48 hours in London: How to spoil yourself on a seasonal short break
European city breaks
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
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.
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
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.
Aer Lingus, Ryanair, CityJet and BA all fly to various airports in London. See also visitlondon.com