15 Places for the Best Christmas Breaks in the UK 2022

Last Updated on 19/07/2022

Everyone enjoys some festive cheer! If you’re looking for a winter getaway this year, here are the best Christmas breaks in the UK. From city breaks to rural escapes, there’s a UK Christmas getaway for everyone!

This guide shares the top 15 places for the best Christmas breaks in the UK. Including unmissable Christmas attractions and how long to stay.

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Best Christmas Breaks in the UK

If you’re looking for the best Christmas breaks in the UK for this winter, you’re in the right place! Here are 15 tried and tested winter getaways that you are going to love! The hardest part will be choosing which one to visit first!


Recommended by me

If you’re looking for the best Christmas breaks in the UK, Warwick won’t disappoint! The historic market town of Warwick might not be an obvious choice when it comes to UK Christmas destinations. But this pretty town has a lot of things to do and some beautiful Christmas sights.

One place not to be missed in Warwick at Christmas is Lord Leycester Hospital. This pretty, medieval building is beautiful year-round but looks especially charming at Christmas.

You can take a stroll around Lord Leycester Hospital and see the chapel adorned with Christmas décor. Plus, the grand Christmas tree in the Great Hall is incredible! To get a flavour of Lord Leycester Hospital at Christmas, it can be spotted in the 2019 BBC series A Christmas Carol, starring Tom Hardy!

Another beautiful sight in Warwick at Christmas is Warwick Castle. During the festive season, the Grand Hall and State Rooms are decked out to mark the occasion! You can also enjoy an enchanting light trail beneath glittering trees on the outdoor walk. Plus, there is an outdoor ice rink for some festive fun!

If you want to make the most of Warwick at Christmas, you could just about squeeze it in to a day trip, but a weekend break would be ideal. The 400-year-old inn Kings Head Inn is the perfect place to stay with beautiful rooms and fine food. Alternatively, the pretty Grade II listed Park Cottage is a quaint place for a unique stay.

Find more accommodation options in Warwick here.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - Warwick


Recommended by Claire from Go South West England

Tourists don’t usually think of visiting Cornwall in the cooler seasons. But there is one place that is especially magical around Christmastime. 

Mousehole is a small village in southwest Cornwall, about three miles from Penzance. It is known for its charming harbour and narrow cobbled streets. But there’s much more to the village than you might expect!

It’s a particularly charming place to visit in winter. Although the weather isn’t quite as appealing as the summer months, locals have done something about it. 

One year around 40 years ago, someone decided to put a few lights in their garden to add some Christmas cheer. Community is strong in Mousehole, and it soon became a village event. The word spread and tourists started to come at Christmastime. Before long it became one of the best Christmas light displays in Cornwall. 

Nowadays, the entire village, harbour, hillside and St Clements Island is bedecked in lights. You’ll see everything from small lanterns to a giant whale and serpent in the harbour! 

If you can, time your visit for the switching on of the lights. There will be a choir and other festivities! 

Other things to do in Mousehole include enjoying fish and chips on the harbour and walking tours to learn about its history. You can also see the memorial to the last monoglot Cornish speaker, and walk along the South West Coast Path or Mount’s Bay. 

If you are ready to book a Cornish Turkey and Tinsel weekend, find out more here.

Find accommodation in Mousehole here.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - Mousehole


Recommended by Cristina from My Little World of Travelling

Leeds, situated in West Yorkshire, is the perfect place for a Christmas break for anyone who loves a cosy and less crowded atmosphere. Not only does it have lovely Christmas events and decorations, but many incredible attractions and hidden gems too.

The city hosts a lovely German Christmas Market in Millennium Square every year. 

The Christmas market becomes the meeting point for many friends and families that want to enjoy a Christmas experience. 

Wooden stalls filled with unique Christmas decorations and gifts, children’s attractions such as the carousel, and plenty of food options. You can find anything from German sausages and chicken gyros to churros!

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - Leeds

Not to forget about the mulled wine to keep you warm in the cold weather! When you order a mulled wine, it’s often served in a Christmas cup. You pay a small deposit (3-4 pounds) which is given back when you return the cup. Or you can keep it as a memory of that year’s Christmas market!

