Winter is here! And it comes with the late dawns and chilled breath and of course, Christmas (Santa Claus too). The smell of holidays has already filled the air with a sprinkle of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You cannot stay in that boring dorm room. The sweet whiff of freshly baked gingerbread and a strong smell of spruce are calling you. Soon you will board the train to go back home. Since our imagination has no limits, we have used it to chalk out a plan for the long-awaited break (this winter). And when you are in the Christmas ‘wonderland’ (UK), you will never run out ideas because there are plenty of festive attractions and events to enjoy here. To make your quest easier, we have compiled a list of unique things and places that you must give it a go this December.
If you are a wanderer at heart
If your core desire is travelling and you dream about leaving your footprint all around the world, then this winter break will bring some thrill in your life. Pack your bags and choose one of the destinations among the following:
If you are a fan of wild valleys, dramatic architecture and famous ancient monuments, Wiltshire is your place. You can explore long lost places, can get lost in thoughts while sitting in the sun or just walk on the snow-covered long roads.
If you don’t live in London, it is a sure place to visit because it is after all the capital of UK. It might, however, take you a few days to cover because there’s plenty to do in the winter. If you start from the indoor attractions, the Tower of London and Madame Tussauds should not be missed. And there are plenty other things that can make the trip lively, exciting and thrilling.
If you want to get away from the freezing cold and feel little warmer, Bath ancient spas can be an option. Due to its little more bearable weather, it has become a popular winter destination in UK. Under the to-do-list, shopping would be the first and sampling some award-winning restaurants would be second among many doable things.
If you want to get away from the maddening crowd and breath some fresh air in the country side, North Yorkshire should rank top on the list. It is known for its rugged beauty because it has numerous national parks, monumental architecture, largest gothic cathedral. And all these will be magnificently beautiful in the winter.
If you like thick lush greenery with the combination country scenic beauty, Hampshire gives you the perfect gateway this Winter. You can find ancient hunting grounds of the New Forest and also the lands that inspired Jane Austin at the same place.
If you are a foodie
Christmas and food – unbeatable combination of joy and festivities. Christmas cannot be celebrated without roast chicken, cold turkey, Christmas cake and pudding and gingerbread baked in Christmas shapes. And on the top of it, if you share an unspeakable bond with food, this holiday is about to lighten up your mind, body and soul. Here a few irresistible destinations to make your food dreams come true.
Langrish House, Hampshire
There’s nothing as too many lunches in Christmas. This is why Langrish house has arranged a Golden Christmas Day Lunch in the heart of the picturesque South Downs National Park. The feast includes a three-course sumptuous meal with everything decorated in Gold. As a second alternative, you can book for their Christmas tea by the candlelight.
Holbeck Ghyll, Cumbria
Plan a food break that not only pleases your belly, but also warms up your soul. Holbeck Ghyll should be an attractive option because of its perfect Cumbrian backdrop. Stained glass windows with attractive panels and scenic beauty perfectly go with delicious meals with local produce. If you are not full yet, they will serve you a spectacular afternoon tea.
If you want to skip the traditional Christmas meal, and enjoy different flavors, then this place will definitely get your taste buds tickling. Chicken tikka masala, variety of biryanis, a wide range of tikka sizzlers and dishes make the dining experience a memorable one. It is an ideal place for family gathering or even the student hang out.
The Pig, Bath
If you are in for a top-notch dining experience, this luxurious hotel can provide a relaxing and enjoyable dinner using the local produce straight from the Pig’s Kitchen Garden. You can savor on the delicious meals while appreciating the beauty of the countryside. After a hearty meal, you will be offered cocktail from the extensive menu before you doze off in your room.
Digbeth Dining Club, Birmingham
If you want to get messy this Christmas but remain within the budget, then savoring on street food can be a go-to option. What can be messier than a food truck? Digbeth Dining Club started its journey in 2012 and has already won an award for their Friday night venture. You can choose from their wide variety including burger maestro, the Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes, low ‘N’ slow US inspired barbeque.
If you are unique from the lot
You do things the way no one else does. Then why Christmas should be any different? If you are searching for unique ideas that you want to execute in this winter holidays, consider doing the following these, which will bring some oomph in your vacation.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
This is a magical place to be at Christmas in UK. And this year, it going to be extra special. They will decorate it with over one million teeny illuminated globes which will twinkle as the darkness falls. Trees will be wrapped with lights and 360 wooden sledges have been made.
