Visit London Blog » christmas 2012 Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Snowman in London Wed, 19 Dec 2012 09:00:00 +0000 The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images The Snowman and the Snowdog. Channel 4 images

Have you seen The Snowman in London? He’s been melting the hearts of both children and adults for 30 years and this Christmas, he’ll be visiting the capital in more ways than one.

On Christmas Eve, The Snowman will enjoy some spectacular views of London as he returns in Channel 4’s sequel to the much-loved animated film. In The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Snowman and friends swoop past some of London’s most famous sites, including the London Eye, Big Ben and the OXO Tower. 24 Dec, 8pm

You can also see the original animated version of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Barbican, with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera providing extra magic with a live accompaniment to the film. The family double-bill also includes a screening of Peter and the Wolf, with narration by Tamsin Greig. 22-23 Dec

Finally, clocking up its 15th year at the Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells is the dance production of The Snowman. This family treat includes an orchestra, dancing penguins and of course, the magical flying sequence, all created live on stage.

Which is your favourite version of The Snowman?

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Christmas Afternoon Tea in London Mon, 17 Dec 2012 15:20:32 +0000

Christmas is the perfect time for indulgence, and there are few better ways to treat yourself than a decadent afternoon tea. Many London venues have put together special festive teas to celebrate the season, and we’ve picked out 10 of the best below. Don’t forget to book in advance and, if you’re looking for something really special, remember that you can supplement any of them with a glass (or two!) of champagne.

Afternoon Festivi-Tea at the Corinthia Hotel 
Sit under the spectacular chandelier in the Corinthia Hotel’s Lobby Lounge and enjoy a sumptuous variety of festive treats. Their Christmas confections include cranberry macaroons filled with fresh fruit crème and a snow egg of chocolate mousse, which is covered with vanilla marshmallows and coconut. £39, until 5 Jan

Christmas Shopping and Afternoon Tea at St James’s Hotel & Club
Find the perfect excuse to indulge at the St James’s Hotel & Club, where Afternoon Tea comes with a 10% discount card for stylish department store Liberty and the nearby Burlington Arcade shops. Better still, the delicious afternoon tea is made by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef, William Drabble. £19, until 30 Dec

Festive Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum
As the winners of the Tea Guild’s 2012 Best Afternoon Tea award, The Athenaeum are guaranteed to provide a great festive treat. Highlightsof their Festive Afternoon Tea include turkey and cranberry sandwiches, mulled wine jellies and chocolate yule logs. £29.50, until 30 Dec

Christmas Afternoon Tea River Cruise
Combine dining with sightseeing on this fun river cruise, which allows you to see London’s landmarks from the Thames whilst you enjoy mulled wine and a full afternoon tea. Board the festively decorated boat from Tower Pier at 3.30pm for a 90 minute cruise, professional commentary and lots of scrumptious treats. £25, until 29 Dec

12 Days of Christmas Afternoon Tea at the InterContinental Park Lane
Featuring confections themed around the 12 days of Christmas song, the InterContinental’s pretty tea is sure to get you in the festive spirit. Delights include a golden treacle tart with chantilly and gold leaf, a walnut powder crusted chocolate torte made to look like a drum, and a partridge, mushroom and foie gras pie. £28, until 6 Jan

Traditonal Afternoon Tea at The Petersham
Head to leafy Richmond for a festive afternoon tea with spectacular views at the Petersham Hotel. You can enjoy seasonal pastries such as Christmas spiced financiers, star-shaped linzer biscuits and warming gingerbread macaroons whilst overlooking the Thames. £25, until 6 Jan

Free-flowing Champagne with Festive Afternoon Tea at the Mandeville Hotel
Featuring brandy mince pies, mulled plum fancies and Dundee Christmas cake, the Mandeville’s Festive Afternoon Tea is already a winner. Between Friday-Sunday, however, you can make it even better thanks to a special offer from, which allows you to add a mulled wine cocktail and unlimited champagne to the package. £32.50, until 23 Jan 

Sugar & Spice Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych 
The hotel’s Sugar & Spice Afternoon Tea gets a special mention for including bacon-wrapped sausages, which are surely an essential part of any Christmas-themed meal! If you’re not a fan of pork, however, there are plenty of other tempting morsels including chestnut delice, eggnog mousse  and mandarin trifle. £26.50, until 31 Dec

Chocolate Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Park Lane
Ever heard the expression “it’s so good, I could lick the plate”? At the Hilton Park Lane you actually can, because their Festive Afternoon Tea is served on one made of solid chocolate. Atop this unique treat is a host of other cocoa-based goodies such as gift-shaped chocolate fancies, which are accompanied by traditional favourites including freshly-baked scones and open sandwiches. £32.50, until 4 Jan

Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Wyndham Grand 
This chic Chelsea Harbour hotel is offering a seasonal afternoon tea that features turkey and stuffing sandwiches, Christmas pudding and a quirky selection of mince pies. The hotel is close to the King’s Road, so it’s a great place for a post Christmas shopping treat! £35, until 31 Dec

Have a craving for Christmas confections but no time to stop for tea? You can pick up seasonal cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery, acclaimed mince pies from Konditor and Cook, or lebkuchen from Bea’s of Bloomsbury.

