When we pack away summer, our thoughts turn to Autumn, colder air, crackling fires, and the start of the festive season and festive dating. The UK has Guy Fawkes Night in early November involving bonfires and fireworks and on the other side of the Atlantic, Thanksgiving celebrations are in full force. Wrap up warm and check out some of my favourite festive outings for November with your special someone.
London: Guy Fawkes Night
The first firework display at 6.45pm is aimed at families and has a Disney theme, so either launch yourself into the spirit of this and live vicariously through the glee of the children present, or delay to the later show. At 8.30pm there is a James Bond themed show that banks on the small people having gone home to bed now. Check the weather forecast, and wrap up warm along with umbrella if needed. The trick of course is to decide which slot to go for and then book dinner accordingly. My recommendations are totally attuned to the casual dress code so you’re all set. The gastro pub experience is always a winner especially when they have a fireplace which this place does. Essential that you book The Fox & Grapes in sync with your decision of which firework display you’re going to watch. You can never go wrong with The Ivy, and the Wimbledon branch is spot on for your night out with a winning menu. Again, you’ll want to secure a table now to have your plans sown up perfectly.
Closer to the Royal Borough are the Battersea Park Fireworks and this time you have two nights to choose from, Saturday 6pm is for everyone and Sunday 5.30pm is geared towards families. As it’s in town, tickets are gold so you need to book now to avoid disappointment. The truly wonderful Pigs Ear Pub in Chelsea has been closed to be reinvented and reopened on 21st October – highly recommended and the perfect spot to convene to after the display. There’s nothing like a bit of Irish hospitality to warm you on a chilly autumnal night, and Home Boy Bar is just the right spot for a pint of Guinness, a cocktail and excellent food, so secure your spot to fire up your night out.
New York: Thanksgiving & Autumnal views
Central Park in the Fall is the subject of many a Hollywood fable. At just the right time, and from the right vantage point, the blaze of colour is something to behold. If you want to be up and above overlooking the view then these are my favourite spots.
Robert which is modern and Atop the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle and best booked for a leisurely lunch so you can survey the leaves in daylight splendour. If you want to get down and amongst the leaves then you can’t bypass the classic old school spots also for lunch, the Central Park Boathouse the site of Carrie Bradshaw’s spill into the lake, or Tavern on the Green, which is classic New York.
For a fireside dinner either side of Thanksgiving, these are my romantic places to be. Cosy up at the Ludlow Bar which has a blazing fireplace and sensational food. Get in early to secure your spot, the atmosphere is a warm glow. The Bowery Hotel lobby is as they say; dimly lit and oozing atmosphere, a world of crimson velvet. It’s date night perfection and wraps you up in romance as soon as you walk in.
Thanksgiving weekend you may be with family, but either way, these are my go-to spots. Temple Court at The Beekman is elegant and the food is divine. Carmines on the Upper West Side is a family New York institution, and they know how to do Turkey, casual and relaxed. For something a little chic and tony, then try Benoit who’ll be doing a fabulous three course delectation on Thanksgiving for you to enjoy with the one you love curated by Alain Ducasse.
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