Today I’m sharing with you my guide to the perfect Christmas day out in London! I’ve joined forces with my dear friend and luxury lifestyle blogger, Nathan from The Rollinson London, to take you on a trip through London at Christmas time! I had planned this project out for a while and couldn’t wait to share my top tips with you for this super special time of the year. So if you’re a Londoner who wants to rediscover their city or someone simply heading down to the capital for the festive season, I hope my guide gives you a good idea on the best spots for Christmas shopping, festive displays, divine dining and lots of cheer. And so, without further ado, let the day begin….
We began our day with a coffee at the newly opened Hideaway, a coffee shop located in the Burlington Arcade, which specialises in divine home-made pastries, bread and has one of the most talented baristas I’ve seen in a while. He created such incredible latte art, weighed all of the coffee grains, made sure his grinder dial was perfectly accurate (it changes depending on the weather) and produced a delightfully smooth latte. They offer five different coffee beans to pick from… so yes, these guys mean business! Make sure you start your day there with a crispy almond croissant, before you get enticed by all the beautiful window displays in the arcade!
We decided to start our festive day out in the heart of London’s Mayfair at the Burlington Arcade, the shops there open around 10am for business. Mayfair is full of these hidden walkways, or as they call them, “Arcades”. What I love most about them is that to me they take you right back in time, I can imagine years ago the posh people of Mayfair would stroll through these arcades wearing their bowler hats and petticoats…these arcades to me seem timeless! Burlington Arcade is the perfect sport if you’re looking for a beautifully crafted and more indulgent Christmas gift such as divine fragrances, handmade candles, jewellery like you’ve never seen, cashmere and lots more. These would sit at the higher ends of your Christmas gift spending, but the creations you find in the arcade are worth every penny. And if such things are a little out of your budget for now, simply stroll through the arcade and admire what incredible window displays sit before your eyes – the visual merchandisers really work wonders in this part of the city!
FORTNUM & MASON
Fortnum and Mason is one of the oldest department stores in London, founded back in 1707. It was started by Queen Anne’s footman, William Fortnum and his business partner Hugh Mason. To this day the store still supplies the Royal family with a lot of produce. Now it’s no ordinary grocery store, in fact, it’s far far more. Fortnum’s is a stunning department store with levels of elegance waiting to be discovered. From the finest wine collections, to Christmas decorations, from menswear and womenswear to sweets and chocolate, and even a grocery shop on the basement floor, it’s an Aladdins cave of treasure. My favourite things in Fortnum’s would be its biscuits, chutneys and Christmas cake. If you want, however, to really splurge on a foodie family member or friend this Christmas, then you’d have splurge on a Fortnum’s Christmas Hamper. The hampers are indulgence to the max but totally worth it. You can create your own or pick from their selection, which does cover a good price range! When you’re in there don’t forget to use the stairs instead of the lift, at Christmas time the most stunning decorated trees await your arrival!
It’s time to get out into the cold and get exploring. I love walking the streets of St James, located just behind Fortnum & Mason. It’s a quiet and less touristy little corner of London, which is partly why I like it! What you’ll find in St James are very classic British stores, from hat makers to cigar boutiques, some of the best tailors in town, incredible footwear brands. In my opinion, this is where you find some of the best British fashion and lifestyle shops. Where Bond St boasts international luxury brands, St James really celebrates British. If you stroll all the way to St James’s square you will end up at their beautiful Christmas tree, which makes for wonderful photographs and views looking up to Picadilly Circus.
Other lovely independent streets to stroll through: King’s Road, Marylebone High St, Sloane St and Mount St.
LUNCH AT SELFRIDGES
It’s lunchtime! Selfridges wouldn’t be the place you might think to head for lunch, however, I thought it would be an ideal destination for your Christmas Day out for two reasons. Firstly, two birds one stone kind of thing – you could potentially squeeze in a bit of Christmas shopping while you’re there and secondly, the new restaurant ‘Brasserie of Light’ is not to be missed. We dined there for the first time this week while shooting for this project and my jaw dropped as soon as I walked in. Designed by interior designer Martin Brudnizki the Brasserie of Light is literally a work of art. From the incredible interiors to the magnificent mirrored Pegasus created by Damien Hirst, it really does take London’s restaurant standards to a whole new high. The food was delicious, they have amazing salads and light dishes if you just fancy a nibble or an array of richer plates if it’s cold outside. Lastly, their afternoon tea is excellently priced at £39.99 per head, so you could dip into that if you fancy a pot of tea and a cake or two. Even if you don’t manage to head over before Christmas, get this show-stopping dining hot spot on your list for 2019!
ICE-SKATING AT SOMERSET HOUSE
It’s time for a little fun and to wear off that glass of sparkling you had at lunch. From Selfridges we head down to Somerset House for a session of…. you guessed it – ice-skating! Now the reason I mention Somerset House is because it is still my favourite destination for Iceskating, though there are plenty of other rinks to choose from. I love the stunning setting skating on the backdrop of elegant Somerset House and how festive it makes you feel swishing round the rink… My second favourite would have to be the Natural History Museum, which is also beautiful and very kid’s friendly. If you do want to go ice-skating, make sure you book your time slot in advance not to be disappointed!
As the sun goes down, the moment comes to head to a Christmas market. As the years have gone by of my time living in London, I have seen more and more markets crop up. There is, of course, the market of all markets which would be Winter Wonderland. I would suggest heading there on a week day if you can and if that’s not possible, go as early as you can on the weekend. If you don’t mind crowds then you won’t have a problem visiting any time! To bring our perfect Christmas Day out to an end we headed to Leicester Sq Christmas market. It’s only a tiny market but is the perfect little corner to grab a warm glass of mulled wine and have a cheeky hot dog or crepe if you’re feeling peckish. There are a few stalls selling arts & crafts and little festive trinkets, but I’d say this market is more for those who want that festive feeling without having to walk round an enormous park!
Other markets in London to visit are: Winterville (Clapham, South London), Winter Wonderland (Hyde Park, central London), South Bank Winter Festival (Waterloo), Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays (Shoreditch, East London), Christmas by the River (London Bridge, central London).
You’ve done your shopping, enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and even had a workout iceskating, it’s now time for a bit of festive cheer and cosying up. There are so many wonderful things to do when the sun goes down and the night rolls in. You must, of course, stroll from Piccadilly Circus down Regent Street to Oxford Street to admire the lights! If you want to warm up however, my suggestions would be head to a Christmas carol concert or book in to watch a Christmas movie at one of the many festive pop-up cinema locations. If you fancy going luxe, The Berkeley hotel has a winter rooftop cinema showing Christmas movies each night of December (it doesn’t come cheap though at £75 a ticket!). Hackney has a winter movies pop-up called “Cinema in the Snow” and if you fancy heading to Clapham’s Winterville, there is a festive cinema called the Christmas Labyrinth showing Christmas movies there – only a few tickets left though so book soon not to miss out!
I hope you have enjoyed all our ideas on a fun festive day out and hope it has given you some amazing inspiration for planning your own wonderful Christmas day out in London!