The American holiday of Thanksgiving falls on 28 November this year and we think London is the best place to celebrate it. So book yourself into Paddington Court Rooms at a hotel in Paddington London and head to these fine places to enjoy Thanksgiving staples from across the sea.
- St Paul’s service
If you are a traditionalist when it comes to Thanksgiving, then London has pulled out all the stops to make sure the day is as authentic as it gets. The awe-inspiring St Paul’s Cathedral is hosting a Thanksgiving Day service from 11am to 12pm. The current US Ambassador for the UK, Woody Johnson, will deliver a message in the ceremony. It is free for all and with the echoing songs of “America The Beautiful” in London’s famous cathedral, a sure way to start the Thanksgiving ambience off right.
- Biscuit decorating
Notting Hill’s much-loved Biscuiteers School of Icing is getting into the spirit of the holiday and putting on a Thanksgiving biscuit icing event. Not only will you learn excellent, transferable icing technique, but you will also get to take home a tray of biscuits representative of the season – think Autumnal leaves, pumpkins and pecan nuts.
Since the National Football League was established in 1920, they have played on Thanksgiving Day and many Americans grew up with a game on it the background. Being in London doesn’t change that tradition, as there are a number of American-themed bars that screen the games, alongside game-day staples.
Empire Casino in Leicester Square (just around the corner from Paddington Court Rooms!) comes bearing a US sports menu and brandishing big screens playing as many NFL games as they can. Six Yard Box in Peckham is a small sports bar in a container box in one of London’s quirkiest areas. If the weather permits, they even erect a screen outside to maximise who can watch! There is a fully stocked bar as well as a “bring your own” policy for food, so you can eat all your homely favourites as if you are in your living room. Riley’s Sports Bar in Haymarket is another great bet, with a great traditional sports bar aesthetic.
While these are all great, viable options to fulfil your sport-watching needs, the best place to go this year, in particular, is Nordic Bar in Fitzrovia, as they are hosting an NFL Thanksgiving Party. The first two games are at 5.30pm and 9.30pm and promise to be exciting games and a sold-out crowd if last year’s success is anything to go by!
The moment everyone’s been waiting for: the food. Is that not the best part about the whole day? Though you barely have to leave Shaftesbury Hyde Park International to eat, given how many Paddington restaurants surround you, here are some of the restaurants around London offering Thanksgiving feasts this year. From the turkey to the pecan nut pie – London’s got them all. Each and every one of them act as their own reasons to spend Thanksgiving in the city.
Covent Garden’s Christopher’s is an all-day American steakhouse that serves up a mean Thanksgiving spread. It gets enough praise throughout the year to justify a visit, but this themed menu makes it all the more appealing. Think ballotine of turkey, think baked pecan pie cheesecake and pumpkin pie, think corn and chorizo chowder… You get the picture.
The Big Easy, at various locations around London including Chelsea and Canary Wharf, offers an easy-going American style environment with a New Orleans theme. They serve a three-course set meal on Thanksgiving that tastes of all-things-festive. Expect classic turkey dinner with all the trimmings – but also expect some twists that make it a truly unique Big Easy experience. Finish off with a pumpkin pie and roll home with a full belly.
You can also head to Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen – it is right by St Paul’s, so an easy walk if you attend the morning service. It has an informal atmosphere while still being classy – a great combo for a Thanksgiving meal, where you want quality but also a homely, rustic feel. It is reminiscent of a New York loft in decor and is served in a sharing-platter style, just like a family dining table.
The Dead Doll’s House is offering up a traditional Thanksgiving feast for the record books. They are also doing it cornucopia-style – with an enormous, tender turkey at the centre of all your favourite Thanksgiving treats, from whipped yams to cranberry sauce. The turkey is a supersized, Norfolk black roast turkey, giving a suitably local twist to the American classic.
- Pumpkin Spice
‘Tis the season of pumpkin spiced lattes, and London knows what it’s doing when it comes to this festive flavouring. So, if you are thinking of spicing up your approach to the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie this year, here are some of London’s most exciting spots that are slightly off the beaten track and far away from your run of the mill, chain coffee shops pumping out lattes.
Barts in Chelsea has changed the game in their quirky speakeasy by dabbling with their first alcoholic pumpkin spice cocktails. It is the latte upgrade we have all been waiting for. It basically has all the ingredients common to a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, with some additional Tia Maria and pumpkin pie spice-infused Grey Goose vodka. A winning recipe, no doubt.
Chin Chin ice cream is a London institution of frozen-dairy-goodness and they are pulling out all the stops this Autumn with this Thanksgiving-flavoured favourite: the Pumpkin 5 Spice Ice Cream. They use their perfected liquid nitrogen method to make it, so the authenticity is all there.
These five reasons should be all you need to be convinced – London is a great place to spend Thanksgiving this year. With the right combinations of food, celebration and activity, you will find yourself transported from your hotel in Paddington London to the bustling streets of New York.