The British capital city is preparing for its favorite holiday season. Windows are beautifully decorated, good food is everywhere and the shops offer their coolest gifts. But holiday season also means loads of people wandering around in the streets, restaurants and boutiques. So there is no time to waste while discovering the most important must-sees during this Christmas period. That is why it is with pleasure that we share with you: our ho-ho hotspots.
Europe’s biggest Christmas themed park is located in the middle of Hyde Park. And you don’t have to be a child to enjoy Peter Pan on Ice, the Teletubbies Christmas show, ice sculpting workshops or the Comedy Club. Even those who don’t like theme parks will melt for the great ambiance in this magical (and free!) wonderland.
INFO until January 6th, daily from 10am to 10pm (closed on Christmas Day), Hyde Park, www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Coal Drops Yard
Two years ago there was nothing here, except ruins of Victorian viaducts. Today the neighborhood behind the St. Pancras station is finally flourishing thanks to Coal Drops Yard: a new shopping street wrapped in a modern architectural look. The office of architect Thomas Heatherwick succeeded in restoring the old Victorian railway buildings – where coal was once stored – in full glory. Yet it is the modern looking ‘kissing roof’ that immediately attracts attention. Underneath that kissing roof houses both boutiques and restaurants. The first shop that opened here was The Coal Office by Tom Dixon, ideal for those who want to score a present for a design lover (the scented candles are great!). Those who want to surprise their girlfriends or wives can go to the beautiful perfumery of Miller Harris or the subtle London lingerie label Beija London. Foodies will also get their money’s worth here. Two of our favorite restaurants in the city center opened a second location here: Barrafina and El Pastor Tacos. In short, Coal Drops Yard has everything to take a few hours of your precious London time.
INFO Coal Drops Yard is around the corner from the St. Pancras station where the Eurostar arrives. Walk towards Regent’s Canal, cross that canal and Coal Drops Yard is on the left.
Is this real life? Is this just fantasy? The Christmas lights above Carnaby Street might sound familiar. The legendary London street collaborated with 20th Century Fox to use the iconic song text as neon lighting during the end of the year to promote the new film Bohemian Rhapsody. But the lights and the coziness are not the only good reasons to go to Carnaby Street. The street houses some of our favorite London addresses: the hilarious souvenir shop We Built This City, the preppy men’s fashion by Ben Sherman and for the foodies: Peruvian pisco sours at Senor Ceviche or a delicious garlic naan at the Indian chain Dishoom.Meer info
For this hotspot, we actually have to thank Mick Jagger. After all, it was Jagger who recommended his friends Francesco Boglione, a successful insurance broker and his wife Gael, a former model in 1997 to buy Petersham House in Richmond. The couple followed Jagger’s advice and started very small in the far south-western corner of London with a romantic, boho-chic plant store. Soon a bar and a restaurant followed. The spot became a real place of pilgrimage for lifestyle lovers and the four children of the couple wanted to take the concept to the big city. First a couple of pop-ups and since last year now a full-fledged Petersham Nurseries near Covent Garden. Here, too, you will find both a beautiful plant store that at this time is completely decorated in Christmas-style, a bar and a restaurant. Anyone looking up ‘Boho Chic’ in the dictionary will see a picture of Petersham Nurseries.
INFO Petersham Nurseries, 27 King Street, Covent Garden, www.petershamnurseries.com/covent-garden
Whoever spends a few days in London should certainly include an exhibition. The artistic offer is huge in the British capital, and the museums are architectural gems. In the recently renewed Tate Modern, for example, an exhibition is currently being held about textile artist Anni Albers, a pupil of the Bauhaus school. For those who are not immediately at home in the world of art and design, the expo of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is absolutely worth the effort. Near the Angel metro station, the psychedelic Kusama set up a few spaces of the Victoria Miro museum. Reserving a time slot in advance is absolutely a must, because the expo attracts a lot of people. Because it is free, perhaps, but especially because it is ideal instagram material.
INFO Yayoi Kusama, until December 21, Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, subway: Angel, www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/528/
How to attract people to a brick boutique in the glory days of online shopping? The answer to this question can be discovered in the brand new flagship store of the Korean eyewear label Gentle Monster. You are not wearing any glasses? No problem, even then this shop is more than worth a visit. Gentle Monster from Seoul is considered to be one of the most progressive retailers in the world. In every shop they open, they try to give visitors a special experience. In London that is a very strange experience, with a gong that shakes every three minutes and sets aliens on the move. Do not forget to look at the range of glasses and sunglasses in this trendy decor. They are at least as distracted as the interior, but that is why it is so interesting.
INFO Gentle Monster, 28-29 Argyll Street, Soho, www.gentlemonster.com/showroom/london/
Santa is rock’n roll. That is the message that luxury department store Selfridges literally brings out this autumn through its window displays. Selfridges is not new, and it is also very busy this time of the year, but the atmosphere in and around the department store is unrivaled. This is Christmas at its best. Book yourself a ‘breakfast with Santa’ or let the children take part in a real jam session with the rock Santa. Or just do what Selfridges is actually made for: foam the different floors in search of the ideal Christmas gift for yourself. If you do not find it here, you will not find it anywhere.
INFO Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, Marylebone
The Harwood Arms
The Harwood Arms is the ideal place to get culinary rest after a busy shopping day. This glorified pub is not located in the busy city center and does not serve trendy dishes like quinoa, falafel or avocado cake. On the menu: roast partridge with bacon, kale and pickles or Tamworth pork with carrots, black pudding and pale ale. Comfort food of the firm kind, accompanied by ditto wines. The Harwood Arms is the only London pub with a Michelin star. The food is therefore of top level, while the decor remains cozy and casual.
INFO The Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, Fulham, subway, Fulham Broadway, www.harwoodarms.com