
Where: 45 St. Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4HX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Leicester Square (0.2 miles)
Rather like a war-ry Father Christmas, Sir Winston Churchill really is the character who keeps on giving. Or so think the Hyatt Regency London – the Churchill, who have a new iteration for both great man, this time as the inspiration for their winter terrace, based on the former PM’s highlands hideaway. The terrace offers Scottishy cocktails and food, a roaring fire, (faux!) fur throws and woodland features.
Opens Wednesday 7th November
Where: 30 Portman Square, London, W1H 7BH, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Marble Arch (0.2 miles)
Bluebird are proving that Savage Garden don’t have the monopoly on Narnia terraces, unveiling their own Narnia wonderland. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe comes to Chelsea as they swap sofas for heated wooden alpine chalets, serve fondue, apple pie and alcoholic hot chocolates. Littered with references to the great book, you enter through a wardrobe (standard) and step into a winter wonderland of delight and delights.
Where: 350 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Imperial Wharf (0.8 miles)
Belgravia really is the place for doing things right, so don’t act suprised when you hear that The Hari, in the heart of London’s smartest neighbourhood, has come up with a cracker in their winter terrace. Don a fur rug (it’s not real fur, rightly or sadly) and a cosy blanket and immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit thanks to Moët and Chandon Brut, the official sponsors of the terrace. Enjoy fondue paired with Champagne and served with charcuterie, winter veg or a selection of breads.
Where: 20 Chesham Place, Belgravia, SW1X 8HQ
Champagne house Moet and Chandon are partnering with Angler this year to create a winter terrace that should put a sparkle into the festive season. The 7th floor terrace has some decent views of the city to enjoy, but far more importantly it’s what’s in your glass (Moët & Chandon’s Brut Impérial NV, Rosé Impérial, or there’s the 2009 vintage, both available by the glass or but the bottle. Not to mention what’s on your plate, with a special winter terrace menu designed by Executive Chef, Gary Foulkes, and including pigs-in-blanket croquettes with cranberry ketchup, baked Baron Bigod from Suffolk with sourdough bread and Borettane onions.
Where: South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF
The Bloomsbury Hotel is a place you’d naturally expect to find beauty, and of course Dalloway Terrace has always been the piece de resistance on this count. And the terrace has just undergone its annual make-over as the season changes and the terrace sets course for winter. Roll on the fur rugs, the warming cocktails and the truffle cheese fondue. Roll on the winter.
Where: 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)