Founded in 1707 in the heart of St. James’s, one of the most fashionable areas of London in the 1700s, Fortnum & Mason is one of London’s most characteristic and historic stores. Step inside the store on Piccadilly and it feels as if you’ve been transported to another time, where tea was the beverage of choice and elegance was king. Here you’ll find everything for the home, from china to picnic gear and a gorgeous grocery store selling biscuits, excellent wines, the finest teas from around the world, sweets, chocolates, cheeses and so much more.
During the holidays Fortnum & Mason is even more sparkling, with holiday decorations, Christmas foods and British specialties along with their fun Christmas windows. We stopped by recently to take a look at this year’s holiday windows and decorations at Fortnum & Mason’s, which celebrate the classic tale of Dick Whittington, a rags to riches story of a young boy who thanks to a bit of lunch (and a cat that was an excellent mouser!) eventually becomes a wealthy merchant, marries the woman he loves and becomes three times Lord Mayor of London. Take a peek at the creation of this year’s Christmas windows and their inauguration by the current Lord Mayor of London!
It was a brilliant and sunny day when we stopped by, which showed off the windows beautifully. Unfortunately, it made it a little more challenging to try to capture the window displays very well in photos. The elaborate copy of the Lord Mayor’s Carriage, which is used in the Lord Mayor’s Show each November, was surrounded by a sumptuous display. Just stunning!
The beautiful golden carriage inspired many of the holiday decorations at Fortnum & Mason this year, and you’ll find the design on tea caddies, gift boxes and holiday gifts. The rest of the Christmas windows tell the story of Dick Whittington in beautiful scenes decorated with items from Fortnum & Mason and the story told in little golden framed images along the way. Here’s Dick Whittington as a young orphan setting off to London where he had heard the streets were paved with gold.
While things don’t go so well for Dick when he arrives in London, he does manage to find a place to sleep. The only problem? It’s infested with rats. Ick! As soon as he scraps together a penny he buys a cat that chases away the rats. He took the risk to send his cat across the seas to a faraway land where the King of Barbary pays a fortune for the cat after it chases away the rats and mice form his palace. Dick becomes wealthy thanks to his great mouser, and goes on to marry the beautiful Alice and become Lord Mayor of London three times.
The Christmas windows at Fortnum & Mason capture the romance and charms of this classic British fairytale! We had fun following the story and looking at all the little details. Once inside, we were swept away by the Christmas decorations and fun.
It’s true … nobody does Christmas quite like Fortnam’s! Up on the second level there’s a beautiful Christmas Bazaar full of decorations, ornaments and all kinds of fun gifts for the holidays. It’s a great spot for shopping for the holiday … or simply getting into the holiday spirit!
The wooden advent calendars from Fortnum & Mason, which you can spot in the photo below, make a wonderful holiday gift for friends and family. Or even the perfect souvenir to remember your holiday time in London each year as as you open the little wooden doors and find treasures hidden inside.
There was an entire wall dedicated to Christmas Crackers – that fun British holiday tradition! They had gold, white, silver, red and even Christmas Crackers shaped like toy soldiers. Imagine how lovely these would look on your Christmas table!
And there were plenty of gorgeous dinner tables set with a holiday theme for inspiration, too! If you look closely you’ll spot the Lord Mayor’s carriage on the gold Christmas crackers below.
We enjoyed browsing through the holiday decorations, especially the fun London themed ornaments. Take a look at these holiday lights shaped like the classic double-decker London buses – how cute! Now that’s something you don’t expect to see around your Christmas tree, but it’s a fun and festive way to remember your time in London during the holidays!
Then there were elegant Fortnum & Mason holiday ornaments shaped like the iconic London black cab, the red post box,the Lord Mayor’s Carriage and other classic designs.
Whether you’re in search of those perfect last minute gifts for the holidays or simply out and about enjoying the Christmas atmosphere in London, do plan a stop in at Fortnum & Mason. It’s also one of our favourite spots for afternoon tea in London! Enjoy a break from holiday shopping to sample something from the store’s famous tea selection. If you’re staying at our lovely Mayfair one bedroom vacation rental, you’ll be just a short stroll from Fortnum & Mason! The Mayfair is the perfect home base for enjoying the holiday lights on nearby Regent Street and in St. James’s or walking through the elegant Burlington Arcade. When you’re ready for a break, simply pop into Fortnum & Mason’s for tea in a festive Christmas setting. Happy holidays from London!