Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland: a truly festive experience

An evening shot of the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, LondonWinter Wonderland returns to London’s Hyde Park this winter, transforming the vast park into a festive fairyland.

This free event offers a range of fun, festive activities for the whole family, including an illuminated ice rink, magical Santa’s grotto and a plethora of fairground rides. Visitors’ favourites include the Christmas market with a traditional Bavarian theme running through its cafés and bars, as well as the undercover restaurant, Spiegel Saloon.

One of the main attractions of this year’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the Magical Ice Kingdom, which will be returning with its breath-taking ice sculptures. The Kingdom is the largest of its kind in the UK, and was created exclusively for the Winter Wonderland.

What’s more, Zippos’ evening circus spectacle – Cirque Berserk – pushes the boundaries of traditional circus entertainment with a death-defying knife throwing act and daring high wire performance.

The Winter Wonderland starts on the 22nd November and runs until the 5th January. Booking in advance may be required for some of the attractions and events, so check out www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com for more information.

And of course, after embracing the winter weather in Hyde Park, why not come and warm up at DUKES London in our gorgeous bar, which serves the finest Perrier Jouet champagne and champagne cocktails, or treat the family to an overnight stay at reduced rates in one of our Luxury Suites?

Image courtesy of Christine Matthews

Need a memorable Christmas gift? Discover the Spirit of Christmas Fair

An internal view of the Olympia Exhibition Centre's roof, LondonDuring the festive period, Olympia exhibition centre in London will be playing host to the veritable home of Christmas shopping, the Spirit of Christmas Fair.  The popular annual event includes new collections of independent boutiques, which have all been approved by domestic powerhouse, House and Garden.

Branded ‘the home of Christmas shopping’, the Spirit of Christmas Fair comprises of more than 600 companies presenting their giftware and festive products to the eager shoppers of London – and importantly, which can’t be found on the high street.

Offering a wide range of seasonal products, from festive accessories and interior decorations to gorgeous bespoke gift items, all under one roof, the fair is the perfect place to combine a day out and tackle the yearly festive shop in one.

Highlights of the fair include the House and Garden workshop and Designer Guild’s gorgeous homeware and accessories collection.  Tickets cost £17.50 and can be purchased online.

What’s more, after your trip to the fair, why not prolong the Christmas atmosphere with a trip to DUKES London to take advantage of our amazing offers?

Image courtesy of Christine Matthews

BOING! is here to bring you a magical Christmas

An external shot of the Sadler's Wells theatre in LondonBOING! made it as one of London’s debut performances at the Lilian Baylis Studio last year and returns this year promising a bigger and better performance at the Sadler’s Wells. BOING! is a children’s dance theatre production based on the magical moments two brothers experience leading up to one of the most special days of the year. Sadler Wells Boing

The play is cleverly set out on a huge bed in the centre of the stage, which miraculously turns into a giant trampoline helping engage the younger audience throughout the show. However, do not be fooled to think this is child’s play as adults are also expected to be astonished with the performances. Offering a variety of comedy, break dancing and acrobatics it will keep both younger and older generations enticed till the very end.

The play is directed by one of the best in children’s theatre, Sally Cookson, and performed by the award winning Wilkie Branson and Joel Daniel, so you are guaranteed to experience one of the best acts in British theatre to date.

This fast paced play is fun, festive and an all round exciting show, making it the perfect entertainment for the kids and the family. It is one theatre production not to miss! So if you are interested do not miss out on a chance to witness a wonderfully animated Christmas show. Tickets are on sale now.

After building up an appetite watching an exhilarating theatre performance, why not head over to our restaurant to try the capital’s finest cuisine? You can try our dinner menu after first having one of our famous martinis in DUKES Bar – have a very Merry Christmas!

Image courtesy of Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Ready to try the Christmas markets for something different?

The London Eye at Christmas, at nightLondon is possibly one of the finest cities to spend the Christmas holidays in on the planet. Christmas is when our impressive city really does come to life. Offering entertaining days out like ‘Winter Wonderland’, Christmas markets and special festive events from music, arts, and to the lively West End, there is always something to enjoy at this time of year.

This season is an excuse to pile on a few extra pounds and take pleasure in the finest food and drink around. So if you are looking to experience food with a difference this Christmas then look no further as we have gathered together a few places that are worth a visit this December.

The bustling markets always provide a great opportunity to get up and personal with street cooking, to buy some tasty ingredients, to try locally prepared wines or simply to absorb their fantastic atmospheres.

The Real Food Christmas market, which is held weekly (Friday-Sunday), on the South Bank offers you an amazing variety of ingredients to use in your food this winter. “Straight from the fisherman, buying your ingredients from markets can give you tasty food at unbeatable value”. Surely food can’t get any fresher than this unless you grow it yourself! So if you want to get your hands on some of the best ingredients in the capital then head down to the Real Food Market.

If you fancy showing off your culinary skills and adding the wow factor to your Christmas dinner, then why not take a Carving Class at Hix Mayfair. The talented Chef Mark Hix will be hosting a session that will include a cheese course, dessert, and a bottle of wine per person, and to top it off a cookbook signed by Mark Hix (which could also be a handy present for a Hix lover).

