Great deals meet a good cause in the Red Cross Christmas Market

WHAT better way to get your Christmas shopping done than tying it in with a good cause – and a nice dose of history. Next week, the Red Cross Christmas Market at London’s Guildhall provides a fabulous, multi-dimensional chance to get the best out of the season, whether it’s art, craft or other goodies – all in support of the Red Cross’s charitable work. Best of all, it takes place in the City’s greatest architectural splendour, the Guildhall.

The market’s public day is on Tuesday 29 November. Entry costs £5 on the door, which includes a free glass of wine. The market is open 10.30am-8pm, with events throughout the day, live music and further refreshments available. There is the opportunity to bid in a silent auction as well as to buy from the stalls.

To whet your appetite in advance, here are some of our top picks from the market’s silent auction.

SILENT AUCTION: EXPERIENCES

Lot 1: Helicopter Trip
This is a fantastic opportunity to see London’s sights from a bird’s eye view with a helicopter tour courtesy of Heli Air. You’ll fly over London’s greatest landmarks, including St Paul’s, the Millenium Dome and the Houses of Parliament. The prize is for one person, who would travel with a group flight. Valid until May 2012.

Estimated value: £165

Lot 7: Tour of Pinewood Studios with lunch
The visit will be for you and a guest, followed by lunch in the Couture Brasserie. Walking in the footsteps of James Bond, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean is a once in a lifetime experience and a fabulous present. Valid until 28 May 2012.

Lot 14: Cocktail masterclass for six people at Prism restaurant
A terrific bit of fun. You and your guests will sip champagne while learning how classic and contemporary cocktails are mixed. After the tasting, you’ll mix your favourite cocktail behind the bar. The evening will conclude with canapés. Valid until 28 November 2012. (excluding Valentine’s, New Years Eve and special functions).

Lot 25: A VIP table at the London Sky Bar for New Year’s Eve 2011
Wondering what to do with yourself this New Year’s Eve? Problem solved: celebrate it this year with a VIP table for four people at the Sky Bar, famous for utterly spectacular views of London landmarks, from Big Ben to the London Eye. A cocktail reception, VIP “poser” table with waitress service, a buffet, a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and Grey Goose Vodka. To top it off, there’s another midnight reception and a disco open until 6am, providing fabulous views of the fireworks.

SILENT AUCTION: OBJECTS

Lot 26: A luxury child’s armchair
An homage to the past, this Victorian-style scroll armchair is made by Haines & Son.

Lot 24: A jar of Mansion House honey
Get your own pot of this trendy condiment stamped with the Lord Mayor’s approval. It’s produced by bees living in the rooftop beehives of Mansion House.

Lot 13: Six bottles of high value wine
Donated by the Worshipful Company of Vintners.

Lot 11: Bill Jacklin, RA., Etching
This lovely work (pictured above), is from a London-born artist, graduate of the Royal College of Art and member of the Royal Academy.

STALLS | HIGHLIGHTS

The City’s livery companies and committees will be out in force, selling their wares or offering information. This is a unique chance to buy fine craftwork, or just find out more. Among the committee stallholders are the Worshipful Company of Launderers, Feltmakers (see the hat, left), Gardeners and Scriveners. The commercial stalls offer a wide range of seasonal goodies, from traditional Christmas puddings and cakes to handmade candles, jewellery, greetings cards and cashmere scarves.

EVENTS | HIGHLIGHTS

The festivities kick off with a preview evening on 28 November (for ticket holders only). On Tuesday 29, highlights through the day include concerts, booksignings (Sebastian Faulks will be there from 6.30pm-7.45pm) and instruction in how to open champagne with a sabre. For more information go to redcross.org.uk/market