Once the weather turns from glorious sunshine to drizzling rain, the default is to batten down the hatches, light the fire and hibernate for the winter months. But what if it was a time to explore all that winter breaks had to offer, especially when the season becomes festive?
Short breaks at this time of year tend to be about the culture and the sightseeing, often deemed the perfect opportunity to tick something off the bucket list. A winter break always seems to carry an element of magic, simply because popular destinations are bustling cities backdropped with twinkling tights and glistening snow.
So, what are the options for a winter adventure?
Staying close to home is a great opportunity to explore what's on your doorstep. With so many wonderful and historic cities in the UK, there's an abundance of things to see and do. Most will offer a festive buzz with a Christmas tree centre-piece, illuminated streets, an outdoor ice rink and a traditional Christmas market. The highlights being Edinburgh, Bath, Birmingham, Manchester and of course London's Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
But to go a little further afield simply expands the magic a little more. Finding the perfect festive destination is all about looking for something cosy, mysterious, magical and if possible, snowy; the epitome of Christmas all in one place. Here's just a selection of some of the best places to bring this to life.
Nothing screams 'quintessential Christmas break' like a whistle-stop tour to the home of Father Christmas. Whether you’d like to meet the man himself, feed the reindeer, go exploring on a sled or discover a secret village, there’s something for everyone. You may even be lucky enough to see the natural wonder of the Northern Lights or simply enjoy a snow fight in the cold. A stay in a traditional log cabin with roaring fire is surely the making of the trip.
A genuine Christmas city, making it impossible not to get in the festive spirit. And the best place to soak up the atmosphere is at one of the city's famous Christmas markets. Tivoli Gardens is without doubt the city’s number one Christmas market complete with gifts, decorations, snacks, cookies, sweets and hot drinks. The historic gardens are full of decorated wooden houses, snow-covered trees, Santa’s reindeer, Christmas lights, and the true Nordic Christmas atmosphere.
Otherwise known as Germany's Christmas City, Nuremberg is sure to be a memory-making trip. From the delicious smell of festive spices in the world-famous Nuremberg gingerbread to the magical Christmas market itself, Nuremberg is agreed as one of the best European cities for a festive getaway. You can chow down on bratwurst and drink mulled wine until your heart’s content, and if you're lucky enough, it will snow as you stroll through the city whilst it sparkles with twinkling lights.
New York City, USA
New York is undoubtedly one of the most magical cities to visit in the countdown to Christmas; it simply transforms into one of the most festive winter wonderlands. Every borough is adorned with sparkling Christmas lights and charming trees whilst pop-up holiday markets can be found outside of subway stations, providing excellent gift ideas and festive fun. Some of New York's best holiday sight-seeing spots include the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and Saint Patrick's Cathedral.
Christmas is simply a magical time of year and to experience the best of what is has to offer all over the world, try to fit some of these magical destinations on to your festive bucket list; you can't be disappointed.