Top 10 Christmas breaks
From an indulgent break in Bath to a green Christmas in Lincolnshire
Turn your Christmas shopping into a holiday, escape the seasonal madness or get yourself ready for the Christmas party season with a festive break in England.
York’s Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa has put together an indulgent Christmas shopping and spa package. The Christmas Shop, Spa and Stay Package includes a 30-minute manicure or pedicure, full use of the spa facilities and Grand Afternoon Tea, which can be taken before or after your spending spree. We recommend hitting York’s inimitable Christmas markets and boutique shops , then revitalising your poor aching tootsies in the spa.
This Christmas package is guaranteed to up the family’s festive cheer factor. Two nights at the Marwell Hotel come with tickets to Marwell Wildlife and Winchester Cathedral’s ice rink. Marwell Wildlife’s snow leopards, gibbons and other animals will be joined by elves and Father Christmas, who will summon kids by name to meet him in the ice palace. Winchester Cathedral’s ice rink is tucked away in the atmospheric Inner Close and surrounded by one of England’s finest German-style Christmas markets. Now that’s worth a ‘ho ho ho’!
Join Great Rail Journeys for a four-night traditional Christmas experience. Pick up a sack full of Christmas goodies from the Dickensian Christmas markets of Canterbury and Rochester before hopping aboard the Kent & East Sussex Railway. You’ll be treated to mulled wine and mince pies while gently puffing through Kent marshlands and Wealden scenery to Wittersham Road and back.
Luton Hoo’s Interlude package will whisk you away from the Christmas madness and ready you to face the Christmas music loops once again. Once you’ve checked in to this five-star Grade I-listed mansion there’s very little reason to leave. There are no timetables, no designated lunch or dinner venues; just a host of simple diversions like fishing in the lake, golfing or walking around the 1,065-acre estate, relaxing in the pool or the spa.
Spend Christmas by the sea in the delightfully named ‘Puffins’, a self-catering apartment offering 10 days at its usual weekly rate. Yes, there’s a king-size bed, breakfast bar, dining area, Wi-Fi and DVD and games selection, but it’s really all about the views. Cathedral-height windows open to a furnished terrace and views of the boat-dotted waters of the Fal estuary beyond. Don't miss the brilliant lights and markets of Falmouth’s Christmas Festival, and if you don’t want to cook, head to The Greenbank Hotel for a five-course Christmas dinner.
Get ready for Christmas with a rural break in north Nottinghamshire. Stay in Browns , one of enjoy England’s five-star Gold Award-winning B&Bs, in the heart of the Welbeck estate near Sherwood Forest. A winter wonderland walk through the estate will sort out your Christmas check list, stopping by the Harley Gallery to see the 20th-Century British Art from Welbeck Abbey exhibition and pick up a few gifts from the well-stocked craft shop. On your way back, pop into Welbeck Farm Shop to stock up on cheese and Christmas meats. To really prep for Christmas coincide your trip with one of The School of Artisan Food’s Christmas Baking workshops .
Experience the magic of Bath over the Christmas period but for a fraction of the price. Housed in an Italianate mansion, the Bath Youth Hostel is just a mile from the city centre. Your festive food-fuelled four night stay will include breakfast on all three mornings; a Christmas Eve meal; Christmas Day lunch, followed by a Christmas evening buffet (if you can fit anymore in) and a Boxing Day packed lunch and supper. Redeem yourself from all the turkey and roasties you’ve gorged on with a lengthy walk along the cobbled streets of a rather sleepy Bath, taking in the majestic Georgian architecture and numerous other historical sites.
Throughout December, Manchester’s Lowry Hotel Spa will offer The Three Kings Treatments. The Spa Ritual polishes your body with myrrh and flecks of gold before taking you to a state of deep relaxation with a full body hot stones massage using frankincense essential oil and myrrh fragrance. A golden facial leaves your winter-weary skin rejuvenated, and with a touch of sparkle. Combine your treatments with one of the Lowry’s Christmas packages and take advantage of Manchester’s stylish shops and Christmas markets.
Sherry Forbes, owner of Manor House Stables in Lincolnshire, knows how to capture the essence of Christmas. She decorates her two cosy stable boltholes with real trees hung with natural strings of dried oranges and cinnamon – breathe in that festive scent! You’ll be greeted with mulled wine and mince pies and the wood-burning stoves will keep you toasty. Most importantly, the two Grade II-listed stables have been restored using environmentally friendly materials and traditional building methods. Coincide your trip with one of Sherry’s Christmas-themed workshops in November and December and make your own eco decorations and gifts.
Camping at Christmas? Yes! Teversal Camping and Caravanning Club Site is persuading Christmas campers to soak up the on-site atmosphere for four nights with excursions to Chatsworth House and Lincoln Christmas Market thrown in. Stop by Chatsworth House for an eyeful of the Christmas-carol inspired decorations and browse the stalls lining Lincoln’s cobbled streets and medieval square. The campsite is on the edge of the Peak District, which is as visually moving in the winter as it is in the summer.
From White Christmas to The Nutcracker...Christmas shows