Christmas in London is unlike any other. Stunning retail opportunities abound in the capital, with magnificent Christmas light projects popping up around every corner. There are also a plethora of odd things to see and do in the city, as well as a plethora of hotels from which to do so. We’ve chosen 10 fantastic ones that will serve as the perfect backdrop for everything from carols in medieval churches to ice skating at Somerset House.
1: PORT LYMPNE, KENT
A stay at this Kentish nature reserve is the UK’s equivalent to a Christmas safari – the 600 acres here are home to lions, tigers, bears, and giraffes, which can be viewed on a brisk tour. The Garden Room’s Christmas Eve lunch is followed by mince pies and a visit from Santa Claus. On Christmas morning, gifts are exchanged in bed, breakfast hampers are sent to rooms, and live music is provided in the afternoon. Also, read Best Tacos near me.
2: THE LYGON ARMS, THE COTSWOLDS
Tramping through the Cotswolds countryside in the winter is especially attractive, when the meandering cobblestone streets are adorned with frost and blazing fires cast a warm glow. On Christmas Eve, local carol singers perform, a country-style supper is required on Christmas Day, and a Boxing Day walk is followed by warm hunks of pork pie and spiced mulled wine at Broadway’s Lygon Arms. Also read romantic hotels near me.
3: THE MITRE, LONDON
The Mitre, one of the UK’s 2020 openings, has an air of royalty. It’s only a short walk from Hampton Court Palace, King Henry VIII’s favourite house and one of London’s cheeriest holiday facades. The Grade II-listed hotel is located directly on the Thames, with views of the river’s chilly Arcadian banks. Wake up in a big four-poster bed in a candy-colored bedroom on Christmas morning and bundle up for a spin on the popular Hampton Court Palace ice rink. Keep your fingers crossed for snow: the grounds of Hampton Court are picture-perfect beneath a fresh blanket.
4: Heckfield Place, Hampshire
This mature country house hotel manages to combine elegance and homeliness without the swagger of other establishments. With cocktail-making classes and films, Christmas at Heckfield is like having your own lot. On Christmas Eve, the Polar Express will arrive, along with Father Christmas and his reindeer. There’s also midnight mass at the church next door if you can stay awake. Stay for the Boxing Day children’s Olympics, archery and falconry, or even better, back at the ranch for jazz and cocktails. Also read Breakfast Near Me.
5: BEAVERBROOK, SURREY
This Surrey mansion was purchased by media mogul Lord Beaverbrook in 1910, but its most recent incarnation as a hotel only opened a few years ago. It’s the epitome of a country house: parquet flooring, open fires, restored antiques, and art, all of which serve as a stunning backdrop for a liberal sprinkling of traditional Christmas trimmings. Enter through a massive storybook emblazoned with Rudyard Kipling’s poem Christmas at Cherkley Court, which he composed while a visitor there. Before a classic turkey lunch paired with free-flowing mulled cider, there’s an ice rink to work up an appetite. On Boxing Day, unwind with a visit to the superb spa.
6: Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
This 232-room Perthshire estate with two Michelin-starred restaurants, which has been refurbished in an understated modern style, goes all out for Christmas, putting on an ice rink and arranging a visit from Santa Claus and his elves. Non-golfers can attempt cocktail-making and off-road driving, participate in the annual clay-pigeon-shooting competition and treasure hunt, or have their fate told in the Gleneagles Suite. It’s possible that you’ll get snow.
7: Babington House, Somerset
The Soho House company has had a rural outpost in a listed Georgian building outside of Frome for almost 20 years. It has retained its original trendy aspect despite numerous celebrity weddings and major renovations. Members go here for a hot mulled Somerset cider at the zinc-topped bar, a swim in the heated indoor or outdoor pool, and a treatment at the Cowshed Spa overlooking the kitchen garden over the festive season. The hotel hosts a visit from Father Christmas with gifts for the kids, cocktails and canapés in the bar, and candlelit carols in the neighbouring chapel as part of its seasonal specialities. On Boxing Day, there’s a large sit-down meal and a selection of outdoor activities, including archery, clay pigeon shooting, and pony rides.
8: The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
The sixth Pig from the cult brand is set among five acres in Kent’s idyllic countryside, in a 17th-century house. The hotel’s rich navy and deep berry burgundy tones, lighted by puffing fireplaces and candles, make for a particularly warm Christmas backdrop, and with Canterbury Cathedral only 10 minutes away, a carol sing-along should be on the cards. There will be no tinsel, but the celebrations will be basic but enjoyable. Try to get a room in the rustic barn, which has an own terrace, views of the countryside, and a bathroom with a roll-top tub and chaise longue. This is the time to wallow if there ever was one. Also, read Best Italian Restaurants Near Me.
9: Forest Side, Lake District
Grasmere was described by Wordsworth as the “loveliest site that man hath ever found,” and guests staying at the 20-room Forest Side hotel can attend Midnight Mass at St Oswald’s, where the poet is buried. As befitting a gourmet hotspot, Cumbrian native and passionate forager Kevin Tickle’s festive menu departs from convention with local mead on arrival, a six-course Christmas lunch featuring venison pastrami and wild boar, and a hog roast in the evening. There’s a year-end quiz, and guests who don’t want to clamber up Helm Cragg on Boxing Day can stroll through the hotel’s 43 acres of kitchen gardens and forest.
10: Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, Wiltshire
At this 42-room estate with tree-lined avenue and Palladian facade, Father Christmas rides in a horse-drawn carriage, and Boxing Day activities include strolls in the 500-acre grounds, a ride on one of the 35 horses, a treasure hunt, and a black-tie dinner. Lucknam Park is also an epicure’s dream, with mince pies and mulled wine in the library after Midnight Mass at Colerne Parish Church on Christmas Eve, and a black-tie dinner on December 26 at Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones.