An A-Z of Christmas in London

A is for Author A.A Milne and his famous creation, Winnie the Pooh. We loved the special exhibition celebrating his work, it brought back some great childhood memories and gave us the chance to play ‘Pooh sticks’.

B is for Borough Market, a great place to explore on a cold, wet Tuesday morning. Located south of the river the market runs everyday and you can wander around eating and drinking. Many stalls have free samples and we demolished pulled pork sandwiches, crab tortellini and a venison burger in about an hour! It’s only a few minutes walk from the river so you can pick up food to go and have a picnic.

C is for Covent Garden and Seven Dials, an area full of cute, independent boutiques, cafes and shops. It looked so festive on an evening and it’s a great place to stroll along and window shop.

D is for Duck and was firmly on our ‘must eat’ list. The Beijing duck at Min Jiang did not disappoint, it was superb. We pre ordered a whole duck which was carved at our table alongside pancakes, vegetables and sauces then the ‘left overs’ were served as a second course with noodles. With amazing views across Hyde Park this was a memorable meal and somewhere we’d return back to. You can’t watch this video and not dribble a little!

 

E is for Egypt in London. Along the banks of the Thames we saw the Cleopatra’s Needle and statues of the Sphinx which bare the scars from being hit by shrapnel in WWII.

F is for Full English breakfast and was another one of our food cravings, we had one pretty much every morning. On the odd occasion the full English *may* have been followed by a bacon sandwich with lashing of salted butter.

G is for the Globe theatre, a place that made me see Shakespeare in a new light. I hated Shakespeare at school but, on a tour of the Globe, his plays were put into context which made me appreciate them more. I’d love to go and see a live performance here.

H is for Holborn Dining Room where we went for Christmas Day lunch. The atmosphere was lovely with a live band and it was fully booked so there was a real buzz. Not cheap but the food and service was good and we really enjoyed it.

I is for the ice bar where we went for drinks. Located just off Piccadilly Circus, you are given a cap, gloves and advice to up warm before entering the – 5 degree bar for a drink. Unsurprisingly it was freezing, to the point where our shoes stuck to the floor. We enjoyed drinking cocktails from an ice glass and messing about with the ice sculptures. A lovely gift from my sister x

J is for Joy King Lau where we went for lunch after seeing Star Wars at the IMAX on New Year’s Day. Located just off Leicester Square it was cheap and cheerful and a throw back to when we were in China for Christmas a few years ago.

K is for Kilos……far too many kilos. We brought back 6 extra suitcases with us as excess baggage! It was such a relief to see them all on the luggage carousel at Cairo Airport. I’m much happier now I have more ‘stuff’ around me, some home comforts. It was definitely cheaper than shipping it here!

L is for life admin had got to be done. Things that are so much easier to do face to face, such as going to the bank and the post office. I was relieved to get my International Driving License although at the time I thought they’d mistakenly given me a ration book from the 1940’s it looked so retro!

M is for Mousetrap, a play my Mam used to want to go and see but she never did. So with her in mind we booked tickets. Renowned for being the longest running show in the world, the tickets are cheaper than a musical and the St Martin’s theatre is cute and cosy. The play was fun, we spent the interval trying to work out ‘who dunnit’ and we were right.

N is for Neal’s yard, a small courtyard in Covent Garden. It is so picturesque and has some cafes and shops, its also home to the famous ‘Neal’s Yard Remedies’ products.

O is for Oink oink – we ate so much pork!

P is for Plane food, Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at Heathrow T5 and our final meal before we flew back to Cairo. I liked that the restaurant is designed so you don’t feel like you’re in an airport which is great for those who don’t like flying. The food is predominately ‘ British classics’ and I enjoyed my sausage and mash.

Q is for the Qatar airways office in Harrods, another life admin task. We built up quite a lot of miles when we lived in Qatar and now, because of the blockade, we can’t fly QR from Egypt. The staff were really helpful in explaining how I can used my points this summer rather than lose them all!

R is for river walks, I love being near water and even though it was freezing we were happy to wrap up and walk along the Thames imagining what it must be like to live in an apartment with river view.

S is for sales, sales, sales – and the reason for our excess baggage. I never thought I’d be one of those crazy people on Oxford Street on Boxing Day but I was – and it wasn’t as mental as I thought.

T is for the Travelodge in Covent Garden where we stayed. It was the perfect location, in fact we didn’t take the tube at all as we walked everywhere or, on a couple of occasions, took an Uber. It isn’t the prettiest building or the height of luxury but it was warm, spacious, the staff were friendly and it was close to everything we needed (including a fish n chip shop).

U is for umbrella, it rained. It rained a lot. I had forgotten how grey and dreary British weather can be. I picked up an umbrella in the Ted Baker sale and it got a lot of use!

V is for the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is such a beautiful building but often over shadowed by the (usually busier) British Museum and Natural History Museum. The V&A was fairly quiet, we spent a few hours here exploring the special exhibitions and my favourites – the jewelry and ‘rapid response’ exhibits.

W is for the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, it allowed us to really get into the festive spirit. It was a cold, crisp day when we went and we loved wandering with a glass of mulled wine, eating food from the stalls and going on the dodgems. My experience of driving in Qatar and Egypt definitely helped!

X is for Xmas day, it was so relaxing. We woke up late, went for a lovely lunch then walked around the city (slightly tipsy) until it got dark. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, change into our pjs, drank tea, ate an M&S picnic and watched Christmas Telly. Perfect.

Y is for yum yums and Greggs. No visit back to the UK is complete without them. I don’t think the staff quite understood our excitement at buying sausage rolls and yum yums but we didn’t care.

Z is for Zelman meats in Soho and it’s where we spent New Year’s Eve. We’ve been before and the second time was just as good. It’s a ‘meat place’ where you order meat by the 100g and side dishes. It’s awesome. Unfortunately the weather was pretty grim so we headed back to the Travelodge to watch the fireworks from the 10th floor; it was a surprisingly good view.

It’s quite a strange feeling being a tourist in your home country, everything is similar yet so different. It was such a magical time of year to be in London and we thoroughly loved our trip. We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Thank you for reading, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2018.

 

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