London Christmas help needed!

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Sep 21st, 2008, 03:34 AM
  #41
 
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Yes pubs and restaurants are taking bookings for christmas.

However this is for office parties to have their annual knees-up and leg-over, not for Christmas itself. My office are going to a tent in Dartford. We know how to live.

The only places you will find open on xmas day are the hotel restaurants - and you need to book those well in advance.

Yes people on here will witter on about Chinatown, indian gaffs etc but unless you have a car you could be looking at a long walk in possible rain or snow.

Eat in your hotel. Watch The Queen on telly and write the day off as a lazy day.

There's plenty to do on Boxing Day and the tubes and buses will be running.

Ignore the pollyannas - they're building your hopes up. They shouldn't.
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Sep 21st, 2008, 06:05 AM
  #42
 
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"The only places you will find open on xmas day are the hotel restaurants - and you need to book those well in advance."

I would slightly modify that in that some non-hotel restaurants are opne on Christmas Day (out of London, anyway). (We've done it a couple of times for family reasons.) However, as C-W says, you will need to book well in advance. I would add that you will also pay well over the odds, and probably for a less good meal than you would normally get at the same place. There are exceptions - but the only place I would eat out again on Christmas Day is one particular place, out of London.
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Sep 23rd, 2008, 04:09 PM
  #43
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How about Chinatown? In the states we've always been able to find Chinese restaurants open on Christmas.

Also, having trouble booking a car hire from the airport. Wrote London-transfer, and they responded that they're fully booked for Xmas Day! Wrote two others that were recommended on this board and haven't had a response from either and it's been over a week since I wrote. Any suggestions?
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Sep 23rd, 2008, 08:32 PM
  #44
 
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If you don't get an answer to your e-mail, you should phone them. There are reasons e-mails fail - their server is down, your spam filter swallows it, whatever . . . .
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Sep 24th, 2008, 12:44 PM
  #45
 
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How about Chinatown? In the states we've always been able to find Chinese restaurants open on Christmas.>>

Yes there are a few. But you need to get there. Please try and understand there are NO transport options on Christmas day. At least none yopu can rely on.

Where are you staying? And why on earth can't you eat there? Every other option is worse than eating in your hotel. Every single one.
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Sep 24th, 2008, 01:15 PM
  #46
 
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Lockdown.......indeed that about sums it up.

When I left Oireland I thought I was escaping Christmas past, but now we have lockdown here in Brussels as my parents come here and for some unknown reason want to carry on the lockdown tradition overseas.

However, I've managed to put a ban on the turkey and we don't really have telly (except for dvd watching) so I can escape James Bond....and even better - the Enders/Corrie omnibus.

Maybe CW could pick you up from the airport- then he would get to escape the rellies and have a bit of a Scrooge rant.

My advice is lots of alcohol and a deck of cards.
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Sep 24th, 2008, 01:41 PM
  #47
 
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Maybe CW could pick you up from the airport->>>>

No can do. I'm doing what every sensible Brit does and I'm spending christmas in Nice.

You'll probably welcome a lazy day after a transatlantic (i presume?) flight.

Some things you CAN do:

Wander around your neighbourhoods and get you bearings.

Attend a church service (if that's your thing) - lots of brits only go once a year - so there will be an atmosphere.

Some pubs that cater for locals may be open in the pre-lunch period - have a pint with the locals. Ask your concierge (he will almost certainly be slipping out for a pint himself)

Lots of the glories of London are probably best appreciated when there's no one else around - so if you're central think about the parks - especially St James' Park whih has lots of quite odd widlife (flamingos, pelicans etc).

The London street-scape can be wonderful - it is a city that repays wandering around.

As I say - where are you staying. We may be able to come up with some ideas.

Just remember to think only in terms of distances you can walk there AND BACK happily.
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Sep 24th, 2008, 03:00 PM
  #48
 
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>>think only in terms of distances you can walk there AND BACK happily.<< . . . in possibly dreadful weather. It really is best to eat at your hotel if it has a dining room. You may luck out and it will be a glorious cold/clear day just made for walking. But it can just as easily be wind/rain/sleet.
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Oct 4th, 2008, 03:18 PM
  #49
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Still not positive, but looks like we'll be staying in the Mayfair area. Would love to stay nearer to the theater/restaurant area, but Xmas week seems to be a very slow period for the higher end hotels in Mayfair, and when I can stay in a five star for what I normally pay for a three star, it's too tempting. Any suggestions?
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Oct 4th, 2008, 03:44 PM
  #50
 
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You should buy an Oyster card at Heathrow Airport and tell the agent how long you plan on being in London and he will tell you how much $$ you should put on the oyster card. The Piccadilly Line will take you into London from Heathrow for 4 pounds. I used the oyster card for 7 days in London and used it getting to/from Heathrow and on the buses and tube during my stay.
If you have good weather, go to Trafalgar Square or pick up a sandwich and go to Saint James Park. Don't panic, I'm sure you will be able to find something open. Maybe you can make reservations at a hotel for dinner for the holidays.
Enjoy this fabulous city that is decorated Beautifully during the holidays!
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Oct 5th, 2008, 02:51 AM
  #51
 
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"The Piccadilly Line will take you into London from Heathrow for 4 pounds"

But not on Christmas Day.
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Oct 5th, 2008, 03:38 AM
  #52
 
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You should be able to get lunch at a hotel in Mayfair - but before you get carried away, they may be lowering prices for staying there at Christmas - but I bet they aren't for the restaurant, and if anything I would expect higher prices for the day itself. Lunch is likely to need to be booked even if you are staying there, so make sure you check the prices for Christmas Day first.

