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5 GREAT LOCATIONS FOR A FAMILY CHRISTMAS IN THE UK
While the days are drawing shorter and the nights colder, anticipation is growing too; Christmas is almost upon us. For those looking to embrace the festive season away from home, a short break is an ideal way to enjoy all the fun of a holiday, without the hassle (and cost) of jetting off abroad. We’ve taken some time to review five of our favourites UK destination, so get ready to pack your woollies, welcome back the Brussels sprout, and have a Christmas that’s thoroughly great and thoroughly British.
- Historic Bath, beautiful at any time of the year, is an enduringly popular location for weekend breaks. In winter especially it boasts a unique charm, as dazzling Christmas lights illuminate the former town houses of Milsom Street and enchant the city’s visitors. Cherished by Jane Austen and many of her characters, the scenery of Bath hasn’t changed too much since her time; in fact all that feels absent alongside The Royal Crescent and Queen’s Square are Regency-era figures wrapped up in winter furs, bustling through the cobblestone streets. Head to the famed Bath Christmas Market, which sees hundreds of stalls set up over the town. Pick out some last-minute gifts while you enjoy the seasonal entertainment on offer, and gaze up at the magnificent architecture of Bath Abbey, neighbouring the market.
- Holidays on the coast tend to be thought of as a summer tradition, but a seaside town can also be a great place to celebrate Christmas. You can find plenty of them in Cornwall. Enjoy windswept tours of the cliffs at Land’s End and Tintagel; with nearly three hundred miles of coastline in Cornwall, you’ll be overwhelmed by the beautiful sea views. There’s plenty to see and do in the city of Truro, where the shops stay open for late night browsing, and brass bands and carol singers take to the streets. Head west and see a dazzling display of lights bedecking the entire harbour of the little fishing village Mousehole, or for a unique day – or night – out, visit the Eden Project’s Winter Festival and do some ice-skating amongst the greenery. Those looking for thrilling UK New Year breaks may wish to extend their stay and join in with one of the county’s many New Year’s Eve celebrations, traditionally involving parades through the towns in elaborate fancy dress.
- Head for the hills, and spend Christmas in serene Wiltshire against the backdrop of a quintessentially English countryside. The county is famous for its ancient landmarks, but also its nature reserves, woodlands and plentiful wildlife. The towns of Westbury and Warminster are well worth visiting to soak up some local history and do a little sightseeing; make sure you catch a glimpse of the Westbury White Horse on your way. Nearby in Longleat Forest, you’ll find the holiday village of Center Parcs, set deep within hundreds of acres of beautiful forest and offering heaps of festive family entertainment and activities, from pantos and fireworks, to a Santa’s Workshop and actual live reindeer.
- The Peak District is famous the world over for its beauty. The tiny Castleton lies within the Peak District National Park, and has acquired the affectionate nickname of ‘The Gem of The Peaks’. Famous for its old stone cottages, caverns and Peveril Castle, at Christmas time the pint-sized village comes alive and is covered head to foot with twinkling lights, festive decorations and tinted Christmas trees. A horse-drawn cart parades the streets, and often the areas caverns host carol concerts. The breath-taking scenery certainly makes for a memorable Boxing Day walk, and you can put your feet up in the warm afterwards in one of Castleton’s many village pubs.
- When it comes to Christmas spirit, there aren’t many places that have as much as Scotland - and if you’re looking for a city break it has to be Edinburgh. At the first-rate Traditional German Christmas Market, you’ll find stallholders from Frankfurt keeping visitors warm with German beer and mulled wine. You can skate under the stars at the gigantic outdoor ice rink at Princes Street Gardens or look out across the whole city from the top of the colossal Edinburgh Wheel. Get lost in the dizzying camera obscura, or join a sea of white beards and red hats for The Great Edinburgh Santa Run. After the Santas have departed and the Christmas festivities are over and done with, the world-famous Hogmanay comes and hits the city in a whirlwind of New Year celebrations.