Christmas - The Big Smoke

Peace on earth, good-will to men, wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet in 1863 in his Christmas Bells poem. Good-will indeed to all and a very merry Christmas, for this is the season of Good-will. With Christmas almost upon us and the cold starting to bite, in this article we feature some special places to visit during Christmas in London. Whilst there are lots of other cities and destinations which should also be on your list, nothing quite compares to the festive feeling of hope and good-will in The Big Smoke. London is such a diverse city, with so much to see, however, we have chosen some very special places and eateries in this article for you. So London, just like other big cities is down to personal taste, on this occasion, the taste we are selecting is both gritty and fancy but mostly old - so you wont have to pick a pocket to afford to enjoy them all.
Photo from the film Oliver Twist
London and Christmas has played host to so many books and stories. This old London feeling is more than in the air every festive season, celebrated on television, playing to the struggle between the rich and the poor during the cold winters of the past 17th and 18th century. With gentry shopping and the poor struggling to keep warm, the season of good will has always brought hope to those who suffer. Nothing has changed in the past three hundred years but the fun of London does not require a smoking jacket or membership card. 
Victorian Christmas Market 1870, the Illustrated London News
You can frequent many fantastic places in London during Christmas which you wont find in many guides, you have to be in the know to know. So rather than featuring the typical department stores or the cliché places which are normally on the London Christmas shopping list, we will feature some inside knowledge.
Fleet Street during a snow storm in London
So grab your coat, scarf and top hat, if you have one, as the snow is coming and we will start our journey around London town for breakfast at the Wolseley café-restaurant, located in St James' Piccadilly. The Wolseley you dont just stumble upon as its hard to find but strangely right under your nose on Picadilly, a stone throw from the Ritz-Hotel. 
 breakfast is at the Wolseley book cover by A. A. Gill
An insight into how famous breakfast is at the Wolseley, celebrated writer and restaurant critic A. A. Gill has actually written a book on the unique experience that is Breakfast at The Wolseley. The book features a fascinating picture of the restaurant with all the recipes for serving the perfect breakfast, as well, of course, it's furnished by photos of the beautiful Victorian interior decor.
The Wolseley Building London
The Wolseley exterior.
Breakfast at The Wolseley London
Spectacular high ceilings and art deco adorn the Wolseley, with enticing pastries and fabulous breakfasts.  
Breakfast at The Wolseley London
Recommended breakfast on the menu is the famous eggs Benedict, the full english or try Haggis with Duck Eggs. Teas and hot chocolates are of course a must but why not try one of the special coffees - like the The Wolseley Imperial - mandarin napoleon and cognac, long espresso, hot milk topped with chocolate and whipped cream. 
The Burlington Arcade building facade
Next stop is over the road - Piccadilly of course and running adjacent to New Bond Street is the wonderful Burlington Arcade. Again we take a step back in time to 1819 when the arcade opened under a glazed roof with 72 small glass window shop units. Many of these shops have now been combined or knocked through and now make up approximately 40 shops. 
Early photo of the Burlington Arcade
The arcade is a complete contrast to its New Bond Street adjoining neighboring street, with a special focus on both antique jewelry and novel shops, you can find many interesting items.
Modern Photo of the Burlington Arcade at Christmas in London
A must is a visit to Penhaligon's - est in 1870 in the Victorian era of decadence. Penhaligon's strive to create original scents for the discerning eccentrics of today mixed with the scents of the past. The vintage Rolex shop is also a must, take a look at a display of one of the largest collection of vintage Rolex watches in London.
Fortnum & Mason Building Piccadilly
Our next stop is on the other side of Piccadilly but we have to go back 163 years to 1707 when William Fortnum set up a grocery store with his landlord, Hugh Mason namely Fortnum & Mason. 
Fortnum & Mason entrance stairs, Piccadilly, LondonFrom Hampers to teas and coffees and fine foods, if you love food and anything special then Fortnum & Mason is a must stop during Christmas. Recommended and popular at Fortnum & Mason is the magnificent Christmas Pudding, at a heavy 907g. Also the Mince Pie Bumper Medley - a whopping 1kg. But no rush to eat, the mince pies have a 6 week shelf life. Our favorites are the double chocolate yule log and the Mon Dessert Gluten-Free Macaron Making Kit, Noel Edition.
Fortnum & Mason Stairs, Piccadilly, London
If your feet are tired then take a look at the 4 different restaurants and places to eat within the store itself. Our choice is the Gallery Restaurant, the light-filled, oak-floored restaurant with British menu, overlooking Fortnum & Mason's food hall.
Hamleys Toy Store Building
Moving forward 53 years we take you to a store next known as Noah’s Ark, founded in 1760 by William Hamley it was originally in High Holborn. Having moved several times its still well known as the world's oldest toy store, Hamleys is a must, even if your a grown up pretending to not like playing with toys.
Thomas Goode & Co building, South Audley Street, London
Next stop is Mayfair and South Audley street for what is the finest christmas decorations on the planet. Est in 1827 Thomas Goode is home of the world’s finest china, silverware & glassware. Thomas Goode & Co. has provided bespoke china for Royal Families including Queen Elizabeth II, and was commissioned in 1981 to create a dinner service as a gift to Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales on the occasion of their wedding. 
Rochoux Restaurant exterior, South Audley Street London
We now take a step forward to 1909 to Richoux for the perfect festive lunch on the same South Audley Street. Richoux is a mix of the stylish Mayfair combined with the locals who pop in for lunch. The restaurant is famous for its patisseries and its lunch menus, especially festive lunch menus.
Richoux Restaurant, South Audley Street London
Our final recommendation of the best of London at Christmas with an old London feel, must be the outdoors. To truly experience the feel of Christmas in the big smoke you should go back to 1716 and the winter fair on the River Thames - that is of course the frozen River Thames.
Frozen fair on the river thames illustrated drawing 1716 in London
During the frozen fair of 1716 which is one of 24, between the 17th century and early 19th century, during the period known as the little ice age, the gentry and the poor would be entertained at a fair like no other. Of the 24 there were a total of seven major fairs where the Thames was frozen over for months at a time. Like any gathering you would imagine there were tradesman, eateries, taverns and games among many activities. Even one year reportedly an elephant walked on the Thames, testament to how thick and cold the ice was. In times of old, those attending would start out very well behaved, although with taverns serving gin and wormwood wine, combined with the cold open air, it soon descended into a raucous affair.
Hyde Park Christmas Winter Wonderland Panoramic View, London
With the Thames not set to freeze over again for quite some time, the next best thing is the Hyde Park Christmas Winter Wonderland. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this Christmas is the spectacle open from 10am to 10pm, we recommend visiting during the evening to experience all the lights and the atmosphere. Not only is there a Christmas market itself but a huge selection of places to eat . You will find a Bavarian Village, Ski  Style Chalet's and outposts with a Grizzly inn to rest inside, all inspired in a cosy mountain refuge theme. There are plenty of entertainments to savour including an Ice Rink, winter shows and attractions as well as a giant observation wheel, soaring 60 metres above Hyde Park with amazing views of the London skyline.