Whilethe shops seem to put up their festive displays earlier and earlier every year,there’s something about the clocks going back that gives us permission to talkabout Christmas in public!
So it’sfinally time to think about hauling those dusty decorations out of thecupboard, making those shopping lists, gathering the family together andplanning for the Big Day.
But…holdon a moment! Before all the busy-nessreally sets in, how about a relaxing and fun-filled break to really fire you upahead of the festive season?
Thereare so many fabulous Christmassy events coming up, held all around the UK. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone couldjust do all the hard work of narrowing down some of the very best, then pairthem with a wondrously ‘out of the ordinary’ place to stay?
Well,we’ve gone and done just that. Considerit our gift to you – and like all Christmas gifts, it’s best enjoyed with asteaming glass of mulled wine and a mince pie!
Isle of Wight
Event: Osborne House Victorian Christmas (1st- 2nd December)
Stay at: The Scout Hall or Tiny Homes Holidays
ReliveChristmases past at the strikingly grand Osborne House in East Cowes, where youcan tour the festively-dressed rooms, then take a ride on the carousel, meetFather Christmas and feast on roasted chestnuts in the snowy courtyard!
Onceyou’ve enjoyed a glass of mulled cider under the twinkling evening lights, makeyour way to The Scout Hall (above), a friendly and charming retro hall featuring fourdeliciously cosy bedrooms. We’ve heard therewill be Christmas decorations, too.
TinyHomes Holidays, meanwhile, prove that good things come in small packages! An ethical retreat in a downsized,deceptively spacious home surrounded by scenic walking trails, you’re sure tofeel revived before all the present-wrapping begins.
(Oh, andif you enjoy crafting, the on-site ‘Making Christmas‘ workshop will fill youwith seasonal joy).
Event: Dickensian Christmas Festival (1st- 2nd December)
Stay at: The Enchanted Faraway Tree or HoneyLodge Retreat
Come andwitness Rochester’s transformation into a feast of Victorian delights, all framedby the city’s fairytale cathedral. Enjoycarol singing amidst lamp-lit parades, meet some familiar Dickensian characters- and with shopping stalls galore, you’re sure to find something for everybodyon your list (unless your name is Scrooge, that is!)
Indulgeto your heart’s content, then spirit yourselves away to The Enchanted FarawayTree (above), a secluded, storybook-inspired hideaway that’s perfect for couples. Hope for snow, as you gaze up at the treehousepod’s glass-domed ceiling and light the wood-fired stove.
HoneyLodge Retreat is located on the same site; a gorgeous ‘grown-ups only’ logcabin, complete with outdoor hot tub and wood-burning sauna.
Event: Winter Wonderland (23rdNovember – 6th January)
Stay at: Owl’s Lookout
Amust-visit event for families, there is truly something for everyone at HydePark’s famous annual festive extravaganza.
Alongwith staples including the Bavarian Village and ice skating rink, exciting newattractions include The SnowmanTM experience, Peter Pan on Ice, and a giantobservation wheel. Take part in icesculpting workshops as you sip your delicious hot toddy of choice – oh, anddon’t forget to visit Santa Land!
Afterwards,head to Owl’s Lookout at North Hill Farm – the latest in a quirky array ofchildhood-fantasy holiday homes on the site. Cleverly designed to resemble a majestic owl in flight, this lovingly-crafted,luxury family treehouse will make everybody smile.
Event: Christmas at The Alnwick Garden (from 17thNovember)
Stay at: Middleton Hall Folly
TheAlnwick Garden is home to an enormous, beautifully crafted treehouse-restaurantthat stands proudly amongst mature lime trees. Can you think of a more glorious setting for a fabulous festive event?
Not onlycan you enjoy some tasty Christmas treats at the restaurant, you can alsoindulge in street theatre, ice skating, and watch the Grand Lantern Parade asit makes its way into Alnwick Town…led by Father Christmas himself! There’s also a Christmas market held atweekends, at the foot of the treehouse – ideal for getting that gift shoppingstarted.
Keep thefairytale going with a stay at Middleton Hall, an exquisite three-storeycouples’ folly secluded on the grounds of an historic mansion house dating backto 1871. Featuring a glass door thatlooks out onto a stunning Italian garden, this is a rustic fantasy made real.
Event: Powis Castle Illuminated Gardens(various dates from 30th November – 16th December)
Stay at: Oaklands Glamping and Treehouse
Whilethe immaculate National Trust castle and gardens are spectacular sights at anytime of year, they really come into their own when illuminated at Christmastime. Take a delightful festive strollaround the formal gardens, terraces and courtyard and feel your soul light up.
Then,head for Oaklands Glamping and Treehouse, and indulge in the warm embrace ofthis detail-oriented, adults-only retreat. Sumptuous furnishings, wood-fired hot tubs and walk-in rainfall showersrule the day here, along with wondrous wildlife-steeped views.
Event: Christmas at the Botanics (selected eveningsfrom 23rd November – 29th December)
Stay at: Edinburgh Green Boat
Edinburgh’sRoyal Botanic Gardens get a spectacular festive makeover, with more than amillion twinkling lights on show! Wanderthe enchanted winter trail, complete with luminous flowers, snowflakes, starsand baubles, then stop at the scented Fire Garden for a moment of pure calm,before all the madness of Christmas preparation takes hold.
A stylish and comfortable houseboat moored in the city centre, a stay atEdinburgh Green Boat extends the magic. Gorgeouslyhomely, this vibrant wide-beamed boat is deceptively spacious inside, andyou’ll even be supplied with a bathrobe, slippers and a foot spa!
So, haveyou made up your mind yet?
Whetheryou’re planning a Christmas-themed stay, or you just fancy a break from hecticeveryday life, our website is home to countless unusual places to stay that promise toenthral your senses.
To make your lifeeasier, we’ve even categorised them all – so why not come and choose yourfavourite?
Main image: Powis Castle Illuminated Gardens