And just like that, leaves have fallen from the trees, Halloween has come and gone, and we’re reaching for an extra layer of clothing before heading outdoors in the morning. Naturally, our attention has turned to one of our favourite celebrations of the year – Christmas. Yuletide preparations have been in motion for some time – we even have an entire room dedicated to the storage of baubles here at McQueens HQ (yes, it’s called the ballroom!). Feeling suitably spirited by all our festive activity, we wanted to share some of our favourite winter activities on offer in the capital – sure to convert the grumpiest of grinches!
Dennis Severs’ House – the annual Christmas Installation
Nestled in the heart of London’s historical Spitalfield’s area, Dennis Severs’ House is something of a time portal. Before you even step inside, you’re welcomed by the glow of a flickering lamp, a clue as to what lies behind the Grade II listed Georgian townhouse facade. It was the artist Severs’ wish to create an 18th home so realistic that visitors would feel close to its residents, the fictional Jervis family; although unseen, they feel very present. As the visitor wanders around the home there are plenty of immersive elements to make the experience an authentic one. Come Christmas, you’ll find Aunty Sophie
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Christmas at Kew Gardens
Perhaps you’re already familiar with the splendour of botanical national treasure, Kew Gardens? Home to striking Victorian glass houses and the world’s largest and most diverse collection of plants, the gardens are a wondrous place all year round. You may have witnessed the grounds in summer bloom and autumn glory, but have you had the pleasure of its Christmas experience? When darkness falls, Kew is illuminated by a series of magical light installations; new for 2018 are 300 glowing origami boats and a Cathedral of Light. A truly family affair, kids can even spot Santa as you make your way around the dazzling trail.
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Skating at Somerset House
The sight of a glistening ice rink filled with wobbly first-timers and elegant pros leaves us feeling ultra festive – especially with an impressive Christmas tree to set the mood. London is lucky to have many rinks with spectacular backdrops, but our all-time favourite has to be the courtyard at Somerset House. Teaming up with foodie institution, Fortnum & Mason, there’s also plenty of après-skate to please visitors including the Fortnum’s Lodge which will be serving up divine delicacies.
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Strolling around the city at this time of year is a sure-fire way to give us a Christmassy glow. Department stores boast theatrical window displays, festive jumpers are spotted on the commute, and traditional German markets line the banks of the Thames. However, it’s the nostalgic luminosity of Christmas lights that stop us in our tracks and one street, in particular, goes to great lengths every year to ensure our jaws hit the pavement with a thud. For 2018, Carnaby Street celebrates the new blockbuster movie Bohemian Rhapsody by paying tribute to rock supergroup Queen. Expect neon lyrics festooned from shop to shop, creating a dazzling display and an Instagram-worthy moment. A must-see if you’re in town.
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McQueens Christmas Classes
It would be a little remiss of us not to mention an activity that really gets us in the Yuletide spirit – our festive programme at McQueens Flower School. The Christmas Class is a magical day immersed in the fragrant materials synonymous with the holiday season. You’ll learn how to create the most showstopping of wreaths to impress your Yuletide guests, and finish the day mastering an ornate centrepiece. It’s the perfect way to prepare for the highlight of the winter calendar – and also makes a great pre-Christmas gift.