We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Where to go for Christmas in England?

Brisbane
Level Contributor
8 posts
109 reviews
Save Topic
Where to go for Christmas in England?

We are a family of mum, dad and two girls aged 7 and 10. We'll have a week in London prior to Christmas and would like to go somewhere for Christmas itself. I had heard there were various Christmas festivals somewhere in the South, but we're not sure where would should go.

Suggestions welcomed!

Best Seller
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath...
5,671 Reviews
from US$123.70*
Best Seller
Stonehenge, Windsor and Bath with Pub...
2,249 Reviews
from US$126.40*
Best Seller
Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros...
747 Reviews
from US$103.60*
London
Destination Expert
for London, Devon
Level Contributor
24,046 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

I'd just stay in London to be honest. It's only Christmas Day itself that things shut down totally, and even then you can walk round the deserted city and have a long lunch.

Please can you give us some more information about these 'various Christmas festivals somewhere in the South' that you have heard of, because I haven't a clue what they are.

Bucks, UK
Level Contributor
4,565 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Make sure that you are either staying in self-catering accomodation or in a hotel with a restaurant that will be open on Christmas Day, because otherwise the country (a few restaurants in London aside) pretty much shuts down on Christmas Day.

Not sure either about the festivals you mention but there will clearly be Midnight Mass everywhere, Boxing Day is a day to attend a sporting occasion (football, rugby and horse-racing being the most popular) some towns have Mummers (mediaeval strolling players - St.albans has a troop who perform on Boxing Day) and the Panto season will be in full swing.

Brisbane
Level Contributor
8 posts
109 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Thank you!

Liverpool
Level Contributor
1,317 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Not sure about xmas festivals, but some of the larger towns and cities have xmas markets which can last a few weeks until about 22nd-24th December.

If you are looking at just a few days over the xmas break, I would be tempted to book rooms in a country pub which does good food. That would be a very "English" experience for you. If you have a car, you can then visit xmas markets in nearby towns.

If you're wanting to stay in the south, the Cotswolds is an obvious location, but there are gorgeous typical English vllages everywhere. Check Dorset too - lots of lovely villages and things to do there, including fossil hunting for the kids!

Be aware though, that the three days over xmas are absolutely peak rates, so will not be cheap, as many B&Bs and hotels have special xmas breaks. It will be a more personal experience in a pub or B&B, rather than a hotel though.

If you have longer, booking a self catering cottage for a week would be a cheaper and, in some ways, nicer option (but it will also be the most expensve time of year). Most places expect you to book a week, but there are some who will rent their places for four days over xmas and/or new year.

Edited: 27 March 2012, 09:26
Oxfordshire
Level Contributor
2,632 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

"I had heard there were various Christmas festivals somewhere in the South,"

There absolutely aren't. Just about EVERYWHERE in England closes from at least lunchtime Xmas Eve till the next working day (in 2012: Dec 29). The only exceptions are:

- Shops in cities mostly start their Sale on Dec 26

- Pantomimes and other theatres start on Dec 26

- There's a flurry of country activities (like foxhunts) on Dec 26.

Pre-Christmas, some towns (like, in the South, Bath) have big Xmas markets, and some of these continue after Xmas (maybe Dec 26, maybe Dec 28). But nowhere stages specific Xmas activities at Xmas itself, and unless you're actively interested in walks, the possibility (generally remote) of snowy countryside or snuggling up into country pubs, your best bet over Xmas is in a town. Deprived of the endless round of rellie-visiting we're all lumbered with, Xmas for visitors here in the English countryside can be excruciatingly boring.

"In the Bleak Midwinter" was climatically inaccurate even when it was written. But it's a jolly good psychological account of how people (like its author) stuck for Xmas round here felt about it al.

Lancashire, United...
Level Contributor
19,517 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Bath is nice but their annual Christmas market always finishes at the start of December. The city centre will still be lit up with lights over Christmas and there is always a large Xmas tree in front of the Abbey along with a large carousel.

This year they are also planning to have a temporary ice rink (I read somewhere it is going to be on the tennis courts in Victoria Park).

Edited: 27 March 2012, 13:32
Bucks, UK
Level Contributor
4,565 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Ignore the ant-Christmas grumps. Christmas in the country is great - book yourself a cottage in the Cotswolds or the Downs with an open fire; hire a car, go to a carol service in the local church or cathedral, have a pint in the local pub, book to see the panto at the local theatre (or see the Christmas play for kids the RSC puts on at Stratford) , go to see the races on Boxing day, read "A Christmas Carol" with the kids (or get the audio cd read by Patrick Stewart) go for a nice winter's walk on Christmas afternoon and generally enjoy a traditional Christmas free from sunburn, barbies and massive spiders ;-)

If you book somewhere by the seaside - they might even do a Boxing Day swim - go on, you know you want to...

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
287 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

I agree with PoolLounger- definitely book a cottage somewhere! There will be carol services and lovely pubs and the surroundings will be beautiful. If you're coming from Australia and will be in London before then it would be lovely to escape to our countrysides. There are lots of places you can go but the Cotswolds is one of the best.

London
Level Contributor
1 post
5 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

It will be good to spend a few days in London, in the run up to Christmas. You have the Hyde Park winter wonderland http://www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com and also various ice skating rinks all over the city, my personal bests at Somerset House and Tower of London http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink and http://www.toweroflondonicerink.com

There is also the Nutcracker ballet on in the run up to Christmas which your kids will enjoy so definitely lots going on in the city to keep the kids busy. Have a wonderful holiday!

Winchelsea, United...
Destination Expert
for West Sussex, East Sussex
Level Contributor
6,276 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Where to go for Christmas in England?

Poolounger - an excellent post. That sounds like much more fun to me than spending a day in a city, trying to avoid Noel Edmonds on the tv.

Mike