Liberty 2016

A London Boxing Day…Without Shopping

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, has become another extension of the commercial frenzy of the holiday period. Especially in London. But it doesn’t have to be.

(I’ve been lifted off my feet by the press of the crowd during the holiday season around Oxford Street Tube Station. Now I avoid it until February at least.)

Instead of rushing around to the post holiday sales, take advantage of this year’s extra-long, 4-day UK Bank Holiday weekend*. Shopping can wait.

Have a lie in, eat chocolate and Christmas cake for breakfast, watch movies on the telly – or football, if you must.  Then, when darkness starts to fall, head for London’s Regent Street and Piccadilly to enjoy this year’s fabulous lights and shop windows away from the urgent press of hysterical shoppers on Oxford Street.

The Regent Street lights, designed by ex-theater designer Paul Dart,  are particularly spectacular this year. And at Fortnum and Mason – which has brilliant windows year round – they’re reflecting the current mood by bringing normally warring pairs together in a festive dance.

Here’s what to expect…

And at Fortnum’s

The Lobster and the Chef share a champagne toast. Photo © Ferne Arfin
The Lobster and the Chef share a champagne toast. Photo © Ferne Arfin
The Boy and the Brussels Sprouts at Fortnum and Mason. Photo by @copy; Ferne Arfin
The Boy and the Brussels Sprouts at Fortnum and Mason. Photo by @copy; Ferne Arfin
The merry dance of the turkey and the butcher - an no one loses any limbs. © Ferne Arfin
The merry dance of the Turkey and the Butcher – an no one loses any limbs. © Ferne Arfin
One occasion when the polar bear and the penguin are not poles apart, © Ferne Arfin
One occasion when the Polar Bear and the Penguin are not poles apart, © Ferne Arfin
The Wolf leads a Choir of Sheep. © Ferne Arfin
The Wolf leads a Choir of Sheep. © Ferne Arfin
The Woodsman the the Christmas Tree in peaceful coexistence. © Ferne Arfin
The Woodsman the the Christmas Tree in peaceful coexistence. © Ferne Arfin

And After

Check out the decorations in the arcades off Piccadilly, Burlington Arcade and Piccadilly Arcade are particularly splendid this year. And as for the goods for sale – well who knows, you might win the lottery one day.

Then warm up with tea and treats or a hot chocolate at Fortnum’s casual restaurant, The Parlour. It has an all day menu to 10pm but you might be wise to make a reservation.

Other good choices –

  • Richoux – an old favorite, best for teas, coffees, cakes and treats
  • Kahve Dünyasi – a Turkish coffee shop on Piccadilly with amazing hot chocolate, cold and hot drinks.
  • SAID dal 1923 – the London branch of a Roman chocolatier. The shop, with all its chocolate molds and constantly bubbling cauldron of chocolate must be seen. And you can stand a spoon up in the tiny, dense cups of hot chocolate. It’s just a short walk away on Broadwick Street in Soho.
Whatever you get up to for the holidays and between the holidays, have a great time. Merry Christmas and back in 2017.

*In the UK, both Christmas and Boxing Day are bank holidays. So when Christmas falls on Sunday, most people get Monday and Tuesday off. 

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