London at Christmas is magical. I spent a lovely 3 days in London at the beginning of December with 3 of my girlfriends. It was a trip we had been planning since around February. I think it was me that instigated it by saying that I had never visited the shops or visited London at London or seen the Christmas lights.
Our visit was Thursday to Saturday, trying to avoid the busyness of the weekend. We all became friends through our shared hobby of entering competitions. Due to this we were able to pool some of the prizes we had won during the year, mostly experience vouchers, to cover the cost of many of our treats. The downside to this was that we had a few prizes to to claim which dictated a lot of our time and itinerary. We never did get to see the Regent Street lights at night! Read on to see what we got up to.
The idea of the trip began in around February time and we began to actually plan from around September. By booking train tickets and hotel rooms early we were able to get these at discount rates to minimise the expense of a trip to London at Christmas
As we had got a discounted rail fare by booking early we were able to travel First Class. Our day started with a bacon sandwich, tea and coffee. This was soon followed by a shared bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne!
Our hotel was the hub by Premier Inn Kings Cross. We each had a double room. The rooms are modern and compact and are perfect for 1 occupant. The bed is classed as a double but there is only access onto it from 1 side, meaning there would be a bit of a squash for 2 and if the occupant nearest the wall needed the loo at night they would have to climb over the other! The bathroom and shower was more than adequate – the rooms are well thought out to maximise space.
The hotel itself is in a great location with a lively bar and restaurant. Breakfast was included and described as Continental, this really did not do it justice there was a very large range of produce and choice available. The hotel was very well staffed and they were all so efficient and friendly. We would all definitely stay here again.
We travelled around the City using buses and Uber mostly. The first afternoon we headed to Regent Street and Liberty. As stated a couple of us had never visited London at Christmas before. A trip to Liberty was high on our to see list. I loved the old building with the fabulous Oak staircases and panelling. We loved browsing the very expensive silk scarves and handbags.
Next stop was Fortnum and Mason’s food hall, again another venue I had never visited. We all purchased a few treats for family and friends. I really liked the decor and produce available. Pricey but a lovely Christmas treat.
Our long day continued with Afternoon Tea in the The Galvin at The Athaneum Hotel. A lovely setting with friendly staff and great food. We are serial afternoon teaers! If there is such a thing and enjoyed the fare of offer.
Our final destination for the first day was over to the Apollo Theatre to watch Everybodys Talking About Jamie. I have to admit this was not my choice of show, I would have preferred a couple of others over this but I also know that I can be set in my ways regarding what I watch at the theatre and it is good to be introduced to performances I may not have chosen myself!that We had a couple of pre performance drinks in The White Horse close to the theatre. Myself and Mr Fitz love pubs and it has to be said that London have so many magnificent hostelries. That alone is a purpose for visiting the City!
The show has a very contemporary feel and subject matter, briefly the show revolves around Jamie and his school friends. Jamie is a 16 year old boy living on a council estate, he is openly gay and his career aspiration is to become a drag queen. His mother and friends are supportive, his estranged father is not. His best friend is a muslim girl in a Hijab. There are lots of risque lines and gestures but I have to say despite my reservations it was so entertaining and had you grinning from ear to ear. A real feel good show.
Following this it was back to the hotel for a final night cap in the bar after a very long enjoyable day.
Our second day started early again as we had purchased tickets for Kensington Palace for 10.30 am. The Palace has 2 exhibitions covered by the ticket – Princess Diana’s dresses and Queen Victoria revisited. You can walk around the Palace in any order. We chose to look at the state rooms first where we came across a performance from 2 actors as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The theme was the Royals at Christmas and they acted out a piece about their plans for the day which culminated in an audience participation rendition of the 12 days of Christmas – well the first 5 only. This was so entertaining and we were so glad we caught it!
The Queen Victoria exhibition was so fascinating, it was so interesting to see so many authentic pieces like clothing, pictures and jewellery on display.
We saved the exhibition of Princess Diana’s until last, this was the main reason for visiting the Palace. We are all fans of Diana, I personally remember her wedding and was working a night shift the night she died and watched all the events unfold in real time following the live news broadcasts.
The exhibition was smaller than we expected, in fact one of my friends commented that it was a little like the way Diana was seen by the Royals at the end, someone to be tucked away from public view. We learned that many of her dresses were auctioned off for charity and then loaned back to the Palace to be displayed. We really enjoyed looking at those available, including the tweed suit she wore on honeymoon at Balmoral – to be honest this is hideous and dowdy! There is also the dark blue velvet dress that she wore when she danced with John Travolta.
The one we all wanted to see – known as the Revenge Dress was not included in the exhibition unfortunately. For £16 a ticket we thought it great value for money.
Next stop was Harrods and again the Food Hall before enjoying a cream tea in Harrods tea room. We were sat next to the pianist and it was a very festive enjoyable hour.
We returned to our hotel for a freshen up before dinner that we had pre booked at The Parcel Yard at Kings Cross. This venue was so busy and noisy but we had good food and service. The bar and restaurant was packed with people celebrating London at Christmas.
After a final night cap it was time for bed again after another busy packed day.
Before our return home the next morning we visited St Pancras station to see the Tiffany Christmas tree and ate a very large brunch at Bill’s in Islington – a prize of a £100 tab! We all ate really well and had enough funds left for a last bottle of champagne! After all it is Christmas.
This was so enjoyable, even though Mr Fitz is my best friend and soul mate I think it is good to have time away with your girlfriends – good for the soul and gave us all the opportunity to do the things that our men don’t always want to do.
Have you been to any of these venues? Did you like them as much as us? What do you like to do in London at Christmas? Let me know or tell me of other places we may visit when we return.
Email me or comment I love to hear from you – thanks for reading today