It’s not all Christmassy stuff, promise. There are butchery classes, murder mysteries and virtual reality snowball fights. Enjoy
Learn your flank from your fillet at Daylesford’s butchery masterclasses
In a day and age where vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, and there is increased focus on organically and sustainably sourced produce, knowing where your meat comes from is important.
We went to try the evening butchery class (7-10pm), ‘Nose to Tail’, at Daylesford’s farm shop in Notting Hill
. There, all meat is organically sourced from the farm in Gloucestershire
. We were met with a giant side of aged beef resting on the bench, ready for us to get our knives into.
What followed was a couple of hours of butchery education, from listening to Roy (the butcher) explain useful tips and describe the different cuts, to watching him skilfully dissect the carcass.
This was before we got the chance to do some butchering ourselves, which was our favourite bit – sharp knives, saws and string were used to cut and prepare our very own rib-eye joint. Make no mi-steak, those tools are razor-edged – one of the knives resembled an actual machete! But fear not, you’re kitted out with stab-proof gloves to keep those fingers safe.
It’s worth noting that you’ll learn knife sharpening skills, too, and you get to taste the meat throughout the class – cooked, of course.
As far as teambuilding goes, it’s a great option. The atmosphere is informal, chatty and relaxed, with plenty of room for jokes. Besides, as you’re in an intimate group of six, Roy had time to give each participant help and attention, so you will definitively walk away with newly acquired skills.
The wholesome sit-down meal you have after you finish is another plus, and a great bonding experience. The talented Daylesford chefs will cook you a meal showcasing the animal you have butchered during the class (for us it was the rib-eye), served with Daylesford’s signature salads. You can really taste the quality of the meat, which means it doesn’t even need a lot of seasoning. The meal is complimented by wines from the Daylesford estates.
Each masterclass tackles a different animal, be it cow, lamb or venison, and starts with the butchering of a chicken. Priced at £160pp, the class is exceptionally good value, considering you also get a joint of the animal to keep as well as a goodie bag filled with products from the store.
Interested? You can book the classes here
, which will be held either at the Notting Hill branch, or the group’s Pimlico
, Marylebone and (newly opened) Brompton Cross outlets.
Get your Cluedo-minds on at Murder Mysery at the Zetter Townhouse
Immersive dining experiences are rife in London, and the Zetter Townhouse’s Clerkenwell’s site
is no exception. Groups of up to 22 people can now hire the entire townhouse exclusively for an evening of Murder Mystery.
Not sure what it is? The gist of it is that every participant is given a character prior to the game, in which one of them is the murderer. There is usually a ‘murder committed’ before the game starts, and the aim of the game is therefore for the group to discover who the criminal is (while staying in character).
In other words, this is full immersion where participants are responsible for the theatrical experience, making it different to some of the other immersive offerings out there. Usually set in a 1930s environment, get ready for some Agatha Christie-style action where glamorous characters such as military colonels, film stars, rich widows and dazzling bachelors with racer cars complete the plot. In the case of Zetter’s
offer, there will be an additional six hired actors to ensure the experience is flawless.
The Murder Mystery package requires a total takeover of the hotel (including its bedrooms) and features afternoon tea with champagne cocktails
, a formal four-course supper with arrival cocktails and wine pairing, and a full English or continental breakfast the following morning. Housekeepers and butlers will be at your service, too.
The hotel definitively looks the part, forming the perfect back-drop. Situated on the historic St John’s Square in the heart of east London, the boutique Zetter Townhouse
is just minutes from Farringdon station
. Thank Russell Sage for the whimsical interiors, which make the place feel more like a private residence of an eccentric and fabulous great aunt, than a hotel.
Your group will have to fight for who gets to stay in the two spectacular suites, although the 11 standard bedrooms aren’t too shabby either. The games room and dining room are both full of character and sophistication.
Cost of the package starts at £20,000, but varies depending on what day of the week it is, what time of year it is and is always subject to availability.
Get in touch with the team here
Hop on the Arctic Express in search of The Greatest Snowman
Looking for something Christmas-specific for your staff, but feeling a bit tired of the whole Nutcracker ballet, Home Alone film screening and A Christmas Carol live reading set-up? We get you. We therefore encourage you to embrace the immersive trend and hop on a train to find the lost snowman.
That is the plot of Funicular Productions’
latest immersive dining experience, The Greatest Snowman. Setting off from the imaginary Pedley Street
in east London, your group will take a seat on the festively decorated Arctic Express and join little elves on their hunt for the snowman. All while enjoying a four-course dinner designed by Masterchef: The Professionals
2017 finalist Louisa Ellis.
