Unlike Halloween, Thanksgiving has nothing to do with London, but just like many other adaptations of various cultures and customs across the globe, the festival has become a tradition on this side of the world as well.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude, a reminder to make us appreciate every little thing in our lives - may it be the roof we reside under, the people we are blessed with in our life or the food that we consume - be thankful for it all!
Thanksgiving falls this year on 23rd November, 2023 and here are 8 great ways to spend Thanksgiving in London.
Thanksgiving in London
A day of gratitude is important even in a Londoner's life. In the US, the occasion grants a 4-day weekend, but in London, Thanksgiving is a normal workday, sprinkled with celebrations, exotic food, and family get together. So if you are in London and wish to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, here's our ultimate guide on things-to-do and the top restaurants to dine in with your loved ones.
Best ways to spend Thanksgiving in London
Being away from home on this American holiday can be tough, and we understand. Thankfully, there is still a lot you can do on this holiday in the city of London. Everything you’d need to know - from where to eat to places to visit - we have you covered. Let’s get a move on, shall we?
Book ‘The London Experience’
Remember it’s a regular Thursday for Londoners, which means you can finally get some sightseeing done on your beloved holiday, minus the jam-packed crowds. If you want to experience the culture, heritage and cuisine of London, we recommend trying 'The London Experience'. This panoramic tour takes you to Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, and a scenic boat ride on River Thames. With a lunch packed for you, you don’t have to worry about eating out on Thanksgiving. It’ll be a nice switch from your typical Thanksgiving lunches as well.
Christmas lights tour in London
Experience the magic of Thanksgiving by soaking in London's beautiful display of enchanting Christmas lights! London’s most popular landmarks come to life, from the twinkling Oxford Street Christmas lights to the beautiful decorations illuminating Covent Garden and the shimmering spirits on Regent Street.
Did someone say “day trip”?
This holiday season, do something different by venturing to the outskirts of town and experiencing the local culture firsthand. Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, try the local cuisine for a change. If you’re not one to drive yourself away on a day trip, book a guided tour with AC coach transfers round-trip.
Don’t worry, you won’t be on your feet all day - you’ll have breaks in between where you can stumble into local eateries and try something new.
Retail therapy is a must!
Missing out on the 'Black Friday' excitement back home? London’s got you covered. The chic culture and streets lined with countless luxury brands are an eye candy for all the shopaholics in the city. Glam up your style-quotient and your home by shopping at the UK's premier shopping destinations. Head to the Bicester village and indulge yourself in shopping boutique brands! Although it may look expensive, you get exclusive discounts on various high-end brands like Armani, Fendi, Givenchy, Mulberry and so many more!
Enjoy a lunch cruise
Wish to enjoy a meal while riding along the River Thames? Consider it done!
Experience a relaxing mini voyage across London with a delicious lunch. A scrumptious two-course meal is served on the cruise accompanied by a fully stocked bar to tempt your palate.
The Big Ben and the London Eye will be in sight before you head down towards Canary Wharf. Don’t miss out on this experience, as you continue to explore the central district, you are sure to look at London through a different lens. Good company, delicious lunch supported with an iconic view, sounds like the perfect Thanksgiving, doesn't it?
Take a tour through the Borough Market
Ever heard of London's oldest, largest and most popular 'Borough Market'? Take a trip to Borough market to feast on delicious local dishes from street food vendors and explore stalls that sell fresh produce at the food paradise by the London Bridge. Most of these stalls offer take away dishes but there are a few places where you could get a table to sit at. PS: For an extra touch of fun, include a visit to one of the most popular gin distilleries in the city- learn about the ingredients included in gin-making and the lip-smacking gin that ensues!
Whip up a thanksgiving meal by yourself
When in London, preparing the ideal Thanksgiving meal is not the hardest ordeal. There are popular restaurants in the area that can help you prepare your ideal meal with no hiccups. Right from your turkey and prep condiments like cranberry sauce, sautéed veggies, and tart chutneys, few restaurants can assist you with your requirements.
#1 Borough Market
Now you are aware that the Borough Market is the largest in the city that sells exotic British fruits and vegetables. Situated in a central location, close to the London Bridge tube station, the market has special opening hours during the festive season where various kinds of produce and meat can be purchased. Ensure that you head early to grab the best products in the market before they runs out.
