TheSloaney

The Sloaney’s guide to Christmas in London

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By LAURA TOOGOOD

With the festive season fast-approaching, there are a number of places in London to visit for some seasonal fun. Whilst we are still in November, many of the best occasions require pre-booking, so is time to start planning now…

An evening at the Olympia International Horse Show

The Olympia International Horse Show is not just for fans of showjumping. Whilst keen Equestrians can watch some of the best horses and riders in the world, the crowds also come to Olympia in December to enjoy the fantastic country themed shopping that is on offer. The Shetland Grand National, Kennel Club Dog Agility Championships and the splendid Christmas Finale, where you might just catch a glimpse of Father Christmas and his reindeer, means this occasion will appeal to all of the family.

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The Christmas finale at Olympia Horse Show

The Christmas finale at Olympia Horse Show

Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason

Following an impressive refurbishment and the launch of The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon earlier this year, there are few places in the world that can beat this historic location for a spot of festive Afternoon Tea. Her Majesty The Queen gave her Royal seal of approval earlier this year when she was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge to dine on the top floor. Guests can enjoy an endless and divine selection of treats as the accompanying pianist soothes your mood with tunes from his repertoire.

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Listen to the live pianist during Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

Listen to the live pianist during Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason

A long wintery walk to Richmond

If you are London-based and wake up to a crisp, frosty and sunny December morning, pull on your wellington boots and head towards the Thames path. Start a long walk west along the river at Chelsea, Fulham or Hammersmith. It you stroll at a relaxed pace you will arrive at Richmond in only a few hours, whilst admiring the beautiful scenery and stopping off at one of the watering holes near Kew. Once you arrive at Richmond, there are a number of quaint pubs that will welcome you for a warming roast lunch as you admire the pretty riverside view. We recommend taking up residence at the Pitcher and Piano.

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Enjoy a long wintery walk to Richmond where you'll be welcomed by stunning views from The Pitcher and Piano

Enjoy a long wintery walk to Richmond where you'll be welcomed by stunning views from The Pitcher and Piano

A traditional West End show: The 39 Steps

For a very traditional theatre experience, we recommend ‘The 39 Steps‘, which is running for the next couple of months at The Criterion near Piccadilly. This version of the show offers a comedy take on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller. The small cast play a multitude of roles and you will find yourself laughing out loud, whilst also gripped to this exciting stage show.

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The 39 Steps offers a traditional pre-Christmas theatre experience

The 39 Steps offers a traditional pre-Christmas theatre experience

 

Champagne at Paramount

If you want to enjoy breathtaking and panoramic views of the capital city during the Christmas period, a trip to Paramount is simply a must. Located at the top of the Centre Point Building, don’t let the busy streets surrounding Tottenham Court Road Tube Station deter you from making a trip towards the stars. We have yet to experience a rooftop bar that can rival these views and Paramount is streaks ahead of the Gherkin and Galvin at Windows in this capacity. Treat yourself to a glass of Billicart Salmon Champagne whist admiring the frosty skyline.

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The Paramount Club champagne bar at the Centre Point Building in London

The Paramount Club champagne bar at the Centre Point Building in London

 

Christmas Shopping in Harrods

The spectacular window displays where Disney meets Haute Couture have been causing a traffic jam of passing shoppers in Knightsbridge recently. Harrods has further enchantment to offer inside with the Christmas section on the second floor already busy with those preparing for the festive season. The food hall is the ideal place to stock up on a whole host of treats for the holiday and a seasonal trip to London’s most renowned department store for gift shopping is a must.

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Christmas Shopping at Harrods

Christmas Shopping at Harrods

 

Dinner at Beach Blanket Babylon

Few venues in London can rival the quirky, cosy and outlandish grotto style décor of Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill. This is one of those restaurants that seems to have that special Christmas vibe all year. The sparkling lights add a sophisticated twinkle to the bar and the striking furniture invites you to snuggle around one of several fires. You need to cross a striking shipwreck bridge to venture towards the dining area, where each table is positioned to offer a discreet and intimate dining experience. The extensive food and wine selection offers some quality choices.

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Dinner at Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill

Dinner at Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill

 

Winter Wonderland

For the ultimate festive fever, a trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is essential. London’s leading Christmas Market boasts plenty of magical stalls, a giant observation wheel so you can admire the city from a height, an ice kingdom with stunning sculptures, as well as an ice rink. Children can also visit the ‘Santa Land’ and meet the jolly fellow in person to drop of their letter.

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Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is the ultimate festive event

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is the ultimate festive event

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