We are approaching the holiday season and if you’re an American living in London and wondering how to celebrate Thanksgiving then I’m going to give you top tips on how to celebrate in style
I moved over several years ago from America and I specialize in helping expats find the perfect home as well as celebrating this city, today’s article is all about Thanksgiving and whether you want to celebrate at home with family and friends or go out and enjoy a meal then this article is for you – as I wanted to share the different ways you can celebrate in London.
Thanksgiving is technically an American holiday, and I think it really should be a global holiday as the spirit of it is really about giving thanks. So I just want to encourage you whether you’re formally celebrating Thanksgiving or not, to take a moment as we approach the holiday season to think about all the things you’re grateful for and share it with the people who mean the most to you.
Jumping in – the first challenge you’re going to have to face if you want to celebrate Thanksgiving in London is when to actually celebrate it! Back in America, Thanksgiving is technically on the fourth Thursday in November and it’s an official legal bank holiday, it means the days leading up to it are really big travel days, some of the busiest travel days in the year and the day of Thanksgiving is really so much about families being together – there’s a formal Thanksgiving dinner, there’s several NFL football games that are part of the tradition, and some families go out for movie night later on or they might take a walk in the park or play a tag game of football or something so it really is about celebrating with family and friends.
It’s also the official launch of the Christmas shopping season because the next day is Black Friday and really segways into starting to ramp up for Christmas and the whole shopping season. Here in London, since it’s not a bank holiday, the first question you’ll have to ask yourself is do you actually want to celebrate it on that Thursday, which might not be a day off, or do you celebrate it on Saturday? I know friends who do both but given the amount of work associated with hosting a Thanksgiving event, I know a lot of people who actually do it on the Saturday after.
The formal Thanksgiving meal is all about the turkey and the stuffing and gravy and cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie or apple pie, and a really a big festive meal. Here in the UK, the turkey is really more associated with Christmas so if you are going to host a Thanksgiving dinner in London the first thing you’re going to want to make sure is that you secure your turkey! Places like Panzeers at St. John’s Wood and Whole Foods specialise in offering turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving, so you want to make sure you order it in advance to avoid disappointment. If you’re actually looking for some of your other favorite American foods make sure to watch my video about where to find classic American foods in London.
If you’d rather not prepare a Thanksgiving meal and would prefer to go out that means you’ll probably be celebrating on the Thursday and I’m going to give you several great options to have a very classic Thanksgiving meal or maybe consider going a little bit more creative and avant-garde.
First up is dinner at the Blues kitchen in Camden – they’ll be serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal with fried turkey, macaroni and cheese, greens, and all the traditional trimmings. They’ll have pumpkin pie with marshmallows for dessert and they’ll also have a vegan option too, so all of your family and friends can be catered for. To top it all off, there will be a live blues performance from an American band to help celebrate the festive occasion.
For a more upscale option there is Christopher’s in Covent Garden and it will be served and prepared by head chef Francis Agyapong. The main feature will be an organic turkey with chestnut cherry stuffing, butter beans, and cream potatoes. Alternatively there’ll be a lamb option, and you can polish things off with either a pumpkin pie or pecan pie, and to make the evening extra special you can go into the martini bar where there will be delicious American cocktails to really help celebrate. It’ll be a great reason to bring together family and friends and have a very nice elegant meal.
If you really want to get glammed up and want a less traditional option, then look into having Thanksgiving dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – the Corinthia in Westminster at it’s Northall restaurant, headed by executive chef Andre Garrett, who will have a Thanksgiving menu that includes warm oyster rockefeller, quail and duck liver press with corn crumpets, and Norfolk bronze turkey with sage and citrus stuffing.
A few more top restaurants to celebrate Thanksgiving include Balthazar at Covent Garden; Smith and Wollensky at Covent Garden; and the Dorchester Hotel’s Cut at 45 Park Lane is also a great restaurant.
I hope this article has given you some top ideas of how you can celebrate Thanksgiving here in London, and let me know what you’re planning to do to celebrate with family and friends. Also leave me a comment about what in particular you might be grateful for this year.
Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.