We have our Christmas plans all set. We’re going to London and suggest you do, too.
There’s nothing more festive than London at Christmas time. We have endless ideas for fun family outings as well as things to do on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the capital. They include an evening of Christmas carols and taking a spin around one of London’s best ice skating rinks.
We will make our headquarters near Regent Street, London’s premier shopping street, home to more than 75 international flagship stores such as Liberty, Apple, Banana Republic, Hamleys and Anthropologie. Regent Street is London’s ultimate shopping and lifestyle destination. Regent Street attracts more fashion, food and lifestyle brands and smaller boutiques to the north and south of the street, Conduit Street, Mortimer Street, Glasshouse Street, Regent Place, Heddon Street and Swallow Street. The distinctive Regent Street shopping experience is complemented by a selection of independent restaurants, cafés, fine dining establishments and smart in-‐store bars, all perfect for a pit stop, mid-‐shop.
There are two main al fresco food quarters located just off Regent Street: Heddon Street, a pedestrian oasis, and Swallow Street, both offering visitors a place to relax within its stylish cafés, restaurants and bars.
We have just visited London and shopped like mad on Regent Street. To fuel up, we ate at and can heartily endorse:
Bentleys Oyster Bar and Grill, owned by Richard Corrigan, the Michelin-starred-chef who’s been praised as one of the greatest of his generation. Bentleys Oyster Bar has been serving oysters, langoustines and any other seafood you could imagine for almost 100 years. The marble-topped bar is relaxed, yet elegant. We were enchanted by the piano player, top-hatted doorman, and outdoor terrace serving the freshest of British seafood, oysters and grills. Tradition reigns at Bentley’s.
Frescobaldi, the most elegant of Italian restaurants. The Frescobaldi family is one of Italy’s most renowned and celebrated wine dynasties, having been prominent for 700 years. Ristorante Frescobaldi London is the family’s first standalone restaurant in London, which serves up delicious Tuscan delicacies, pulling from the region’s rich gastronomic heritage and giving them a contemporary twist.
Heddon Street Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay’s stylish Heddon Street Kitchen is the perfect spot for a mid-shopping break. This lively, airy brasserie spans two floors and offers a sleek mix of vintage and modern interiors. Seasonal cuisine is neatly paired with fine wines and expertly crafted cocktails, offering a host of options for wine and food enthusiasts alike. Great al fresco dining and people-watching here.
World-renowned sushi master, chef Mitsuhiro Araki, who was awarded three star Michelin status for his previous three-Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo, has opened The Araki, at 12 New Burlington Street, signifying his passion for London and his quest for “new challenges.” The Araki has just been awarded a prestigious Michelin star for 2016.
Swallow Street is home to the oldest Indian restaurant in the UK, Veeraswamy, renowned for its refined, classic, Indian cuisine. Veeraswarmy is the UK’s oldest Indian restaurant and serves a broad range of cuisine, from dishes prepared in Indian palaces and a selection of “street food,” the dining experience is second to none. Luxurious, elegant interiors add to this experience. Veeraswamy is in high-end dining and Maharajah-inspired décor at its very best.
Regent Street will reveal a brand new, innovative Christmas lighting scheme at the annual switch on event on Sunday 15 November. The stunning new design uses the latest technology and will capture the essence of Regent Street’s timeless elegance. The world famous Regent Street Christmas Lights are the longest running, dating back to 1954 and the switch on is a date in the diary not to be missed. Shoppers will be treated to a traffic-free Regent Street on the day making Christmas shopping a pleasure, as well as exclusive events, in-‐store promotions and entertainment. Activities will start from 12 noon followed by a star-‐studded Christmas show for all the family. The switch–‐on moment will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display.
Regent Street delivers retail and relaxation, diversity, style and heritage, earning its place in the top shopping destinations of the world. Regent Street ranks along with Fifth Avenue, Rodeo Drive and Champs Elysees, with its famous shopping curve designed by John Nash in 1811, as one of Europe’s finest purpose built shopping streets. There are many customer service initiatives being introduced to Regent Street. The personalized Regent Street shopping app uses beacon technology to contribute to the ultimate shopping experience.
