London is soo close to home, but there’s one thing for sure it’s not a place I’ll ever take for granted – it is one of my favourite cities in the entire world and I try to go as often as I can.
It was also on my 30 before 30 to take my parents to some of my favourite places, one of them being Madison’s – a rooftop bar with the most outstanding view of St. Paul’s – one of my mum’s (and my) favourite buildings. Somewhere I used to go after work every now and again and a place I knew they’d love.
This trip is what inspired me to write this post, my favourite things to do in London at Christmas.
First things first, breakfast or brunch:
My favourite breakfast place in London at Christmas has to be The Crusting Pipe in the bottom of the South Hall in Covent Garden. I went for the first time as a student with my one of by best friend’s parents and it brings back happy memories!
Their food has always been yummy, delicious pub food, and at christmas they do a special festive breakfast, whilst only with a couple of options, you can sip champagne while watching the musicians of the hour. My favourite is always the violins playing festive tunes, but it’s all just magical. And never forget to look up, for there you’ll see Covent Garden’s lovely Christmas decorations.
Plus, Covent Garden is generally amazing to walk around.
Clos Maggiore, now you’ll need to book a little while in advance, and for Christmas, sometimes months in advance, but it is 100% worth it. Try, if you can, to reserve the table by the fire!
I first visited this incredible restaurant in 2005 and I’ve since recommended it to friends, family, and just about anyone that’ll lend an ear (ha!) and it never disappoints.
Do also check out the menu as some of it may not also be to everyone’s liking, but the food, if you have found something you like on the menu, is divine!
It’s also a very Christmassy, romantic setting, think fairy lights and a log fire. This is evidenced in its awards “Most Romantic Restaurant in the World 2016”, “London’s Most Romantic Restaurant 2016”, and the “Three AA Rosette Award 2016” to name a few.
To get in the festive spirit:
Window shopping is key. Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols always do a spectacular show, however, my favourite does always tend to be Harrods. The Disney Princess one with Snow White holding a Valentino apple “box” clutch, and Cinderella’s specially created glass slippers were amazing, but every year these window displays and the creativity in them never fails to amaze me.
Also, if you like walking, I’ve listed one below that could start from Harrods.
Next up, to get you in the festive spirit is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, now this is just for fun, but there are a couple of things I wouldn’t miss aside from sampling the German Frankfurters and some mulled wine. These include a free-fall drop ride and a spinning rollercoaster, why? The view of London (without it being from an aeroplane window) is insane and of course, next up, is the dodgems, but that’s because I’m there biggest fan.
Lastly, Ice Skating. This if you’re confident enough to get on the ice, this is a must and again quite often needs to be booked way in advance. I’d say this has to be done at either Somerset House or the Natural History Museum as the backdrop in either location is perfect.
For a rooftop bar, I’m always going to say Madison’s – as mentioned, the view of St. Pauls is unmatched, and they do theme it ever so slightly for Christmas, and it’s well done. Plus it’s in the city, which is one of my favourite places to walk around at weekends. The shopping mall is great for a start (I learned this very quickly on my lunch breaks back in the day), it has Banana Republic, a really good H&M, COS, Mango etc., but it also is probably the quietest place in London on a weekend, and I particularly love the contrast of it versus the stomping ground it becomes early on a Monday morning. Walking around this area, you can take in over a 1,000 years of architectural history, from the Bank of England to the modern day “Gherkin”.
There is also a themed Christmas rooftop bar in Selfridges, whilst the entrance is pretty once you’re outside, there’s not much to see as you’re on Oxford Street, but worth checking out if you’d like a break from Christmas shopping. There are other rooftops I love, but I may have to do a summer post for them as one in particular is only open at that time of the year.
If you’re up for a lovely long walk, my favourite would be from Knightsbridge station, up Sloane Street, passing the designer and bridal shops, all the way to Sloane Square. From Sloane Square head up King’s Road passing an amazing Zara (complete with Zara home), and a few great bakeries / eateries – one of my favourite’s is “Gail’s” – the pancakes and french toast are yummy!
From there, keep going, until you hit Albert Bridge Road – then take a left, for here, you’ll pass numerous beautiful houses adorning Christmas wreaths (see if you can spot my favourite – it has a pink door), some pretty little mews and you end at Albert Bridge, my favourite bridge in all of London. Even, better if you get to this point early evening – the lights are beautiful and you sure can while away some time just admiring the bridge from the bank of the Thames. If you want to head further, walk over the bridge and in to Battersea Park…
I wish I had high quality pictures of everything above to show you, but instead I’ll leave you on some pretty sunset pictures from Madison’s rooftop!