Christmas isn’t just for children. Take time together this festive season with Marie-Claire Chappet’s guide to your quality couple time on the town.
Moonlit romance on ice. Not a stumbling tot in sight…Some of London’s most beautiful landmarks play host to outdoor ice rinks during the festive season. An after-hours, child-free skate and a warm cup of mulled wine is a Christmas date worth booking the babysitter for.
- Natural History Museum: open until 10pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 13 November-4 January | nhm.ac.uk
- Somerset House: (above) open until 11.30pm on selected dates from 11 November-11 January | somersethouse.org.uk
- Canary Wharf: open Mondays-Saturdays until 11pm from 1 November-28 February | icerinkcanarywharf.co.uk
- Hampton Court Palace: stays open until 10pm from 21 November- 4 January | hrp.org.uk
Spent all day arguing about what to buy your in-laws or how big your turkey really needs to be? Take a welcome repose at some of London’s finest in-store restaurants
Café Liberty, Liberty’s
On the second floor of London’s iconic Liberty’s is its stylish 1920s café. Spanish head chef Ivan Gonzalez Blasco is currently working wonders with the menu, where you can choose from a heartening lunch,delicious sharing platters (try the Fishivore) or a decadent afternoon tea with an indulgent glass of much-needed bubbly.
Strictly no reservations. Open Mondays-Saturdays,10-7pm. Sundays, 12-5pm.
Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market
Style maven couples can take time out from perusing the Givenchy and Alexander Wang’s for coffee and cakes at Dover Street Market’s Rose Bakery. Created by esteemed baker Rose Carrarini, the Bakery is the perfect place to stop amid simple, warming café classics.
Strictly no reservations.Mondays-Saturdays, 11am- 5pm. Sundays, 12-4pm.
The Fountain, Fortnum & Mason
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to Fortnum & Mason, the traditional shopping spot in Piccadilly that’s been around since 1707. Lunch at The Fountain Restaurant (above) is a treat or book a table at one of their Supper Clubs. On 27 November, Angela Hartnett will be cooking up a storm and 11 December will see Tom Parker Bowles hosting before Yotam Ottolenghi takes over the reins in January 2015.
Mon-Fri, 7am-7.45pm. Saturdays, 8am-7.45pm. Sundays, 8am-4.45pm.
Supper clubs start at 7pm.
Fifth Floor Restaurant, Harvey Nichols
Why not get away from all the stressed-shopper-clogged streets by getting far, far above them? The airy fifth floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols offers a peaceful oasis and stunning views over the Knightsbridge rooftops.Choose from their express lunch menu or leisurely tuck into some quality seasonal fare and ruminate what to buy grandma over a glass of red.
Open Mondays-Saturdays,12-11pm. Sundays, 12-6pm.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Christmas at Kew
Leave the kids with Grandma and get yourselves to Kew (above) this Christmas where the iconic botanical gardens are illuminated at night for a mile of stunning giant light sculptures, a garden of fire, sparkling giant snowflakes, vintage rides, festive food and opportunities for seasonal smooching at the mistletoe moments.
26 November-3 January
Crafty Fox Christmas Market
Crafty Fox have been revolutionising the way we view Craft Fairs since 2010. Their Christmas markets are a thing of wonder: equal parts festive splurging and urban cool. In three venues this December, there’s no excuse to miss snapping up that unique gift.
Dalston, 29-30 November, Brixton, 6-7 December, Peckham 13-14 December
This untouched 18th century Spitalfields house is part historical museum and part art installation. In the festive season it takes on a life of its own, providing a lavish peak into Christmases of ages past. Book a Silent Night Tour and recline in these fascinating rooms with mulled wine and mince. 30 November to 5 January