From rooftop bars and mini markets under the stars to frosty fun for the whole family, London is packed full of festive pop-ups. Here are some of the best ones to visit this winter.
Award-winning West Country restaurant, The Ethicurean has come to Oxford Street’s John Lewis rooftop garden for Christmas. On offer is a menu of hearty British classics with a twist like Welsh rarebit with hot smoked arctic char, and sticky toffee apple cake with a dollop of cinnamon cream. The garden itself has been given a festive makeover, and diners can choose to book out a luxury gardening shed or sit amongst the potted trees and fairy-lights for scenic views over the capital.
Until 24th December 2017
This year, restaurant Coq de’Argent in the City transforms its heated skyscraper terraces into an Arctic-themed retreat. The experience starts from the elevator, fitted with an ‘Aurora Borealis Cube’ to simulate the Northern Lights. A pair of rooftop igloo tents accompanies a festive lantern-lit dining area draped in furs and fairy lights. Visitors can enjoy luxurious fine dining, and an assortment of on-theme Hennessy cocktails like the Arctic Wilderness – a warm blend of Hennessy Cognac, grape tea, Muscat sweet wine and ginger candy syrup.
Until 28th February 2018
On the Southbank, this alpine-inspired pop-up features a trio of festive dining and drinking options. At the cosy Refuge Restaurant, indulge in some ski chalet classics like spiced crème brûlée or three-cheese fondue. Passers-by can opt for smaller bites from the street food stalls, and larger parties can book out a heated snow globe for private dining with river views. The heated cocktail bar takes winter warmers to the next level; alongside the mulled wine you’ll find meringue-topped spiced butter rum and hot apple mojitos.
Until 31st December 2017
While away a few hours under the stars, high above the Oxford Street crowds on Woody Bear’s winter rooftop terrace. With décor inspired by a retro fairground, visitors can expect to sip boozy vanilla eggnog from vintage flasks in their teacup ride booth. Cheesy street food experts, Madame & Monsieur, will whip up three different versions of a gourmet croque monsieur for guests, or for the ultimate indulgence, dunk chunks of sourdough into a whole baked-in-box Mont d’O, with freshly shaved truffle on request.
Until 31st December 2017
Pergola’s huge urban rooftop garden is open for winter. Heated and enclosed on all sides to keep things cosy, two floors of softly lit dark wood and greenery await chilly visitors. Retreat to a huge day bed with a glass of mulled wine, or relax at the communal trestle tables. For the peckish, there are five different restaurants to choose from; grab a wood-fired pizza from Made of Dough, or one of Tonkotsu’s warming ramens.
Until 23rd December 2017
Come dusk, see the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew transformed into a twinkling twilight paradise. From 5pm, visitors can follow a garden trail of over a million illuminated globes, ribbons and petals, past singing trees, an underwater light show, and revolving Christmas trees. Visit Father Christmas and his elves, take a spin on the vintage carousel, and finish up at Victoria Plaza for a browse of the pop-up market and some mulled wine (or hot chocolate, for the youngsters).
Until 1st January 2018
Tucked away between the City’s glass skyscrapers is a little winter wonderland at Broadgate. A forest of snow-dusted pine trees, twinkling archways and candle-lit log seating are sure to get you feeling festive. Feast on hog and turkey roasts with all the trimmings, with little red booties of steaming mulled wine to finish. Cheeses, homewares and hot cider are available from a row of twinkling wooden huts; and visitors can catch a selection of upbeat movies from the cosy tipi cinema.
Until 12th January 2018
Take to the ice this festive season, right in the heart of the city. Surrounded by the walls of the beautiful Somerset House, visitors can skate on a large rink complete with Christmas tree and glittering lights. Beginners can warm up at the weekend Skate School, and there is a Polar Cub Club for the little ones. The fun lasts well into the evening with Skate Lates, a brand-new music programme for this year spinning everything from reggae to 70s disco.
Until 14th January 2018
The beautiful West Wing of Somerset House will be home over the festivities to a pop-up Fortnum & Mason. Forget yoyos and satsumas; stocking gifts from the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade will be more along the lines of pots of gin truffles, fancy soaps and pretty bone china, all beautifully packaged in their signature turquoise boxes. Next door, Fortnum’s Lodge are serving up luxury comfort food and post-rink packages for two in the form of giant mince pies and smoked salmon platters.
Until 7th January 2018
Possibly the best winter warmer you’ll find in London this season will be on the roof of Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Until the end of December, experience an authentic Finnish sauna with 90°C huts and hot stones, all the while soaking up panoramic views of the London skyline. After your steam, sip Prosecco and snack on Nordic canapés next door at the Roof Garden Bar. Weekend visitors can get a culture fix at a Sauna Sundays session – a series of talks and performances in the sauna itself.
Until 30th December 2017