Please Help with Christmas

Old Dec 6th, 2002, 05:53 PM
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Please Help with Christmas

I have read through the many posts here about Christmas in London, and basically, I've already read about how shut down and terrible it is, so I really don't need to hear warnings from anyone else. We already have our tickets, and can't go any other time, and I don't feel like getting any more depressed about this trip.

What I would LOVE, and be eternally grateful for, is any advice from someone who either has actually eaten Christmas day dinner in London, or has reservations somewhere. I have checked out the websites suggested on other posts, and have some requests in. But I'm wondering if anyone actually has eaten somewhere they liked on Xmas day before (so we know they could be open) or knows of a place that is not 200 pounds for one meal per person. We're thinking more in the 50-65 pound neighborhood per person. Any specific suggestions?

Also, I know cabs will be scarce, but if we make reservations far in advance, will we be okay? Would it make sense to have a rental car that day? Someone said 25 pound minimum cab fare-- is that for real, or just someone being overly dramatic?

Thanks in advance for *constructive* advice!
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 09:44 PM
Ben Haines
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If you plan to go to church anyway you might think of phoning ahead to book a lunch in the City after morning prayer, which starts at eleven. I think the churches offer lunch free, but you will want to pay your way with an offer by phone of something like ten pounds a person. All Hallows by the Tower has an Anglican Family Service followed by lunch. Tel 020 7481 2928. Wesley?s Chapel has a Methodist Morning Service followed by Community Lunch. Tel 020 7253 2262, fax 020 7608 3825.

I eat Christmas dinner at midday in my own house. The site, then at bottom left Christmas Day, lists restaurant meals with costs of 18, 23, 30, 40, 55, 145, and 200 pounds. I see no reason why they should not be open as they say.

I like your idea of car hire: it will make you much more mobile. Or if you hire a bicycle you can have a couple of glasses of wine.

Please write if I can help further.

Ben Haines
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 02:08 AM
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Oops Ben!
Being drunk in charge of a pedal cycle is an offence.You will at least keep your driving licence though!
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 02:28 AM
Ben Haines
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A couple of glasses seems safe to me (but then, that is what they all say). I have just phoned All Hallows by the Tower, and they would welcome American churchgoers to Christmas lunch. It includes wine and a four course lunch, so I now think fifteen or even twenty pounds would be about right. If I hear more from Wesley s Chapel (which should be wineless) I shall tell you.

Ben Haines
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 02:57 AM
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Have you read Ben's other post about what IS open and happening?

It might cheer you up bit.

Can you tell us where you will be staying? I might have some suggestions for things you would like to do based on that.

Since the streets will be empty getting about might be quite fun.

Have you thought of going out of London for your Christmas lunch? To a nice pub in the country? If you're going to hire a car that is another option.

Have you been to London before?
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 05:03 AM
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We're in the same position you are. We finally decided to do a day tour (Stonhenge & Bath - I know it gets mixed reviews, but my husband is really interested) on Dec. 26, when most things will be closed.

The best site I've found so far with Christmas day options is:

They seem to have everything from regular lunches to a Sherlock Holmes Christmas day lunch to a day trip to Northern France to a Chateau for just 65 GBP per person. They also promise to arrange something for you starting at 36 GBP per person (see

We're still deciding which historic hotel to choose for Christmas Day lunch, but I've run across several (non-hotel) restaurant options that are less than 50 GBP per person. The site mentioned above is a very good resource - several choices in your price range, and they've been very helpful, securing menus for me for several of the options. also lists several pubs and international restaurants (e.g. Indian, Thai) that are open on Christmas in addition to the more expensive traditional options.

Because of the computer I'm using I can't read the prices at the moment, but I had bookmarked the Londontown page as having Christmas day options, including both high-end and more affordable:

I found these sites by searching "London Christmas restaurants" on - I gave up my search since we decided to go the historic hotel route - but I think with persistence you'll be able to find one that you like!

Also, there are two great walks offered by London walks ( on Christmas day - perhaps I'll see you there!
Old Dec 7th, 2002, 05:06 AM
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Sorry - the trip described above to France for the day is a trip one can book for groups of 30 or more - most of the other packages on that site I'd opened were for a minimum of 2, so I thought that one was the same - but they do have many other great options just for 2 people!
Old Dec 8th, 2002, 11:29 PM
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I *KNEW* I had seen an offer for Christmas lunch for around 30 GBP pp, and I finally found it. Several of the Firmdale Hotels (Charlotte Street, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Pelham) offer Christmas Day menus starting at 30 GBP pp. These are expensive hotels (approx 250 GBP plus per night), but their restaurants are surprizingly the most affordable I've found. Not all offer Christmas day dining, so you'll need to call directly & ask.

Also, has a listing of restaurants offering Christmas menus (several under 35 GBP pp), but I didn't see any with availability, and it's geared more towards Christmas parties (i.e. groups) than individuals. It's worth a try, however, contacting the restaurants directly. Lastminute is obviously a 3rd party, and the restaurants may not offer the site access to all its availability.

Good luck!
Old Dec 9th, 2002, 02:03 PM
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Old Dec 9th, 2002, 04:26 PM
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More suggestions for us?
Old Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:48 AM
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The restaurant critic on suggested tradition Christmas lunch at Goring Hotel(Beeston Place,SW1 London 020-73969000) for 29 pounds per person.
Old Dec 23rd, 2002, 06:56 AM
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I can vouch for the Goring restaurant. My husband and I just returned from a stay at the Goring (our third in three years.) The Goring has become our favorite place to stay in London, and you will not be disappointed by the hotel's restaurant. First rate service and great food. The Goring is a small, family owned hotel that exudes charm. It will feel quite "homey" at Christmas.
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