Easter falls on April 16 this year, which means it’ll have been more than two months since our last chocolate-themed holiday and, therefore, high time for some indulgence.
Fortunately, London is packed to the rafters with potential for Easter feasting, as well as fun and games, plus some great souvenir shopping opportunities for your chocoholic friends and family. Here are the ones you won’t want to miss.
Kids will be delighted to learn that the Easter Bunny visits hotels these days, too, so there’s no need to miss out on the fun, even if you’re far from home.
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Connaught offers a special Easter package (April 12 through 17) that includes two bedrooms, holiday treats, a bottle of champagne upon arrival, traditional English breakfast for four and complimentary children’s meals. Kids will love the pool at the hotel’s Aman Spa, too.
If you’re traveling without the little ones, stay at Five-Star 45 Park Lane and be treated to a complimentary room upgrade (where available), Valrhona Grand Cru Easter eggs and truffle cupcakes.
For more Easter-specific shopping opportunities, you’ve got to head to Fortnum & Mason, the luxurious department and grocery store that’s been a favorite with London’s high society since it was founded more than 300 years ago.
This time of year, the store’s famous hampers come packed with Easter goodies, including chocolate eggs, champagne, loose tea, candies, puddings and more.
If you don’t think you can eat all of that in one sitting, and your luggage won’t stretch to take it home with you, splurge on a signature Fortnum’s egg; this year, it’s a handmade treat of pinkish white chocolate and filled with Marc de Champagne truffles.
Meanwhile, artisan chocolatier Paul A. Young is running a sea-salted-caramel-making class at his Islington store on April 20. Learn how to re-create this delectable candy at home, a sweet reminder of your trip.
Get your Easter Sunday off to a gourmet start with brunch at The Wolseley, a grand European-style café-restaurant beloved by celebrities like Kate Moss and the Beckhams.
Of course, eggs must be at the centerpiece of your meal, and The Wolseley has plenty of tempting options in that department, including the decadent caviar omelette.
Walk off your brunch with a hike on Hampstead Heath in North London, then adjourn to The Spaniards Inn, one of London’s oldest pubs, for drinks and a traditional British roast dinner. You can’t beat roasted lamb on Easter, and The Spaniards does a particularly good one.
The Easter experience extends into evening time, too, thanks to the chocolate-infused and -inspired creations on offer at some of London’s most innovative cocktail bars. Rabot 1745 is the local home of the Saint Lucian hotel brand and chocolate plantation, Hotel Chocolat. The company’s unusual small-batch cocoa gin can be sampled in the refreshing cocoa gin and tonic, and decadent cocoa breakfast martini (made with orange marmalade and dry curacao).
A more subtle chocolate cocktail experience can be had at Untitled, the latest venture from London mixologist Tony Conigliaro (of 69 Colebrooke Row fame). The Ghost tipple lists oak, clay and chocolate as ingredients, but this isn’t the sort of drink you’d mistake for a dessert — the white chocolate just makes it smooth and delicious, the perfect end to an Easter weekend.
An advantage of Easter coming late this year is that the annual trail at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (through April 17) will be particularly spectacular, with spring flowers and new growth. This year’s theme is the Swedish comic Moomin, and children will love exploring the gardens to help Moomin Hemulen find the plants stolen by Stinky during his hibernation.
A great rainy day alternative — and one for the design obsessives among you — is the Bunny Hop and Seek Easter trail (to April 16) at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Notting Hill. Hares of all kind — from famous characters like the Duracell bunny to lesser-known hoppers like the smartly clad mascot of Riley’s Bunny-Bons toffees from the 1930s — will be found all over this hidden gem of a museum.
And if you’re so inclined, the gift shop is fantastic for retro-inspired posters and homewares, and the café has a sunny courtyard garden.