LONDON: Every year, Christmas season in London hosts millions of tourists on a daily basis. Whether it’s the extraordinary shopping, streets filled with lights or the superb cuisine that the city has to offer, London never fails to be a hot destination for winter lovers. Yet, apart from the typical tourist destination of Winter Wonderland and Piccadilly Circus, London offers quirky locations for people who are fascinated by peculiar traits.
One cannot deny that the heavily dense touristic spots are famous for a good reason. London’s famous streets filled with extensive lights and decorations are every Christmas lover’s dream, like walking into the pages of a benevolent Dickens. Not only are the streets aesthetically pleasing, but the huge array of Christmas markets adds spark to the city. Winter Wonderland, with its renown name, is located in the heart of Hyde Park and has been running every Christmas season for the past 10 years. Winter Wonderland offers a diverse range of activities such as ice skating, shows, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars, and live music.
But apart from the classic touristy spots, there are quirky places one must visit during their Holiday vacation in London. In terms of cuisine, London offers a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, even locals cannot try all the restaurants due to the sheer number. Thus, based on lay experience there are a few worth visiting. Starting with Inamo, a pan Asian restaurant located in Soho, Covent Garden & Camden. The distinct aspect of Inamo from other pan-Asian restaurants is that it has interactive projections on the table surface which enables its guests, to order using an interactive mouse on the table. The table surface also allows its guests to set the mood, discover the local neighborhood, play games and even graffiti their table top.
Moving more to an upscale Asian restaurant, the legendary Zuma is not to be missed. With locations in Istanbul, Miami, Rome, Phuket, and many more places, Zuma London was the first restaurant worldwide to be established in the chain. The restaurant offers a sophisticated menu ranged with one of the world’s finest and creative combination of elements. Whether one is seafood, meat or a plant lover, Zuma’s menu is not only suitable but splendid for all of these different types of people. Also, if one is a fan of bumping into celebrities, Zuma is the place to go to. In case one fancies French cuisine, Balthazar is the ideal spot. The original Balthazar opened in New York City in 1997, and almost 15 years later opened in the heart of Covent Garden, London. The bistro offers an array of French dishes open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and weekend brunches. Because of its location near theatrical shows, Balthazar is also ideal for pre and post-theatre diners too. In Balthazar one can sense that they’re in Paris with their geolocation still being in London, thus offering a mixture of both fine cities.
For those that are more into exotic and fusion food, Asia de Cuba represents is the perfect restaurant. The restaurant, located in St Martins Lane hotel, offers a mixture of Latin and Asian flavors in turn providing its guests with a unique and whimsical feeling. Asia de Cuba’s chef grew up and was trained in Cuba, and created the menu in a sense that he was predicting what Cuban food would look and taste like if it was able to innovate and evolve their cuisine over the past 50 years. Taking into consideration that in Cuba they do not have access to the range of global ingredients which is available to the rest of the globe.
For a quirky night out, London is filled with bars around every single corner, so choosing the right place should be based on creativity. Mr. Foggs, Gods own junkyard; Bounce; and then Coppa clubs fit right in that category. To begin with, “Gods own junkyard” located in Walthamstow, was founded by Chris Bracey. Bracey has been creating iconic neon art pieces for the past 37 years for celebrities from all over the world. Gods own junkyard, in brief, is a psychedelic paradise filled neon lights and vintage signs, and offers an on-site cafe and bar. Then there is Coppa club, which has transparent igloos that give an alluring view of London’s Tower Bridge and the Thames river. Perfect for snuggling with blankets, the igloos are increasingly popular, so much that they are fully booked for the next two months. The igloos themselves are also diverse in style, whereby some are perfect for a dinner date and others are more relaxed with sofas and armchairs.
Creativity does not stop there, located in upbeat Shoreditch, Bounce hosts tens of ping pong tables table for guests to play with. The venue’s guests could choose between two types of ping pong tables, the classic one and interactive ones with touch screens. Bounce combines three different elements; a bar, a restaurant, and an entertaining activity. Mr. Froggs, on the other hand, offers six different concepts across London ranging from a society of exploration to a gin parlor. Each location has a unique twist and its own distinctive drinks. For example, the society of exploration is designed for travelers, explorers, and adventurers. Whereas the house of botanicals’ concept is that of a place of floras and faunas collected from all over the world.
In terms of activities, there are plenty of things to do in London, especially during Holiday time. Somerset House is an arts center located in Strand, that is constantly offering diverse and dynamic contemporary art and culture public programme. During the festive season, Somerset house’s backyard is heavily decorated and has one of London’s most beautiful ice rinks. Another innovative concept is ZAPspace trampoline park, is an indoor three-story trampoline Park in Essex. This quirky concept offers a range of activities for its guests, ranging from Freestyle Jump, Soft Play, Cardio Wall, Foam Pit, and Drop Slide. It is suitable for kids and adults who are still kids at heart. One last unconventional concept is Junkyard golf club. The golf club is a vibrant venue with four 9- hole intriguing golf courses created from the most random objected ranging from UV garage, scrapyard slides, circus freaks, and jungle bathtubs.
Although the weather is quite cold and gloomy to be staying outdoors in London, there are two locations that are not to be missed, regardless of the temperature. London Zoo and Regents park offer a quirky yet calm scenery for those who want to take the day off and just enjoy a relaxing day with greenery.
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