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Jul 15, 2013 06:34 PM

The Surprise/Christmas dinner in London

Greetings from a Southern New England hound. We're making plans for a family Christmas trip to London, arriving early morning on Christmas Eve. We're finalizing a rental in Chelsea and making some specific plans for the first few days, keeping in mind holiday closings, etc. Our general plan so far is to have dinner at "home" on Christmas Eve, but we're looking to have dinner out on Christmas day. We have absolutely no interest in the 200-300 pounds per person fancy meals at the Ritz or thereabouts, but rather are looking for something in walking distance from our flat. I was looking at the Christmas menu at The Surprise, which looks perfect for location and price point--I'm traveling with husband and two older teens, none of whom are particularly adventurous eaters. I tried a search on the board with no luck. Any thoughts on The Surprise?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. This review is two years old, but maybe it will help you a bit. I don't think The Surprise has ever been mentioned here.

    1. Hi - I used to live nearish the Surprise - it's a decent posh pub and in a nice location, I never ate there and wouldn't describe it as a gastronomic destination at all but i'm sure it will do a half decent job and is probably a cut above the average chain pub around London but maybe not by a huge margin.

      If you are not too fussy about being blown away then I'd say go for it though I'd say my preference would always be to buy in some supplies and have christmas lunch in and go out for your christmas eve when you'll have wider options (though i am sure you have already thought this through yourself!)

      Ps staying in Chelsea you're in a great location for a Christmas Day morning stroll around Hyde Park - I'm sure it will be lovely!

      2 Replies
      1. re: mjgauer

        Totally agree - head out Christmas Eve and enjoy the buzz in pubs and restaurants. Christmas Day will be very expensive and maybe a little sad as 99% of people will be at home - best to put the turkey in the oven and go for a walk. Note: most places will do lunch on Christmas Day not dinner as its more traditional.

        1. re: PhilD

          Christmas lunch will be eye-wateringly expensive. I know how much it costs up here in North Cheshire (little change from £75 a head in pubs) - heaven knows what it will be at London prices.

      2. Thanks for the insights, everyone. I think I will reconsider dinner out on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day. I'm sure I'll be in touch with more questions closer to our trip.

        1. I would think about ordering a grocery delivery for your rental flat to arrive on Xmas Eve. The shops will shut early on Xmas Eve, and will be a bit hectic!

          1 Reply
          1. re: greedygirl

            It may not be too bad as its a Tuesday so many will have stocked up on the weekend. Chelsea has some good shops - big Waitrose on the Kings Road is a good start.

          2. London is absolutely impossible on Christmas day -- most everywhere is closed. Perhaps you could go to Chinatown and partake in a Jewish Christmas?

            I'd make sure to find out what grocery stores are nearby and what is open. I haven't been in London for a few years on Christmas, but last time I was I had forgotten to buy groceries and almost went hungry.

            If I recall even public transport closes -- this could be different now or possibly was never the case.

            1 Reply
            1. re: brokentelephone

              No public transport at all on Xmas Day - last year I saw lots of tourists wandering about central London, and waiting at bus stops for buses that were never going to arrive!