More afternoon tea in London

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London Video of the Week: Great Hall Christmas Time-Lapse from Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter Fri, 14 Dec 2012 17:30:15 +0000

Here’s a nice festive video for the end of your week: the decorations going up in the Great Hall in the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I hope you enjoy this little slice of fairy-tale London Christmas as much as I did.

I think London’s looking fantastic this festive season. Don’t forget to check out the Christmas lights and Christmas markets throughout the capital; and here are some of our favourite Christmas Trees currently brightening up London’s dark evenings.

Check out our special Christmas section for full listings for all the seasonal events, ice-rinksconcerts and more in London at this festive time of year.

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Best Christmas Markets in London Tue, 11 Dec 2012 11:04:04 +0000

Christmas shopping should be fun (so what if you pick up a present for yourself in the process?) We’ve picked out some seasonal shopping locations to help you tick gifts off your list and enjoy yourself in the process.

Camden Lock Night Market

Best for: Evening shopping

Camden’s night market makes for an ideal trip if you’re pushed for time in the day. It runs on Thursdays between 5 and 10pm, offering arts and crafts and tasty festive food for Christmas. There’s also live entertainment from the likes of the Belle Fleurs, who deliver a twist on classic rock, pop, punk and metal numbers. 13 and 20 Dec

Southbank Centre Christmas Market

Best for: A taste of Cologne in London

Feast on mulled wine, bratwurst and gingerbread hearts at the German-themed market which has been set up for the fifth year on Queen’s walk outside the Southbank Centre. The 80 chalets focus on food, but gifts like hand-crafted toys should make perfect stocking fillers. There’s a carousel to amuse the kids, and a handy chalet map can be downloaded hereUntil 24 Dec

London Glassblowing Christmas Open Studio

Best for: Christmas presents to treasure

Glassblowing is an elegant and beautiful art. Leading workshop London Glassblowing is opening its studio in London Bridge up to visitors for Christmas. It’s a chance to watch artists at work by the furnaces, and buy a piece from £45 if one takes your eye – a glass bauble perhaps. Mince pies and mulled wine will also be on offer. Until 24 Dec

Real Food Christmas Market

Best for: Gastronomic festivity

Real Food takes place weekly at the Southbank Centre Square, but at this time of year it takes on a distinctly festive focus. You can sample traditional mince pies fresh out of the oven from the Flour Station, pick up some marmalade vodka from Chase Distillery or get your

free-range Bronze or Norfolk turkey from The Thoroughly Wild Meat Co, which hangs its birds for a fuller flavour. 14-16 Dec and 20-23 Dec

Find more Christmas markets in our Christmas shopping guide here. Have any to add to the list? Share them below.

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What’s On This Weekend. 14-16 December 2012 Mon, 10 Dec 2012 10:42:49 +0000 This weekend in London has a decidedly vintage flavour: you can learn about the history of Christmas decorations at the Geffrye Museum, watch a Victorian world succumb to alien invasion, see a classic film or dance the night away 1920s style. The hardest part might not be choosing what to do, but returning to reality afterwards!

Christmas Past at the Geffrye Museum

Take a journey through England’s Christmas past at the Geffrye Museum, where the rooms have been decorated in a variety of authentic festive decorations from the past 400 years. Not only can you get a sense of what Christmas would have been like for families at key points in history, but you’ll also learn about the origins of holiday traditions such as kissing under the mistletoe and sending cards. The exhibition is accompanied by special talks and activities – see the website for full details. Until 6 Jan

Experience Cinema at The Round Chapel 

Head to the gorgeous Round Chapel in Hackney for a day of festive films courtesy of Experience Cinema. On Saturday, visitors can choose between an early screening of family favourite Elf, or a later showing of Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. All screenings in the atmospheric building are accompanied by a fully licensed bar, and tickets start from £10 for adults or £8.50 for children. 15 Dec