Market Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM
#2 The Ginger Pig
Looking for a vast range of meat and other cooking essentials? Head to The Ginger Pig right away and grab those baked goods and exotic chutneys, and various other cooking essentials to serve your guests during Thanksgiving.
The restaurant is open to taking orders online (placed 48 hours in advance) or in-person. Want to serve a toothsome meal for your guests, then get ready to ease your wallet and shell out about £50 for an organic bird at The Ginger Pig.
Market Timings: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
#3 Brixton Market
The Brixton market is situated in South London where you can explore plenty of shops, restaurants, meat and fish vendors, functional 7 days a week. Though the market is situated slightly away from Central London, it is much livelier and affordable. Cheese graters, pots, linens, designed coffee and more are available to purchase.
Market Timings: 8 AM - 11 PM
Head out and grab a bite!
Thanksgiving is that time of the year when you hang out with friends and family over a home-cooked meal. But when in London, ensure that you explore restaurants that have a special menu curated for Thanksgiving. It is going to be lip-smacking, undoubtedly!
Here are a few of the best restaurants that you could head to for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in London:
#1 CUT at 45 Park Lane
Head to a modern American restaurant in London, CUT at 45 Park Lane, to make the most of your Thanksgiving meal. Enjoy a delicious three-course meal with all the trimmings and desserts like pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie. Give the occasion a twist with their famous CUT cakes and a tea at £55. The three-course meal costs £110 and is sure to satisfy your craving.
Address: 45 Park Ln, London W1K 1PN, United Kingdom
Cost for 2: £250
#2 Jim beam and Porky’s BBQ
Thanksgiving may not be a national holiday in London, but that isn’t stopping Jim beam and Porky’s BBQ from bringing Thanksgiving to London. The restaurant has a special Thanksgiving menu inclusive of popcorn chicken alongside a Porky’s X Jim Beam BBQ Sauce, roasted turkey, pork stuffing, and a green onion mash with the famous cranberry highball sauce. For those with a sweet tooth, you can grab a bite of the bourbon chocolate brownie with ice cream and caramel sauce, a comfy choice!
Jim Beam is the world’s No.1 bourbon and is known to serve an array of drinks like the old-fashioned cocktails, alongside the feast.
But that's not all! One diner in each pair will eat for free!
Address: 18 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9 DR
#3 Oblix at The Shard
A sophisticated, high-end restaurant, Oblix is offering a luxurious take on Thanksgiving this year. They are serving up a thre-course meal, which includes rotisserie turkey with chestnut and truffle stuffing, accompanied by a selection of seasonal sides, including baked gratin potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and crushed butternut squash. Finish off the meal with a delicious serving of traditional caramelized pecan pie with bourbon ice cream.
Address: Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Cost for 2: £240
#4 Galvin Bar & Grill
A menu that is curated of a real American Thanksgiving dinner, Galvin Bar & Grill in London features a decadent set menu of classic dishes with a twist, like Southern fried Turkey with apricots, popovers, sweet potato mash, and creole-spiced sprouts. Save up some space for dessert - sweet pecan pie with bourbon ice cream.
Address: 1-8 Russell Square Corner of Guilford Street and, Russel Square, London WC1B 5BE, United Kingdom
Cost for 2: £150
Tips on spending Thanksgiving in London
If you are visiting London for the first time, here are a few things you should know before you head to the city and to ensure you have a hassle-free travel experience.
St. Paul’s Mass
A Thanksgiving service occurs from 11 AM to 12 PM every year which is free for people to attend. The doors to the church open at 10 AM and we recommend you head there as early as possible if you wish to beat the rush.
A Thanksgiving feast is incomplete without watching some American football. In London, head to any sports bar or pub and catch the NFL games to get the true feeling of Thanksgiving.
Weather in November
The weather in London is quite unpredictable in November. It is recommended to pack a layer of warm clothes. Short and long-sleeved shirts, cardigans, pullovers, light jackets, and waterproof shoes would be ideal to make your trip a comfortable one.
Avoid staying at accommodations
During America’s Thanksgiving, even though it isn’t a holiday in England, businesses across the country anticipate a fair share of travellers who wish to spend the occasion in the country. The hotels will increase prices to accommodate the influx of tourists.
Visit London’s West End
Popular in the world for theatres and art centers, London’s West End is similar to New York City’s Broadway. Be sure to head to one of these venues to witness an evening of world-class entertainment.