You might have noticed I’ve been absent from my blog and social media in the run up to Christmas, this is because I’ve been enjoying the festivities here, there and everywhere! Today I’m talking about one of the highlights of my travels – spending the day at Somerset House in London with my mam. The first of my trips started out with a birthday trip to London with my mam where we stayed for two nights, then we got the Eurostar to Paris for another two nights. I then had a day to recover before then flying to Belgium with my friends to explore the city of Brussels and soak up the magic at the Christmas markets and eat our weight in chocolate. Once I got back, I was back to work for a few days before driving down to see Adam and going to Lincoln for the Christmas markets there too. It’s been an amazing few weeks but I was happy to finally spend a weekend at home to finally put up my Christmas tree!
My mam and I love London and after visiting Winter Wonderland last year, we decided to do something a little different. My mam had read about ice skating at Somerset House, somewhere we had never been before, so we decided to go there instead to help get us in the festive spirit. We stayed at the beautiful Radison Blu Edwardian hotel located on Oxford Street right above the Disney shop! This is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in and the location was fantastic! It was a lovely fresh day so we decided to walk from our hotel to Somerset House instead of getting the tubes, it was supposed to take around 40 minutes but we popped into some shops along the way.
Once we arrived, we were amazed by the size and beauty of Somerset House, the building is absolutely stunning and surrounded the ice skating rink to create the perfect backdrop for festive photographs. Unfortunately there wasn’t any slots available for the ice skating until 8pm which was a long time for us to wait but there was still plenty for us to do. We watched people have fun on the ice before heading inside Somerset House for a wander around the pop-up Christmas arcade and having an amazing lunch in Fortnum Lodge.
As we walked through the door of Somerset House, we were greeted with freshly made biscuits from the Fortnum and Mason staff. Selling a fantastic variety of food gifts including chocolate bark, caramel biscuits, mulled wine sachets and bottles of champagne with chocolates, there were some amazing gifts all perfectly wrapped for giving. They were also serving up hot chocolate, churning away in two separate machines with dark and milk chocolate to choose from.
As we left the first room of the rink-side pop-up shop and walked into the festive hallway, we discovered other rooms, each with their own theme filled with the finest foods, gifts, decorations and tea from Fortnum’s. Each room was decorated and presented to perfection, complete with luxury gifts for all of the family.
After having a wander around the Christmas Arcade, we went to Fortnum’s Lodge to see if we could get seated for lunch. Despite it being a busy Saturday afternoon, we managed to get seated pretty quickly. This was one of the most wonderful dining experience’s I’ve had. The restaurant had an après-ski theme which was perfect for the winter months. The menu was filled with lots of tempting delights including raclette, a dish me and my mam were excited to try after hearing good things about it from a friend.
Raclette is a semi-hard Swiss cheese from the alps of Valais. My mam ordered the classic raclette which was a combination of new potatoes, cornichons, silverskins and sourdough whilst I got the poutine – a beautiful mix of skin on chips, pulled beef with gravy, topped with raclette and crisps. It was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, served up in a hot skillet, the cheese-pull game was strong and the flavour was incredibly satisfying.
To finish, we got the most instagramable hot chocolate you’ve ever seen. Presented to us on a silver tray with a gorgeous copper mug, we both ordered a dark chocolate hot chocolate, served with a shot of caramel vodka and a huge gourmet, homemade marshmallow. The hot chocolate was so flavoursome and indulgent, I decided to gradually pour my caramel vodka into my mug to create a boozy concoction which proved a little too strong for me and my mam, I think next time we will drink the two separately!
We had a wonderful time at Somerset House and it really helped us absorb the festive cheer and get us in the mood for Christmas! There’s still time to enjoy this amazing pop-up event during the Christmas holidays and into the new year too with the Christmas arcade and lodge open until 7th January 2018 and ice skating at Somerset House available until 14th January 2018.
Somerset House | Strand | London | WC2R 1LA