Tea Festival, Cornwell
Tea shares an inseparable bond with people in the UK. Tea is the most loved beverage in all parts of this country. So in order to continue the legacy, people in Cornwell, celebrate their Christmas in Tregothnan Estate, which is the home to the first tea grown in UK. If you are a tea enthusiastic or can’t live without tea, you should visit this place and taste their beautiful seasonal Christmas tea and fine Assam tea blended with cinnamon and Manuka Flowers.
Disney on Ice, London
Everyone is baking bakes, buying gifts for the loved ones, decorating the house, making a list of the invitations, what should you do? You should attend Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure where you can revive your childhood memories with everyone’s Disney characters. You can actually travel through the world of Mickey and Minnie, Timon and Pumbaa and even the Disney princess, Elsa. What can be a better way to entertain yourself during the excitement of festivities.
Immersive Fairytales, Stratford, London
If you want to experience Christmas stories in 7D, then Hidden House gives you a 15-minute journey through an abandoned house where you have to rescue Little Red Riding Hood without being eaten by the Bad Wolf. In order to give the audience a real scary experience, they have added creaking trees, howling wind and sounds of wild animals. Apart from it, visitors also can enjoy storytelling, song, dancing and puppetry in Stratford.
Gardens of Light, Bournemouth
If you are an admirer of lights, this festival will definitely win your heart. In Bournemouth’s low garden, 10 beachside huts have been decorated with themed lights, sound and video installations by award-winning lighting designer Michael Grubb. And when you walk down the sea beach, you will feel all Christmassy. And a giant lava lamp on the display will just make things more exciting for you.
If you are a book lover
If you are a bookworm, there’ no better combination than Christmas and book. After being drowned by the textbooks, notes and study materials, you barely get the time for reading something that you like. So use this long holiday to bring out your ‘reader’ self. Here are a few brilliant ideas for you.
Charles Dickens Museum, London
You will get a wonderful atmosphere surrounded by the smell of thousands of books, possession of Charles Dickens. This year, they have invited celebrities for their traditional readings of A Christmas Carol.
Hogwarts Great Hall at Warner Bros Studio, Herefordshire
If you have taken the tour through the Harry Potter world, you will definitely not want to miss the chance to see the breeding ground of eight harry potter movies. On the top of it, if you have read the books, you might feel little emotional while taking the tour including the great hall (where wizards used to have their feasts) Dumbledore’s office, potions classroom, exciting Diagon Alley.
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Buckinghamshire
This is the place where the idea of Charlie and Chocolate Factory ever conjured. There’s a lot of fun stuff you can do including taking a sneak peek through his photos, smell that lovely giant chocolate doors, wander around the Dahl’s writing hut. In addition, they also have a story center, which lets you dress up as you like and make up stories on your own.
Christmas is all about story-telling, seating by the warm fire and drinking. And Hay festival offers that traditional feeling. Numerous author including Andrew Miller and Ffur Dafydd will discuss the audience who get the chance to enjoy mulled wine, roaring fire and wondrous stories. There’s also a programme of workshops for book lovers.
Shakespeare Country, Warwickshire
If you want to be lost in the country scenic while following footsteps of arguably England’s most celebrated playwright, then you should visit his birthplace in Warwickshire town of Stratford upon Avon. In this Christmas, it will be all snowy and beautiful. You can walk around the exhibition, which will immerse you in the history and enjoy your Christmas in bookish style.
If you are a shopaholic
Christmas cannot go without wandering off the stalls, taking hours to think what gift should I give to whom, will that be okay with the budget. It is an exciting tour you take every year through the markets. And on the top of it, if shopping is your best Christmas chore then this list is totally customized for you. Find out where you can shop,
Bath Christmas market, Bath
This is considered as the best because of its length and breadth. 170 stalls beautifully decorate the streets of Bath around breathtaking Roman Baths and Abbey. And the best part about this market is whatever sold on this market come from the local area or made by local suppliers. You will find ceramics, clothes, toys, homewares accompanied by food and drinks.
Belfast Christmas Market, Belfast,
In mid-November, the festivities start with Belfast Christmas market. With festive cheers in the Great City Hall Gardens and traditional Dickensian carols sung by the community, Christmas makes its way to our lives. More than 80 traders and marketers join this platform to provides its visitors with traditional Christmas shopping experience including decorations, stocking fillers, food and drinks.
Greenwich Winter Festival, London
When you step into the grounds of Old Royal Naval College, you will find a traditional Christmas market with a modern twist. There will be plenty of independent and creative designers and brands with an ice-rink, artisan food festival, art exhibition, etc.
