But what if we told you that you can also celebrate Christmas the ultimate Friends way?
Well, now you can because an entire festive festival is coming to the UK and we are so ready.
Comedy Central UK is bringing FriendsFestive to London in November and it will feature a number of recognisable sets all decorated to make you the merriest. You’ll also get to ring Phoebe’s bell outside the mall, recreate the titles in the snow, re-enact the infamous Thanksgiving floating heads scene and enjoy some festive food and drinks.
There will also be brand new photo ops, exclusive merch and the Holiday Armadillo’s grotto.
You’ll need to get yourself down to Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London from from 28th November – 21st December if you want to get involved and tickets cost £34.50 including a booking fee and a festive drinks.
If you’re a huge Downton Abbey fan (and, let’s be honest – who isn’t?) you’ve probably already been to the cinema three times to watch the Downton Abbey movie.
But what if you had the chance to actually stay in the gorgeous Highclere Castle, aka the home of DA?
Well, you can make that dream a reality because it is about to be listed on Airbnb and anyone who loves the show and wants to live their boujiest life for the night can pack their bags and head to Hampshire.
Two fans will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay at the iconic location and will be treated like royalty during their stay, too. The Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, who currently reside there, are inviting their guests to join them for cocktails in the Saloon, followed by a traditional dinner in the State Dining Room and will be waited on by their very own butler.
Afterwards the lucky fans will be treated to coffee in the Library before tucking into bed in one of the principal bedrooms, complete with an en-suite bathroom and views of over 1,000 acres of parkland. The next morning breakfast will be served, followed by a tour of the grounds.
Lady Carnarvon, Host on Airbnb comments: ‘It’s an absolute privilege and pleasure to call Highclere Castle my home and I am delighted to be able to share it on Airbnb for a truly unique stay. Highclere Castle has been in the Carnarvon family since 1679 and has an incredibly rich history. I am passionate about the stories and heritage of Highclere Castle, and I am looking forward to welcoming our future guests.’
The listing will be open on October 1, 2019 at 12PM BST and there are a few house rules: no pets, no smoking, one butler per person, cocktail dress is de rigueur for dinner, gossip is restricted to downstairs quarters only and the listing will be for a week night.
Winter is coming, and with it comes darker mornings and darker evenings – but it’s not all doom and gloom, especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan. All the films will be on the telly in the run-up to Christmas, and there’s even a Harry Potter beauty advent calendar this year.
And better still, if you’re not a fan of all things ghosts and ghouls and prefer yourself a slice of merriment later on in the year, you can now have your Christmas dinner in the Great Hall.
Seriously, what a time to be alive.
For the past few years the Warner Bros. Studio have decked the halls and revamped the wizarding world into a winter wonderland, with snow-covered Christmas trees, icicles and a festively decorated Gryffindor common room. It’s back for 2019, and will run from 16th November 2019 to January 26th 2020.
But if you want even more HP fun this Christmas, you can now enjoy a proper festive feast in the Great Hall.
Potterheads can expect drinks and canapés, followed by a two-course meal in the famous dining room, surrounded by trees, baubles and little witches on broomsticks.
The menu looks like a right little treat. Starters include beetroot, orange and dill cured salmon with pickled fennel, with a main of thyme roasted turkey with confit leg, pork and chestnut stuffing, bacon wrapped sausage, roasted Parisienne potatoes, crushed carrot and swede with peppered Brusseltops, a bread sauce croquette and turkey jus.
Mouth watering yet? Same.
There are also vegetarian and vegan options on offer.
For dessert – a traditional Christmas pudding, chocolate and orange mousse or roasted chestnut and espresso tart – head to Platform 9 3/4 where you’ll be served a holiday-inspired bowl of goodness, washed down with Butterbeer and followed by a trip to Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
The Christmas feast will run on 9th, 10th and 11th December 2019 and tickets go on sale here at 10am on 17th September.
They’re almost certainly going to sell-out – despite the eye-watering £240 price tag.
Dog lovers, unite – a festival for your pet pooch is coming to the capital and we cannot wait.
Doggo-Style, an epic day out for you and your cute canine, is heading to London later this month with an extra special market catering to all your doggy needs – think stalls selling everything from accessories to snacks in Tower Bridge Court near London Bridge tube station.
