After deciding to spend Christmas in the UK, it seemed the ideal opportunity to combine catching up with friends and family, with visiting a number of hotspots for food,drink and shopping during the festive season. Whilst these places are equally as amazing during the summer months, they are particularly well suited for the Christmas period. Below are a number of our favourite spots.
DUCK & WAFFLE
Duck & waffle at the top of Heron tower in London’s Bishopsgate is a must. With panoramic views over the city and open 24 hours offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night menus, the restaurant is a warm, bustling, funky spot to hang out. Emphasis is on local, rustic, seasonal and sustainable British ingredients, manifested in daily inspirations created from the market’s freshest offerings. Lucky to have a crisp, clear winters day with views up to 20 miles away, Duck & Waffle was the ideal place to start the day. Its worth booking in advance as it can get very busy of a weekend.
Spitalfields Market is located five minutes from London’s Liverpool Street. Just a short walk from Heron Tower and Bishopsgate, it gives one the opportunity to walk off the large breakfast from Duck & Waffle whilst taking in the architecture of London’s older buildings. Very few cities in the world are able to merge the new and old so seamlessly like London.
Open seven-days-per-week, Spitledfields has an impressive array of shops and stalls to draw in shoppers from all over the South East and further afield. With stalls selling everything from food and drink to clothing and jewellery, homeware and antiques in an array of styles including vintage, arts and crafts and contemporary it is an amazing place to spend the morning.
RIVINGTONS BAR & GRILL
Rivingtons have two restaurants in London (in buzzing Shoreditch and historic Greenwich) and two in Dubai (one over-looking the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai, and another at the beautiful Madinat Jumeirah resort). The seasonal menu offers dishes that reflect the diverse culinary heritage of the British Isles with ingredients sourced, as much as possible, from small, independent suppliers.
Rivingtons has a simplistic, rustic style with lots of walnut furniture and cabinetry combined with crisp white table clothes and old fashioned style menus. The focus is on the food and drink rather than the interior. Thats taking nothing away from the interior design, which quietly compliments the ambiance and dining experience rather than competing for attention. A personal favourite was the Hendricks gin and tonic with the gin served in a hip flask.
THE OLD JAIL
Moving out of the city and into the countryside, The Old Jail near Biggin Hill in Kent is an 18th Century Jail that was converted in a pub and popular with the pilots during the Battle of Britain and WWII. The pub has low beams, roaring fires and the best shepard’s pie in all the land. The Old Jail is situated at the bottom of a precariously steep and winding hill and in the middle of the quintessentially English countryside. Bustling with locals enjoying a Sunday roast or a pint of bitter, the pub has a warm, homely atmosphere with lots of cosy corners and smaller intimate spaces to sit and catch up with loved ones. The ideal spot for a winter’s day when one wants to hold up somewhere out of the elements and enjoy a relaxing beverage.
Moving away from London and further into the heart of the home county of Surrey is The Packhouse in Farnham. Originally supplying antiques, the store now stock a huge mixture of antiques, reproductions and Arts & Crafts. The store is laid out over two main floors of an old bar conversion with lots of smaller rooms all leading off by way of stairs and small doorways. The Packhouse stock furniture, lighting, drapery, ornaments, jewellery and gardenware. The store also has a very sweet tea room at the back with the tables made from antique sewing machine bases, serving soups, sandwiches, tea and cakes.
Located at Farnborough airport, the Skybar and Brasserie are designed to encapsulate the style and seduction of Aviator’s interiors, serving guests with classic and contemporary cocktails to the background of ambient music. The style of the Sky Bar and Brasserie takes on a contemporary yet rich and comfortable aesthetic, with a combination of walnut, chrome and black glass, with heavy velvets and soft intimate lighting. Sleek furniture and lighting are arranged in a private / public arrangements stretching along the space. The Skybar has a modern fireplace visible from both the bar and the hotel stairway. One can sit and take in the various private jets taking off and landing at Farnborough airport through the large swooping windows.