Last week I had the supreme pleasure of going on a walking tour of London’s Christmas past. The event was hosted by Penhaligan’s and the tour was given by Emma Parker from Coutours. Emma regaled us with one fascinating anecdote after another that tied together landmarks with origins of traditions and phrases. As a group we were a rapt audience and learnt so much. Here are the highlights in photos with a few nuggets of information.
Things started off at the Penhaligon’s Burlington Arcade Store just near Bond Street which was looking very pretty with it’s peacock feather themed decorations.
With it’s old fashioned store fronts and beautiful architecture Burlington Arcade can feel festive in the middle of July but really comes into its own in December.
The first treat of the evening was to listen to some carols being sung by this angel-voiced trio.
We then got the chance to try out some the superlative Penhaligon’s fragrances and take a look at the gorgeous Christmas gift sets. The range of fragrances is so extensive that they’ cover all tastes but my current favourite is Equinox Bloom which I’ve reviewed HERE. I also really like Juniper Sling and Empressa.
Here’s Emma Parker telling us a little bit about the evening ahead. It really was a privilege to be in her company.
This is a print of the image that’s credited as being the world’s first Christmas card. The artist is John Calcott Horsely and it was commissioned by civil servant Henry Cole in 1843.
The cucumber shaped christmas tree that’s been an annual gift by the city of Oslo as thanks for the British support to Norway during the WWII.
This is Goodwins Court WC2 which was built in 1627 and still has an old world feel to it. It’s also ‘Diagon Alley’ from the Harry Potter movies.
This is the inviting bar in the upstairs room at Rules , established in 1798, and is the oldest restaurant in London. We stopped off here for a cocktails in what must be the cosiest and most christmassy room in central London.
Things finished off at the Penhaligon’s store in Covent Garden where we were treated to mince pies from Fortnum & Mason’s and more cocktails. The evening really was a succession of highlights and I’m extremely gratefully to Penhaligon’s for inviting me.
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