Bedruthan Christmas Craft Fair, Cornwell
During this festive season, Bedruthan clears their stocks by arranging an early annual Christmas Craft Fair. With 50 stalls set across three levels of the hotel, the visitors enjoy shopping from jewellery, ceramics, homewares and glass. Apart from this lively experience, Bedruthan also has a Grotto where you can make a wish. If you are lucky enough, you get to meet Santa and its Elves.
Southbank Center Winter Festival, London
Apart from the usual bustling crowd, twinkling lights of any winter carnival, Southbank Center Winter festival has riverside markets, which offer you food, drinks and innovative gift ideas and rock ‘n’ roll music that lifts up the mood of the visitors. If you fancy a singalong for yourself, you can join the winter choirs.
If you are a crowd mingler
No one wants to stay home alone during these festivities. Everyone wants to meet their family and near and dear ones. Unfortunately, if you live far from the home or homeland, don’t get disheartened. There are numerous wintertime festivals and events you want to attend with your friends or alone. In the joyful crowd, you will not be left alone in this festive season.
Burning the clock celebration, Brighton
On 21st December, if you are present at Brighton beach, you can see beautiful paper lanterns made from paper burning up in the sky with massive sculptural light, fireworks and live music. It is serene to see something like that. A lantern procession covers the whole city and ends at Brighton beach.
Liverpool Ice Festival, Liverpool
What can be better than spending Christmas on ice? And Liverpool ice festival gives that chance to enjoy an afternoon doing ice skating (that too undercover). In addition, visitors get to enjoy different indoor attractions, rides and take a tour to tons of cafes and bars in that area. So there’s plenty to look forward to and you might not cover everything in just one day. You have to re-visit the place.
Eden project Winter festival, Cornwell
This is a great way to celebrate Father Christmas. During this festival, children will meet the elves, who trail back to the Father Christmas house – where he will reading some stories by the fireside. There’s also an outdoor ice rink that lets you enjoy the unique landscape of Cornwell by night.
This town in the UK has adopted the Swedish popular idea of live Christmas countdowns. Throughout the advent, a different town building will open its door or window to showcase a performance starting from full choir to rock music from poetry reading to dancing. People from the town and also outside the town gather around to see the performances.
Winterville, East London
It is a total experience for party lovers because this theme park has everything that you can wish for in this Christmas. A woodland cinema hall, where you can watch your favorite movie and a vaudeville – Victorian bazaar where you buy gift items for friend and family and finally the nightclubs themed power ballads, guilty pleasures and party tunes to dance on.
If you are a party animal
Work hard and party harder, or in your case, study hard and party harder. Oops, your professors will not like the fact. Although, it is that time of the year when you let loose your nerve and go with the flow. And attending parties or even arranging one will be icing on the cake. So here a few enthralling destinations that set you in the party mood.
Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire
This place is famous for its Gatsby style parties. You will find a range of different Christmas packages in this Georgian styled mansion. You can choose any of these according to your budget and style starting from The Bees Knees, Laurent Perrier Champagne Reception to the Fizzy, etc. from their menu.
This is an all-in-one experience because it has an illuminating circus tent on the harbor side, masquerade balls, Christmas cabaret, a craft beer festival and of course enthralling parties. You will feel all festive and magical when you join the crowd, eating, dancing and partying.
The vaults brings you the excitement of Christmas but with a twist. With a Christmas party, they have set all sorts of bizarre rules such as dancing on the tables. This is the best place if you want to go wild with some serious live music, secret twinkling absinthe bars and of course Nicky’s little Grotto. And when you get hungry, they have 12 delicate dishes to fill your stomach. This might the night you will remember for the year.
Street Party, St Ives,
Thousands of people flock down the streets of St Ives for celebrating Christmas extravagantly. They all gather on to the beach and go on with the mood. They all sport fancy dresses (as you will have to) while joining the street parties. With fireworks on the sky and electric atmosphere as everyone busy in enjoying themselves, you will definitely feel festive.
Fancy Dress Party, Bideford
This is perhaps one of the least talked about places in the UK when it comes to Christmas celebration. But gradually, it is getting its popularity among the party goers. This town of North Devon arranges a fancy dress party where people sport up consume they like. In return, landlords offer either prizes or discounts to best-dressed participants.
So, this is your wish-list. Choose your category, choose the place and choose how you want to spend this Christmas. May this Christmas be filled with joy and happiness and may each new day bring you moments.
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