Whether you’re looking for your furry friend’s favourite new treat or want to dress your pet in the best doggy attire money can buy, there’s something for every pup and owner.
Hugo & Celine will be selling doggy burgers and ice-cream, Bo Collars will be showing off their dreamy woven collars, and if you’re after some fancy knitwear or geometric furniture you can head to Welsh Russian and Pets & Pods.
And what would a dog festival be without some delicious Pawsecco for your fur baby?
Other big names selling wares in the Doggo-Style game include The Rockster, Rag & Paw, By Benji, Oonalfie and Butternut Box.
For the humans, there will be music, a licensed bar and food available. There will even be special photo-ready areas so that you can get the ultimate delfies. Win.
The website reads: ‘The event will be made up of pet food traders, pet beauty and skincare, clothing and merchandise and much more. We will have some live music and there will be food and drink for humans at the event, located in the heart of the trading space.
‘There will be plenty of seating spread throughout the venue and of course doggy bowls galore.’
Tickets for the event on Sunday 29th September 2019 are a bargain at £5 on the door or £4 if you book in advance, with all proceeds going directly to All Dogs Matter charity.
Always imagined how much better a hotel stay would be if you had your pet pooch with you?
Well, imagine no more – your dog can now get a job reviewing fancy hotels, and you can go too.
Hotels.com is searching for the perfect pup to stay in some of the nicest dog-loving hotels you’ve ever seen, and as their owner you’re more than welcome to go along for the ride.
Your pooch will get to experience ten of the world’s most dog-friendly hotels, testing everything from walks, bedding, pampering services and food, before posting a review on the site.
‘We love our pets more than we love our other half at times, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a huge increase in travellers wanting to take their furry plus one on holiday with them,’ says Liz Oakman, senior director and general manager EMEA from Hotels.com.
‘At Hotels.com, we want to make sure you find the paw-fect place to check into, so we’re excited to add a Best for Pets category to our Loved by Guests awards – but it doesn’t stop there.
‘Our hunt for Canine Critic is our way of ensuring our pet friendly hotels really are up to ‘scratch’ with a four-legged expert’s ‘paw of approval’,’ she added.
But if, for some unknown reason, none of those tickle your fancy then it’s time to pack your bags and head to Idaho, US to stay in this two bedroom giant dog-shaped Airbnb.
The Dog Bark Park Inn B&B is listed on the site houses up to four guests and reads: ‘Stay inside a beagle-shaped building with comfort and a unique style. Cozy up with selections from our library of books, games & puzzles many of which are dog themed. Light snacking foods and in-the-dog breakfast is included. Wi-Fi if needed.’
But that’s not all. It’s located in Cottonwood, rural Idaho, with ‘expansive views of prairie grain fields and surrounding mountains’. It also includes ‘in-the-dog breakfast’ and snacks. Plus, it’s close to Hells Canyon Gorge of the Snake River, which you can visit by boat, and you can ‘explore Nez Perce native history and culture at interpretive sites and towns nearby.’
To stay in this huge beagle house you’ll have to part with £109 a night, but before you get too excited it seems to be booked up until April 2020.
However, if you’re looking for a getaway after that then go ahead and book before someone else does.
Potterheads: grab your Firebolt, get out your best witchy hat and transport yourself to a ghoulish and ghostly Hogwarts for Halloween. Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London is hosting ‘Hogwarts After Dark‘ for the second year in a row, and the event includes dinner in The Great Hall, a tour of the set and even wand lessons.
Guests will enjoy a two-course meal surrounded by 100 floating pumpkins, red apples and cauldrons of lollipops while they dig in to smoked duck with pumpkin purée and blood orange jelly, or goat’s cheese ravioli to start. Then comes the roast lamb, a mushroom and shallot suet pudding or a pumpkin, beetroot and sage tarte tatin.
Don’t worry – you will get your dessert on too, feasting on pumpkin brûlée and dark chocolate mousse later on in the Forbidden Forest alongside Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Aragog the Acromantula. Spooky-delicious.
Ticket holders will also get a tour of the studios and get the opportunity to hear from the prop-making department about how they created the enchanted ceiling. A wand choreographer is also on hand so that you can nail your Patronus once and for all.