Lunch at the Chesterfield, for instance, is £100 pp on Christmas Day. Flemings is offering christmas Day lunch for "from" £69 pp and an evening buffet for geusts only at £18.50. Browns is £220 per person for lunch and £95 for dinner.
http://www.brownshotel.com/christmas..._day_lunch.htm
http://www.flemings-mayfair.co.uk/xmas.php

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Oct 5th, 2008, 04:03 AM
  #53
 
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You could try Christmas lunch at The Swan, a London pub opposite Hyde Park and not far from Mayfair:

http://www.christmas-and-new-year-pa...asday/swan.htm

It offers a standard, simple menu, but you might not want to eat much after a long flight. It's also a bit of a tourist trap. A slightly more elaborate, and expensive, option is offered by The Albert:

http://www.christmas-and-new-year-pa...day/albert.htm

The Albert is further away, on Victoria Street, but it offers a better meal and is a nicer pub.

This company is highly reliable, cheaper than taxis and it offers a cab service on Christmas Day:

http://www.addisonlee.com/
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Oct 5th, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #54
 
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The only thing I'll add from my experience;unlike the US, where everything resumes its workday grind the day after Xmas, the English often have off of work and school until after 12th night. That means that things(museums, etc) can be very busy, not quiet as you might expect. We bolted from the British Museum when we found we could only move along with the crowd and not on our own volition. It is beautiful, though, and the one day it snowed is our favorite memory of that trip.
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Oct 5th, 2008, 07:59 PM
  #55
 
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Cherikm - don't worry about getting from the airport to your hotel: the Heathrow Express, while under refurbishment at that time of year as are the rest of the railroad services, does run, just not as frequently nor with the normal coaches. www.heathrowexpress.com will set your mind at ease. I've often traveled to London on Christmas Day, arriving on Boxing Day, and never had a problem getting from either of the two major airports, and the taxi stands at both stations still have cars to get you the rest of the way to your hotel. Since you all enjoy the theater so much anywhere in the west end should suit for a hotel, closer rather than further from the theater district so that walks back aren't punishing. The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury should suit = a 15-minute walk to the theatres, or The Chesterfield, just off Bond Street, also reasonably close; both are Red Carnation Hotels and all of them (I think there are 5 in Central London) run Christmas specials. You won't have a problem at all finding places to eat and you'll be be pretty tired on the day you arrive, so minimal activities will be in order anyway. I personally wouldn't venture anywhere near Trafalgar Square after hours, though because of all the binge drinkers. You'll still find plenty to do and the concierge at your hotel will most assuredly be able to arrange any transport your need.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 05:41 AM
  #56
 
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London doesn't close for Xmas. The majority of people living there don't celebrate it anyway, so they are quite happy to work in restaurants and pubs etc for a huge premium rate.

You will be fine, financially cleaned out but fine...lol

Oh and I'm with CW Christmas is crap.

;-)

Muck
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Oct 6th, 2008, 11:08 AM
  #57
 
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sandra3120: "I've often traveled to London on Christmas Day, arriving on Boxing Day,"

Sorry, but you have given some slightly bum information. There is a huge HUGE difference between arriving on Boxing Day like you have, and arriving on Christmas Day - which is cherikm's problem.

You made it seem like the HEX train runs on Xmas Day w/ slightly reduced frequency in different rail cars. The train doesn't run at all on Dec 25. There is a replacement coach service (buses) to Paddington, but there won't be a line of taxis waiting there to get them to their hotel.

Now, IF they stay at or w/i walking distance of Paddington, that won't be a problem. If they are staying in any other part of London - booking a car service ASAP (like yesterday) is essential.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 11:32 AM
  #58
 
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>>The majority of people living there don't celebrate it anyway, so they are quite happy to work in restaurants and pubs etc for a huge premium rate.<<

If you can find 3.5 million people at work in London on Christmas Day, I will gladly give you a pound for each one.
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Oct 6th, 2008, 12:06 PM
  #59
 
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I think Mucky is making the absurd assumption that non-Christians in Britain don't celebrate Christmas. This is founded on the doolally idea that a British Christmas has anything at all to do with religion.

And it doesn't. Our massive switchoff is essentially about giving people time to spend with their familes. Not that attractive an idea for many whites - but something many non-white groups think is the best idea since halal chicken tikka masala.

Walk down Drummond St - the closest thing to India Town in central London - between Christmas Eve and Jan 2 and you won't find many "white" businesses closed. But most of the Gujerati vegetarian places (vegetarian because most pious Hindus in Gujerat state really dislike eating meat) stay closed for the duration.

So does the Islamic Book Centre, which I'm sure is oppposed to terrorism, but still has a remarkable number of "why the crusaders have to be stopped from taking over the world"-style explanations in its window of why we'd all be better off if the Muslims'd won at Tours in 732.

Why? Because a long break gives them time to go round all their relatives in Leicester, Glasgow, etc. Or to go back to the old country for long enough to catch up on all the family gossip.

And none of them I've ever talked to moan on about how crap Christmas is.
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Oct 7th, 2008, 03:00 AM
  #60
 
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>>And none of them I've ever talked to moan on about how crap Christmas is.<<

They've probably been brought up not to have hang-ups over granny hogging the soft-centres.
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