It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! For those of us who won't be stampeding the shops over Black Friday weekend, there are plenty of non-shopping events to get involved in. Read on for fun, festive things to do in the capital...
Enjoy panoramic views of London from B&H Garden Room
There's nothing better than sipping cocktails from a London rooftop. Bourne & Hollingsworth Group's new restaurant, Garden Room, is opening this weekend, inviting guests to enjoy some sky-high drinking and dining with a fantastic 180 degree view of the city skyline. On the brasserie style menu is seasonal food with European influences, with dishes including slow cooked spiced lamb and cod with braised puy lentils. For those who just want drinks, there are a range of cocktails and tipples that incorporate the same fresh herbs and spices used in the food.
Meet Santa Claus at The Winter Forest
Father Christmas is coming to Broadgate Circle this Saturday, from 11am to 3pm. He'll be meeting children at the pop-up Winter Forest - an enchanted, snow-covered winter wonderland that features no fewer than 300 trees, twinkling lights and wooden cabins serving mulled wine and food. The pop-up is open seven days a week but this Saturday someone rather special is dropping in. And from 12.30pm-1.30pm, Homemade London will be hosting a drop-in Christmas card-making session, which is perfect for letting your kids' imagination soar! There will also be live music in the afternoon, what's not to love?
Visit the Coq d’Argent in Bank, which has brought the gorgeous glamour of of Courchevel to London with their transformed rooftop bar, completely with vintage ski props, winter forest backdrops, and snuggly blankets. Not only is it picturesque, the Lodge also offers delicious Alpine classics to feast on, including raclette, baked Vacherin cheese, tartiflette or a traditional Savoyard charcuterie platter, mmmm.
Play lucky dip in aqua shard's Christmas tree
Christmas trees are popping up all over London, but one of the most modern installations is at aqua shard. The 'Snowscape' tree, designed by Bompas & Parr, features a beautiful snowstorm whirling around the glass structure. But take a closer look - those paper snowflakes are actually tickets to a free cocktail. During 'Golden Hours' from 11:30am-12:30pm and 5-6pm Mondays to Fridays, guests are invited to reach into the structure and grab a snowflake. Those successful will win a Snowscape cocktail, plus be entered into a prize draw to win a private dining experience for themselves and five guests.
Do some Christmas shopping at Ealing market
Christmas always comes around quickly, and for those west Londoners who want to be organised with their shopping this year, head to Ealing's ultimate festive market. Traditional wooden cabins are being set up at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre offering an array of gifts including clothing, homeware, accessories and jewellery. Once your list is ticked off, explore the food cabins serving a range of delectable dishes from Indian and Turkish food to the typical German fare. And of course, the youngest of shoppers will love a visit to Santa Claus!
Visit the Frozen Sky Garden
Introducing Sky Garden - the frozen edition. London's favourite city hotspot is getting a festive makeover, which means white and gold snow scenes with ice-covered sledges and penguins. The venue has teamed up with Moët & Chandon and will be serving boozy hot chocolates and delicious cocktails galore. From 4 December, guests can book yuletide live music nights, bringing a festive medley of Christmas hits and live gospel choir sessions.
Grab a free beer next Friday morning
Don't worry - it's not an alcoholic one! To celebrate the launch of Ghost Ship Alcohol Free, Adnams are giving away free pints (as well as pastries) on Friday 30th November. So instead of just going for your normal latte, for one day only why not try a slightly more interesting alternative and choose this special Suffolk ale? Head to 6 Charlotte Place, Fitzrovia W1T 1SG between 8am to 12pm to grab a freebie. It promises to have 100% of the taste but only 0.5% ABV so is a great alternative during the heavy festive period. Yum!