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Come winter, London pulls out all the stops. The city shines bright, from Regent Street’s spectacular lights to Selfridges’ whimsical window displays. But Christmas isn’t just about hitting the shops. London stays hip even during the holidays, when seasonal pop-ups sprout up all over town. Go ice-skating on Somerset House’s glorious outdoor rink, take a bewitching walk through Kew Gardens at night, or drop in on the Queen of Hoxton’s magical rooftop. Need more inspiration? Give these five ideas a go, and you might just find yourself believing in Santa again…

City or station
City or station

Experience the magic of Christmas in London

  • Fabrique Bakery

    385, Geffrye Street, E2 H8Z

    There is nothing like the warm, heady scent of Fabrique’s cinnamon buns to bolster the festive spirit. The Scandinavian bakery has five London locations, but all of its breads and pastries are baked in Hoxton, in a lovingly converted railway arch. Take a well-deserved “fika” break and savour them warm from the oven, while picking up tricks of the trade from watching the bakers at work.

  • Jimmy's Lodge and Igloos

    78 Waterloo Bridge, SE1 9PX

    Every winter, Jimmy Garcia sets up see-through igloos (designed for six to 10 people) along the river’s South Bank. Known for his spectacular pop-ups, the plucky young chef has recreated the luxe, cosy vibes of Courchevel. Tuck into a cheese fondue or split a prime rib of beef. Book ahead if you can; if you miss out, the next-door chalet makes a good fall-back plan. 

  • The Churchill Arms pub

    119 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN

    In summer, its façade all but disappears beneath a curtain of flowers; in winter, it’s covered in twinkling Christmas trees. Winston Churchill’s grandparents were regulars at this Notting Hill pub, a local institution since 1750. Inside, beneath a ceiling strung with hanging lanterns and pitchers, people gather around pints of real ale and hearty Thai dishes. A quirky pairing, in true British style.

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Image credits: © Jeff Eden, RBG Kew; © Jeff Eden, RBG Kew; © Sam Harris; © Jimmy’s Lodge and Igloos; © SAM A HARRIS; © Eurostar; © SAM A HARRIS; © LD Communications