A behind-the-scenes tour with Sir Ian McKellen and an eco-friendly trip to the Maldives are among the lots on offer for the first of our Christmas appeal auctions.
Foodies can bid for an exclusive meal in the comfort of their own home cooked by award-winning chef Asma Khan, and Chelsea fans have the chance to get their hands on a shirt signed by the first team.
The package offered by Sir Ian includes four tickets to his critically acclaimed one-man show at the West End’s Harold Pinter Theatre, followed by a backstage chat with the legend himself.
Other highlights include stays in some of the world’s top hotels and lunch with the Evening Standard’s editor and former chancellor George Osborne.
All proceeds will go towards our two-year appeal, The Homeless Fund.
Using the money raised, the London Homeless Collective, a coalition of 23 charities delivering direct services to people sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, will work to target the worst gaps – particularly around support for homeless women and mental-health provisions.
Our auction is powered by Givergy, an award-winning fundraising technology company which offers a range of cutting-edge platforms to help charities make more money at events and online.
You can make your bids through the link at the bottom of this article or by clicking “bid here” beneath each of the lots below.
The auction ends on Thursday 5 December at 10pm.
Meet Sir Ian McKellen and see the star’s one-man show
Sir Ian McKellen is offering four tickets to his acclaimed one-man career retrospective show currently showing at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End, Ian McKellen on stage with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others and You.
The actor will also invite the fortunate ticket-holders backstage for a behind-the-scenes look at the production – which he opens with a reprisal of his Academy Award-nominated Middle Earth character Gandalf – and a chat with the star himself.
Relax in the Maldives on an eco-friendly holiday of a lifetime
One couple will be able to experience a true holiday of a lifetime with a five-night stay at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. The destination of celebrities and billionaires, the Maldives has long been associated with luxury.
Sonu and Eva, the founders behind desert-island hideaway Soneva Fushi are pioneers, creating resorts which combine the height of pampering with true sustainability since 1995.
Their “no news no shoes” mantra ensures every guest will leave feeling refreshed. Dinner is served under the stars, and activities on offer allow guests to reconnect with both themselves and the natural environment.
The package is also available to be taken at the breathtaking Soneva Kiri, nestled among lush rainforest in Thailand’s Koh Kood – an unspoiled island with some of the best beaches in the country.
Have a meal cooked in your own home by Asma Khan
Kolkata-born chef Asma Khan’s Carnaby Street restaurant Darjeeling Express has become a must-visit on critics’ London lists. The restaurateur, who was the first British chef to feature in hit Netflix series, Chef’s Table, is offering to hold one of her signature supper clubs for a group of six in the winning bidder’s home.
The feast will include recipes from her debut cookbook, Asma’s Indian Kitchen, which was shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason 2019 awards.
The chef was also listed among this year’s Evening Standard The Progress 1000 list as one of London’s most influential people 2019.
Selfridges toy shop all to yourself
It is the stuff of childhood dreams: having an entire toy shop all to yourself. Selfridges is offering one lucky bidder, and up to three guests, the run of its fourth floor-FAO Schwarz toy store.
The winner will be able to dance on the giant piano made famous in Eighties movie Big and test-drive a mini Lamborghini, without a queue in sight. Playtime doesn’t end once the session is over – the bidder will then choose £500 worth of toys to take home.
Four nights at a luxury safari lodge in Zimbabwe
Those dreaming of sun-drenched plains should bid for this four-night getaway in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, courtesy of Africa Albida Tourism.
The lucky bidder and up to three guests will stay at the luxurious Victoria Falls Safari Suites, nestled against the vast bushland of Zambezi National Park.
Here they will have access to a host of activities, from safari game drives to river zip-lines to guided tours of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Hotel Arts Barcelona stay
Art lovers and pleasure seekers should bid for a luxury two-night retreat at one of Barcelona’s most striking hotels.
The lucky bidder and their guest will be treated to panoramic views of the bustling city and Mediterranean sea while making use of Hotel Arts’ new infinity pool or its 43rd-floor spa.
Rare Chelsea FC shirt signed by the first team
One Blues fan can snap up a home shirt signed by members of the Chelsea FC first team, to give as a perfect Christmas gift, keep on the wall, or wear at Stamford Bridge.
The shirt comes complete with a certificate of authenticity.
Exclusive mindful painting experience for 10 at MasterPeace
Budding artists or adventurous amateurs will love this 90-minute painting experience at MasterPeace Creative Studios in the heart of London’s Belgravia.
The lucky bidder, and up to nine guests, will combine technology and classic brush techniques to recreate a photo of their choice on canvas.
Internationally renowned artists will guide participants through the creative process, ensuring their works of art are framed and ready to take home by the end of the session.
The package includes complimentary prosecco and snacks.
Staycation to remember at Hotel Cafe Royal
One bidder can treat a loved one to a weekend in a luxury suite at the renowned Hotel Cafe Royal in the heart of London on Regent Street.
In situ for 150 years, the hotel has hosted names from Winston Churchill to David Bowie, and today offers guests a true culinary journey.
The bidder and their guest will be able to sample the hotel’s afternoon tea in the Oscar Wilde Lounge, dinner and brunch in restaurant Laurent at Hotel Cafe Royal, and after-dinner cocktails in the Green Bar. Before departure, a cake and champagne experience will be served at Cakes & Bubbles by Albert Adria, topping off a unique London experience.
VIP tickets to British Touring Car Championship
Motor-heads will race to snap up these two VIP tickets to a British Touring Car Championship race of the bidder’s choice, courtesy of Honda UK.
The package includes full breakfast, lunch and dinner hospitality, a meet-and-greet with Honda drivers Matt Neal and Dan Cammish, a grid walk, and a behind-the-scenes garage tour.
Plus, the lucky winner will get the keys to a Honda Civic Type R over the race weekend, so they can truly feel like part of the team.
Private lunch with Evening Standard editor George Osborne
The paper’s editor and former chancellor of the exchequer is offering one generous bidder the chance to see the newsroom of the Evening Standard and then grab lunch together at a nearby restaurant.
Nantucket Island escape
Couples looking for a serene but luxurious seaside retreat should bid on this four-night trip to two of Nantucket’s finest boutique hotels.
The lucky winner and their guest will spend two nights at the beach-flanked Wauwinet, a newly renovated historic inn overlooking the Atlantic.
There, they will feast on a complimentary dinner at upscale Topper’s restaurant.
They will then move to the centre of town for a two-night stay at the White Elephant, a waterfront hotel overlooking Nantucket harbour.
Remember, the auction closes on Thursday 5 December at 10pm. You can bid on these wonderful auction lots at independent-auction.co.uk.
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