The weather might be getting colder and darker, but on the positive side, the festive spirit is starting to draw in. This winter, London plays host to an array of seasonal experiences for you to embrace the chill. Rosie rounds up our favourites.
Wembley Park is launching its first-ever immersive light festival on 20 November, transforming the neighbourhood into a winter playground through a trail of specially-commissioned light and sound installations. The acclaimed multisensory ‘Sonic Runway’ installation, imported from Nevada’s Burning Man festival for its European debut, features music that ripples down a 100-metre corridor of 32 concentric rings on Olympic Way, triggering kaleidoscopic patterns of light that move at the speed of sound. A bespoke music soundtrack will also be curated in partnership with Boxpark Wembley ahead of the official launch night on 20 November.
Other installations include the ‘Murmuration of Hopes’ light commission, as well as the tallest LED Christmas tree ever built in London with a specially commissioned kinetic 100,000 LED light display.
Le Pont de la Tour is embracing all things autumnal with a rustic and cosy pop-up truffle hut outside its Butler’s Wharf entrance, serving an indulgent five-course truffle tasting menu. Located outside the elegant French restaurant and with views over the Thames, the cabin’s warm and inviting interiors and show-stopping truffle tasting menu make the perfect spot for a romantic meal à deux, with inner walls cladded with bark and slim tree trunks, a roof covered entirely with moss, and interiors filled with hanging lights, furs and cushions to make it extra cosy.
Bookings can be made here and are available from 2 October to 30 November 2019 for lunch and dinner, with a 5-course tasting menu and a bottle of Moët & Chandon – don’t mind if we do…
After a sold-out debut in 2018, The Great Christmas Feast, London’s secret Christmas dining experience, returns for another epic festive season from 22 November to 4 January. Curated by The Lost Estate, London’s makers of live arts and dining experiences, the 2019 edition fuses bewitching theatre, live music, three lavish multi-course dining interludes and delicious Dickensian cocktails.
At a secret location moments from Sloane Square, guests will discover a door that leads back in time to Victorian London and the chambers of Charles Dickens. On entering, they will find themselves entwined in the story of A Christmas Carol, brought to life by a collective of musicians, chefs, mixologists and, of course, Dickens himself. Guests will then drink, dine and be merry, immersed in this magical Christmas world with dishes inspired by scenes from the novel, using contemporary gastronomic techniques to give steaming and delicious life to classic Victorian recipes.
Non-dining tickets start at £34, dining tickets start at £79, or opt for the all-night open bar option for £49…
London’s alternative cinema experience brand Backyard Cinema has unveiled two winter cinema experiences in its new Capital Studios location in Wandsworth: the Winter Night Garden, where customers enter through a magical wardrobe and are transported to an enchanted forest, and a Snow Kingdom hidden beyond a secret underground passageway.
Alongside the programme of festive films, the Studio Bar will be serving mulled wine and boozy hot chocolate, Christmas carol singers will be on stage, and Christmas specials will be served in The Yard, where you’ll find restaurants like Honest Burger, Mother Clucker, and DAPPA. Tickets for films can be booked here, while guests are also welcome to soak up the festive atmosphere in The Yard and the Studio Bar free of charge.
From 15 November, French restaurant Orrery will be bringing a touch of winter frost to London as it transforms its rooftop into a white winter terrace in partnership with The White Company and Moët & Chandon: think white sheepskin rugs and luxury cashmere throws, with candles filling the air with notes of chestnuts, vanilla and pine.
Drinks follow the same spice theme, with the ‘Vin Epicé’ spiked with Vermouth Rosso and spiced with cloves, cinnamon, orange and chestnuts, and a ‘Spritz d’Hiver’ with Moët & Chandon champagne, vermouth rosso and a spiced syrup, with cinnamon, clove and a dash of fresh orange undertones.
A special winter terrace menu has also been created for guests to dine on the terrace – book here.
The banks of the River Thames in south-west London are being transformed to a yuletide village this winter, complete with bubbling Nordic woodland hot tubs, festive igloos, fire pits and fur-lined cabins.
What was once Fulham Beach Club in the summer months is now Winterland, where guests can book igloos and cabins to share winter comfort food like cheese fondue and sourdough wood-fired pizzas, or warm up in a hot tub while sipping a steaming mug of mulled wine. Apres-ski vibes will also be channelled with DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Winterland opens on 6 November and bookings are being taken for the various experiences on offer.
Main image: Wembley Park Winterfest
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After graduating from Cambridge University with a triple First, Rosie decided to pursue a career in the fitness industry rather than follow the traditional path of her peers in investment banking. Unable to shake off the fast-paced routine she developed in her City job, she achieves balance by winding down in yoga sessions, escaping on fitness retreats, and going for extended brunches that somehow seem to wind up in a hidden gem of a cocktail bar.