10 Brilliant British Winter Vacation Ideas
New York, New York (November 30th, 2018) – Traveling in December to Britain is magical. With twinkling lights, mulled wine and holiday cheer in the air everywhere you go, the very best of Britain’s Christmas markets and holiday celebrations are back this year– bigger and better than ever before.
Where can you go to find that holiday feeling this year?
We’ve put together some of Britain’s most atmospheric holiday experiences to get you in the spirit…
Christmas at Kew Gardens
What: The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is transformed into an illuminated magical, mythical place with more than a million twinkling lights, during Christmas at Kew. The festive-inspired trail takes you through the moonlit woods to see enchanting sights, from the flotilla of glowing boats on the lake to the Fire Garden. (Father Christmas and his elves make a guest appearance occasionally, as well!)
Where: Kew Gardens is located in Richmond, London – approx. 1hour by tube from Central London
When: November 22nd-January 5th
Iconic Lights & Sights in Central London
What: Revel in the full beauty of London’s Christmas lights snuggled up on an open bus sightseeing tour – at night, for the full effect. Take in all the iconic sights including the Tower of London, Harrods and Piccadilly, all dressed up in their Christmas best. Or, admire light displays by foot and head to Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street for dazzling illuminations.
Where: all across London
When: November-January (varies)
See Diane Von Furstenberg’s Chic Christmas Tree at Claridge’s
What: Claridge’s much anticipated annual Christmas Tree was designed by fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, whose creation “The Tree of Love” was unveiled on November 27th. The tree, which features 8,000 iridescent hand-painted silver-leafed leaves, will be on display in the lobby of London’s legendary Mayfair hotel. (A long-time guest and friend of the hotel, Diane has also designed Claridge’s Grand Piano Suite!)
Where: Claridge’s is located in London – a short walk from the Bond Street Underground station
When: November 27th (through December)
Christmas Lights Winter Walk of London
What: Tour the dazzling Christmas Lights of London. Walk through London with friends and family furing the 'Most Wonderful time of year'.
Where: Pick-up point at The Orginal London Visitor Center, 17-19 Cockspur Street London SW1Y 5BL. Tour covers Covent Garden, Oxford Steet, Regent Street and many more of London's famous streets. Tours depart at 6pm.
When: Tour running until December 29 (except Dec. 24 and 25)
Glow Wild in West Sussex
What: The Glow Wild winter lantern festival is a spellbinding trail that takes place at Wakehurst, a beautiful botanic garden and country estate in southern England. The event brings trees, ponds and forest floors to life with hundreds of glowing lanterns and torches of fire.
Where: Wakehurst Estate is located in West Sussex – approx. 1hour 15minutes from London by rail
When: November 22nd-December 16th, 4.30pm-8pm
Epic Illumination in Oxfordshire
What: Oxfordshire has so much rich history and culture to offer, and will be bustling with all things Christmas this winter. At Blenheim Palace (the birthplace of Winston Churchill), the Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail will be brighter than ever before with lasers, projections, and thousands of pea-lights. From the delicate and twinkling to the grand and spectacular, the Formal Gardens will light up once again for a festive journey of exploration and wonder.
Where: Blenheim Palace is located in Oxfordshire – approx. 1hour 30minutes from London by rail
When: November 23rd-January 1st (daily), 4.40pm-10pm
A Snowy Stroll in Staffordshire
What: This holiday season, the award-winning Trentham Gardens is providing a spectacular show. One of England’s most-visited garden attractions, the 300-acre grounds are perfect for a winter walk around the mile-long lake or through the woodlands, as well as a stroll through the estate’s festive traditional Christmas village of shops and restaurants. The annual Christmas Light Switch On brings the twinkling village to life and adds sparkle to the festive season.
Where: Trentham Estate is located in Staffordshire – approx. 1hour 20minutes from Manchester by rail
When: November 28th (Christmas Light Switch-On), 9am-4pm
Enjoy a German Christmas Market in England’s Heartland
What: Not only is Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market the UK’s largest outdoor market, but it also claims the title as the biggest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany and Austria! The festival takes over the city’s Victoria Street, offering up tasty German treats like schnitzels, bratwursts, and gluhwein and a variety of stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts. There’s also live music at the bandstand to get visitors in the swing of the season’s festivities.
Where: Victoria Street is located in Birmingham – approx. 1hour 20minutes from London by rail
When: November 15th-December 23rd (daily), 10am-9pm
Hannukah at the Jewish Museum London
What: Visit the Jewish Museum for a Family Day (December 2nd) where families of all ages are invited to play dreidel, create clay lamps and decorate biscuits to celebrate Hanukkah, and enjoy a performance by the London Yiddish Choir. Alternatively, come together to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the historical Kindertransport with daily candle lighting, music and tours.
Where: Raymond Burton House, 129-131 Albert Street, Camden Town, London
When: December 2nd-9th
Christmas Market Magic in Edinburgh
What: Tumble into a magical winter wonderland in the center of a fairytale city. Edinburgh's Winter Festivals bring Edinburgh's Christmas and Edinburgh's Hogmanay together in a magical explosion of twinkling lights, enchanting sounds, mouth-watering flavours and lots of fun and laughter. At Edinburgh’s traditional Highland Christmas, you’ll find everything from Scottish produce and mulled wine to handcrafted Christmas gifts and goods.
Where: all across Edinburgh – approx. 3hours 30minutes from Manchester and 4hours 15minutes from London by rail
When: November 16th-January 5th (daily), 10am-10pm
Be Joyful & Jolly in Glasgow
What: Glasgow is a lively, bustling city, distinctive and full of character, striking architecture and fascinating museums (many of which are free!). Join the city as it celebrates the holiday season with Glasgow Loves Christmas, a series of events in the heart in the city that includes Christmas markets, the Style Mile Carnival and festive entertainment ranging from films and live music to roller discos and cabaret!
Where: all across Glasgow – approx. 45minutes from Edinburgh and 3hours 10minutes from Manchester by rail
When: November 25th-December 23rd
A Winter Walk in Southwest Wales
What: With 870 miles of coastline and three National Parks, Wales might be even more spectacular when dusted with snow, making it the ideal destination for wintery fun. Revive your senses with a brief and beautiful mile-long lakeside walk, then get into the Christmas spirit back at Tredegar House as it’s dressed up in traditional decorations and filled with music and merriment all throughout for a truly festive experience.
Where: Tredegar House is located in Newport – approx. 1hour from Cardiff
When: November 24th-December 22nd (select dates), 11am-4pm
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com