When we went for the press launch, the food tasted amazing. The caramelised cauliflower volute was smooth, rich and deep in flavour – the perfect winter warmer; the varieties of Jerusalem artichoke we got to start with really showcased the versatile vegetable with exciting flavours and textures; and the dessert of poached pear and salted caramel ice cream came complete with festive vanilla snow. The star of the show, however, was the main of three bird roasts with crispy chicken skin, smooth parsnip puree and a salty rosti.
If your group is more interested in food than a West End-worthy performance, then this will suit them well. The story is fun, if a bit hectic at times, with some contemporary Christmas songs snuck in and the childish elves dresses in pink tutus and giant green sunglasses.
The moral of the story was what really resonates: in a world where Christmas has been turned into a consumer nightmare with Black Friday, drunken end-of-year parties and eating until we can’t sit up straight, we need to come back to what Christmas is all about – kindness, giving and sharing special moments with loved ones.
Also, we were really impressed by the technology and audio-visual displays. We especially liked the red and white snowflake pattern that decorated the tables with the help of over-head lights. Service was also impeccable and the festive cocktails on offer in the after-dinner bar were top-notch.
Tickets start at £65pp (get them here
) and exclusive hire is available (find request form on Funicular’s page
Get your skates on at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace ice rinks
Do you think the Tudors skated in-between the jousting, torturing, and beheadings? Either way, Henry VIII’s old stomping ground (Hampton Court Palace
), and the place he sent his wives to be decapitated (Tower of London
) both make for excellent ice rink sites today.
Get into some royal skating fun at the two venues, which will both be available for private and corporate hire until 6 January 2019. Whether you’re like I, Tonya on the ice or more akin to Bambi, ice skating is an informal and fun way to do an office outing (if only for a chance to watch your colleagues fall on their arse!).
At Hampton Court Palace
, your group can skate with the Thames riverside as a backdrop, or if you visit after dark, the palace’s iconic façade illuminated colourfully is really pretty. At The Tower of London
, the impressive building sits in the background, while the rink itself is lit in atmospheric wintery colours.
Groups of 10 or more receive a 10% discount on individual tickets (£14.50pp), and there’s a 330 capacity on each rink. Catering party packages are available for both venues starting at £19.50pp for between 20 to 50 people.
Interested? Tickets for Hampton Court Palace can be booked here
, and for Tower of London here
Head to Elephant & Castle for heaps of festive teambuilding
Elephant & Castle
is more than the giant round-about. In fact, over the festive period, there are a number of group activities and teambuilding, and we for one think they look awesome.
From bumper cars on ice, escape rooms and virtual reality games, the activity side of it is definitely covered, but with street food and immersive cocktails, too, we reckon you can have a lot of fun.
Our favourite has to be the immersive escape room activity at The Artworks Elephant (a shipping container with pop-ups, street food and restaurants). The game is set in an abandoned Russian spaceship where, in teams of four, you will have 60 minutes to unpack its strange past while searching for a radioactive treasure. It costs £20pp, and you can find tickets here
(available Wednesday to Sunday).
If you want something less intense that requires significantly less brain activity, bumper cars on ice should please you. Sit in what looks like giant curling stones and bump relentlessly into each other on the new ice rink on Castle Square in Elephant. There will be live DJs playing music and when you’re all bumped out, head to the surrounding street food booths for some well-earned grub. There is no private hire or corporate hire, but with a six-person capacity, ordering individual tickets for a total take-over is a breeze. They are also amazingly priced (£6pp). Tickets can be purchased here (available every day until 6 January).
Are there any Instagram keenos among you? They will appreciate being taken to recently opened The Cauldron then, which is right by the ice rink. Here, magical wands will dispense hot cocktails and cold beer into ale horns for you to drink from. Elaborate hot chocolates with colourful toppings are also on offer.
Finally, we want to put you in the direction of Elephant Arena, a new entertainment space specialising in all things games. Virtual reality, arcade, classic board games and good old bar sports can all be enjoyed here. For Christmas (until 6 January), it will take inspiration from Narnia to create a wintery wonderland complete with festive drinks (we would opt for the snowball cocktails), and there’s a special snowball fight VR game. There’s private and corporate hire options here, with capacities as high as 230. Packages are available. Find out more here
, or you can enquire here
Also at the Arena is the Cyber-Witch Circus, which is especially made for groups. Here, you can get virtual tarot and palm readings from £10pp. For bookings, see above links.