The perfect pre-Christmas treat day in London
The best way to use up that spare day of annual leave...
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… You’re getting towards the end of the year, you’ve got a day of annual leave left to take and you’re wondering what to do with it. Here’s the perfect London pre-Christmas treat day planned out for you.
Breakfast – the most important meal of the day
For the first time since the Gherkin opened to the public, Searcys is hosting a series of festive champagne breakfasts in partnership with the Laurent-Perrier champagne house. Choose from classic breakfast dishes including Eggs Benedict, Florentine or Arlington; smoked streaky bacon, eggs, Cumberland sausage, black pudding, tomatoes and field mushrooms for the full works; healthier options such as granola, berries, yoghurt and honey; or indulgent homemade waffles, hedgerow berry compote and sweet cream.
Executive chef Shaun Rowland’s signature dish of avocado on toast with poached hen eggs, sherry-smoked salmon and keta caviar is the perfect pairing with a chilled glass of Laurent-Perrier. And if you’re treating yourself, which you should be, what better way than starting the day with a glass of champagne?
Three Laurent-Perrier cuvées are available, or you can opt for a tasting flight with a glass of each: the Cuvée Rosé, La Cuvée and Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature.
The breakfast is available from 18 November until 30 December, Monday to Friday, 7.30am until 11am. Book through the Searcys’ website.
On top of that, all breakfast guests will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two pairs of tickets to watch Cirque du Soleil in a private box at the Royal Albert Hall with a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé – so you could get one amazing Christmas present sorted as well.
Have you ever had the kind of day where you rock up somewhere in the morning, and just don't leave? Whether it's a friend's house, or a restaurant. Searcys is the kind of place you could do that. If you're in it for the long haul, lunch starts at £35 per person for two-courses with a glass of wine, or you can get a three-course dinner from £45, including a glass of wine.
The festive set menu features the likes of roast Ironbark pumpkin soup, spiced pumpkin seeds, sour cream, through to braised Somerset pork belly, carrot puree, kale and a rich chocolate tart, Guinness curd, and malt ice cream.
The rest of your dreamy festive day
Before leaving the Gherkin, make sure you have a look at the amazing views and the giant birdcage centrepiece decorated with champagne bottles on level 39. On level 40, a 12-foot Christmas tree located within the glass dome of the Gherkin’s Iris Bar will shine out over London. That is one high Christmas tree, at 180 metres above the city.
You’re in the perfect spot for some serious Christmas shopping, with Leadenhall Market and Spitalfields Market only a stone’s throw away. Pick up some festive tipples from Amathus, an independent specialist drinks retailer in Leadenhall Market, along with everything from books to Diptyque candles to Barbour jackets.
From Leadenhall, wander over to Spitalfields market (about a 13 minute walk) and drift around the huge array of independent stall holders showcasing handcrafted and hard-to-find pieces. As well as all the traders, there are lots of permanent shops around Spitalfields too, including Benefit Cosmetics, Kiehl’s, and Ollie Quinn glasses.
After all that shopping, you might just about be getting ready to eat something. Spitalfields market has a huge range of gourmet street food vendors. Nude Coffee Roasters do a great flat white, and there’s everything from plant-based Bema, to The Duck Truck, Lovely Pasta and SmokoLoko to tempt you for a late lunch.
Now it’s time to escape the crowds again for a glass of wine. Just a five minute walk from Spitalfields Market is the lovely New Street Wine. It’s technically a wine shop, but as well as buying, you can try a good range by the glass. The staff are really friendly and knowledgeable, and there are large communal tables so you can rest your legs from your busy day of eating, drinking and shopping.