The bookends of Regent Street have welcomed expansion. Mortimer Street, just to the North of Regent Street’s heart, welcomes smaller boutique salons including fashionable DryBy London, the beauty bar redefining luxury for the modern woman, and Ted’s Grooming Room, Ted Baker’s barbershop. Independent coffee bar Workshop Coffee and T2, the tea brand cherished by international tea connoisseurs, offer new spots to relax and recharge.
For a stationary upgrade Scribbler and Moleskin, synonymous with luxury, travel, memory and imagination, provide fresh alternatives. Conduit Street, running perpendicular to Regent Street, attracts more boutiques such as GOAT, the fashion label synonymous with understated luxury and a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, and Maison Margeila’s diffusion line renowned for their innovation, MM6.
At the heart of Regent Street Burberry’s flagship store has launched Thomas’s, a sophisticated café serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Lobster and Chips, a Christopher Bailey favorite can be enjoyed whilst shopping the exquisite collection of seasonal gifts. Other newcomers to the parade include Watches of Switzerland, Karl Lagerfeld, Hunter, famous for their cult wellington boots, and Michael Kors, who are set to open their largest store in Europe on the street in 2016. Two well known Italian fashion brands, Stefanel known for creativity and craftsmanship, and Coccinelle, a stylish leather goods and accessories company founded by the Mazzieri family in Parma in 1978, are both new to the South. Spanish jewellery brand UNO de 50, founded in the 1990s by artistic and rebellious designers headed by Concha Díaz del Río, have opened their first ever UK store in the south sphere of Regent Street. The area will also be joined stylish men’s grooming salon Murdock London, opening this autumn in the Regent Street Quadrant.
The Regent Street Gift Card can be used at many of the stores, and the pilot scheme Dropit, a great option to have your shopping purchases delivered to your door, has just launched.
A most welcome addition to the allure of Regent Street and environs is the presence of internationally renowned contemporary galleries such as Sadie Coles HQ, Hauser & Wirth and Blain Southern which showcase Sarah Lucas, Sue Noble, Louise Bourgeois and Mat Colishaw.
There are also many original pieces of public art to see on Regent Street including the recently commissioned gates, An Age In An Instant, by celebrated contemporary artist, Rona Smith at the entrance to Burlington Mews. Additionally, 23 Heddon Street, now the home to Regent Street’s first commemorative plaque in honor of Ziggy Stardust, has become an international Mecca for David Bowie fans. The latest Regent Street plaque, dedicated to Pink Floyd is found on the University of Westminster, the place where the band was founded.
A good link to RegentStreetOnline.com is http://www.regentstreetonline.com/
We also found the following to be very useful:
We’ll probably stay at the contemporary and luxurious Hotel Café Royal, a member of The Set Collection. It is located in the heart of London smack on Regent Street with Mayfair to the west and the creative diversity of Soho to the east. London’s major attractions, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The National Portrait Gallery and some of the world’s best shopping streets and theatres, are just a short walk away from the hotel. Hotel Café Royal combines a sense of heritage with the 21st Century. David Chipperfield Architects has sensitively restored the property’s listed interiors, dating from the 1860s and 1930s whilst adding contemporary design to create a visually stunning hotel. Hotel Café Royal has always been the preferred haunt of the intellectual, political and artistic literati. Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Winston Churchill and Muhammad Ali were all patrons. We love eating at the chic Café, created from golden Siena marble, The Café is a beautiful, calming space a credit card’s toss from vibrant Regent Street. Celebrating the European tradition of café culture, The Café offers a light menu of seasonal dishes alongside an espresso bar and counters lined with cakes, pastries and chocolates; these are created fresh everyday by Hotel Café Royal’s in-house pastry team.