Wondering where to spend Christmas this year? With bustling Christmas markets, streets lit up by twinkling fairy lights and the delicious scent of mulled wine and mince pies floating on the breeze – these eight cities are truly magical spots during the Christmas period.
Best for: An unforgettable family Christmas.
Home to the biggest authentic German Christmas market outside Germany or Austria, a winter trip to the city of Birmingham is a ‘must’ for any Christmas lover. The city’s award-winning Frankfurt Christmas Market is truly colossal, boasting over 80 stalls selling tasty Christmas treats, handmade gifts and warming mulled wine. As well as the market, the city boasts The Polar Express – an interactive and theatrical recreation of the classic children’s Christmas tale which runs throughout the festive season.
If you do one thing: Spend an evening sipping on gluhwein and weissbier, tucking into bratwursts and stollen, and indulging in plenty of Christmas shopping opportunities at the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Enjoy Birmingham’s Christmas market before escaping the hustle and bustle of the city at The Forge – a stunning former blacksmith’s workshop located on the outskirts of the traditional village of Barston. Just a 20-minute drive away from the city, this is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a peaceful Christmas hideaway close by one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
Best for: A romantic Christmas escape.
A stunning city at any time of the year, spending Christmas in Bath is a wonderful experience indeed. Visit the annual Bath Christmas Market, get your skates on at the city’s ice rink, catch a traditional pantomime at Theatre Royal Bath and enjoy a warming winter tipple at Abbey Hotel’s Apres-Ski Bar. If you’re feeling fancy, then you can book yourselves in for a black-tie Christmas party night at the city’s famous Roman Baths.
If you do one thing: Book yourselves in for a candlelit Christmas party at the city’s atmospheric Roman Baths.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Just six miles away from the city of Bath, The Brewery Vaults is a charming and characterful spot to spend the jolly holly-days. The magnificent vaulted ceiling, exposed stone walls and enormous four-poster bed make it the perfect romantic Christmas spot.
Best for: A captivating Christmas break to suit all ages and tastes.
Few cities have as much character and charm as the magical Scottish capital, especially over the Christmas period. With a six-week-long schedule of festive events taking place throughout Edinburgh, there’s so much to see and do here during December, it’s hard to know where to start. Watch the world spin round on a Christmas carousel, tuck into delicious festive food and drink and get lost in the twinkling lights of the Christmas Tree Maze.
If you do one thing: Fill yourself with Christmas cheer at The Comedy Show Christmas Special.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Set slap bang in the centre of Edinburgh’s New Town, this incredible holiday spot is just a ten-minute walk from all the attractions of Princes Street. Sleeping up to six people, 35 Barony Street is the ideal spot for groups of family or friends this Christmas.
Best for: A cosmopolitan Christmas in the city.
Celebrate the festive season in style with a trip to the capital. From ice skating at the Natural History Museum to browsing the market stalls at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London is a city which truly comes alive during the Christmas holidays.
If you do one thing: Head to Christmas at Kew – a magical light trail which stretches through the beautiful grounds at Kew Gardens.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Stay close to the action at this stunning holiday hideaway, in the heart of Marylebone Village. With cosy pubs nearby and the main sights of London just a stone’s throw away, Marylebone Place is the ultimate spot for a sleek and stylish city getaway this Christmas.
Best for: Welcoming locals and plenty of festive spirit.
Christmas in Ireland’s captivating capital is a magical affair indeed. A charming city no matter the time of year, Christmas sees Dublin truly come alive with a cacophony of festive sights, smells and sounds. With a dazzling array of Christmas markets, cosy pubs and talented buskers on every corner, you’ll find plenty of Christmas cheer throughout the city. What’s more, the chirpy locals here are known for their friendly attitude and welcoming ways, meaning a warm sense of seasonal spirit will follow you wherever you go.
If you do one thing: Enjoy an evening of heart-warming Christmas carols, sung by the Guinness Choir in the spine-tingling setting of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Situated in the beautiful and historic Boyne Valley, just an hour’s drive away from Dublin, you can enjoy stunning countryside views and plenty of peace and quiet at The Barn. The traditional stone walls and cosy interiors make it a snug spot to celebrate Christmas in.
Best for: A seaside Christmas adventure.
From the Swansea Christmas Parade to the city’s Waterfront Winterland, a festive break in Swansea promises to be plenty of fun for everyone involved. What’s more, with lots of great Christmas shopping spots for the grown-ups and Santa’s Grotto for the kids, the whole family will be kept happy and entertained during a visit to Wales’ magical Christmas city.
If you do one thing: Make sure you don’t miss the spectacular Swansea Christmas Parade. With marching bands, dazzling floats, groups of dancers and, of course, Santa and his sleigh, this is an event guaranteed to get even the Scrooge of the group into a Christmas mood.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Bag yourself a swanky Christmas stay in Swansea. Overlooking Swansea Bay and just steps away from the beach, Fisherman’s Way, Marina, is the ultimate festive hideaway, especially for those who do like to be beside the seaside.
Best for: A fun-filled family Christmas.
Enjoy plenty of good old fashioned Christmas cheer at this bustling medieval port city in Southern Ireland. With an action-packed calendar of festive events, the city really lights up during the Christmas period. Kids will absolutely love a visit to Dreamland, where they’ll find Santa, Mrs Claus and all the elves waiting for them. While ice skating in the town’s giant ‘Ice Dome’ is a great Christmas activity for groups of friends and family alike. And, of course, everyone will love warming up next to a roaring log fire in the cosy pub afterwards.
If you do one thing: Take a stroll down Limerick’s O’Connell Street and be dazzled by the lovely Christmas lights.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Surrounded by stunning countryside views, every aspect of Lynchpin Cottage is brimming with rustic charm. Just a 30-minute drive away from the city of Limerick, this is the perfect countryside hideaway for you and your loved ones this Christmas.
Best for: A traditional British Christmas.
Dubbed ‘England’s Christmas Capital’, there really is a plethora of things to do and see in Winchester during the winter months. From the twinkling Christmas lights illuminating the pretty streets to the real open-air ice rink, the whole family will just love a winter break in this ancient cathedral city. What’s more, with the South Downs National Park on your very doorstep, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for getting out on some lovely winter walks.
If you do one thing: Browse the lovely wooden chalet stalls at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market. Lauded as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, you’ll find plenty of lovely arts and crafts items here, as well as an array of tasty festive food.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Set in the heart of the South Downs National Park, Brick Kiln Dairy is a charming Christmas hideaway. With gorgeous oak-panelled walls and a traditional log stove, you’ll feel as cosy as can be in this enchanting countryside cabin.