The night will finish with a hearty Butterbeer, naturally.
The event runs on Friday 25th – Sunday 27th October, and tickets cost an eye-watering £240 per person, available to over 18’s only.
Yes, it’s a fair few Galleons, but really – can you put a price on magic?
If you want a ticket, you’d better be quick as they’re already on sale and we’re sure they’ll sell out quicker than a Boggart shape-shifts.
Forget about drinking yourself silly and pack your yoga kit like we did for this year’s edition of Larmer Tree Festival – the UK’s under-the-radar boutique festival where the focus is on wellness rather than raving (if you want it to be).
Larmer Tree’s UP is in the unexpected. Sure there’s the main stage headliners and hangovers to be had, but this is all about experiencing and discovering. Be it a laughter yoga workshop, a campfire cookery master-class or new-world afro-beat jazz, the alternative is what makes Larmer Tree so special.
The best bits
With three days of feel-good scheduling, the stunning Victorian Larmer Tree Gardens in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside is where you can chill or party (or both), nourish the soul (and belly) with yoga and jerk Cornish fish (pure heaven), discover your new favourite bands and comedians (Anna Mann and Jade Bird/Ezra Collective we’re looking at you), and relish in some mind-blowing headliners like Nish Kumar and Kate Tempest. Think hot tubs, think gong baths, think Kate Adie. Throw in a late night silent disco in the depths of and art-infused woodland and you get a sense of the Larmer Tree magic.
Image: Carolyn White
It might be in its 29th year, but Larmer Tree’s focus on creating a sense of community means it’s retained a really cosy, family-friendly vibe, with a mix of local and international artists and performers. Plus the size of it physically means everything is super close – including the award-winning loos.
The schedule is pretty perfect in terms of being packed but not overwhelming. Unlike similarly sized festivals, there’s never a chance to be bored. Whether it’s travelling entertainers, poets hidden in the woods, big-name musicians on the main stage or a hot tub and sauna situation, there’s always something to do. Comedy and talks share the schedule with massages and tea ceremonies, and with a cinema tent thrown in, there really is something for everyone. And not only that, a massive roster of kids activities, workshops and entertainment makes it a brilliant option for any family, whether experienced or first-timers.
From the plush bell tents with their private shower block and chill out tent filled with sofas, hairdryers and charge points (yes, really), to the family-friendly quiet camp set back from the action, there’s a camp site to suit all needs. As well as award-winning loos – so you know, nothing to worry about there.
Be warned though, with its boutique vibes and alternative wellness schedule, Larmer Tree could easily be on the path to Wilderness-level stardom so get there before the crowds.
Larmer Tree Festival takes place 16 – 19th July 2020.
Put simply, Coworth Park is the ultimate classic countryside retreat. As you drive through the grounds on arrival (9.5 miles per hour – the speed of a horse trotting, obvs), past the visually stunning wild flower meadow and rolling parkland, past the polo ponies and up to the manor house entrance, you can’t help but feel ‘country’.
Full of surprises, the 5-star luxury never once feels stuffy. With the ever-helpful staff always on hand for a chat or to whizz you, without judgement, to the spa in one of their on-site buggies when they see you looking lost on a footpath wearing a robe and flip flops. Talking of the spa, it really is a must-visit – the highlight being the indoor pool that’s lined with 15 Amethyst crystals that lend an air of tranquillity to the space.
Plus, if it’s good enough for Royalty, it’s good enough for us…
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to a place to lay your head, with grand bedrooms and suites occupying the mansion house, or, choose for a more secluded getaway in one of the Stable Cottages (these were originally stables for the polo ponies with their groom’s quarters housed above). Sitting hamlet-style in the grounds, these wooden cottages act like the perfect country escape, with our two-bed ‘stable’ overlooking the fields and wild flower meadows that form part of the sprawling 240 acres of parkland. Because seriously, what could be better than waking up to the sound of birds and soft clacking of hooves in the morning?
True to the country-chic aesthetic of Coworth Park, the cottages are an extension of the main house with luxe classics fused with modern fixtures; think Bang and Olufsen TV’s, signature copper roll-top baths, the fluffiest of towels and This Works Deep Sleep pillow spray to ensure the heartiest of sleeps.