The Christmas Bootlegger’s Ball by the Candlelight Club

Channel your inner flapper at this decadent club night, held in a secret location. The Christmas edition of these popular 1920s and 30s-themed events features a Charleston floor show, irresistable music from the Boomtown Swingalings and a tantalising menu of Prohibition-themed cocktails. Guests are normally immaculately attired, so it’s worth making an effort! Tickets are £25. 15 Dec

Designers Christmas Market at the Southbank Centre

Wrap up your Christmas shopping at this delightful market, which features 50 stalls selling unique items from UK craftspeople. Not only can you find interesting gifts, but there’s a range of fun activities for both adults and children. Design Christmas decorations, make your own Christmas cards or have a go on the unique lucky dip. 14-16 Dec

War of the Worlds – The New Generation

The O2 plays host to the spectacular update of H.G. Wells’ classic tale, which charts the terrifying Martian invasion of Earth. Using the large arena to full effect, the show combines innovative 3D technology, live theatre, orchestral music and mesmerising special effects to bring the story’s Victorian setting to life like never before. The star-studded production features Liam Neeson as the journalist George Herbert, and tickets start from £42.50.  15 Dec

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London’s Best Christmas Trees Thu, 06 Dec 2012 15:00:28 +0000 Christmas is one of the most exciting times of year in London; this year, the city’s Christmas decorations are looking fantastic. Here’s a round-up of some of the best Christmas trees in town, ranging from the traditional to the quirky.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree is an annual gift from the people of Oslo since 1947 as a token of gratitude for British support of Norway during the Second World War The Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2012 was created by Kally Ellis, founder of renowned British floral designers McQueens Covent Garden boasts not one but two trees: this traditional version, and a quirkier one in the East Piazza (see video below) Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living have an innovative Christmas tree – Ice-circles, a sculpture created by designer Mark Humphrey. The 3m tall "tree" is fashioned from a series of perspex circles; inside, a green light gives a sense of traditional foliage The tree at the Tower of London is a more traditional affair Gary Card’s Electric Christmas tree is part of the final instalment of the Vauxhall Ampera season at the Kings Cross Filling Station

Here’s a great video of the Kensington Palace tree. From 1 December 2012, Kensington Palace is transformed into a palace-size advent calendar, with a daily programme of exciting events, music and activities, all inspired by the young Princess Victoria’s Christmas diaries.

Did you spot the elf?

In Covent Garden, there’s a unique 26ft (7.9m) tall Barrel Tree in the East Piazza. Interested in how it got there? Here’s a video explaning all:

Have you spotted any more amazing Christmas Trees in London? Make sure you add any photos you take to our flickrpool.

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Where To Eat Christmas Day Lunch In London Thu, 06 Dec 2012 14:00:27 +0000

Rather than endure the stress of cooking Christmas lunch, why not take the whole family for a day out in London? Lots of restaurants are offering tasty traditional menus and festive surprises on 25 December – not to mention the guarantee of a washing-up free day! Many places will sell out, so don’t forget to book in advance.

Christmas Day Lunch Cruise
Explore London at its most peaceful on this fun day out, which includes a sightseeing tour, river cruise and Christmas lunch. Participants will be driven past London landmarks with a professional tour guide, then board a boat to enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch alongside spectacular views from the river. Don’t forget your camera!

Napa at The Chiswick Moran Hotel
Not only can guests enjoy a four-course menu and welcome drink at the hotel‘s restaurant for just £45, but they can also take a post-lunch nap in style thanks to a special meal and accommodation offer. A one-night stay on a bed & breakfast basis, plus the Christmas lunch, is £169 for two people.

Boundary, Shoreditch
New head chef Frederick Forster will be cooking up a storm at this Conran restaurant on Christmas Day. From 12pm-3.30pm you can indulge in champagne and canapés followed by a tantalising lunch menu, washed down with great wines from their extensive cellar.

The Summerhouse, Warwick Avenue
Don’t let the name fool you, this restaurant is just as good during the winter months! On Christmas Day they will be offering a four-course menu for £75, starting with delights such as a trio of Cornish crab and ending with a traditional port-soaked stilton.

Tompkins, Canary Wharf
Enjoy Christmas lunch on the water at Tompkins, whose menu is comprised of delights such as wild stone sea bass and sea salt butterscotch fondant with hot Amedei chocolate. Their three-course set menu is £55 and can be viewed here.

The Only Running Footman, Mayfair
This popular gastropub serves great food 365 days a year, and on Christmas Day you can tuck into a traditional three-course meal for £69.95. Highlights include game terrine, traditional turkey, baked vanilla cheesecake and, of course, Christmas crackers!

