A Guide to Christmas Shopping in London

If you’re planning a Christmas shopping spree in London over the next few weeks, then we have the perfect guide for you. With no better time to visit than during the Christmas period, you’ll be sure to come away feeling full of festive cheer as you experience the city in all of its illuminated grandeur. To ensure you get your loved one that perfect Christmas gift and perhaps even a special something for yourself, we’ve collated our favourite Christmas stores, most of which are within 10 minutes’ walk of DUKES London, in which you’re guaranteed to find everything you need.

Harrods

If there’s one store that is guaranteed to put you in the festive mood it has to be Harrods. Famous for its annual Christmas window display, Harrods pulls out all the stops and this year’s theme is no exception, taking inspiration from the iconic British steam train. The lavish window display showcases the stores most luxurious fashions and you’ll soon feel like you’ve stepped into a scene of the Great Gatsby. For those of you visiting London this Christmas, make this your first stop!

Fortnum and Mason

Nowhere spreads Christmas cheer like the 307-year-old Fortnum and Mason as the store is transformed into a magical winter wonderland adorned with the most beautiful Christmas decorations. The store is renowned for creating the most decadent Christmas hampers full of tasty treats, making Fortnum and Mason a must for all food lovers.

Liberty

Located on the fourth floor, the Liberty Christmas shop is definitely worth a visit. With a beautiful range of vintage-looking Christmas wreaths and other intricate decorations, Liberty has something to suit everyone. For those of you with a sweet tooth, stop by Liberty’s chocolate shop on your way out for some sumptuously tasty goodness.

Hamley’s Toy Store

For anyone with young children this Christmas, you can’t visit London without taking a trip to the famous Hamley’s Toy Store. With more toys than you could imagine, this certainly is toy heaven and at Christmas time, could be mistaken for Santa’s grotto. So if there’s something left on Santa’s list, Hamley’s is sure to have it!

Selfridges

Last but not least on the list, the famous Selfridges of Oxford Street. If you’re yet to get a gift for that special someone, Selfridges is the answer. With a wide selection of stylish and quirky gifts for him and her, a trip to Selfridges is sure to put a smile on your better-half’s face this festive season.

After a busy day of Christmas shopping, what better way to unwind than with a festive glass of fizz in our Perrier-Jouet Champagne lounge, Festive Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Room or some Champagne & Canapes? We at DUKES London hope you have a sparkling Christmas!

 

 

The Natural History Museum Ice Rink

There’s something for everyone at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink this Christmas. Whether out for a romantic date or a family outing every single person leaves the Ice Rink with memories that can last a lifetime. With more than 1000 square meters of ice and over 75,000 fairy lights lacing the trees above, it guarantees one of the best festive atmospheres in London.

Entertainment is available for visitors of all ages: a fairground carousel, a junior rink for younger skaters and delicious festive-themed refreshments in the Café Bar. Offering sumptuous food, warming drinks and creative cocktails, families can feast on delicious treats, and couples can cosy up with a hot chocolate on the open-air balcony overlooking the Ice Rink.

Not to forget the museum itself, a day in the Natural History Museum is arguably the best museum experience in the world. With free entry, countless fossils and life-size replicas of dinosaurs including the majestic T-Rex.

Why not take a pleasant stroll from the museum, through Green Park and Knightsbridge, a great way to take in some of London’s most prestigious areas. After a crisp walk, come back and relax in DUKES Champagne Bar, featured in Made in Chelsea, to carry on the festive celebrations in style.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

This year, Kew Gardens’ annual seasonal makeover is not one to be missed. Take a stroll through the illuminated gardens as they are transformed with a series of lighting installations created by prestigious artists from all across the UK. As twilight falls and the magic begins, take in the enchanted gardens and beautiful winter landscape as you explore all that Kew has to offer. An enjoyable stroll through the gardens should take around one hour and 15 minutes.

Once you’ve explored the enchanted gardens, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy one of the many festive family attractions. Take a ride on the charming Victorian carousel and other vintage fairground rides, or visit the boutique Christmas market which promises foodie treats and festive music for all. There’s something for old and young alike and you can even visit Santa’s Grotto and meet the man himself. Kew Gardens promises to be a magical visit this Christmas and offers fun for all of the family.

The winter trails at Kew Gardens will take place from 4.30-10.00pm on a range of different dates between 28th November – 4th January. Visit http://www.kew.org/ for more details. Why not make the day really special and treat a loved one to festive afternoon tea at Dukes Hotel before whizzing on to Kew Gardens for the winter trails? Accompanied by a glass of champagne, it’s the perfect toast to the happiest season of all!

Spirit of Christmas Fair

During 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, 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.  After your trip to the fair, why not prolong the Christmas atmosphere with a trip to DUKES London to take advantage of our amazing Christmas 2013 packages.

Nour Festival of Arts

The Nour Festival of Arts reflects on the best contemporary art, film, literature, music and performances from the Middle East and North Africa. Running for four consecutive years, the Nour Festival challenges preconceptions, sparks debate and provides insight into culture from across the MENA region.

Taking place from the 1st October – 30th November, this year’s Nour Festival is offering a remarkable range of attractions, including art exhibitions, film screenings and thought-provoking talks. Highlights of this year’s festival include performances across the areas of dance, drama and music.

