3 Diverse Options to Celebrate American Thanksgiving in London

October 30, 2017

There are many reasons to visit London in November. Remembrance Day on November 11 is a hallowed memorial to Veterans each year. Winter is on her way with the elegance and beauty of falling snow. London becomes a magical, romantic wonderland. But what about Thanksgiving? Do the Brits celebrate the fact that the Mayflower left her Plymouth Shore back in 1620?

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Thomas Moore, Jr. (Co-owner and CFO of London Connection) happens to be a direct descendant of two of those Pilgrims, John and Priscilla Alden. They met on the Mayflower and married shortly after arriving in the Plymouth Colony. Family stories still claim that John and Priscilla were the first to step foot on Plymouth Rock in the new land of America.

With so many Americans living in London or visiting there, many businesses have chosen to accommodate and celebrate this holiday. Here are three different options how to celebrate Thanksgiving in London this year.

ONE: EAT OUT AND ENJOY LONDON

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Berner’s Tavern

Sleep In and Have a Relaxing Morning

Begin the day by having a light breakfast in your London Connection vacation apartment. It is so easy to visit a nearby market to pick up a few groceries and so you can relax in your “home away from home.”

Go to Church

Leave your flat by 10am, and walk or take the short tube ride to St. Paul’s Cathedral for the 11am religious service. You want to be early for this opportunity to go inside the building without the usual entrance fee. The massive cathedral will be filled with Americans for the annual Thanksgiving Day service. Speakers usually include the US Ambassador who delivers a message from the President. Instead of the traditional Christian hymns, the music that day will include songs like “America, the Beautiful.” The service lasts one hour.

Enjoy Modern London

A short walk (5 minutes) to the south of St. Paul’s, you can cross over the London Millennium Bridge which is for pedestrians only. It is really EXCITING. From here you can look up and down the Thames. On the other side of the bridge you will find Tate Modern which is a FREE museum that will complement the rest of your day. You will see a different, more modern side of London. Check out any shops around the Shakespeare Globe Theatre that might be of interest to you. You might even want to view London from above by taking a ride on the slow moving Ferris wheel, the London Eye. It is a 20 minute walk along the South Bank to get there.

Have an Early Thanksgiving Dinner

If you are particular, this is a day that your decision will need to be made well in advance. You might want a reservation or make other arrangements even before you arrive in London to ensure that you can have the perfect dining experience. Or perhaps you are more “romantic” and enjoy being caught up in the moment as you pass the charm you want to experience. Either way, you will find a dinner to delight your Thanksgiving tastebuds.

Hotel: Most of the major hotels serve a traditional turkey dinner. You can check out their prices, times, and reservations on their websites here: The Ritz, The Grosvenor Hotel, Brown’s Hotel, Marriott on Park Lane, The Savoy. These are just a few that come to mind, but if you are in London in November, you can walk through the neighborhood and look at the menu of a hotel that is near you.

Restaurant: Visit a well known and highly rated restaurant like JW Steakhouse. Usually known for their delectable prime beef, they offer a traditional turkey dinner on 23 November this year. By eating between noon – 6pm you will have the same menu as is offered later in the evening and save 20 pounds per person. Your mouth will water just reading through the menu. Another great option with turkey dinner on the menu that day is Christopher’s in Covent Garden. If you want to really get “stuffed” like the turkey will be, try Boondocks buffet that will be held for 3 days Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th of November.

Pub: Comfort foods are standard menu items in any pub. Whether you choose a traditional English meal or find a turkey dinner, you will be well-fed. We recently heard from an upcoming guest that will be staying in a London Connection Vacation Apartment in November. They plan to meet some dear friends from Oxford and dine in a “proper British pub.” It will certainly make this Thanksgiving memorable in many ways! Dear friends and good food — the perfect combination.

Go to the Theater, Go Ice Skating, An Evening Stroll Through the Park

With dinner completed early, you have the whole evening ahead of you. Seeing a new production, or a traditional one that you enjoy each time you visit London — you can’t go wrong! You may choose to be active and burn off a few of those calories consumed. Of course, the parks are always alluring and you can walk a mile without even noticing that it was “exercise.” Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland begins in mid-November. There are so many activities, including ice-skating.

TWO: EAT AT HOME IN YOUR FLAT

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If you are a guest of London Connection Vacation Apartments with your own kitchen, this will expand your options. Each flat has all the dishes and silver needed to enjoy a lovely dinner.

Hire a Chef

Some London Connection guests have loved this option in the past. I am gathering a list of suggested chefs and will happily forward this to you upon request.

Have Dinner Delivered or “Take-out”

  • Partridges has listed the Thanksgiving essentials, and also has prepared foods. They deliver, and that would be my dream to stay cozy inside my flat and have dinner brought to my door step!
  • WholeFoods Piccadilly or Kensington is an American-based grocery that also has a deli with some prepared foods. Two convenient locations in London.
  • Harrods in well known for their fabulous food (one dinner listed below). I have not been able to confirm if they will deliver dinner, but “take”out would certainly be an option.
  • Most of the restaurants offer “take-out” as an option. Choose one of the places mentioned above, and make arrangements to have your Thanksgiving Dinner in your own flat.

Let someone else bake the pies and mash the potatoes, and still have leftovers the next day.  The best of both worlds!

THREE: DAY TRIP TO PLYMOUTH

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Since Plymouth is the famous port that bid farewell to the Pilgrims, it is an interesting place to celebrate their arrival and gratitude for the new land. However, in recent years the Barbican Waterfront has chosen to sponsor an event anticipating the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. The exact schedule is usually not made public until days before Thanksgiving.  Read here for more information of past celebrations, and watch for this year’s details or email the Barbican Waterfront directly.

If I were to choose this option, I would leave London from the Paddington Station and take the 9:06 am train that arrives in Plymouth just after noon. It would be fun to explore the city, and be there for the local celebration that begins at 5pm. After dinner, I would head back on the 7:44 pm train that arrives in London about midnight. That way, I would  still be able to stay in my London Connection vacation apartment that night after an eventful and long day!

We did a similar day trip to the Isle of Wight when I was in London this year, and it was very exciting. Because someone else was “doing the driving,” we could relax on the train and even catch a nap!

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Yes, these are three very different experiences. If I were traveling to London this November, I think I would do a combo. For sure, I would take the day trip to Plymouth on Thursday. I really like history and would love this adventure. Then on Friday or Saturday, I would have a turkey dinner back in my flat or in one of the restaurants that are extending the American dinner offerings over the weekend.

If you are one of lucky ones to be in London for Thanksgiving this year, share your photos with me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me at SheilaF@LondonConnection.com. I will live vicariously through you this year, and hope to be in London again very soon!