Eight of the best winter terraces and bars in London

Urban winter wonderlands: from a chic Swiss chalet serving a Smörgåsbord of festive delights to a rooftop cinema and a glittering enchanted garden

Christmas Here, There and Everywhere at Sketch
Christmas Here, There and Everywhere at Sketch

1 Christmas Here, There and Everywhere at Sketch

The Mayfair hotspot has pulled out the stops for the party season – starting with the entrance, which has been transformed by florist and creative director Carly Rogers into a fairytale hamlet complete with its own Dickensian-style store. Snow falls every 10 minutes from above and carpets the floor as guests pass a charming snowman and milliner Piers Atkinson’s hat shop window display, evoking Sketch’s past as the London atelier of Christian Dior. The immersive experience continues at The Glade bar with “a storm in a teacup”, an enchanting floral installation by designer and creative artist Kim Beedie of Figa & Co that spirals out of a tiny china cup and ascends into a vortex above the room. Upstairs, in the three-Michelin-starred Lecture Room and Library, Ricky Jackson of Ricky Paul Flowers has designed a giant bonsai centrepiece Christmas tree, while the mood switches to full-on futuristic in the East Bar, transformed by Rogers into a space odyssey featuring a 4m-wide flying saucer. Until January 5 2020; Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London W1 (sketch.london).

The Elyx Chalet at Rosewood London
The Elyx Chalet at Rosewood London | Image: John Carey

2 The Elyx Chalet at Rosewood London

Discover a hygge haven at the Rosewood London’s Elyx Chalet pop-up. Nestled in a gathering of glinting snow-tipped fir trees, the Swedish lodge is a stylish spot to indulge in a Smörgåsbord of cuisine or one (or two) of its festive Absolut Elyx vodka cocktails. Inside the timber-framed chalet, snow-globe-effect porthole windows conjure a wintery scene, while faux-fur throws and copper accents mix with rich jewel tones, creating an aesthetic of cosy chic. Winter warmers include the signature Glögg (£12 per glass), a creative twist on mulled wine, and cocktails such as the Gurka Martini – a blend of vodka, Douglas-fir-infused Cocchi Americano, white vermouth and sherry (£14 each). Sate your hunger with starters of Jersey rock oysters (£20 for six, £40 for 12) or mains such as the 50-day-aged Cornish rare-breed sirloin with Béarnaise sauce (£34). Until February 29 2020; Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London WC1 (rosewoodhotels.com).

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3 The Berkeley Rooftop Winter Cinema

London’s most intimate rooftop cinema makes a welcome return for the holiday season, promising a magical experience high above Belgravia (£95 for adults, £75 for children). Enter a festive forest set aglow with twinkling lights where only eight guests per viewing will be seated in wooden lodge huts under cosy blankets for showings of Home Alone or The Holiday. Festive fare, selected from one of three winter resort-inspired menus, is included in the experience. Think warming cheese fondue and truffle-topped potato rösti. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served, while younger cinema goers will enjoy bottomless hot chocolate throughout the screenings. The Berkeley kitchens will provide all guests with a festive treat to take home. There will be two screenings daily, at 5.15pm and 7.45pm. Until December 31; The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London SW1 (reservations via 020-7201 1654 or wintercinema@the-berkeley.co.ukthe-berkeley.co.uk).

The Berkeley Rooftop Winter Cinema
The Berkeley Rooftop Winter Cinema

4 Rosé on the Roof at Sea Containers London

With sweeping views of the city along the River Thames, the 12th Knot – Sea Containers London’s rooftop bar – is the go-to for festive after-dark glamour and fine Laurent-Perrier champagne. For the duration of the winter season, the façade of the hotel will be illuminated by dramatic pink lighting, signposting the route to the venue along the South Bank. Inside, the ambience is cool yet ethereal, the bar lit by a canopy of sparkling lights and pops of neon, creating a stylish setting for a few glasses of fizz (Laurent-Perrier’s Cuvée Rosé is priced £22 per glass, La Cuvée £14 per glass, and Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature champagne £124 per bottle, while cocktails are from £13 per glass) – made all the more cosy on the outdoor terrace as guests take in the scenery wrapped in blankets. Until January 5 2020; Sea Containers London, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 (020-3747 1063; seacontainerslondon.com).

