For winter, many City restaurants and bars are transforming into ski chalets and snowy forests while converting their outdoor terraces into igloos and truffle huts.
It’s that time of year again. All of a sudden winter chalets are sprouting up over the City alongside riverside igloos and rooftop winter wonderlands.
Some are a little bit tacky. Some are brilliantly executed. And almost all will be playing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is you on repeat. At least, we hope so.
We’ve taken the time to sort through all the City’s winter pop-ups to bring you this list of top destinations. Follow our guide for the best places to indulge in Hot Toddies, Christmas dinners, and all the mince pies your body can physically handle.
Because if you can’t treat yourself to something a little extra special at Christmas time, when can you?
While everyone else is following the trend of translucent igloos this winter, Le Pont de la Tour has instead opted for its very own truffle huts. This is where to take that special someone this Christmas (not really for mates) as it only seats two and is incredibly romantic. Guests will be treated to their own private waiter for a cosy evening while they sip on Moët & Chandon champagne and look out over iconic views of Tower Bridge and the River Thames. It doesn’t get much classier than this.
36D Shad Thames SE1 2YE
Overlooking Broadgate’s very own festive makeover The Winter Forest, Yauatcha has set up its very own whisky den for the season. Staff have created a whole host of their own Hot Toddy recipes to warm up punters while getting them a little tipsy in the process. Either grab a few drinks here before noshing on some of Yauatcha’s famous dim sum or head down into the Winter Forest for more drinks, live music and evening events.
1 Broadgate Circle EC2M 2QS
This year the Aviary is not just decking its winter terrace in festive decorations. Staff have also constructed several luxury Nordic-inspired igloos that overlook the surrounding cityscape. It’s not quite the Northern lights, but the City’s light pollution has a similar effect. Right? Each igloo can hold up to 10 people, and come with faux-fur blankets, a fireplace, and are serviced by the hotel’s staff. Treat yourselves to some of the speciality winter cocktails and an epic Christmas food platter with roast turkey brochettes, Kentucky-fried cauliflowers, and macaroni and cheese croquettes.
Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square EC2A 1DX
The Queen of Hoxton always go big with its rooftop transformations. And this winter is no different. The heated wig wam is back again, but this time it has been made into a Moulin Rouge-inspired music hall, complete with velvet drapes, cabaret tables, and a stage where all manner of ‘curious characters’ perform. Scattered about the rest of the rooftop are open fires for marshmallow roasting and a bar serving mulled port and wine, Parisian-spiked hot chocolates, a sharing fountain of absinthe (we must admit this one terrifies us a little), and a hot tarte tatin rum for good measure.
1 Curtain Road EC2A 3JX
This winter, New Street Warehouse has created a couple of themed festive terraces. The first, at the Fish Market, is a Love Actually-inspired space to please all who adore the modern Christmas classic. All kinds of cocktails and snacks are flowing each evening, and staff are even hosting a special Love Actually Bottomless Brunch on 8 December for added fun. Just next door at the Old Bengal Bar, another terrace has been decorated as a Narnia Winter Forest, full of snow-covered trees, characters from the novels and a recreation of the famous lamp post. It’s definitely worth a visit for the nostalgic ones out there.
16 New Street EC2M 4TR
Twelve storeys up in the air is Savage Garden’s White Forest. The covered rooftop has been transformed into a Narnia-inspired winter wonderland with all the necessary pop-up trimmings. It boasts limited edition cocktails for the season, lanterns shining CS Lewis quotes around the space, and an impressive White Witch’s throne. And if that isn’t enough, the White Forest even has a second terrace which has been given the full igloo treatment. Pods are full of faux fur rugs, blankets, and all other sorts of cosy decorations.
7 Pepys Street EC3N 4AF
These are the originals; the guys who made City dinners in an igloo a thing. And no matter how hard competitors try to recreate the experience, Coppa Club continues to come out on top. Inside the redesigned heated pods, you’ll find lush furs and blankets and your own sound system to play with while you tuck into festive fare. You can blast Buble all night long while looking out over the Thames and the Shard. And while they are already booked up until next year, Coppa Club does have a handful of spots open each day for walk-ins.
3 Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street EC3R 6AH
Yet again, The Montague on the Gardens Hotel will be adorned with pine trees, twinkling lights, snowmen and falling snow. It even has a luxury log cabin on site, making it one of the best chalets-cum-après ski pop-ups in the Capital. This is not only thanks to the ornate decorations, but also to the extensive drinks list. Homemade flavoured schnapps for proper Scandinavian fun is also on the menu, as well as ‘hot chocktails’ served with candy canes, butterscotch and toffee treats, creating an incredibly whimsical night out in the City.
15 Montague Street WC1B 5BJ