Asia De Cuba, Covent Garden
Diners can enjoy the best of both worlds at Asia de Cuba on Christmas Day, as it is offering both a set menu at lunch and an a la carte service at dinner. Located in the St Martin’s Lane hotel, this chic restaurant is a great base for a festive exploration of London, particularly as it’s just yards from the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.

The Hilton, Park Lane
If you’re not in the mood for Christmas lunch but are looking for a sweet festive treat, the Park Lane Hilton‘s afternoon tea should definitely hit the spot. Their Christmas afternoon tea is served on a solid chocolate plate and includes a variety of Christmas-themed delicacies including snow-topped chocolate Christmas trees and miniature Christmas pudding parfait. Tea is served from 2pm-6pm and is £32.50, or £39.50 with a glass of champagne.

Alyn Willams at The Westbury, Mayfair
Follow the Michelin star to this sumptuous Mayfair restaurant, where you can indulge in a nine-course Christmas feast for £160. (£40 for children) The menu features everything from sweet onion mouse and pumpernickel crisps to the traditional turkey.

Cinnamon Club, Westminster
Spice up your Christmas lunch at this acclaimed Indian restaurant, which is offering a three course meal for £75 on Christmas Day. Feast on dishes such as clove-roasted goose breast and garam masala Christmas pudding with nutmeg custard before heading to the downstairs bar for festive cocktails and DJ music until the early hours.

The Kings Head, Roehampton
There are few things as festive as an open fire, and you can snuggle in its warm glow at this popular pub, which is offering a four-course lunch for £75. Highlights include venison carpaccio, wild mushroom, spinach and chestnut wellington and a range of decadent puddings.

Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington
This luxury Chinese restaurant is offering a variety of set menus, starting from £60 per head. These offer a delicious alternative to traditional festive fare – why have turkey when you could have “grilled drunken chicken”?

Bumpkin, Notting Hill and South Kensington
Enjoy a four course feast, a glass of English sparkling wine and traditional crackers at two of the Bumpkin branches, which also offer a smaller menu for children. Lunch is £75 for adults, or £14.95 for children.

Dean Street Townhouse, Soho
Snuggle up in the cosy dining room of this Georgian townhouse for a festive set menu, which features all the traditional favourites. The meal is priced at £95 and the menu can  be viewed here.

The Hoxton Grill, Shoreditch
This popular neighbourhood restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner on Christmas Day. There’s even an outdoor space, so you might be able to play in the snow!

Almeida, Islington
Both turkey and goose with all the trimmings are on the menu at this north London restaurant, which offers four traditional courses for £65.

The Blueprint Café, Bermondsey
The Blueprint Café at the design museum is offering a four-course lunch, accompanied  by spectacular views of the Thames, on Christmas Day. Highlights include braised oxtail ravioli, fallow venison and a wedge of Stilton served family-style to finish.

Spice Market at the W Hotel, Leicester Square
The south-east Asian restaurant at this trendy hotel is offering a four course menu plus a Christmas treat for £40. Dishes include spicy chicken samosas, miso sour with shrimp dumplings, and duck a l’orange with carrot and crystallised tamarind.

Orrery, Marylebone
Enjoy an indulgent French take on Christmas lunch at Orrery, whose six-course tasting menu includes foie gras terrine, grilled lobster, turkey and Christmas pudding. The meal costs £80 per person.

Paradise at Kensal Green
This popular Kensal Green gastropub is offering a five-course feasting menu on Christmas Day, with a focus on British ingredients. Guests start off with mulled cider or champagne, before munching their way through a traditional menu that features Severn & Wye smoked salmon, Goosnargh turkey and home-made Christmas pudding. The meal costs £85, or £35 for children.

Koffmann’s at the Berkeley, Knightsbridge
Renowned chef Pierre Koffman’s Knightsbridge restaurant will be serving a four-course menu that features signature dishes such as scallops with squid ink, braised hare with foie gras, and pistachio souffle. Tickets are £110.

Looking for more festive activities in London? Check out our Christmas page.

