Head to the bright lights of Lon­don’s Ox­ford Street for a fes­tive day trip to trea­sure

Want to feel like the stars, spend­ing a day in the big city, com­ing home laden with bags? It’s time to head to Lon­don’s Ox­ford Street for that next level day out. Angela Cole sam­pled the high life

Kentish Express Ashford & District - What's On - - COMPETITION -

The spirit of giv­ing is alive and well in Ox­ford Street.

Even if you try to keep the spirit of Christ­mas with­out over-spend­ing, ev­ery­one has some­one to buy for at this time of year and there’s un­doubt­edly some­thing spe­cial about spend­ing a day Christ­mas shop­ping in the cap­i­tal.

This year’s fes­tive lights went up in early Novem­ber, launch­ing seven weeks of fever­ish fes­tive ac­tiv­ity, and now we are in to De­cem­ber they are shin­ing at their most bright, es­pe­cially when it gets dark by 4pm.

The street, which hosts more than 90 flag­ship stores in­clud­ing LUSH, John Lewis and Deben­hams, this year has 1,778 baubles and 750,000 LED bulbs, which use 75% less en­ergy than con­ven­tional bulbs in its Christ­mas is Call­ing dis­play. Its fes­tive cal­en­dar in­cludes 50 Christ­mas treats in­clud­ing ex­clu­sive

events, sea­sonal ser­vices, spe­cial of­fers and street en­ter­tain­ment. They in­clude com­pli­men­tary per­sonal styling ses­sions to a one-of-akind give­away with Print Club Lon­don, where three artists have been com­mis­sioned to cre­ate lim­ited edi­tion screen prints in­spired by the street, to re­tailer pop-ups such as the Deben­hams Christ­mas Mar­ket to Sel­fridges Rock School. Joy Jesters will also be tak­ing to the street un­til Sun­day, De­cem­ber 23 ev­ery Thurs­day and Sun­day (ex­cept for Satur­day, De­cem­ber 15) with de­tails of give­aways.

So what treats can you get on a street with flag­ship stores at ev­ery turn that you can’t get else­where?

This year, to mark the re­lease of the John Lewis Christ­mas ad fea­tur­ing El­ton John, which stars Hud­son Trindall, from Mar­gate, you can head to John Lewis and get the full El­ton John ex­pe­ri­ence.

It may be a well kept se­cret be­cause it was quiet when we vis­ited - and once in­side (on level 3) it’s a world away from the crowds out­side. Step back in the 1970s and see orig­i­nal notes by El­ton, mu­sic and one of his pianos, which you can play if you’re lucky enough to have the skills (and it’s signed by him!). There’s also plenty of El­ton John mem­o­ra­bilia, in­clud­ing wigs and stage cos­tumes, which you can have fun dress­ing up in. While in­store, make sure you get your fix of Qual­ity Street - if you only want green tri­an­gles in your tin this year, the pop-up at John Lewis can fix it for you. This new ser­vice is also avail­able at Blue­wa­ter this year. If you’re a lover of LUSH, or know some­one who is, you can’t beat the ex­pe­ri­ence - and very up­beat staff - at the chain’s flag­ship Ox­ford Street store. Kids can even make their own But­ter­bear bath bomb up­stairs, and you can test out the bombs to watch them fizz and foam in their own pe­cu­liar way. There’s also an ex­clu­sive spa in the base­ment, which has re­lax­ing treat­ments if you need a break from the hus­tle and bus­tle. Take a break with lunch

- and there are so many es­tab­lish­ments to choose from it can be tough to make your se­lec­tion. Book­ing at this time of year is a must. We booked into Harry’s Bar at 30-34 James Street, Maryle­bone, which is ac­tu­ally just off Ox­ford Street, and it would be fair to say, we cut down on our shop­ping time con­sid­er­ably be­cause we didn’t want to leave.

The Ital­ian restau­rant and bar has mir­rored ceil­ings and first class ser­vice, not to men­tion a menu which will have your taste­buds tin­gling with its dif­fer­ent se­lec­tions. And what­ever you do, don’t skimp on dessert - ours were the high­light of our day. Visit har­rys-bar.co.uk to book your­selves in.

If you want a taste of the high life, but not nec­es­sar­ily the ex­pense, pop in to Hawes and Cur­tis (which has two stores on the street) where the at­ten­tive staff will make you feel like you’re pur­chas­ing a be­spoke suit even if you’re buy­ing one re­duced blouse for work. Make sure you have your wish list of shops to visit clearly worked out – Ox­ford Street is Europe’s long­est shop­ping street at 1.5 miles long so there’s lots of walk­ing in­volved – and make an early start as you could find, like we did, the only thing you don’t have time for is... shop­ping!

more info on what is tak­ing place on Ox­ford Street in the run-up to Christ­mas, visit ox­ford­street.co.uk/ christ­mas If you snap your fes­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and share it on so­cial me­dia with #Christ­mas is call­ing you’ll also be en­tered into a weekly £100 prize draw.

LUSH on Ox­ford Street

The El­ton John ex­pe­ri­ence at John Lewis on Ox­ford Street

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