There are arguably few other places that shine as bright as London during the holiday season. The capital is packed with Yuletide sights and activities such as a sing-along concert in the famed Royal Albert Hall, one of the city’s most distinctive buildings, a winter journey to the countryside aboard a vintage train and a decadent dinner accompanied by a performance of a Christmas Carol. These ideas from London and beyond will add sparkle to any itinerary this holiday season.
One More Sleep ‘Til Christmas
This holiday season, travelers can experience a quintessential London Christmas thanks to The Kensington. Situated in the heart of its namesake neighborhood, the hotel is offering a package that includes a four-night stay in a room or suite with daily à la carte breakfast, a festive lunch at the hotel restaurant Town House and two tickets to the Christmas Eve carols at the Royal Albert Hall, just a stone’s throw away from the hotel and a true London institution. The hall has been bringing jubilant shows to the city for almost 150 years. In addition to singing along with the carolers, children will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus himself. After the show, guests can stop at the National History Museum’s ice skating rink to glide under the twinkling lights with the iconic Waterhouse building as a backdrop. Back at the hotel, enjoy a Christmas Day lunch set in the cozy drawing rooms of Town House restaurant. The traditional feast includes all the trimmings, from Christmas pudding to Perrier-Jouët Champagne. Little ones will be delighted to find a surprise turndown treat awaiting them back in their beds. Available from December 22-28. Rates start from $1,998 based on double occupancy B&B for four nights.
A Day at the Market
Known for being home to one of Europe’s top Christmas markets, Bath features over 150 twinkling chalets selling everything from homeware to handcrafted jewelry. For gourmands, there will be plenty of treats to enjoy on the spot or to take home for later, such as locally made cheese and chocolates. For a truly festive experience, Belmond British Pullman will host a roundtrip journey to Bath from London on December 4. The package includes a Bellini brunch on the outbound trip, a day at the market in Bath, and an indulgent four-course dinner on the return. Rates start at $650 per passenger.
Escape to the Swiss Alps
Cheese fondue, glühwein and all the cozy winter comforts of a Swiss resort can be found at The Bloomsbury’s seasonal al fresco restaurant, Dalloway Terrace. In collaboration with the alpine resort town of Gstaad, the restaurant has been reimagined with snow-dusted pine garlands and traditional cow bells nestled amongst the frosty foliage. Famed as a winter playground for A-listers and global icons, Gstaad’s Swiss traditions are apparent in the terrace, such as bespoke “Scherenschnitte” (Swiss paper cuttings) on display around the restaurant. Travelers to London this winter can find a cozy spot on the heated terrace and warm up with Foxford woolen blankets and a Swiss inspired afternoon tea complete with a Mont Blanc tart, Edel Weiss white chocolate cream and a Swiss chocolate snow coated pine tree. Warming cocktails such as an alpine toddy, a hot toddy with a chamomile twist are delivered to the table with a Retro Viewer that allows guests to gaze upon the picturesque mountains of Gstaad between sips. Afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace starts at $50 per person.
Dinner with Dickens
Guests can experience a Christmas in the city and country with Belmond’s new package that combines two nights at Belmond Cadogan Hotel – the British brand’s first London address with private access to the Cadogan Estate Gardens – and one night at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a 15th-century manor in the English countryside. On December 21, actor Gerald Dickens, great-great-grandson of A Christmas Carol author Charles Dickens, will perform a one-man show of his ancestor’s classic story at Le Manoir’s two Michelin-starred restaurant. Diners will not only be treated to light-hearted scenes from the story but will also hear diary excerpts from those who were close to the author. Rates for the Belmond Cadogan Hotel and Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons package start at $2,955 per couple; dinner at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons can be added for $290 per person.