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London Shopping News: Cambridge Satchel Company; Zaeem Jamal; Jewellery at Harvey Nicks; and Butlers on Sloane Street Wed, 05 Dec 2012 18:08:09 +0000 Two new shops launch for Christmas, with promises of further London Fashion Week fun; plus there’s a jewellery showcase in Harvey Nichols; and don’t miss the helpful Christmas butlers on Sloane Street…

Cambridge Satchel Company Opens Debut Seven Dials Store
If, like me, you’re a fan of the Cambridge Satchel Company, you’ll be thrilled to hear the brand is opening its first standalone store in Seven Dials. Located on Short Gardens, the store will open in two phases: first as a pop-up store on Saturday this week in time for Christmas, and open until January. Then the rest of the shop will be completed in time for London Fashion Week in Feburary, where they’ll have an exclusive Bloggers Lounge. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Zaeem Jamal Opens New Kings Road Boutique
And here’s another store with a split opening, combining Christmas and London Fashion Week. Luxury eveningwear brand Zaeem Jamal opens its new flagship boutique on London’s Kings Road today, coinciding with the area’s late-night Christmas shopping evening. However the official celebrity launch is planned for London Fashion Week in February, where the brand will also launch a bespoke shoe service. Pop in to peruse the boutique’s two floors, with the ground floor dedicated to ready-to-wear dress, gown and accessories collections, while the lower section features a swish private bespoke area and suite.

Harvey Nicks Jewellery Designer Showcase: 6 Dec
Head to Harvey Nichols on Thursday between 7pm and 9.30pm for a special evening showcasing their beautiful jewellery collections. Enjoy up to 20% off on the evening, plus sip on complimentary Champagne and sample funky bejewelled canapes while you shop for that perfect Christmas gift. Stylist Melissa Lund will be on hand, running a Jewellery Clinic offering top tips on how to wear this season’s key trends, stones and colours. Make sure you RSVP:

Quintessentially British Christmas Shopping on Sloane Street
On 6, 13 and 20 December, there’ll be special shopping events taking place on Sloane Street. Look out for a host of traditionally uniformed British butlers. Lining either side of the street between Basil and Pont Streets, the butlers will be on hand to open car doors, guide visitors into stores and provide information about Sloane Street’s luxury retailers. In full uniform and holding umbrellas, the butlers will act as beautifully dressed beacons on wintry evenings, welcoming all Christmas shoppers to the street.

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Five Places to See Santa in London This Christmas Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:30:12 +0000

Using a bit of his Christmas magic, Santa is appearing at spots all over the capital this month, sometimes even at the same time!

Santa’s Grotto in Duke of York Square
Kids can have their photo taken with Santa and receive a gift at Duke of York Square’s free grotto, where there’s also a special post box to send your Christmas lists to Lapland. On some dates in December, Liz Earle will provide complimentary hand and arm massages in the back of the grotto, so parents can get pampered while the kids chat to Santa. Advanced booking recommended. 
Until 23 Dec

Santa’s Grotto at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City
Seeing Santa in the flesh is exciting enough, but at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City he’ll be appearing in 5D. Every child will see their name and picture appear in a personalised film, which sees Elbow the Elf save Santa’s presents. Visiting also lets you download the “Elbow Saves Christmas” mobile phone game, so you can take him away in your pocket. Tickets are £3 per person or £10 for a family.
Until 24 Dec

Santa Baby
Santa will be popping into this pop-up Christmas cocktail bar, tucked away in the arches under the railway lines at 347 Old Street in Shoreditch. Indie Christmas tunes provide the soundtrack and top mixologists have designed treats like mulled champagne and molecular Santa Baby Eggnog, using techniques like high-pressure distillation. Santa Baby has a vintage feel – the venue is modelled on a 1950s American suburban living room. 
Until 23 Dec

Santa and His Reindeer at London Zoo
Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Blitzen and of course Rudolph are all at London Zoo this Christmas. You can visit them in their paddock, as well as meeting Santa and telling him your present list (as long as you’ve been good). Cheeky elf photographers will be on hand to take a picture and each child will receive a gift to take home. Tickets are £7.
Until 24 Dec

Winter Wonderland
Every Winter, Hyde Park becomes more festive than a penguin in a Christmas jumper. Winter Wonderland is back in the park with a Christmas market, ice skating, observation wheel and a kingdom of ice and snow sculptures. Santa Land includes a free visit to Saint Nick, as well as the new “Santa’s Factory” where the elves are making gifts ready for the big day.
Until 6 Jan

Find Christmas grottos all over London with our Christmas grottos guide

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London Video of the Week: Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas Windows 2012 Fri, 16 Nov 2012 12:00:32 +0000

Here’s a great video of the work behind Fortnum & Mason’s fantastic Christmas window display for 2012. The designs were unveiled by the Lord Mayor of London, with the participation of actors from the Hackney Empire’s Christmas pantomimeDick Whittington.

The windows feature a replica of the Lord Mayor’s Coach: if you want to see the real one, pop into the Museum of London anytime for a look at the original article.

Christmas is a great opportunity to enjoy London’s amazing retail and shopping streets. Check out our guide to Christmas Shopping in the capital here.

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