The Best Winter Getaways in the UK
With the value of the pound falling, and little hope of it stabilising in the coming months, holidaymakers are understandably hesitant to travel overseas, where their money is likely to stretch a lot less far than it did before. However, there’s no need to write-off your plans for a getaway just yet. From the beautiful landscapes that provide a backdrop to Scotland’s historic capital, to the buzz of the West End, and the festive merriment of Christmas markets, the UK has something for everyone this Winter.
Though Scotland’s capital city is a hotspot for visitors year-round, Winter is a particularly sparkly affair. Christmas starts early; from mid-November until 7th January, the calendar is full. From West End shows, outdoor ice rinks, and the enchanting 24 Days of Advent – where you can peep behind usually closed doors at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, the Chapel of St Albert the Great, and BT Murrayfield Stadium. A highlight of Edinburgh’s festive season is the Street of Light, which sees the west end of George Street illuminated and brought to life with music from local choirs and bands, fiddle music from the Highlands, and performances from Scottish bhangra group Tigerstyle. And even if you can’t make the celebrations, Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and surrounding landscapes are a magical backdrop for a romantic getaway.
Cardiff puts on a great show whatever the season, and Winter is no exception. If you’re planning on going before Christmas, be sure to explore Cardiff Christmas Market, which sees over 80 traditional, decorated wooden chalets line St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, Trinity Street, and the Hayes. Over 200 artists and crafts people will be selling their wares, perfect for gifts and stocking-fillers. If you’re planning a weekend away with the family, Cardiff Winter Wonderland has something for kids big and small. Step into Christmas with a day of ice skating, or at the funfair. Cardiff Castle will also host a full festive calendar, including Santa’s Grotto, Christmas Underground Cinema, Christmas decoration workshops.
If the chaos of the capital starts to get to you, York offers a restorative retreat just two hours away on the train. Explore the historic centre’s quaint, cobbled streets inside the ancient-walled centre, which is home to more attractions per square mile than any other destination in the UK. The city’s Winter calendar kicks off on 17th November, with the opening of St Nicholas Fair and the Christmas light switch-on, which will see the streets illuminated and filled with merriment. On the weekend of the 10th-11th December, York’s Ice Trail is back. Admire a host of ice sculptures and creations dotted around the city, while you explore York’s exclusive boutique shops, craft stalls, and market vendors serving up mulled wine and Christmassy treats.
Perhaps one of Britain’s most picturesque cities, famous for its cobbled, winding streets, and 18th-century Georgian architecture, Bath is a sight to behold in the winter months. When the Christmas Market opens on 24th November, the streets surrounding Bath Abbey are filled with magical charm, and the heart-warming aromas of mulled wine, gingerbread, and pine. What sets Bath’s festive market apart is its commitment to supporting local producers; more than 87% of stallholders are from Bath and the surrounding areas. Throughout December and January, Bath is the perfect destination for a romantic weekend break, with award-winning restaurants, the UK’s only natural thermal spa, and a unique choice of designer shops, boutiques, independents, and high-street stores.
Not only is London the ultimate Christmas shopping paradise, Winter is as busy a season as any in the capital, making it a firm favourite among families, couples, and groups looking for a city getaway. Visitors are spoilt for choice. From ice-skating at Hampton Court, Somerset House, or the Natural History Museum, to the ever-popular Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, and a full calendar of ballets, operas, pantomimes, and West End favourites, there truly is something for everyone. So whether you’re looking for a spot of culture at one of London’s world-famous museums, all the fun of the fair with the family, a weekend of indulgence and shopping, or a couple of days under the bright, Christmas lights of the city, London has you covered.