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THINGS TO DO IN LONDON THIS CHRISTMAS

By Emily Fitzgibbons

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THINGS TO DO IN LONDON THIS CHRISTMAS

Covent Garden for sure has some of London’s most Instagrammable markets to visit at Christmas. Once home to the world-famous fruit and vegetable market, Covent Garden’s Apple Market continues to support market traders, offering a range of unique crafts and goods, such as handmade jewellery, prints, watercolours, antiques and collectables. Additionally, the East Colonnade Market is located (you guessed it) on the east side of Covent Garden’s Market Building and is filled with handmade soaps, sweet treats and jewellery stalls – the perfect place to pick up a gift. Be sure to visit Covent Garden’s Winter Village too – it’ll fill you with that extra special Christmas spirit.

Queens first opened in 1930 in Notting Hill to feature ten-pin bowling and skating. Rebuilt again in 2017, London’s only all- year-round ice rink is no longer just about ice skating and bowling, as they have just announced the exciting 2021 launch of their brand-new curling-on-real-ice offering. Known for being bowling’s wonderfully weird winter cousin, curling is officially here just in time for Christmas. Perfect for groups large and small, this spot is the coolest on the block, with late-night opening hours on Thursday and Friday evenings.

www.queens.london

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, commonly referred to as just Winter Wonderland, is ‘the World’s best destination for festive fun in the heart of London’ and it’s open until early January, meaning you can prolong the festive fun for as long as possible! There are rides, games, spectacular shows, food and drink and, especially for the little ones, there’s Santa Land, where you’ll find plenty of kids’ rides, festive eateries and the chance to meet Santa himself. This year, there’s the amazing Elf Dance Off, the opportunity for the kids to dance with one of Santa’s elves and show off their moves! Santa Land is the ultimate enchanting day out for all the family. Book your tickets in advance to avoid missing out!

www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Christmas at Kew, a much-loved highlight of London’s festive calendar, has returned for its ninth glittering year. The trail features a host of seasonal favourites alongside pioneering new light installations, illuminating Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage landscape with vibrant bursts of colour and over a million twinkling lights. The 12 Days of Christmas will be brought to life with a vibrant rainbow tree illumination, whilst a spectacular Neon Night Garden will burst into vivid life as visitors explore the magical seasonal surroundings of Kew during the festive season. The ever-popular Fire Garden also returns for 2021 alongside On the Wings of Freedom, a technicolour LED installation inspired by the unique transformative ability of butterflies. The final stop of the trail, the panoramic Palm House finale, will welcome guests with a series of stunning projections across the historic glasshouse and adjacent lake, all set to a memorable soundtrack of much-loved Christmas classics. To add an extra flourish to the Christmas at Kew experience, visitors can book a delicious traditional Christmas dinner at the Botanical Brasserie.

www.kew.org/Christmas

 

Enjoy a lap around the rink, which is centred around a whopping 30ft Christmas tree and boasts beautiful views of the iconic museum building. Nearby cafes serve hot chocolate, cream teas, Prosecco and cake for post-skate refreshment and cheer. If you’d prefer to watch, there’s a viewing platform that provides a glimpse of all the sparkling action below.

www.nhm.ac.uk

Possibly one of the most well-known shopping landmarks in the whole of the country, Harrods is often dubbed as ‘the world’s most famous department store’. Dating back to the 1800s, it’s synonymous with high class and opulence. With more than 300 departments and 1.1 million square feet of selling space, it’s also the largest department store in Europe. Plus, Harrods is home to over 5,000 brands, so you can shop designer fashion and accessories, indulgent beauty, fine jewellery and watches, food, furniture and much more at London’s one-stop-shop for luxury Christmas presents or treats for yourself and your loved ones.

OMNOM was named one of London’s top vegan restaurants by the Evening Standard and is located in the Borough of Islington, just outside of the city. The OMNOM brand presents a unique collaboration for wellness, encapsulating a modern-day approach to eating and wellbeing whilst building a community of change, which appeals to yogis and foodies alike. Inspired by Eastern philosophies and diets, there’s a huge range of plant- based dishes on the menu. The OM cheeseburger with slaw and fries is a favourite with diners. The restaurant’s incredible event space boasts an ‘Event of the Month’ and has hosted conferences, business meetings, and theatre shows with Russell Brand and Simon Amstell. What’s more, and possibly one of the best things about the brand, it’s a charity organisation, feeding a child in need for every meal served at OMNOM.

www.omnom.com

London’s must visit luxury tea emporium and France’s most famous tea house Mariage Frères brings tea savoir-faire to the capital in a beautiful five-storey, listed Georgian townhouse on Covent Garden’s King Street. There’s an elegant retail space and a restaurant specialising in tea gastronomy, two private event spaces and a tea museum. Tea specialists, dressed in white- linen, are on hand to offer customers expert advice before they purchase their chosen blend from the vintage cashier booth, recreated in the style of the original stations manned by the Mariage brothers back in 1854. For those looking for a luxury grab-and-go experience or to elevate lunch al desko, Mariage Frères offers over 50 types of freshly brewed tea alongside the most beautiful-looking, freshly prepared open sandwiches and sweet and savoury pastries. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, Mariage Frères’ unique La Cuisine au Thé concept runs throughout the menus, using tea as a delicate ingredient, spice or flavouring in every dish.

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