Where to eat on Christmas Day

Take the stress out of cooking for the whole family with a festive feast elsewhere


Best for: Local, seasonal produce

Powder & Magazine, Upnor

If you happen to find yourself in the Kent countryside this Christmas it’s worth a detour to the pretty village of Upnor to experience Medway’s self-styled ‘newest gastro dining experience’. Powder & Magazine, named after its location inside a former 17th-century army base, opened late last year to much local hype. Expect creative, well-presented dishes with a flair for local produce. The Christmas Day menu offers a modern spin on festive favourites, such as duck liver parfait with sourdough crumble, winter truffle brioche and six-hour roasted onion jam. For dessert, eschew the usual Christmas pud (although traditionalists will be happy to know it’s on the menu) in favour of Kentish gypsy tart with hazelnut cream.

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£69 per person; powderandmagazine.co.uk

(Image credit: © James Merrell)

Best for: Festive atmosphere

Gleneagles, Scotland

Taking the top spot for best views and most quintessentially festive setting is Gleneagles, a magnificent five-star retreat in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The historic countryside estate, which underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment earlier this year, is serving Christmas lunch to residents and non-residents alike in the new Birnam Brasserie. Expect a suitably traditional affair of local smoked salmon, roast Norfolk turkey with all the trimmings and a Scottish cheeseboard – all accompanied by live music from award-winning American songstress Melanie O’Reilly.

£125 per person; gleneagles.com

Best for: Contemporary dining

Pike & Pine, Brighton

There’s been a bit of a buzz surrounding Michelin-starred chef and Great British Menu winner Matt Gillan, who recently launched his first solo venture after a decade at Sussex restaurant The Pass. Pike & Pine – which operates as coffee house Redroaster by day – is a sleek and welcome addition to Brighton’s Kemptown neighbourhood. Renowned for innovative small plates influenced by the changing seasons and local produce, Gillan’s five-course Christmas offering (which includes a separate vegetarian option devoid of the usual bland veggie staples) is a thoroughly modern menu that includes lobster thermidor, beef wellington and treacle tart. A brisk walk along the nearby seafront afterwards will help to burn off all the beef and booze.

£125 per person, includes glass of bubbles on arrival, truffles, coffee and tea; pikeandpine.co.uk

Best for: Michelin-starred fare

Helene Darroze at The Connaught, London

You’ll think all of your Christmases have arrived at once if you’ve managed to secure a table at this two-Michelin-starred Mayfair institution. Acclaimed French chef Helene Darroze adds a signature Gallic twist to her Christmas Day feasts – either a five-course lunch or six-course dinner – with each course shining the spotlight on a single favourite ingredient including foie gras, turbot, capon and brie.

Lunch, £195 per person, Dinner, £295; the-connaught.co.uk

Best for: An exotic alternative

Darbaar Restaurant, London

Ideal for those keen to stuff tradition rather than the turkey is high-end Indian restaurant Darbaar. Inspired by the banquets of the Indian Royal Court and headed up by ex-Cinnamon Club chef Abdul Yaseen, Darbaar’s Christmas lunch is a feast fit for a maharaja. Starting with a welcoming Winter Berry cocktail, guests will be treated to a choice of starters including Keralan crab and coconut soup followed by sharing grills and wood-fired mains of roasted vegetarian koftas and goan-spiced goose breast. All accompanied by succulent sides, tandoori breads, chutneys and raita. You may very well never go back to spuds and sprouts again.

£85 per person; darbaarrestaurants.com

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