The festive season is here! We are dusting off all our ornaments and ‘decking the halls’ at Craven House – which is beautifully decorated for December, as always.
There is plenty going on in and around Hampton Court this Christmas, from markets and fun fairs to carol concerts and pantomimes. Here are just some of our favourites to get you in a merry mood:
1. Hampton Court Ice Rink and Christmas Fayre
Right on our doorstep you’ll find the magical Hampton Court Ice Rink where you can whizz across the ice in the shadow of the palace. And in early December the palace courtyards play host to a celebration of all things festive food with the Festive Fayre.
2. Christmas Markets
A wander around a Christmas market is one of our favourite things. You’ll find a delightful market in Kingston’s ancient market place and if you fancy venturing further afield South Bank and Leicester Square both play host to lovely markets.
Rejoice! The pantomimes are back! London is bursting at the seams with delightful shows from Goldilocks and the Three Bears to panto favourite Cinderella. See TimeOut’s guide here. Closer to home The Rose Theatre in Kingston is set to captivate with their rendition of The Snow Queen and thrill audiences young and old with a one-night-only screening of a Muppet’s Christmas Carol.
4. Frosty walks
We are lucky to be surrounded by many beautiful parks and National Trust locations – all of whom get into the festive spirit. If you’ve got little ones in tow then head to the Shivering Snowman trail at the Winkworth Arboretum, or wander through the wintery meadows at Runnymede, ending off a bracing walk with a warming drink and mince pie in the tea-room.
5. Winter Wonderland
As if by magic an enchanted Christmas village complete with rides and rollercoasters, a Christmas market, a circus tent and the largest ice rink in the UK pop up in Hyde Park through November and December. It’s a really fun day (or evening) out for kids and adults alike, with festive shows, comedy, food to keep you fuelled and lots of fun and games to get involved in.
6. Christmas at Kew
With lights dripping from every branch and bough, the winter trail at Kew Gardens returns for another spectacular season. Collect a cup of spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate and take a wander around the sparkling gardens, finishing around the fire pit for a toasted marshmallow (or three).
7. Christmas Lights
Some might argue that London is at it’s absolute best at Christmas time, when every street corner and shop window is bedecked in glittering Christmas finery. Oxford, Bond, Regent and Carnaby Streets are always quite the spectacle, as are the windows of Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and Liberty. And don’t forget to swing by Covent Garden on the way as their decorations are always beautiful.
8. Christmas Glow RHS Wisely
RHS Wisley undergoes an enchanting transformation around this time of year with giant botanical light instillations illuminating the garden. Follow the light trail and stop in The Glasshouse for the Enchanted Botanical Christmas display. There will be pop-up food vans along the trail and the food hall, Terrace Restaurant (bookings essential) and Wisely café will be open too.
I hope your Christmas stay at Craven House is filled with good food, people and memories.
Best wishes for the festive season,