It's the annual Daily Constitutional Christmas Shopping Guide!
Every year the London Walks guides round-up their fave shops and stalls along (or near) the routes of their London Walks tours.
This year Kim's gone upmarket…
In past years I've offered up museum shops for your browsing but this year I'm going VERY upmarket and recommending Fortnum & Masons. Now this is not for the fainthearted. Prices can be eye watering but for a special "British" gift nothing does it like the Queen's Grocery store and, in particular, the foodhall.
Enter from Piccadilly and your senses are assaulted with colours, smells and, yes, you can taste the chocolate in the air. The carpet - feel the thickness as you walk - blots out most noise so you are cocooned in an environment that screams "buy me".
Now resist the urge to pile everything in the basket and do check the price labels but there is always something here that you can afford and you will leave immensely satisfied. Tea, biscuits, marmalade, jam, all the staples for making your own afternoon tea basket for a gift are to be found and all exquisitely packaged.
Top tip, however, is the sale table. I'm not sure they call it that because "sale" is possibly vulgar but there is one, believe me. You will find it at the back of the store, on the right from the Piccadilly entrance and it will have all the goodies that are going out of date or out of season (note, this is not the same thing). So by 28 December this table will have Christmas goodies displayed at reduced prices - please don't look for a yellow sticker, this is not Tesco's! If you are prolonging your celebrations therefore, seeing relatives after the main holiday or just starting again for New Year then you've now solved your gift problem. A wonderful jar of sparkly jam (yes, it has got edible glitter in it) or a box of chocolates to die for and you are all set.
One final request - please do not clear the table. I'm there on the Friday 29 December after the Old Palace Quarter and that's where I'm heading. I'd like a special something to help me indulge.
About Your Correspondent
Kim, who has worked in the House of Commons and the European Parliament, is another 24-carat Blue Badge Guide: she won the London Tourist Board's Guide of the Year award in 2001.
Christmas 2017 With London Walks…
On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks:
Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square
Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm
A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.