For the little ones, Father Christmas is also at the market every Sunday morning.

In addition to the Christmas market, you can’t miss visiting Harewood House, located in the outskirts of Leeds. Every year, they decorate the country house with impressive Christmas decorations. But also, you can wander around its grounds where you may spot deer and eat Christmas treats – their mince pies are the best!

Find accommodation in Leeds here.

Isle of Wight

Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice

The Isle of Wight is an island off the south coast of England. It’s a popular holiday location and has great beaches, family attractions and historic sites.

In winter, the beaches are beautiful, especially if you are lucky and get snow. Also, the villages are filled with thatched-roofed cottages and traditional pubs and bars giving you that Christmas feel. It really sets the mood! 

To get the most out of the island, it’s recommended to stay a minimum of 4 nights. This is enough time so that you can pick which Christmas activities you want to do. Plus, it gives you time to explore the island too. 

At Christmas, there are loads of festive activities to take part in, including one extremely popular option – the Garlic Farm. The garlic farm opens a pop-up Christmas shop filled with exclusive Isle of Wight made gifts. It also usually has a log fire and other festive Christmassy things available. It opens from the 4th-23rd December from 09:30-16:30. 

Another thing to do is to see the Needles, which is a row of three white chalk stacks that rise above the sea. It’s in a lovely location and a wonderful place to go for a walk.

There are lots of places to stay on the Isle of Wight, such as hotels, cottages and caravan parks. A small cottage like this one is ideal during Christmas as it sets the mood perfectly! It’s nice and cosy and it’s great for couples and families.

If you’re ready to enjoy Christmas on the Isle of Wight, find out more here.

Find more accommodation on the Isle of Wight here.

Scottish Highlands

Recommended by Tracy from UK Travel Planning

If you love the idea of a cosy Christmas snuggled up with a wee dram of whisky around a roaring fire while surrounded by snow-capped mountains and rugged moorlands, the Scottish Highlands is the place to go.  

A traditional Scottish Christmas includes plenty of eating and drinking so this is not the time to think of your waistline! Whisky may be the beverage of choice to wash down your Christmas lunch of turkey and Christmas pudding. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample Haggis sausage rolls too!

Hours of daylight are fewer during the winter season, but this makes the houses decorated with lights, Christmas trees and wreaths even more welcoming. Expect to hear carol singers in shopping centres and perhaps even making a visit to your hotel.

Plan to spend at least a week and include some day trips to beautiful destinations such as the Isle of Skye, Glencoe and at least one of the many castles and lochs that dot the Highland landscape. Just remember to wrap up warmly and drive carefully!

Experiencing Scottish New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay is worth stretching the trip a little longer though that may be the time to leave the Highlands behind and head to the Scottish capital Edinburgh where Hogmanay celebrations are legendary.

Find accommodation in the Scottish Highlands here.


Recommended by Shireen from The Happy Days Travels

Hay-on-Wye is a small town found in Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. It is also by far one of the best Christmas breaks in the UK!

This small town is famous as the world’s first ever book town and is home to over 20 bookshops. The bookshops vary from children’s, hobbies to genre-specific (such as a crime/thriller shop and a poetry store).

You can get books for all budgets too from special editions to second-hand £1 buys in the open-air, 24-hour honesty bookshop. See this guide to the bookshops you must visit in Hay-on-Wye. They will be perfect for Christmas gifts and for your Christmas reads! 

You should spend at least a day in Hay-on-Wye (and start early) because as well as the bookshops there’s plenty of other things to do in Hay-on-Wye. Go Christmas shopping in the boutique and vintage stores or take scenic walks along the River Wye. You can even go canoeing or kayaking, listen to live street music and learn about the history of the town in Hay Castle.

Try and visit on a Thursday when Hay Market is held in the town square for special Christmas buys and delicious street food stalls. 

Find accommodation in Hay-On-Wye here.

North Wales

Recommended by Bec from Wyld Family Travel

If you are looking for the best Christmas breaks in the UK, a holiday in North Wales is the answer.

You can get right into the Christmas spirit with festivals in most of the local towns. Or you can escape it all and simply relax during the craziest time of the year.

While North Wales is a hot spot for tourists during the year, most of the caravan parks have been closed for the winter months, making it the perfect place to explore.