Moët & Chandon Winter Terrace at The Hari
Moët & Chandon Winter Terrace at The Hari

5 Moët & Chandon Winter Terrace at The Hari

The Belgravia hotel’s verdant terrace will shimmer with decorative splendour, as atmospheric lighting and cosy blankets transform it into an enchanted winter garden. Soak up the seasonal spirit as you sip champagne – from a glass of Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial (£18) to Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial (£20) or a Figgy Fizz (£16), a festive cocktail created by The Hari’s bar team, blending the Brut Impérial with vodka, hints of citrus, figs and cherries and a sprinkling of Christmas dust. Party goers can hire the entire venue for a seasonal soirée. From November 25 until January 3 2020; The Hari, 20 Chesham Place, London SW1 (020-7858 0100; contact events@thehari.com for hiring the entire venue; thehari.com).

The Dalloway Winter Terrace at The Bloomsbury
The Dalloway Winter Terrace at The Bloomsbury

6 Winter at Dalloway at The Bloomsbury

Ever the Instagram hit come the winter season, Dalloway Terrace will whisk guests away to the Swiss idyll of Gstaad with this year’s yuletide theme. Nikki Tibbles of florist Wild at Heart returns to work her magic on the space, creating an enchanted escape replete with snow-fringed pine garlands, bespoke Scherenschnitte (paper cuttings) and traditional Swiss cow bells nestled among glittering foliage. Try the new Swiss Afternoon Tea (£40 per person), which includes such joys as the Mont Blanc tart (sculpted in the shape of the Alps), or feast at Gstaad chef Marcel Reist’s culinary takeover on November 26 (£60 per person, excluding drinks). The winter menu, meanwhile, includes cuisine such as roasted butternut squash risotto with Gorgonzola and pine nuts (£18) or game rigatoni with game ragù, walnut pesto and Parmesan (£18). Finish the experience with a cocktail (from £13), which will be served with a “retro viewer” enabling guests to gaze upon the silvery slopes of Gstaad. Until February 29 2020; The Bloomsbury, 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1 (dallowayterrace.com).

Searcys at The Gherkin
Searcys at The Gherkin

7 Searcys at The Gherkin

’Tis the season of feasting and frivolity – and the festivities at The Gherkin begin with a champagne breakfast in collaboration with Laurent-Perrier, served at the Iris bar by Searcys at the top of the landmark (one of the specials is toasted soda bread, crushed avocado, poached hen eggs, sherry smoked salmon and keta caviar served with a glass of La Cuvée Brut, £19.50). As ever, the spectacular 360-degree views of London take centre stage in the glass dome, enhanced by elegant groupings of glittering decorations designed in collaboration with the champagne house, including a glowing 4m Christmas tree perched above the bar – which is set to be one of the highest festive trees within a city building. Drinks include the Winter Warmer, a blend of Laphroaig whisky, Frangelico, condensed milk and orange bitter. Until December 30; Searcys at The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3 (0330-107 0816; searcysatthegherkin.co.uk).

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8 St Pancras Champagne Bar by Searcys

Travellers starting their seasonal sojourn at St Pancras can do so in style at the Champagne Bar – an excellent vantage point for viewing the station’s decorations, designed this year by Searcys in collaboration with the beauty brand Lancôme Paris. Toast the season with a glass of bubbly from houses such as Lanson (its Père et Fils Brut starts from £14 per glass), Taittinger (Brut Réserve from £15.50 per glass) or Perrier-Jouët (Grand Brut from £16.25 per glass) or go for a cocktail inspired by the station’s Christmas tree. Intriguingly, La Vie Est Belle cocktail mimics the scent of its perfume and is a fusion of crème de mûre, pear liqueur, marmalade vodka, Lancôme orange blossom water, rose petal and, of course, champagne. Until January 4 2020; Grand Terrace, St Pancras International Station, London N1 (020-7870 9900; stpancrasbysearcys.co.uk).

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