Melanie Sykes - The Wild Rabbit

Have a Smug and Organised Christmas: Part 1

I’m just going to come out and say it.


Whether you like it or not, it’s just around the corner, supermarkets are full of increasingly exotic yumminess (Persian Spiced Christmas Pudding, anyone?) and people are already planning parties and seasonal lunches.

Because it’s nice to get some things out of the way, and of course so that you can feel smug and organised, here are a couple of things you could book today to get Christmas off to a laid-back start.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire is breathtaking at all times of the year, but they really pull the stops out for Christmas.

This year they have put together an unforgettable after-dark experience in their spectacular grounds, with an illuminated trail weaving its way around the gardens and parkland. There will be a Fire Garden, fibre optic lawns (!), singing Christmas trees (!!) and brightly lit boats floating on the lake. Santa Claus will be there, of course, and there will be Christmassy drinks, hot chocolate and much more. I get the feeling that this isn’t going to be your usual “visit Santa at the local garden centre” kind of thing.

Be warned – tickets are selling out FAST, especially for parking, so this isn’t just about being smug, it’s about not missing out altogether.

Christmas at Blenheim Palace

Lunch At The Wild Rabbit

If you’re a fan of Daylesford Organic, you probably know about The Wild Rabbit by now. A romantic country pub in the village of Kingham (also Oxfordshire), this justly-popular restaurant, pub and boutique hotel is owned by Carole Bampton, who founded Daylesford Organic back in 2002.

It was Michelin’s Pub of the Year, and for good reason. The pub area small enough to feel intimate, has some great open fires, a lovely front garden with seating, but also a bright and beautifully run restaurant. They don’t do a specific Christmas menu, but everything is seasonal and for such fantastic food, not too hard on your wallet either. They also pull all the stops out for vegetarians, which makes a nice change for an English pub – no wild mushroom risotto here! Child-friendly, with a great kid’s menu, and huge solid tables that they can hide under with their colouring.

If you need to walk off your lunch, Daylesford Farmshop and cafe is only a 30 minute tramp away through the lanes and fields around Kingham.

Lunchtime tables are limited in Christmas week, so this is another one to book fairly soon.

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham

Christmas Shopping

I know the idea probably strikes gloom into your soul, but Ocado’s Christmas week delivery slots are nearly booked out. There’s a minimum spend of £100, but you can change your order closer to the time, so put in the basics for now (and your regular weekly shop – you’ll still need milk and bread that week!) and then think about it again in a couple of weeks.

Wrapping paper, that Persian Christmas Pudding, Lebkuchen, crackers, smoked salmon, nibbles (Waitrose Beef Yorkshire Puddings look pretty fab), and a Christmas Signature Spice Whole Ham with Tangerine, Cardamom and Ginger Glaze should get you started…