A Magical Weekend in London – Winter Wonderland, London Horse Show and Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason!


I have been so excited about this trip for so long. I don’t live very close to two of my dearest friends, and getting to spend time with them is everything. We always have such an incredible time, and I cherish the memories we always make together. We are all busy but always manage to find weekends we can spend together, and the 3 of us had been dying for a Christmas getaway! With us all being equestrians, of course we all associate December with a very specific horse show!

London International Horse Show, formally Olympia, is such a nostalgic Christmas event, and certainly not something I wanted to miss out on this year. We managed to book our tickets early on and plan the weekend ahead of last I am really not a city girl, but there is something quite exciting about a trip to London. It always feels like this big trip out. Spending a weekend there, under the lights, at Christmas, feels very surreal, and worlds away from where I normally am.

❄️ Friday – Winter Wonderland ❄️

We were all at work on the Friday, so it was a full day followed by train and taxi journeys to get us to the hotel. The other girls were coming in to Kings Cross, but I went into Paddington, so I had a slightly different route. We had booked the Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire just off Oxford Street, which worked well centrally, and the hotel itself was pleasant. We got settled into the hotel and of course had a bottle of champagne, before heading out to explore Winter Wonderland, which was only a stones throw away at Hyde Park.

I have been to Winter Wonderland once before, and honestly, I think it’s quite a strange event, even though I enjoy it. It is very much rides, games and food, but there is something about the atmosphere that feels magical. There are also attractions including things to walk around, performances, an ice bar, ice skating etc which can all be booked separately, so if you wanted to make a real time of it, you could book multiple different things to go to.

We actually did make a small mistake with WW, and thought that it was open later than it was. It closed at 10pm, so we didn’t have much time to spend looking round in the end. We had food and drink, and a trip on the Carousel, but after a walk around, we were close to closing time. We hadn’t booked any separate attractions. But I would highly recommend from attending previously that you leave enough time to see everything you want too.

You do have to book tickets in advance of attending this year, I think that’s different to other years. It was £5 for our tickets, and you do get this back if you spend a certain amount. The attractions and things to do are an additional charge and some do need booking in advance, so be sure to check that out before you go.

Winter Wonderland remains in Hyde Park until 3rd January, so there is still some time to go if you fancy it!

🐴 Saturday – London International Horse Show & Italian Meal 🐴

Saturday was the main day we had planned for. Of course when you mix 3 equestrians, the main reason we wanted to head to London was for the London International Horse Show, previously known as Olympia Horse Show. Now having moved to ExCeL London, this was easy enough to get to, with tubes and DLR signposted. You could also easily get an uber to the site. Easy access was something which was blissful about Olympia, so it was good to see ExCeL was the same, as this was my first time there.

The event was really well spaced out, and with everything Covid, the precautions in place felt safe and substantial. Almost everyone was wearing a mask and being careful and curtious, which was lovely to see. The shopping village was full, and it felt like there was quite a lot there. It was very geared up for equine equipment or clothing, as opposed to a lot more gifting type stands, which is slightly different to how Olympia previously felt, but that is very reflective of the covid situation, not the event.

The afternoon performance itself was wonderful to watch. We were treated to the Six Bar and Snowflake Stakes jumping, the Shetland Pony Grand National, Santi Serra and the Household Calvery Muscial Ride. The performances always make me feel quite emotional, and the atmosphere felt really special. We all really enjoyed the event and felt that it worked just as well at the ExCeL.

Following a wonderful time at the ExCeL, we then headed back to the hotel for a quick change, and off out for dinner. we had booked San Carlo Cicchetti in Piccadilly for dinner. I have to say, I had really mixed review about this. The setting was beautiful, and the pricing was really reasonable, however the service and food was a little below standard (in my opinion!). We waited so long for the drinks, we had already had the starter, and the food arrived drastically apart. My risotto was so cold, and I really do hate to complain, but it had to be sent back because it really wasn’t good. Our waitress seemed impatient and unapologetic. It was amazing having some time to chat with the girls and enjoy each others company, in all of this, that’s what matters most. However, the meal could have possibly been a little better to help us along!

🍰 Sunday – Shopping & Afternoon Tea 🍰

Another morning, another amazing Radisson Blu breakfast. I can’t get over how dreamy the breakfast was at the start of each day – definitely setting us up well for the day. We really were spoilt for choice with the options available, and certainly made sure we were ready for the full days ahead of us.

After a quick change back upstairs after breakfast, it was time to head out into London to do some shopping! I honestly don’t know why I didn’t think about this, but it is worth noting that a lot of the shops don’t open until 11.30 or 12 on a Sunday. I didn’t even think about that in London. If you’re keen to get up and out shopping, or have trains to catch, or a booking for somewhere, this is definitely worth bearing in mind.

We did all of the classic shops, and had a lovely time browsing all of the Christmas display windows and gifts on offer. There were a few last minute gifts to pick up, but I cant believe there wasn’t anything I picked up for myself – I am partial to a shop!!

We had afternoon tea booked for 3.15pm, so we had a good amount of time prior to this to get shopping. We had found afternoon tea a little tricky to book. We needed to tie this in with our train journeys back home, and quite a lot of dates had already been booked up when we were planning the trip. This is definitely something to consider in advance if you are thinking of going.

We booked the classic afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason, which was in their Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, on the top floor. As we walked in, we were greeted by an incredible pianist, and the setting was just beautiful. Afternoon tea was £70 per person, with a service charge added. The selection was great and there was a lot of food between us. The staff were exceptional and the service, food and setting was definitely worth the money.

Following afternoon tea, it was sadly time to collect our luggage from the hotel, part ways, and head home.

We had such a wonderful time together, and it was a beautiful weekend just before Christmas!

If you haven’t ever been on a Christmas visit to London, I would highly recommend it! It’s easy to pack a lot into a weekend!

I can’t wait to see you again in my next blog. Stay safe, and Merry Christmas ❤️

Lots of love, Lucinda xo

“May you never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve.”

– Unknown

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