Bored of the usual Christmas traditions? Wish you could do something different? Although it is a much loved time of the year for many, Christmas doesn’t appeal to everyone. If you’re a bit of a Scrooge, or just fancy doing something less than usual this year, we have some ‘alternative Christmas’ inspiration for you. Many places are shut on Christmas Day, but there are some spots you can still venture to. Don’t forget the natural world either, the countryside won’t be shut on 25th December. So from a trip to the zoo to countryside rambling we have the ideas for you to eschew a traditional Christmas and have some last-minute, alternative Christmas fun.
1. Climb a mountain
Or in fact it doesn’t even need to be a mountain, any hill or stretch of countryside will do. The countryside doesn’t know it’s Christmas and with so much wonderful landscape available across the UK, there is sure to be a quiet spot you can enjoy. Most people will be cosied up at home so if you want to escape the festivities and find a view, there’s plenty of choice. Either ignore Christmas all together, or perhaps have Christmas lunch picnic style. Our favourite spot is the Peak District; within their 500 square foot of open access land, you don’t even have to stick to paths.
2. Go surfing or swimming
Although most towns and cities will come to a stand still on Christmas Day, somewhat limiting your options of where you can go, the waves will continue to churn. Depending on where you go, you might even get the beach to yourself. Across the UK you should be able to find organised Christmas Day swims, which might make a nice alternative to vegging out in front of the telly. If you’d rather get away from the crowds you can take your own plunge on the 25th, but remember, the sea will be extremely cold at this time of year. Make sure you are prepared; be aware of the tides, your own level of cold water tolerance, and make sure you can get warm afterwards.
3. Visit Avebury Stone Circle
Although many places are closed on 25th December, there are still a few places you can go if rambling around the great outdoors doesn’t sound appealing in the middle of December. Avebury Stone Circle remains open on 25th December, from dawn until dusk. A trip here provides a different way to spend Christmas Day. Use it as an opportunity to get some fresh air after an indulgent Christmas lunch, or eschew tradition entirely and replace the turkey with a meal of your choice.
4. Take a trip to Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo is open every single day of the year, so why not take a walk to the wild side and visit the animals on Christmas Day. If you really want to celebrate in style at the zoo, you can buy tickets for a three course meal. There will be a visit from Santa, and you can visit the animals too. If that sounds a bit too festive for your tastes you can simply visit the zoo as usual.
5. Explore a World Heritage Site
The UK is blessed with over 30 World Heritage Sites. From impressive buildings, to stunning natural formations, there is a lot to explore. Although some of these world class spots are closed for Christmas, there are still plenty you can enjoy any time of year. For example, the whole city of Bath is a designated World Heritage Site. A good selection of sites are outside and even if the visitors centre is shut you could still go and have a look. From the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape to the Jurassic Coast, Hadrian’s Wall or Giants Causeway there’s a lot to see regardless of how the rest of the UK chooses to spend Christmas Day.
6. Go Plane spotting
If you are a plane enthusiast, going plane spotting could be the perfect alternative Christmas activity for you. Head over to your airport of choice to see what’s coming and going. Or, for some particularly great views, head to the mound at Manchester Airport. It’s renowned for being a great plane spotting location. You could even bring the festivities with you; santa hat and crackers anyone?
7. Help Others
If you want to mix it up and do something different this Christmas, but don’t want to abandon the merriment entirely, why not spread the cheer with those in need. Many charities need volunteers on Christmas day; whether you want to help the homeless, support the elderly, or assist any other charitable organisation close to your heart. It’s an excellent opportunity to give back to your community and share the joy of Christmas with others.
8. Find a remote spot
Maybe even the idea of being around other people being jolly doesn’t appeal this year. Although you’re unlikely to bump into festive well-wishers while exploring some of the options above, we can’t guarantee you won’t stumble across some. However, there is still a selection of remarkably remote places across the UK that might provide an appealing option for an alternative Christmas. Scotland is well known for it’s rugged landscape, castles and remote clusters of cottages. A week here could be just the ticket for you to spend the day as you please.