The Gingerline Clandstine winter dining experience is an exclusive Christmas dining experience, which offers a great atmosphere and awesome food for those who are looking for something different. The menu is still to be confirmed, however the event promises five course meals and lively entertainment. It could definitely become a highlight of your holiday, so be sure to consider giving it a try.

However, if you really want to treat yourself with some of the finest cuisine in London, why not pay our own Nigel Mendham’s restaurant a try? Widely appreciated for his culinary skills, Nigel’s menus are first class – and the food backs that up!

Image courtesy of Robin Sones

‘Tis the season to be jolly at Harrods’ wine world

An external shot of Harrods in London during the dayChristmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive tipple. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply just an enthusiast then Harrods store in Knightsbridge is offering you a chance to discover and enjoy a number of wines at the newly launched ‘Wine World.’

With on hand expert advice, you are bound to find the perfect white to accompany your Christmas turkey or a sparkling vino to bring in the New Year.

Harrods Wine World is also offering exclusive wine tasting events complete with canapés and on hand advice to help you become an expert taster, giving you the extra confidence when purchasing wine.

The experts will give you and your friends “an introduction to production techniques, wine styles, wine regions and food and wine pairing.” However, if you prefer a glass with a little more fizz the team will also offer Champagne tasting, where you can indulge in some of the world’s finest Champagnes.

Once you have selected your perfect accompaniment for the festivities, the experts will advise you on the ‘Perfect Glass’ to enhance your drinking experience to the maximum, from the ‘Vinum Pinot Noir Glass to the Eve Decanter,’ there will be the perfect match for your perfect grape.

With it being Christmas, you can take advantage of the full package and explore the range of sweet sensations Harrods has to combine with your wine. It has the Perfect Port, Charming Chocolate and Splendid Sweets – each are seductive in taste and are the perfect pairings for the ultimate Christmas treat.

Amplify your taste buds, set the mood and enjoy the ‘most wonderful time of year’ with London’s finest department store, set to provide everything you need to make the season jolly and bright.

For more information on Harrods Wine World, visit the website or for the ultimate experience in sophisticated drinking head to our very own DUKES Bar to try one of our world famous Martinis before heading back to one of our suites to discover what luxury really is.

Experience the real Winter Wonderland in London

Hyde Park's 'Winter Wonderland' at nightThe capital city is once again getting itself ready for another festive season by preparing for its own version of a Winter Wonderland.

Featuring many attractions like the Ice Age 4 ice rink, the observation wheel, rides and the Christmas Circus, visiting Winter Wonderland is a family must this Christmas.

New this year is the Ice Kingdom, a unique feature that allows you to experience real ice and snow in a way you have never seen before. From ice castles to themed rooms and amazing visuals, Lapland has never seemed close to home.

In the evening Zippo Cirque Berserk produce their own unique, gothic twist on classic fairy tales, like the Brothers Grimm. The show also features the death defying motorcycle stunt Globe of Death for those who like to get the adrenaline pumping. You can add a touch of luxury to the show by purchasing tickets for a VIP box which comes with a bottle of champagne and chocolates.

No other city offers such a wide range of Christmas fun for all the family. As well as daytime and night time activities you have the option to really sit back and let your hair down with a range of charming one off bars and restaurants to suit all tastes. Providing a mix of festive treats such as warm cider, mulled wine, farmhouse foods and a selection of DJs and live music, it provides a Christmas experience like no other.

When your day is done, come back to one of our suites where you can relax before venturing down to our award winning restaurant or to DUKES Bar to enjoy one of our world famous Martinis, making it an extra special Christmas trip for you and your family.

Image courtesy of MrT HK

Find your festive cheer early at the Spirit of Christmas Fair

Coventry Street in London full of Christmas decorationsSome complain that Christmas is starting earlier and earlier every year. Others love it. Whether you love it or not we’d always recommend a visit to the Spirit of Christmas Fair at the Olympia Exhibition Centre.

There is no longer an excuse not to visit London or to leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute. The Spirit of Christmas Fair hosts a range of exhibitors meaning you should be able to find the perfect gift for anyone. Whether it’s a special bottle of fine whiskey for your dad or a toy that your little sister will treasure forever, you should be able to find it here.

Just a District Line tube ride away from DUKES Hotel, the Olympia is a grand exhibition hall and will be packed with stunning, independent retailers, as well as a number of fantastic food and drinks stalls, meaning you can wine and dine in luxury until your heart’s content.

What’s more, not only will the fair provide you with some brilliant ideas for your Christmas presents, but it will also feature the team from House and Garden magazine, who will be offering some of their best tips on how to make the most of your home.

Even if you’ve been a good shopper and bought all your presents early, there is still plenty for you to see. Fashion, art, health & beauty and furniture are just some of the offerings that will be on show.

Running from 30th October until 4th November, there really is no excuse for not taking in the Fair and rediscovering your Christmas spirit early.

Entry for one day is £17.50 if you book in advance, but if that’s not enough you can always buy an unlimited entry ticket for just £27, giving you up to six days of shopping heaven.

Whilst you’re in London, why not take in a show, or even one of our famous martinis? You could make it an extra special weekend by staying in one of our Deluxe Suites. Whatever you do, please do try and make sure you enjoy the festive spirit, which is slowly building in the capital at the moment.

Image courtesy of Elliott Brown