There’s a reason Prince Harry stayed here the night before his big wedding. The venue is super chic without being stuffy. The lounge areas and restaurant feature classic furniture in subtle hues, and you’ll find interesting art dotted around, including many references to horses, the stars of Coworth Park.
If you’re after a bit of adventure, you can go horse riding in the grounds or play tennis, but if you’d rather relax, then the spa is the place to be. Make sure you enjoy the steam room and aromatherapy showers after a few lengths.
In summer, a walk around the grounds is an absolute must. The meadow is full of wild flowers, whilst the walled gardens with their water features and beautiful roses are a sight to behold.
This is where the stargazing comes in. Coworth Park has collaborated with iconic French champagne house Dom Pérignon to offer a unique al fresco dining experience, for the first time in the UK, until mid September.
Executive chef Adam Smith is welcoming guests to ‘Dining Under The Stars’, an pop-up private dining concept nestled within the hotel’s Lime Grove. Guests can dine under a starry night’s sky within a specially created geodesic dome, where a carefully curated menu perfectly pairs with the hand-picked selection of Dom Pérignon expressions including Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2, Dom Pérignon Vintage Blanc Dom Pérignon Rosé.
There are different tasting menus, ranging from three to five courses, and you can also book the afternoon tea. For dinner, we feasted on langoustine with tomato, kimchi & ginger; Kentish lamb kebab with buttermilk, salted cucumber and mint, BBQ veal cutlet with garden salad, pickled tongue and truffle, finishing off with mango & coconut Sorbet with lime and chocolate mint.
All menus are named after constellations, and a telescope will be available to further explore the galaxy throughout the evening.
How to book
Rooms start at £465 per night.
You can choose from 3-5 courses (£200-£350pp) and each course is paired with a different Dom Perignon style. For more information and to experience this for yourself, book here.
Dining Under The Stars will run until mid-September.
Forget about the wellies and pack your swimsuits like some 172,000 music lovers did for this year’s edition of Balaton Sound Festival – Europe’s coolest waterfront music extravaganza, in Lake Balaton in western Hungary.
The five-day gathering attracted the who’s who in house and EDM, with the likes of Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Marshmello, Camelphat, Don Diablo, Nicky Romero, BRIT Award nominee Jess Glynne, Rudimental and The Chainsmokers taking place behind the decks as festival goers danced each night away under the Hungarian sky. Some of the most exciting names in urban music such as Future, Denzel Curry, G-Eazy and Desiigner, also joined the festival line-up, catering for rap and hip-hop fans alike.
With a location like Zamardi, the shore of Balaton – the largest lake in Central Europe – the event comes with endless doses of sunshine as well as picturesque views of the lake and neighbouring towns. So, when it comes to accommodation, the choice of camping, glamping on the festival grounds, renting a villa or staying in a hotel nearby is up to you, depending on how close you want to be to Mother Nature.
What to expect…
Hungary’s hot climate makes each day of Balaton Sound a 24h happening. During the day you can take it easy with a dip in the lake, get active through the numerous watersports activities or – if you can’t wait to let your hair down – sign up for one of the daily boat parties, and water-based venues with multiple small stages across the lake piers. When the sun comes down all six stages host star headliners that cater for a variety of music tastes, from EDM, house and trance, through to urban and rap. The 2019 edition of the festival also saw Elrow once again bring its world-class colourful audio-visual cinematic production and giant puppets, creating a Berlin-techno vibe, featuring Paul Kalkbrenner and the iconic figure of the Belgian underground scene, Claptone.
In addition to the beach festival experience, VIP ticket holders this year had access to four special areas, including: a Hollywood-inspired vintage circus with a platform overlooking the main stage, accompanied by a photo wall, makeup stand and a massage area; a tropical jungle with exotic interiors decorated with trees, vines, and plants; a French riviera at the lake’s shore with canopy sun beds; an area built directly over the water with a cocktail bar and beach parties every day until dawn; and a special VIP spot in the Dreher Arena offering an undisturbed view of the stage.
photo: Bodorkós Máté
Sustainability and living in harmony with the environment are clear goals for Balaton Sound. As part of the eco-conscious program, the festival started a tree-planting program and gave 10 trees to Zamárdi planted by the performing artists.