London, Scotland, even Wales – your clients have done them all. But they haven’t really done Britain, unless they’ve been in the winter.
And given the Gulf’s newfound love for all things cold and icy, as evinced by the plethora of cool activities on offer in Dubai, it’s a surefire way to repackage a favourite destination. TTN throws up some options:
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON
The three four-star London properties of the Red Carnation hotel group, The Chesterfield Mayfair, The Rubens at the Palace and The Montague on the Gardens, are offering Magical London packages for stays of two nights or more between November 23 and January 6. The packages include a welcome gift and Santa Claus hat, full English breakfast daily, tea for two with Christmas Cake on one day, a taxi to Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights and Christmas shopping or the New Year sales, a shopping map and gift wrapping. Guests staying on Christmas Day will receive a stocking of seasonal goodies. Magical London package rates start at £330 ($667) for a double room.Meanwhile, Red Carnation’s three five-star London hotels, The Milestone, The Egerton House and 41, are all offering a Christmas package called It’s a Wonderful Life during the same period. Rates for double occupancy start at £600 at The Milestone and £560 at The Egerton House and 41. www.redcarnationhotels.com
SKATING BY THE CASTLES
One of the official residences of Britain’s Queen, Windsor Castle (www.windsor.gov.uk) transforms part of its riverside park, Alexandra Gardens, into an outdoor ice-rink from December 1 until January 6. The 800-square-metre rink will cater for up to 250 skaters an hour with 10 hour-long skating sessions daily between 10am and 10pm. From the Gardens skaters can see both the River Thames and Windsor Castle.
Also being turned into an ice-rink, from November 21 to January 27, is the 18th-century courtyard at Somerset House (www.somersethouse.org.uk) in London. The opening of this rink, complete with 12-metre Christmas tree, is said to mark the start of the festive season.
London’s Geffrye Museum (www.geffrye-museum.org.uk) is a unique collection of authentic room settings from 1600 to 2000, showing how the English have lived over the centuries. To celebrate Christmas every year, the museum decorates each room in authentic festive style, celebrating 400 years of seasonal traditions.
This year’s exhibition focuses on 20th-century festivities, and highlights how the English have changed the way they celebrate Christmas at home. The switch from hand-crafted to shop-bought decorations, the increasing popularity of Santa Claus and the growing prominence of children will be explored in talks, events and displays. There will also be workshops on making Christmas cards, Christmas crackers and traditional Christmas decorations.Entrance is free.
LUDLOW MEDIEVAL FAYRE
Ludlow Castle, one of the finest medieval castles in England, is hosting a Medieval Fayre on the last weekend in November. There will be costumed jugglers, jesters, archers and historical re-enactments in and around the 11th-century castle, which has been owned by the Earls of Powis since 1811.
Ludlow town is famous for its specialist food shops, markets and award-winning restaurants. Local traders will join traders from across the UK and, suitably dressed in medieval style, will man over 80 stalls. www.ludlowcastle.com
KEW’S CHRISTMAS GARDENS
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, a World Heritage Site, mark the Christmas season in style.
From November 25 to January 6 there will be an ice-rink in front of the Temperate House, the world’s largest ornamental glasshouse, and an old-style carousel. At weekends Father Christmas greets children in a special festive grotto, while a Christmas ‘planto’ teaches them about plant conservation. On selected dates, free Festive Late Night Openings offer a chance to see the Gardens by moonlight, with Kew’s historic buildings illuminated, traditional and luxurious Christmas gifts for sale, carol concerts and feasts of festive food. www.kew.org.
HOUSE PARTIES IN HAMPSHIRE
Chewton Glen, the privately owned five-star hotel spa and country club in Hampshire, is offering four-day Christmas House Parties as well as some festive pre-Christmas functions and a two-night New Year celebration.
The hotel’s four-day Christmas house party 24–28 December includes a Christmas Eve carol concert and the West End musical ensemble on December 27. Prices per room for double occupancy are from £4,111 including all meals, wine and entertainment.
Chewton Glen (www.chewtonglen.com) has 130 acres of grounds with a nine-hole golf course and a spa. Chewton Glen is two hours’ drive from London.
By Clark Kelly
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.