Finding an original Christmas gift can be quite the challenge – especially if your loved ones have outgrown Santa Claus. If you really want to wow them, why not treat them to an experience you can share together? Just a hop across the Channel, London brims with thrilling possibilities. Whether you’re after a festive afternoon tea, a date night in a museum or a concert in a legendary venue, all you need is your passport.
Queen Victoria inaugurated the Royal Albert Hall in 1871, in memory of her late husband. Its stage has seen the likes of Winston Churchill, Jimi Hendrix, and the Spice Girls. The magnificent concert hall has kept up with the times with an eclectic programme, from intimate concerts to tennis tournaments and world music. Not to mention Luzia, a Cirque du Soleil production well worth two balcony seats.
Part upscale drinks, part afternoon tea, this Southbank bar’s Fancy Tea takes its inspiration from the old-school nibbles of 1980s dinner parties. Miniature sausage rolls, pineapple scones and fine pastry are paired with daring cocktails created by the award-winning bartender Mr Lyan. A must for lovers of all things retro, with a stirring view of the Thames to boot.
Granted a Royal Warrant, British perfumers Penhaligon’s artful scents are for everyone, whether you’re fond of striking floral notes or head-turning exoticism. Spoilt for choice? Book a free profiling session with their in-house experts. They’ll help you find your ideal fragrance in less than one hour – all from the cosseting comfort of their Regent Street boutique.
Every first Friday of the month (except in January), the Tate Britain opens its doors for the evening. Culture buffs gather here for a chance to experience the museum in a playful, more experimental light. As well as sassy voguing classes and life-drawing workshops, look out for inspiring concerts and talks. The programme’s free and changes every month, so expect some surprises.
A former railway repair shed, Camden’s Roundhouse gained its fame as the spiritual home of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll. The golden age of the Clash and the Yardbirds may be long gone, but the venue has managed to hold on to its youthful energy and top-notch acoustics. Gigs here are unforgettable: treat someone to the soul stylings of English songstress Alice Russel, say, or the African Folk sounds of Fatoumata Diawara.
While London is a city for all seasons, it seriously turns on the charm in winter.
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