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A Night Before Christmas - in London

hazlitts1What better than a family gathering the week before Christmas ... especially as we were going to far away South Africa for a bit of summer for the main event. (See blogs to follow!) The wonderful mild weather in London this December made it a pleasure to wonder the streets between shops, theatre, restaurant and hotel.

I had cleverly chosen a wonderful place to stay right in the middle of everywhere we were planning to go, even around the corner from my neice's boyfriend's house by chance! Hazlitts - a hotel occupying a group of Georgian houses dating back to 1718 on Frith Street - captured all our hearts. The teenagers for location, the grandparents for its old world charm, the younger ones for the throne toilet in our bedroom, and us (the middle-aged!! no surely not!) for the 4 poster beds and theatrical yet homely charm of the whole place. I could have moved in and never left.

There was lots of activity just outside the door yet, when we stepped into Hazlitts all was tranquility and relaxed sophistication. There is no restaurant there, but there is no need for one either with so many great options closeby. We ate a lovely healthy deli-type lunch around the corner at Muriel's Kitchen, but I could easily have been distracted into the Peruvian Ceviche on the way there or a handful of other places.

londonShopping at Oxford Street was just the other side of Soho Square, easily reached after a few wacky clothes shop distractions on Greek Street.

Having always heard of the famous names - Ronnie Scotts and the Groucho Club - I discovered them in this neighbourhood too. Covent Garden is also just a stroll away. But we already had plans for the evening... We ate tapas, and had too much bubbly due to a misunderstanding with the ordering (!), and then settled in to watch Bend it Like Beckham - the Musical - at the Phoenix Theatre. There was some great crescendo moments, quality voices, glitter and action that kept us all entertained.

The old and young went back to their grand rooms at the hotel Hazlitts and the rest of us took a midnight stroll, guided by the neice's friendly boyfriend, down to the river and along to see Big Ben with the full moon perched on the top. All the more lovely due to the unusually pleasant weather.

Next morning, we met for present giving and a tasty breakfast in The Wardrobe - quite a large room actually - before saying our farewells with Christmas cheer thrown in, and heading on to pastures new.

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This is our room with 4 poster and bathroom with the throne toilet!! The best quirky loo I have had the pleasure to sit on.