Wednesday 17 July 2019

48 hours in London: How to spoil yourself on a seasonal short break

European city breaks

Hyde Park
Hyde Park
Harry Potter studio tour
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea
Como the Halkin
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

You don't have to travel any further than London for a luxury short break this Christmas, says our travel editor.

Head for Hyde Park

You don't have to jet off to Disneyland Paris or the Tivoli Gardens for a winter wonderland. Hyde Park's edition runs to January 1, and it's crammed with everything from an Ice Bar (with flavoured shots) to a giant observation wheel and Christmas Circus. It runs from 10am-10pm daily, but be warned: weekends are jammers. Midweek is magic.

How: hydeparkwinterwonderland.com; free entry but attractions like the Ice Rink and Cirque Berserk are ticketed.

Hogwarts in the snow

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Harry Potter studio tour

That first step into the Great Hall at Hogwarts whisks you away like floo powder. Warner Brothers' Harry Potter Studio Tour is a stone-cold classic for fans and Muggles alike, and winter sees sets like Diagon Alley and the Gryffindor common room bedecked with festive lights and effects.

How: wbstudiotour.co.uk; tickets from £37/€44 (adults) and £29/€32 (kids). Take the train from London Euston to Watford Junction.

Surprise, surprise!

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea
 

Did you know there's an ice-skating rink at the Tower of London's dry moat (£14.50/€16.35pp)? That One Aldwych does a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea (£42/€47)? Or that the V&A Museum runs a free Festive Feasting treasure hunt? It sees seasonal scavangers tasked with finding and photographing themselves with as many items on their clue list as possible.

How: hrp.org.uk; onealdwych.com; vam.ac.uk

Check into COMO The Halkin

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Como the Halkin
 

Just five minutes from Hyde Park, COMO The Halkin is a Belgravia bolthole with a twist - a Michelin-star restaurant created in collaboration with San Sebastián's Arzak. A unique take on afternoon tea (£32/€36pp) sees savoury tapas and treats like chocolate with churros, and here's a tip - ask the concierge for a key to Belgrave Square Garden (he'll walk with you).

How: comohotels.com/thehalkin; B&B from £365/€407; B&B plus a tasting menu at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction from £580/€647 for two.

Do it

Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet and BA all fly to various airports in London. See also visitlondon.com

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