If you are an American living in the UK who is unable to get home for Thanksgiving, or if you are a local looking to dip your toe into the US holiday season – London has plenty to offer.
What is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. It is less about presents (at least until the next day) and more about showing gratitude for the simple things in life like food, family and friends. And it’s also about football – the American version of course. A typical day involves a huge family get-together to eat delicious home-cooked food before everyone settles down to enjoy a few drinks and watch an NFL game.
The calm before the storm
The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and is commonly referred to as Black Friday. Once Thanksgiving Day is over, the shopping spree begins with electrical items often the focus of the first sales. Many people head online for the best deals such as Trusted Reviews Black Friday offers, which give you all the latest technology deals to help de-stress the aftermath of Thanksgiving. While Black Friday and Thanksgiving seem very separate in nature, looking forward to the deals offered by this auspicious shopping day has actually become a part of the Thanksgiving holiday ritual!
What and where to eat
Before the mad dash for the bargains begins, the Thanksgiving feast takes place. Most hosts will spend many hours preparing and cooking a Thanksgiving meal. If you want to entertain at home, there are plenty of online resources for Thanksgiving recipes, including the BBC Good Food website. But if the thought of spending half a day or more in the kitchen does not appeal, you can cut a few corners by buying ready-made pies and side dishes from sites such as Ocado or Partridges (or you can just eat out).
Many American restaurants in London, such as the two Hard Rock Cafes in Piccadilly; Christopher’s and Balthazar, both in Covent Garden; and 34 Mayfair, all offer set menus for Thanksgiving Day. Dishes you can expect to eat include clam or lobster chowder, roast turkey, bacon with maple syrup and Brussel sprouts, cornbread, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, marshmallows and chestnuts.
Where to watch an American football game
The good news is that many Londoners have caught the NFL bug, and there was even talk of a permanent London NFL franchise being based at Tottenham Hotspur’s purpose-built stadium. With many US ex-pats also based in the city, there are plenty of venues that cater for NFL fans who want to catch a game live.
Riley’s sports bar in Haymarket in the biggest in London and is the destination of choice for many NFL fans. It has over 30 screens and has a capacity of 600. The N1 Bar near London Bridge is another popular spot that is spread over two floors and also doubles up as a night club where you can party until 6:00 am. It features American pool tables and offers a simple but delicious choice of American and Mexican-inspired food.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, and you don’t have to be in the US to fully appreciate it. With plenty of food, shopping and sports venue options available, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a happy Thanksgiving in the UK capital.