What do you love about the festive period? Is it wrapping up in your favourite winter woollies and enjoying a mug of mulled wine? Or venturing out onto the ice to show off your skating skills with your friends? Perhaps it’s taking a trip to Santa’s Grotto and watching the kids glow with excitement? Or maybe it’s all the delicious food you can find at a magical Christmas market? Whatever it is, we think it’s the perfect excuse to take a festive break.
Christmas time is full of so many wonderful opportunities to say “let’s make a weekend of it” and why shouldn’t we? As the phrase goes, Christmas comes but once a year and making the most of it with your family and friends is what it’s all about.
Whether you look forward to the markets, shopping or food at Christmas, the best of the festive fun this winter is never too far away.
The Best of Christmas Markets
No matter if you’re staying closer to home or venturing abroad, Christmas is simply not Christmas without a festive market – but where to go?
For an authentic German Christmas market head to the heart of Leeds Millennium Square or Birmingham Victoria Square where you can delight in Bratwurst sausages, goulash and schnitzels plus all the mulled wine you can drink!
For traditional wooden chalets full of handmade gifts you won’t find anywhere else, London’s Southbank and Edinburgh’s The Mound Christmas markets are the place to be.
In historic Bath, you’ll find the magnificent Abbey surrounded by 175 festive stalls selling locally sourced goods, including everything from handmade soaps and jewellery to lavender gifts and homemade honey. And don’t forget York’s St Nicholas Market; offering the perfect combination of wooden huts, pretty lights and festive goodies. There’s even the stylish Thor’s Tipi on Parliament Street to sit and enjoy a drink or two in!
If venturing further afield is more your cup of tea, these amazing European Christmas markets are not to be missed this winter…
Medieval Bruges promises the sweetest of Christmas markets with plenty of Belgian chocolate to go around, while in Northern France, Lille boasts a festive Ferris wheel and 18-metre high Xmas tree!
The Best of Christmas Shopping
To the organised few that have already completed their Christmas shopping, I congratulate you! For the rest of us who have yet to start (and that includes myself), the fun is just beginning.
What better excuse is there to take a shopping break than in the run-up to Christmas? So, grab your credit card, we’re off to suss out the best places for a spot of festive retail therapy this winter…
Swing by Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre and you’ll find everything you need under one roof. Plus with our fantastic hotel and dinner deal offer with an inclusive £20 voucher to spend at Meadowhall, you’ll save some precious pennies this Christmas.
If you’ve got the kiddies with you on your shopping endeavours, the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester is the perfect choice. Here you can embark on an enchanting journey to Santa’s Secret Workshop with the family and get to help out ready for the big day!
With more than 1,500 shops to its name, Glasgow is a shopaholic’s dream. Check out the quirky vintage haunts and exclusive designer boutiques, or head to the many popular high street shops on offer for a shopping experience that rivals London’s West End.
London shoppers will already be piling into Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason for a truly magical festive retail experience, so why not join them to see what all the fuss is about? With decadent decorations, unique stocking fillers and luxury food hampers on offer – these world-famous department stores are a guaranteed hit.
The Best of Christmas Events
From visiting Santa’s grotto to watching the Christmas lights switch on – festive events are perfect for making us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Here’s a few of our favourite events for 2015…
To really get into the spirit of Christmas, a trip to London’s Kew Gardens and its truly magical festive trail is a must! Follow a 1-mile long glittering path of snowflakes through the heart of the world-famous botanic gardens with amazing light sculptures, mistletoe moments and a tunnel of lights to explore. Complete with music, treats and of course, plenty of Christmas trees – Christmas at Kew Gardens is a festive experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Tatton Park in Cheshire is going all out with festive fun this winter, from Christmas concerts and party extravaganzas to stable yard carols and Santa at the farm. They’ve even kitted out the mansion in the theme of The Nutcracker with enchanting displays, classical music and costumed guides baking all sorts of deliciously festive treats. You can even learn how to make your own beautiful decorations.
Head to Yorkshire this winter to Stockeld Park for a variety of exciting events to keep the whole family entertained. Find your way out of the Yew tree maze, have ago on the Nordic ski trail, meet Santa in his woodland grotto and wander through the enchanting forest before checking out the magical gift emporium. For those that love ice skating, the outdoor rink is open for fun with an incredibly entertaining disco session on Friday nights – can you strut your stuff on ice?
What do you love about Christmas? Do you get excited about Christmas markets, festive goodies or attending winter events? We’d love to hear your plans for the winter season, so let us know using the comments box below.