20. November 2017

Making magic: shop, shape and shimmy your way around London’s arts & crafts scene to perfect the art of festive hosting

Christmas is the time when London becomes a city of sensory experiences and a huge spectrum of sights to see, scents to smell, sounds to hear and treats to taste. Some of them you can even create yourself, so take tips from the masters of festive hosting and learn how best to feed and entertain your guests this Christmas. Here’s what we think making magic for a day in London would look like…


We suggest starting off the day with breakfast at The Terrace restaurant.

The Terrace Restaurant

After getting a good night’s sleep, you’ll probably be feeling ready to kick things off – so roll out of bed and make your way to the Amba Hotel Charing Cross’s Terrace restaurant for a breakfast with a view. Looking out across the Strand and tucking into eggs made exactly how you like them, is the best way to start to any day. In fact, many guests have favoured this spot for 150 years, agreeing that the location is second to none – invite friends to join you for an indulgent morning and they’ll thank you for sharing a secret London hotspot. Breakfast is served from 6.30am until a lazy 10.30am so take your time and soak it all in.


Start creating your ideal Christmas at a Drink, Shop & Do Christmas craft workshop. You’ll leave with all the decorations you need to turn your abode into a cosy festive grotto and delight your guests with home-spun cheer.

Drink, Shop Do

As you might have guessed, there’s very little you can’t do at North London House of Fun Drink, Shop & Do, so as the holidays roll around, book yourself into one of their fabulous Christmas craft classes with a group of friends and get making. You can papier maché to your heart’s content in the reindeer piñata class, or perhaps make a bejewelled Christmas jumper – large, cosy white sweatshirts are provided (and make excellent gifts). When you’re done crafting, have a glass of prosecco in the bar, and pick up some of the independently designed gifts and homewares that are dotted around the café. You're well on your way to becoming the host with the most Christmas accoutrements.


After whetting your appetite for acquiring beautiful items, head straight to London’s most elegant department store, Liberty.


With its magisterial Tudor beams, iconic polished wood floors and enchanting Christmas shop, Liberty is much more than a store – it’s an institution. You’ll find yourself browsing their world-famous fabrics, working your way through their extensive designer collections, and spritzing yourself with designer perfume samples. Don’t forget to treat your guests to some Father Christmases from the excellent Rococo selection in chocolate shop! The issue will be deciding what to put on the table, and what to keep to yourself.


There might just be enough time for a restorative nibble at Arthur’s Restaurant on the second floor before whisking yourself to East London for a unique experience at Smith & Sinclair’s Flavour Gallery.

Smith & Sinclair - The Flavour Gallery

Smith & Sinclair’s range of edible cocktails have gone from strength to strength over the last few years, and in 2017 the innovative team presents the Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory exhibition of interactive artwork from such stars as Terry Pastor, London Loom and Anja Predojevic. Select your most adventurous art-enthusiast friends and get ready to touch, taste and smell your way around the gallery. Don’t forget to make regular visits to the Smith & Sinclair bar in the back (and keep your eyes peeled for recipe tips and ideas – you can order unique ingredients from Smith & Sinclair’s online shop and create your own cocktail experience at home). It serves imaginative concoctions, all mixed in partnership with liqueur experts Lanique.

Having shopped, served and schmoozed your way through the Christmas period, it’ll be time to reward yourself and let someone else do the cooking. You could win a sumptuous dinner party and accommodation at an Amba Hotel for up to six people – all you have to do is share one of your own hosting secrets!

Do you like my trip? You too can share the experience and enjoy London!

Shop, shape and shimmy your way around London