Looking for Christmas things to do in London? Here are our top Christmas in London festive pop ups…
Monkey 47 Winter Lodge at Rosewood London
Though it’s partially outdoors (thin tree trunks soar up out of wooden planters through the semi open ceiling), this winter lodge in the courtyard of luxury hotel Rosewood London in Holborn is super cosy, with heated sauna-style benches hugging the paneled walls, and plenty of fur throws and snug blankets to wrap up in. There’s a gentle flicker from fir tree-shaped lanterns on old school leather-bound books, flame burners radiate gentle heat, and unique monkey memorabilia and cuckoo clocks adorn the walls.
The highlight of the Monkey 47 (learn more about this unusual premium gin here) cocktails is a sloe negroni, a sweeter variant of the classic cocktail made with Monkey 47 sloe gin, herbaceous Belsazar rosé vermouth and Suze bitters. Or warm up with a hot gin cocktail, we loved Monty strudel, another Monkey 47 sloe gin concoction inspired by an apple strudel served in a clear teapot so you can see the leaves and spices inside.
Chef Calum Franklin from next door’s Holborn Dining Room is a pie specialist, so the small food menu features plenty of pastry. ‘Monkey bites’ range from buttery Nocellara olives to crisp triple-cooked fries coated in parmesan and truffle shavings, to larger dishes such as griddled prawns in lemon garlic butter, lobster thermidor puff pastry tart and Calum’s speciality pâté en croute. The latter was served as a perfectly shaped slice of pie, the pistachio-studded turkey and bacon filing packed in around an intense little sphere of pistachio, enclosed in a thick golden pastry.
Save room for the sweet selection, as Pump Street chocolate brûlée, although very delicate in taste and texture, comes as a huge portion. The highlight is Calum’s homemade mince pie. Again, don’t expect a normal sized mince pie, this one is three times the usual size, with thick golden pastry worked beautifully into a frilly edge and a tiny Christmas tree shape cut out of the top to tempt you into the deep filling of caramelised raisins and sultanas.
Wrap up well and head to the top of Tobacco Dock for mulled wine, fondue and views over the city of London. Along with festive mulled drinks (you can add a mince pie to your order for an extra £1.50) there’ll be a selection of winter cocktails including a spiced espresso martini with cardamom syrup, and a sweet apple crumble made with caramel syrup.
When it comes to food, fondue is the focus, with Melt Fondue serving emmental and gruyere with crusty bread or go for classic Canadian poutine served with hot gravy.
It’ll also be home to London’s first rooftop ice skating surface, but maybe give it a go before you’ve drunk too many festive tipples.
This year, Christmas has been cancelled and Christmess is taking place instead. Step into Olde London where you’ll be surrounded by live jazz and indulge in a deep-Southern feast of Cajun roast turkey, candied yams, salted celeriac and all the classic festive trimmings.
If you fancy something stronger, head to Santa’s whiskey grotto for a dram, the wine bar for a glass of glog or try and find the hidden absinthe bar set up by the green fairy. This is Christmas, but not as you know it…
Queen of Hoxton Winter Rooftop: The Moroccan Medina
Want to escape the chilly London air for a warmer climate? The Queen of Hoxton rooftop in Shoreditch will be transformed into a Moroccan hideaway this winter. The rooftop riad will be adorned with vibrant tiles, lanterns and a wigwam (of course).
This Moroccan hideaway is a place to warm your tummy, too, with halloumi fries, lamb and apricot tagine and a vegan mezze board on offer. There’ll be spiced hot buttered rum and pomegranate bellinis to sip on, but if you fancy something non-alcoholic, go for a pot of mint tea or cardamom spiced coffee.
The heaters are on, pine trees are standing, and fairy lights are twinkling in the main square – Christmas has arrived at Pop Brixton. Over December, there’ll be a whole host of events taking place, from Christmas wreath making workshops, to festive food to warm you up. Vietbox will be serving Vietnamese mulled wine, infused with lemongrass and ginger, while Mama Jerk will be serving up a spiced jerk turkey.
Germans Gymnasium’s terrace at Kings Cross is being turned into The World of Tales this Christmas, inspired by the stories told by the Brother Grimm. Eight tales including Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin and Cinderella will each be recreated in cocktail form using Monkey 47 gin and Fever-Tree mixers. Little Red Riding Hood will be a spicy mixture of orange ginger ale, gin and lillet blanc. If you fancy a warming tipple, go for the Grimm’s potion – a hot G&T mixed with apple juice and blueberries. There’ll be roasted chestnuts and currywurst to enjoy alongside the drinks, too.
Forget cocktails, this winter Selfridges rooftop is focusing on hot-tails, with a warm cocktail bar at Il Tetto. Mr Lyan (of White Lyan and Dandelyan) has created seven drinks inspired by Italian classics, including a rich hot chocolate served with a slice of buttered panettone and a blazed hot scotch to warm you up over the festive season.
Bread Ahead will be bringing their doughnuts, sourdough and tarts to Mayfair this winter with a café-style residency. Open from 7am till 7pm, you’ll be able to enjoy hot breakfasts at an 18th century banqueting table, including brioche French toast with bacon and syrup, scrambled eggs served on a demi-brioche bun and brown sourdough topped with mushrooms.
In true Bread Ahead style, a limited edition Christmas Pudding doughnut has been created, topped with a gingerbread star and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Grab one (or maybe two) to take away.
Inspired by an abandoned urban fairground, this winter pop up on Oxford Street will be different to the norm. Expect fairground rides, raclette wheels and hot gin punch on tap.
Madam and Monsieur will be toasting cheese sandwiches, or if you want something even more indulgent, go for a chunk of baked Mont d’Or. Along with hot gin punch, there’ll be eggnogs and negronis to keep you cosy.
Bristol-based restaurant The Ethicurean will be swapping its walled garden for a rooftop residency at John Lewis, Oxford Street, this winter. Expect seasonal modern British dishes with a twist, taking inspiration from historic London recipes, including a notable sticky toffee apple cake, Tandoor-spiced cauliflower and a limited edition Christmas venison pie. Warming tipples will be served alongside the food, among them an eight-spice mulled negroni and a pumpkin punch served with honeyed Rooibos tea syrup.
Cosy up at the Southbank this winter in a lodge, and indulge in raclette, hot dogs, cheesy chips and hot winter mojitos. Spread across three areas, you can either keep it casual with street food, head to the refuge restaurant for a festive menu or hire out a private snow globe.
The restaurant will be inspired by après ski, with mulled wine cured gravlax salmon, game terrine and smoked goat curd to start, a vacherine, comte and emmental fondue served with bread, and artisan charcuterie for mains before finishing with winter spiced crème brûlée with cinnamon, cardmom and nutmeg.
If you want to keep cosy, choose one of the hot cocktails to sip on, from a classic mulled wine to butter rum – a drink made with spiced butter, pineapple and topped with a snowy meringue.