At the Melita, we know people and celebrations go hand-in-hand, especially during the holiday season. Perhaps that’s why so many of our guests choose to stay with us over the winter holidays as well as the summer. England lights up during Christmas, filled with holiday spirit and joie de vivre, inspiring the spirit and invoking warm, friendly feelings wherever you go.
Westminster and Pimlico, while special any time of year, are especially beautiful over the holiday season. Trees lined with lights and the timeless Westminster Cathedral make the perfect setting for long walks as the snow falls, while historical pubs and restaurants give you plenty of places to stop off when it’s time to warm up.
If you’ve considered a vacation in London this winter, you’ll be pleased to know there’s much more to do in Pimlico than just see the sights (though the sights alone or sublime). We’d like to help you explore Christmas in Pimlico from afar. Whether you’re coming to shop or to see a show, there’s a plethora of exciting and spirited events to attend. In this list, you’ll learn about 6 of our closest favourites.
Belgravia Christmas Markets at Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Road
In the mood for some shopping? Perhaps you’re coming to visit shortly before Christmas and need to make a list, and check it twice? Here’s the great news: you’ll find the perfect gift for any loved one at the Belgravia Christmas Markets.
This once-yearly pop-up event takes place on December 3rd and 4th this year (2016), and is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. At just 20 minutes away from The Melita hotel by foot, it’s a brisk and lovely walk through our beautiful neighbourhood, but not far enough to become tiresome.
So what will you find at the market? An incredible array of items. Baked goods, delectable treats, hand-made crafts, clothing, boutique stalls, jewellry – you name it, and you’ll likely find it at the market. The perfect place to find that special gift for someone back home.
But that’s not where the fun stops; Belgravia Christmas Market is also home to a literal cacophony of sound and sensory experiences. Sip hot cocoa while listening to carols, or watch circus performers dazzle the audience while nibbling on hand-made gourmet chocolate truffles. Once you’re ready to come back home to the Melita, give us a call; we’ll help you locate a car to help transport your goodies back to the hotel safely.
Christmas at Westminster Abbey
Easily one of our neighbourhood’s most popular events, Christmas at Westminster Abbey is a true celebration of the meaning of Christmas. This cathedral, home to every iteration of England’s religion for the last 1,000 years, is incredibly special all on its own, but the holidays make it even more so. This isn’t just a single event; rather, it’s a long list of events that take place at the historical Westminster Abbey itself. These events include:
- The Christmas Oratorio Choir
- A full-scale Christmas concert
- The Ceremony of Carols
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Abbey’s Cafe & Terrace
- Advent and Christmas services
- Christmas Eve and Christmas Day mass
Each of these events is held in the centuries-old Catholic Abbey. Once home to only Benedictine monks, now one of the Royal Family’s most trusted institutions for marriages, burials, coronations and christenings, it’s an incredibly important facet of Britain’s history. Despite its extreme importance to London, and the fact that the Royal Family attends it regularly, the Abbey opens its doors to the public each year to celebrate Christ – an invitation that usually amasses over 12,000 people regularly.
Whether you decide to visit just for a tour, or you intend to attend Christmas mass, booking in advance is a must; the Abbey is a popular Christmas location and tickets sell out quickly.
Sometimes, what we look forward to most is a good, traditional English Christmas dinner. Turkey with all the trimmings. Delicious pie. Roast vegetables. Mashed potatoes. Enough delightfully bubbly champagne to tickle the senses as you reconnect with friends. Sounds lovely enough, right? Now, add on another layer – a venue that lets you step back into time, experiencing Dickensian-style storytelling first-hand.
This is what you’ll find at One Whitehall Place during a Dickensian Christmas dinner, hosted by local promotion company Ex-Events.
The interior is really what sets the mood at this exclusive venue. Traditional Victorian decor, Christmas lighting, Scrooge wanders through the event, helping to guide people through various food stations, while Oliver Twist’s sweet shop and Bleak House pies tempt the senses. It’s luxurious, intimate and a lovely event to attend with a sweetheart.
With only room for around 250 people, this event fills up fast, so be sure to book tickets quickly.
The Thames Frost Fair
Centuries ago, in the time of the Napoleonic wars and all things Victorian, the Thames was an integral part of London’s societal celebrations. Although the river doesn’t often freeze, there have been certain moments in history in which it has – and Londoners, in true English style, took advantage of those moments by throwing incredible fairs. Gingerbread cookie stalls, hot cocoa, ice skating, and a variety of animal sports induced gaiety and liveliness in the cold weather months.
Today, it is exceptionally rare for the Thames to freeze solidly enough to support a fair. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in much the same way (with a small twist). Instead of skittering across the frozen river, hop on the Harmony Boat for a Shared Christmas Party. This large-scale barge features a fully-frozen ice rink, delicious cocktails, and a full-scale cruise down the river, all at once. Christmas music, played by a live band, enlivens the evening, while serving staff attend to each guest. It’s a perfectly intimate event that lets you escape the city and “skate on the Thames.”
Not into skating yourself? Sit back and watch the ice show, or have your picture taken instead. A professional photographer is always on hand to snap keepsake images for you to treasure. Unlimited drinks only serve to sweeten the deal.
Sure, this event isn’t really about Christmas; it’s really celebrating winter. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying the Thames in all it’s wintery (hopefully snowy) glory!
What happens if the Thames actually does freeze? Most likely, the party would simply move onto the river. Given that it hasn’t happened since 1814, this is a risk that’s not likely to develop anytime soon.
Staying with The Melita at Christmas is sublime. Nestled into an intimate and historical building in the heart of Pimlico, it places you in the perfect location to enjoy the best of London City’s most heartfelt and lovely Christmas celebrations. From Christmas mass to theatre, we excel in helping you craft the perfect holiday location. Need a hand? Give our friendly staff a call and enquire about Christmas bookings and events today.