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Detail from Jasper Johns 'Flag' 1958 Private collection (c) Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York / DACS, London 2017. Photo: Jamie Stukenberg (c) The Wildenstein Plattner Institute, 2017.

A Guide to Thanksgiving in London 2017

21 November 2017 Katie Da Cunha Lewin

For those of you hailing from America, or those who just fancy stuffing yourselves silly, you might be looking for some places to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. We’ve had a sort though of what London has to offer, from food to culture, and back to food again. Have a look at our round up.

 As Brits, we might be familiar with Thanksgiving only through the numerous television specials that mark the November holiday. But, thanks to a large expat community in the UK, Thanksgiving is no longer just something celebrated on TV. It is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in order to give thanks for the preceding year’s harvest, as well as marking the beginning of the holiday season.  In more recent years, the holiday has become an excuse to have a big family get-together and to gorge on a huge meal, famously consisting of Turkey and pumpkin. This year, Thanksgiving is 23 November.

There are lots of places hosting evening or week-long celebrations of the holiday with special menus in London this year. At Christopher’s, they are hosting a special fine dining Thanksgiving menu. You can start with a crab cake or cobb salad, and then move on to the big guns: a ballotine of organic turkey or Missouri-rubbed lamb.  Polish this off with a baked pecan pie cheesecake or a special Pumpkin Pie Martini, and leave with a full stomach. BBQ joint Blue’s Kitchen also host a Thanksgiving Night: grab some buttermilk fried chicken and dance the night away to the resident DJs. If you want something a little different, why not attend Thanksgiving at The Imaginarium. Inspired by the soul food of Louisana, the evening offers diners the chance to listen to live music and experience some Native American traditions, courtesy of Andrew Begay. Some of the proceeds from the evening are going to three charities, including Stand with Standing Rock, a charity supporting those fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline.


Image credit: Thanksgiving at The Imaginarium

There’s not just food on offer, as several places are also hosting themed events for anyone wanting some Thanksgiving cheer. St Paul’s hosts a special service every year for the large American expat community in London.  Everyone is welcome to come and join the service, and entrance is free. You can also head to the Prince Charles Cinema to watch the classic ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ in which John Candy and Steve Martin play two lost travellers, trying to make it back to Chicago for Thanksgiving.  Bulleit Bourbon are hosting a Cocktail Masterclass at The Nine Elms Tavern, offering the chance to learn how to make a perfect old fashioned; a useful skill at the beginning the holiday season!


Image credit: Bulleit Bourbon via The NIne Elm Tavern Website

If you don’t want to stuff yourself silly or celebrate the event itself, why not catch some American culture. The Royal Academy host an enormous retrospective of artist Jasper Johns, whose famous work ‘Flag’ questions the cultural importance of the stars and stripes. Or, how about The Disaster Artist, showing across Picturehouses in London in which an exuberant James Franco plays the eccentric Tommy Wiseau, notorious director of cult smash The Room.  For anyone with an interest in history, raise a glass at the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe, a historic location giving an interesting insight into the founding mythologies of modern America. One of the oldest pubs in London, it marks the spot from which the famous ship The Mayflower left the Thames, beginning its long and sometimes difficult journey to the East coast of America. USA History Tours of London can even give you a guided tour around the area, exploring the historic links between the UK and the US.



 
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