Stick the Moët on ice – it’s only the most wonderful time of the year
Words Mary-Jane Wiltsher, Sophie Jean-Louis, Riana Horner
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
Twirling (read: shuffling) across the ice beneath Somerset House’s neoclassical architecture should surely be a fixture in any Londoner’s Christmas countdown, and now visitors can combine their trip to the iconic rink with food and shopping experiences from Fortnum & Mason. Sip a creamy hot choccie in the Fortnum’s Lodge, shop for gifts in the Christmas Arcade, or pimp your evening with a Skate Extra package. A rink-side winter picnic of rosemary-baked camembert with a brioche loaf, apricot chutney and a glass of red? Yes please. Skate extra packages start from £58. Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Christmas Menu at Blanchette Brick Lane
Dine out in stunning Belle Époque surroundings at Brick Lane’s Blanchette this December. The French Bistro’s Christmas set menus showcase glorious sharing platters with North African accents – think succulent crab claws heaped with lemon and harissa mayo and, for the carnivores, a hero dish of crispy duck leg paired with spiced quince. Mais oui!
3-course set menu from £40, 204 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
Southbank Winter Market
With glittering fairy lights reflected in the Thames and rows of pop-up stalls selling consistently impressive street food and seasonal goodies, Southbank Winter Market is the ideal antidote to Oxford Street mayhem. Head to The Circus Bar’s blazing fire pit, a cosy pit stop for post-shopping drinks, or Jimmy’s Lodge by Waterloo Bridge, an alpine hideaway serving festive fondue.
Until 6 January, free entry, The Queen’s Walk, Lambeth, London SE1 8XX
Noël Chandon at The Blind Pig
Moët & Chandon have transformed The Blind Pig into a chic winter snug. Hidden above the Michelin-starred Social Eating House in Soho, this speakeasy is laden with mistletoe and wreaths, sumptuous soft furnishings and sparkling lights. Settle in with a cranberry Kir Royale, a delicious French cocktail with a tart twist, or the ‘Christmas Pudding’, a heady mix of champagne and cognac to warm the soul. Lavish tasting menus for groups of 16-24 are also available.
Tasting menus £135pp, 58 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7NR
Luna Cinema at Kensington Palace
Masters of the pop-up screen Luna Cinema take over the Kensington Palace Pavilion this winter, setting up camp on the Orangery Lawn. Snuggle up with a mulled cider and enjoy a selection of cockle-warming big screen favourites, from It’s A Wonderful Life to Die Hard. 17-23 December, adult tickets £18.50, children £13.50. Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX
Truffle-Making Workshops at Rococo Chocolates
Master the art of truffle-making with the help of luxury chocolatiers Rococo Chocolates in this 2-hour workshop at their Motcomb Street store. Participants will kick off with a guided taste-test to help pick out their preferred flavour combination, before learning how to dip the ganache in milk and delicately coat it with tempered chocolate. It’s then time to package them up as festive gifts, assuming there are any left. Saturdays throughout December, 11-1pm, tickets £47.50. 5 Motcomb St, SW1X 8JU.
Posh Bingo at The Kitty Hawk
If the dulcet, innuendo-laden tones of the Bingo caller are music to your ears, a festive outing to Bingo Academy’s ‘Posh Bingo’ at Moorgate’s contemporary British restaurant The Kitty Hawk is surely in order. Goodbye stale crisps and warm servings of Pinot Grigio, hello pornstar martinis, fancy finger food like crackling with sour apple and kimchi, and seriously lavish prizes. So, invite a half-dozen – or dozen – of your favourite little ducks, hit the floor and aim to get lucky. 8 and 15 December, £16pp, 11,13,14 South Place, London EC2M 7EB
Lady Celeste’s at Queen of Hoxton’s Parisian
Step back in time to the 1900s back alleys of Monmartre with an evening at Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop, which this year is transformed into Paris’ most famous music hall. QoH go all-out with their themes each winter and this is no exception – expect tarot cards readers telling fortunes below the twinkling lights of the red windmill, velvet-lined interiors and lashing of hot buttered Tarte Tatin rum. Wear your most coquettish smile, snap up a portion of oozy raclette, and join the revellers by the fire pit. Until April 2019, free, 1 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3JX
Cirque du Soleil at Royal Albert Hall
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to the circus and Cirque du Soleil’s TOTEM is rather more special than your average Saturday night at Zippo’s. This year, the world class circus take a turn for the Darwinian with a journey through the evolution of mankind, from our amphibian state to the modern day. Expect a captivating and thoroughly bonkers assault on the senses, combining world-class acrobatics, spellbinding choreography and aerial performances to send your heart (and stomach) shooting through the Italianite dome of Royal Albert Hall. 12 January – Tuesday 26 February, tickets from £22.90. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
Comedy Club at Winter Wonderland
Enjoy gags a whole lot better than the Christmas cracker variety at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, which sees a top class selection of comedians take to the MegaDome at 9pm each night. Headliner Terry Alderton has been Perrier nominated in Edinburgh and recently won the ‘3 Weeks Critics’ award, while Dane Baptiste hailed as one of the most exciting acts to break in years thanks to his provocative, razor-sharp style. 23 November – 6 January, Tickets from £10. Hyde Park, London, W2
Narnia at St Martin’s Lane
The White Witch has cast her spell over St Martin’s Lane Hotel, where visitors can now enjoy afternoon tea in a crystalline alpine forest. Situated in the heart of Covent Garden, the boutique hotel is transformed into Narnia with wintery snowflakes, snug faux fur throws and glowing lanterns. Make like Edmund and feast on Turkish Delight courtesy of British chocolatiers Rococo’s famous, or sip cocktails at the frosty Blind Spot bar. A place to watch your childhood fantasies unfold. 26 November – 4 January, Afternoon Tea from £29.50. 45 St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4HX
Chelsea Psychic Garden Wreathmaking Pop-Up
The team behind London’s oldest botanical garden bring their wreathmaking skills to a pop-up in Duke of York square for one day only, with three two-hour wreath-making slots for 10 lucky people at a time. Start with a base of luxuriant fir before layering it up with colour-pop fruits, seeds and pinecones – the ultimate festive accessory for your front door.
2 December, £45pp, Duke of York Square, London, SW3 4LY