London remains a hotbed of activity in the lead-up to Christmas and the holidays. A premium grocery store, a new Google pop-up and a King’s Cross opening where arts and commerce come together are retail highlights, while the culture calendar is dominated by immersive festive pop-ups which are keeping the spirit of Christmas alive and truly well in the heart of the city. We’ll see you on the ice…
Harrods’ Fresh Market Hall: The opening of Harrods’ Fresh Market Hall is part of a two-year overhaul by British design agency David Collins Studio. Key features of the grand art deco ground-floor space, which caters to the city’s growing numbers of vegan consumers, include the seasonality-driven Vegetable Butchery. Visitors can “customise, chop, mix and readily prepare any vegetable mix desired”. There’s also a cheese section displaying artisanal produce on floor-to-ceiling shelves, as well as a seafood stand offering sustainably sourced fish. There is also a greater selection of grab-and-go foods and drinks.
87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
Coal Drops Yard: If you’re looking for some last-minute gifts that can’t be found anywhere else, than head to Coal Drop Yards, which is a new must-see retail and lifestyle destination. Situated in the King’s Cross area, expect to find an eclectic and experiential mix of both established and emerging retail brands, including English fashion designer Paul Smith, Samsung, UK multi-brand fashion retailer Wolf & Badger and the family-owned French homeware label Caravane – to name a few. It’s also home to a slew of restaurants and bars, such as Spanish tapas joint Barrafina, Mexican eatery Casa Pastor, and a space by Parisian chocolate brand Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse.
Stable Street, N1C 4AB
Google Pixel 3 Curiosity Rooms: Just in time for the holidays Google has opened a temporary three-floor space on Regent Street in Piccadilly Circus. It serves to highlight the features of its new Pixel 3 phone, with unashamedly Insta-friendly vignettes that put the tech into context. Alongside a space selling the phone and other Google smart home products (Google Home and Google Chromecast), it’s also hosting a handful of micro pop-ups from British brands including Patch Plants and Joe’s Tea Co. A programme of free events is designed to lure its millennial target audience, with talks on feminism, fashion craft workshops, live podcasts and music gigs all bookable via the website. It’s open until December 16 2018.
55 Regent Street, W1B 4DY
Brasserie of Light at Selfridges: A 24ft-high crystal-encrusted Pegasus statue by infamous British artist Damien Hirst is the visual calling card for Selfridges’ new 146-cover restaurant, Brasserie of Light. The piece, which is suspended from the ceiling, is the pinnacle of the art deco space on the first floor of the department store. Serving “British and internationally inspired dishes” as well as Champagne afternoon tea, the restaurant has its own Duke Street entrance – allowing it to operate outside store hours.
400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
John Lewis & Partners Roof Garden: The Oxford Street branch of UK department store John Lewis & Partners is getting into the Christmas mood with a rooftop garden comprising a bar from London gin distillery Sipsmith, a restaurant from UK pie specialists MyPie and an ice rink, which costs £8 ($10) to use and is bookable via the brand’s e-commerce site. The rooftop is also hosting cocktail masterclasses twice weekly throughout December, wreath decorating workshops, and live music.
300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX
Dalloway Terrace: ‘Winter At Dalloway’ has returned to The Bloomsbury hotel’s all-weather terrace. The sought-after spot has been transformed into an icy haven of crystallised white, pink and silver petals – complete with natural lichen across the ceiling and walls. The installation is completed with festive touches such as cosy hot water bottles, Foxford woolen blankets and a chimenea on the patio. Guests can keep extra warm with truffle and cheese fondues, hot cocktails and a seasonal menu of decadent winter dishes.
16-22 Great Russell Street, Fitzrovia, WC1B 3NN
100 Women: To honour the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the UK, British fashion film platform ShowStudio, founded by acclaimed British photographer Nick Knight, has commissioned a body of illustrative work featuring 100 models that “empower, provoke and challenge the conventions of femininity”. The result is a series of fashion illustrations depicting those women in the outfits they’ve felt most powerful in. They include British model Kate Moss wearing David Bowie’s playsuit at the 2014 Brit Awards, drawn by Swedish illustrator Cecilia Carlstedt; and British model Cara Delevingne in Chanel’s sci-fi brocade pantsuit at the 2017 Met Gala, interpreted by Slovenian artist Sabina Šinko. It runs until January 31 2019.
1 Ebury Street, SW1W 0LU
Neighbourhood Cinema: Neighbourhood Cinema is popping up at Tropicana Beach Club, which has been transformed into ‘Frozen Island’ for the season – think frosted palm trees, icicles and giant snow globes. Screenings will take place every Sunday between selected dates. Tickets for adults start at £25 and include a frozen cocktail and popcorn, with further options of hot food, frozen sharing cocktails and prosecco. The lineup includes iconic Christmas films such as The Holiday, Love Actually and Elf and even expect to find family-friendly singalongs such as The Greatest Showman and Frozen.
Tropicana Beach Club, Parker Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PW
Castle Sq Ice Rink, Elephant & Castle: Nothing says Christmas like having a go on the ice, and this year Zone 1’s Elephant & Castle is playing host to a winter wonderland . Visitors can skate on Castle’s Square ice rink, immerse themselves in a magical drinking experience, get lost in The Artwork’s escape rooms, and purchase their last-minute stocking fillers in the pop-up shops on offer. Kids will love the bumper cars on ice, which is surrounded by street-food trucks and live DJs.
Castle Square, 40 Elephant Road, Elephant & Castle, SE17 1AY