Funny, isn’t it. Summer turns into Autumn and almost instantly my inbox starts to turn with it as people begin to look forward to the festive season, despite its still being just under three months away. This post feels a bit wrong, but I can actually see why Barry is asking this so early – I would be asking the same thing too, in his position. He says:
“We are from Australia and in 2008 stayed with our son who lives across the river on the Isle of Dogs – so we spent a fair bit of time in Greenwich ( and walking there through the foot tunnel )
We will be there again this Christmas – after sailing over via Suez – and will have nearly 3 weeks in the area. I have been searching, searching, searching for someplace to have a Christmas Day lunch or evening dinner in the area – within walking distance- with no luck so far.
My son, who has now lived there for going on 3 years, can’t provide any info – so am currently at a complete loss. We are amazed to think that there is absolutely NO public transport on Christmas Day in London.”
The Phantom replies
Yes – the state of public transport on 25th December leaves a LOT to be desired. But no matter, there should be stuff to do around here.
The weeks leading up to Christmas are a chaotic joy. The market’s going full-throttle, there are events all over the shop – look at the Maritime Museum, Fan Museum and Old Royal Naval College for possiblities (check out Ian Visits for quirky events further afield.) Carol services are held at St Alfege’s (I can’t remember whether they use the proper, traditional words in the carols or those grim ’contemporary’ ones) and their Advent Windows (still trying to asertain whether they’re on this year, but I have no reason to think not) are a splendid modern tradition, imitated in various places around the country but born in Greenwich, where a different house/shop/venue displays a special window each day of Advent.
Greenwich Theatre’s panto is a must if you’re into that kind of thing (which I am, and that reminds me - must sort out this year’s trip…) and one year Greenwich Playhouse, just above Belushis outside Greenwich Station did the most wonderful adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The writer, Brian Sibley, has promised me some M.R. James but then wasn’t very well. I live in hope that this year he’s all better and raring to go which seasonal ghost stories…(hint, hint…)
But onto the day itself – a tough call for many places, but I have got some good news. I highly recommend that whichever of the following you choose, you book nice and far in advance, just to be sure. If I get any more replies from local eateries that I rate, I’ll post ‘em up here.
I put out the call to a bunch of local restaurants and pubs (sadly there were a few I couldn’t ask because they don’t have email addresses, they have nasty online forms or they use that irritating phone service provided by beer comparison websites.) I had very prompt replies from some, tardier responses from others, and no response at all from a few.
First the bad news – Guy Awford tells me that neither Inside nor The Guildford is open on the day itself (though of course there will be seasonal menus at other times. Good news for the future is that the promised fine dining upstairs at the Guildford is still going to happen at some point – hurrah.)
For large numbers, French bistro chain Cafe Rouge is proud that it’s opening Christmas Day – even providing a menu on its website. I didn’t even have to contact them. I often go there if there’s a big bunch of us and I’ve neglected to book a table as there’s always room – but for The Big Day, I suspect that booking is advisable.
The North Pole is also open – they do a £49.95, three course set menu for groups (I don’t know what consitutes a group) – call them for further details.
As far as the Greenwich chain INC are concerned, the Bar du Musee and the rather more upmarket Spread Eagle are both open; they are finalising menus at the moment. I was rather surprised that the other INC staple, the Trafalgar, won’t be opening on the Day Itself, but the other two do make more sense.
Maeve at the Hill on Royal Hill, tells me they’re open for lunch too, and, as with all the other venues, a special menu at £60. Maeve tells me that three courses, plus Champagne, coffee and mince pies are involved in the festive fare.
Finally, I am delighted to say that one of my favourite restaurants in Greenwich, The Old Brewery will be open on Christmas Day. Like Inc, they’re still deciding on details; give ‘em a call for details.
After lunch, I suggest a little tour of all 24 of St Alfege’s Advent Windows - though don’t forget a nice bracing between-course stroll around the park is also a cherished tradition for many Greenwich families (including Phantoms…)
the attachments to this post: