Christmas breaks are something we can enjoy with close friends and family in the lead-up to Christmas, or during the festive season itself. You could take a Christmas city break in the UK over a long weekend, or visit a Christmas market in Europe – in search of the best Christmas gifts for you and your loved ones. If you really want to treat someone, you could even travel somewhere magical to celebrate the event, during a Christmas three-day break, for four nights or longer.
However you spend the lead-up to Christmas this year, and wherever you wish to embrace the yuletide season we can provide you with some inspiration. First, let’s look at pre-Christmas breaks across Europe…
Christmas market breaks
Have you started your Christmas shopping and need to find that extra little something to make someone’s year? Or are you leaving it all to complete in one marathon Christmas shopping trip? Either way, do it in style by strolling around a cheerful European Christmas market during a Christmas city break! You can tick off everything on your list while taking time to embrace the lights, sights, and sweet aromas to get in the mood for Christmas.
Where are the best Christmas markets?
Energetic Edinburgh doesn’t disappoint when it comes to Christmas events, activities, and fairground rides from November – January. Start the day with a hot bowl of Scottish oats (you’ll need the fuel…), before getting the blood flowing with a glide around an outdoor ice rink. Warm yourself with a hot beverage, while exploring the Christmas market. Here, you’ll find fantastic festive crafts and local cuisine. Admire winter window displays and the twinkling lights throughout the city, as well as art installations and Edinburgh’s traditional Christmas tree. Away with children? Explore the Christmas tree maze in search of Santa, before taking in views of the city on the Big Wheel.
Christmas market breaks outside the UK
Visit majestic Metz in northeast France. A gothic city, home to a traditional but modern stained-glass cathedral and grand gardens. From the end of November, six seasonal squares welcome shoppers to its Christmas markets. Have a look for hand-crafted gifts, while tucking into the finest gingerbread in the area. With a hot beverage in hand, spend an afternoon seeing the “Sentiers des lanternes”. A captivating 300-lantern, lamp-lit walk inspired by East-European folklore. For foodies, find time to taste the city’s gourmet essentials such as traditional sweets, oysters, and foie gras at Place de Chambre. Do you wish to explore France when the weather is warmer? View our previous blog about fantastique holidays in France for Free Spirits.
Find Basel, the cultural capital of Switzerland, for a festive fairy tale trip. Its Christmas market, in the old, historical town of Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is said to be one of the largest and prettiest in the country, (if not Europe). The charms of Christmas are felt throughout the city, from festive features, the Münsterplatz’s magnificent Christmas tree, to fun fondue dinners. Admire a variety of Christmas artisan stalls near the church and lovingly decorated wooden chalets within the historic city centre. At nightfall, you can see all the city has to offer (including the illuminated St Martins tower) from Basel Cathedral.
You could say Europe has some of the best Christmas markets to wander around. For more to choose from view our previous European Christmas Market blog.
If you decide to escape to Europe, you and all your travelling companions will be covered by our Coronavirus Cover. This includes cover for emergency medical and associated expenses, cancellation, and curtailment.
Christmas Coach Holidays
In search of some Christmas cheer before or on Christmas day? There are a range of Christmas coach holidays to choose from, such as Christmas market coach holidays and coach trips that’ll give you an entertaining tour of a specific route. Coach holidays usually include connections/transport from a convenient joining point; a couch tour; hotel accommodation and entertainment; some meals and optional excursions along the route you take. For more freedom and flexibility opt for a self-drive Christmas break and make your own way to your destination with accommodation, breakfast, and evening meals included.
Where are the top Christmas coach holidays?
- For a little more warmth during a Christmas break set off to Spain for its sunny coastline. Based in either Santa Susanna or Calella and back again. Your week will be full of excursions, such as guided tours of exciting cities, and visits to Catalonian coastal towns and the Montserrat Mountains. Enjoy wandering along Spanish cobbled streets for shopping, sightseeing, and splendid dining. On Christmas day, relax in your resort and welcome a surprise from Santa.
- Prepare to set sail for a voyage to the Isle of Wight. Said to be the sunniest spot in the UK, spend five days breathing in the fresh sea air along the seashore, while staying in the stunning village of Shanklin. After a visit to historic Osborne House and some time to embrace traditional seaside fun, refresh yourself in your room before watching the evening’s entertainment and Christmas festivities, to help you get in the Christmas mood.
- Fort William, Scotland; for a fantastic route along the Road to the Isles. With your camera in hand, capture the superb sea views of magical Mallaig, the Mamores Mountains on the way to Kinlochleven, and ancient Fort Augustus. In the evenings, warm your soul with a hot beverage and embrace traditional Scottish hospitality within the ‘outdoor capital of the Highlands’, (Fort William) and some light entertainment.
After you’ve decided which Christmas coach holiday to book, we recommend that you purchase Coach Plus UK European Coach Holiday Insurance, which includes COVID-19 protection and is available for all ages. On the other hand, if you wish to travel using your own vehicle during a Christmas break, you’ll only need to think about which traditional Christmas hotel to book.
Christmas hotel breaks
Want a relaxing Christmas this year? Then choose from a range of hotel packages, for four nights around the Christmas holidays from the 23rd of December. Your Christmas hotel break can include all meals – as well as Christmas lunch – entertainment, such as movie nights, talented live acts, and even fireworks! So, sit back and let someone else look after you and yours this Christmas, in a lovely location within the UK.
Where are the UK’s best Christmas hotel breaks?
In the land of The Lake District. Step through the doors as the aroma of mulled wine and sweet treats nestle in your nostrils. The halls will be decked and you’ll be able to dine on delicious delicacies during your stay. Stretch your legs and go on a guided walk or scavenger hunt in a picturesque location, before getting cosy beside the roar of an open log fire.
Norfolk for sea views while staying in coastal hotels. Arrive on Christmas Eve and dance the night away with the evening’s entertainment, or book in early to relax at the spa, spruce up and get ready for Santa. Tuck into a six-course Christmas lunch, before being entertained by some family entertainment. Then head to the seashore for a wintery walk along the sand dunes.
In the Yorkshire Dales, hidden amongst the hills you’ll find magnificent manors, historical halls, and homely hotels to wish everyone – and every hound- a happy Christmas. Relax in regal and retained lounges with your favourite book, after experiencing fine dining and all the delights Christmas has to offer, including many woodlands walks with your four-legged friend for a Christmassy dog friendly holiday.
Spending Christmas with all the family? Here are some ideas to entertain them all…
Christmas family breaks
If you’ve not travelled far before December or feel like your family would appreciate a well-deserved Christmas family break, a few days away from home could tick all the boxes during the Christmas holidays.
What are the best Christmas family breaks?
- Spend some quality time at a family holiday park or resort, while sleeping in a cosy caravan or lodge. By day, stroll through the hills, breathe in the sea air, or spin around an on-site ski centre. At night, go to a Christmas party with live entertainment after a visit from Santa.
- For adrenaline-seeking youngsters, book into a theme park like Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, or Legoland Windsor Resort. There will be the opportunity to see Santa, walk under garlands of lights, and access all rides and attractions across two days.
- All-inclusive luxury family hotel breaks. Find a grand hotel that will greet you with a champagne reception, situated in a desirable location for winter walks. After your six-course dinner, sit around the fire for Christmas stories and carols or visit the theatre for a pantomime. Enjoy a restful sleep before meeting Santa, who may arrive via horse-drawn carriage or reindeer.
Top Twixmas breaks for the family
A Twixmas break (the days between Christmas and New Year) is the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a final trip in before the New Year. You could visit a UK city or set off to Scandinavia, to experience how the Scandinavians traditionally spend their days between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Where are the top Twixmas breaks?
- Feeling adventurous? Book a magical Christmas break to Norway to celebrate Romjulen with the Norwegians. You could visit the impressive Sculpture Parks, play in the snow, and capture the Northern lights after a hot, hearty meal.
- Go for a mini-adventure and enjoy an Ireland holiday in Dublin. Named as one of the top places to spend Christmas in the world (2018), there’s not just magic in the air but several Christmas events. Visit a winter-themed park and see the wild lights at Dublin Zoo.
- Escape to a UK city for a weekend Christmas break, such as Bath or Oxford. For evening entertainment follow a trail of magical fairy lights by visiting one of the best botanical gardens. Admiring a light show will bring smiles to everyone’s faces.
Travel Insurance for Christmas Breaks
We hope we’ve helped you to get in the mood for the yuletide season and inspired you to book a Christmas break.
Whenever and wherever you go don’t forget to take Free Spirit Travel Insurance to travel with confidence.