Lovely things to do with big and little people…
Take your Friends
A Very Cowley Christmas: A lovely festive event at beautiful Cowley Manor, created in conjunction with Space.NK, Harvey Nichols , Whole Foods and Taittinger. There’s the expected Christmas shopping, but also a fashion show, several festive skincare and makeup masterclasses, as well as sessions on festive canapes, and a luxury Christmas Feast – all proceeds go to medical charity The Cobalt Unit. (24-25 November, cowleymanor.com, tickets from £5, book online.)
Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt: We loved this last year and are excited about going again this year. Westonbirt has never looked more beautiful than when all the trees are lit with glittering lights and sparkling shimmers. Grab a cup of mulled wine, and take a walk through the woodland, stopping off at the Santa’s grotto for some Christmas crafts, while colourful fairies flit through the trees, bubbles float down from the leaves and booming music adds a dramatic atmosphere. Magical. (until 18 December, Westonbirt Arboretum, tickets from £6 children/£10 adults, book online.)
John Lewis Rooftop: Take a break from Christmas shopping to explore the festive forest atop John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford Street – aside from plenty of Christmas trees and festive foliage, there’s a bar, restaurant and cosy winter cabins complete with a ‘hot toddy bell’ to call for a winter warmer and an individual sound system which you can pair with a smart phone. (Until 31 Dec, John Lewis Oxford Street W1, book cabins online)
Claridge’s Christmas Tree: When I lived in London, the unveiling of the Claridge’s Christmas Tree always felt like the start of the season. With previous designers including John Galliano, Christopher Bailey, Dolce & Gabbana and Lanvin, the tree has become a touchstone of festive style, and is created overnight in the the hotel’s famous lobby, then unveiled to guests and visitors the next morning. This year, the hotel (who picks its tree designers from its most favoured guests), made the radical decision to appoint Apple’s chief design officer Sir Jony Ive and his associate Marc Newsom to create the festive display. The result is so much more than just a tree, a totally immersive world that starts the minute you step through the hotel’s revolving doors. I can’t wait to get lost in this wintery wonderland. (Until January 2017, Claridge’s, Mayfair)
How to Hide a Lion: The lovely Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, which has previously staged We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Paper Dolls, has brought Helen Stephens wonderful book How to Hide a Lion to life for the festive season. The intimate theatre space is transformed into a hat shop, while children watch as Iris and the Lion get up to all sorts of mischief. The performance last for 40 minutes, but there’s a special shorter version for toddlers (1-2 yrs) too. (Until 26 February, Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, book online)
Daylesford Christmas Crafts: It doesn’t get much better than Daylesford at Christmas, and on 3 December they will be hosting a Christmas crafts morning for children, where little ones can make willow hearts and wands, painted vases or chocolate truffles . Plus, from 3 December, the Daylesford Christmas Grotto will be open, where children can do more crafts and enjoy festive storytelling. There are special visits from Father Christmas on 3rd, 10th, 17th and 18th December, and he will be bringing his reindeer with him on 3rd and 17th. (9;30-11:30am, 3 December, Daylesford Organic Farm, Kingham, £20 per child, incl food, book online. Grotto open 3 – 23 Dec, more details here).