Nour, which means ‘light’ or ‘illumination’ in various Middle Eastern languages is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most significant annual showcases of contemporary arts and culture.  Taking place at more than 20 venues across Kensington and Chelsea, Nour has welcomed new partners such as the Royal Albert Hall, Chelsea Theatre, Kensington and Chelsea College, the Gate Theatre and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha to its venue list.

After an unforgettable journey into the MENA region, why not visit DUKES London to expand your experience with Champagne and Canapés for just £19 per person.

Van Gogh in Paris

Eykyn Maclean, one of London’s prestigious private art galleries is hosting a new and exciting exhibition entitled: ‘Van Gogh in Paris’, exploring the artist’s life throughout the period in which he lived and worked in the city, 1886-1888.  Appropriately, the ‘Van Gogh in Paris’ exhibition will be held amongst the works of his contemporaries, including key pieces by French masters: Monet, Pissarro and Gaugin, many of which are privately owned and rarely displayed in public.

It is noted that Van Gogh’s distinct style was formed from the influence of these major contributors to the impressionist and post-impressionist eras.  Van Gogh’s transition from living in the Netherlands to France is clearly demonstrated through his paintings, from his sombre Dutch style works, to the more colourful pieces like Sunflowers, for which he is renowned.

Highlights of the exhibition include a self-portrait of the painter which co-owner Maclean states is: ‘Essentially the first proper self-portrait he produced.’  Deemed ‘A small but perfectly formed exhibition’ by The Independent, the event is not to be missed by art and history enthusiasts alike.  After soaking up the culture at Eykyn Maclean, why not drop into DUKES London to relax and enjoy our delicious afternoon tea.

London’s Frieze Art Fair

This October, London welcomes the return of the Frieze Art Fair.  The event is a contemporary art fair held in London’s Regents Park, which draws in over 60,000 visitors; some looking to buy, others just to spectate: “A must-see event” as described by The Guardian.

Originally staged for the purpose of selling works of art, the fair has become much more of a culturally stimulating entertainment event; including 152 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, specially commissioned artists’ projects, and an artist-led education schedule.

This year will be the 11th edition of Frieze London and the event aims to be better than ever with a complete redesign of its layout.  This change in design will introduce more sizable public areas and wider aisles along with a new and innovative layout of galleries. This year’s gallery list includes establishments from international territories such as: Brazil, China and Columbia.

Those looking to buy or simply browse should not miss out on the Frieze Art Fair. Tickets can be purchased from http://frieze.seetickets.com/event/frieze-london/regent-s-park/724064.  If visiting at the weekend, why not drop into DUKES London for our delicious Sunday Brunch, priced at just £35.

London Design Festival 2013

This year London will be hosting the 11th London Design Festival, due to take place in September. First staged in 2003, the Festival line-up is made up of over 300 events and shows staged from around the world. With more than 300 exciting events and exhibitions, London Design Festival 2013 promises to showcase the best of global design.

This annual event sets to promote the city’s creativity and excellence, by drawing in some of the country’s greatest educators and practitioners to help deliver what has been described as an ‘unmissable’ event.

From established businesses to entrepreneurs, London design festival has partnered up with businesses all over the nation to bring the best of the capitals culture. For that reason, individuals will not have to worry about finding something to do as there will be plenty of programmes, seminars and workshops for everyone to get involved in. There is a broad range of activities on offer, and the best part is, the majority of exhibitions are free to enter!

One of many spectacular displays at the festival has to be the Endless Stair, “a visually and architecturally astonishing” piece and one of the highlights of the event this year. You can take a closer look at this magnificent creation on your visit to the renowned Tate Modern.

As the day draws to an end you can take pleasure in relaxing in our PJ Lounge, with a contemporary twist, it’s all yours to enjoy on your next visit to DUKES London.

Mayor Thames Festival 2013 Returns to London

If you’re stopping by London this September, why not take a trip to the iconic Mayor Thames Festival, a free celebration of the history of the famous river and the city that sits on its banks. With a whole host of activities taking place across the ten-day spectacular, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Displays of river-related art, music and educational activities make it a gala of cultural diversity. 2013 marks the first year the festival has been extended to ten days, so you don’t want to miss out on the jam-packed line up of festivities and fun.

The highly anticipated annual Great River Race is due to take place on the 7th of September. 300 crews from across the globe gather to compete in this river-based marathon of speed and endurance, spanning a 21 mile distance that passes many of London’s most popular tourist attractions. Stand by the finish line at Ham House and cheer in the winning competitors.

As night descends upon the river on the 15th, stand witness to a maritime opera performance like no other. The main performers of the symposium are described as “an armada of historic vessels from the age of sail, steam and diesel”, gathering and exploding in a collective concerto of booming ship horns and blasting cannons. The river becomes the stage with the stunning O2 Academy lighting the performance against the darkness. The heady musical elements and outstanding display of historic vessels of long ago will culminate in a truly unique performance.

After all this cultural enrichment you’re going to need a place to relax, ready for what the rest of the festival has in store. Why not take time to enjoy a traditional Afternoon Tea in our stylish Drawing Room and Conservatory? Delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a choice of patisserie are served with a choice of tea. Please visit our website for more information.