Many of the National Trust and Cadw sites will be decorated in festive colours and have activities for children. You will find a few markets in some of the towns where you can buy handmade Christmas cards or unique decorations to take home.

Plenty of local pubs and restaurants will be in the spirit with local foods hot and ready to eat (with a cup of mulled wine to go with it!) Roaring fires are as welcoming as the people themselves.

If you want to escape the festivities, you can venture into the epic natural landscape that Wales is known for. You don’t have to hike for days (although you can if you want to) you can take some short walks to take in the amazing Welsh sights.

The Llechwedd Slate Mine is a brilliant place to spend a day with tours of the mines, ziplining and mountain biking. They also have glamping tents that you can book for a unique stay.

The best way to see it all is to have your own car. Small towns like Bety-s-Coed are the perfect place for a delightful afternoon tea. Larger seaside towns like Llandudno are wonderful to wander. If you can stand the chill that comes off the water!

Find accommodation in North Wales here.


Recommended by Shobha from Epic England Travel

December is a wonderful time to visit Oxford in England not only for the festive atmosphere in the city itself but for the neighbouring areas as well.

There is an annual Christmas market on historic Broad Street which has vendors selling unique gifts and mulled wine. There is a Santa Grotto at Oxford Castle and Jail. The individual Oxford colleges are decked out in festive lights and trees.

Perhaps catch a performance of Handel’s Messiah sung by the world-renowned Queen’s College choir. Alternatively, just swing by a choral Evensong which happens every evening at the Oxford colleges. Oxford Playhouse will have a Christmas Panto (a family-friendly slapstick comedy) because that is a Christmas tradition in England, as well as other family friendly shows.

Nearby, you can watch a Christmas Panto or show at a local theatre like the Chipping Norton theatre. Also, Blenheim Palace does an annual Christmas lighted walk through its parkland which is magical with children (and without!)

Easily one of the big Christmas highlights of the region, Blenheim’s Christmas lights are accompanied by a Christmas village and carnival rides. Finally, don’t miss Bicester Village, an outlet mall village for lots of great shopping in a festive setting.

Find accommodation in Oxford here.


Recommended by Dymphe from Dymabroad

One of the best places for Christmas breaks in the UK is the capital city of London. That’s because there are so many things to do during this time and the atmosphere of London is amazing!

One of the best things to do at Christmas is visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This is a lovely Christmas festival where you find lots of attractions that are a lot of fun! Besides that, there are many stalls selling all kinds of food.

Another lovely activity to do during this time is ice skating at the ice rinks in the city. You can find a great ice rink at Somerset House, and there’s one at the Natural History Museum.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - London

Furthermore, exploring the Christmas markets of London is a wonderful activity at Christmas. At these Christmas markets, you can find many stalls selling food, gifts, and other items. One of the best Christmas markets takes place at Leicester Square.

Also, visiting the pretty cafes in London is a lot of fun during this time.  Another reason to visit London at Christmas is because of the Christmas decorations you can find in the streets.

New Year’s Eve in London amazing as well. There are many parties throughout the city where you can celebrate the new year, and there is a large firework show along the River Thames. To get the best experience of London during Christmas, three days is a good amount of time to stay in the city.

Find accommodation in London here.


Recommended by Ania from The Travelling Twins

There are many amazing Christmas breaks in the UK, but few are more enchanting than the medieval town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.

There are plenty of wonderful places to stop for family meals at restaurants like “Riverbank Bar and Kitchen” or our favourite “La Dolce Vita” where you can try a five-star Italian Cuisine. And during the festive season be treated to such a scrumptious meal that you almost feel like you are in Italy.

For adults, there are some lovely bars where you can enjoy a drink or two. Our favourite gin bar is Gindifferent, which is in the Market Hall. It is a great place to chill out, stopping for some cocktails and bar food on the way! For something more festive check out “Ten & Six” on Mardol street.

It’s not just adults who will love Shrewsbury though; there’s plenty for children to do too. The city organises many Christmas workshops like lantern building, which keeps kids entertained and lets parents do some shopping. Later kids can join the lantern parade through the town.

Shrewsbury ticks all the boxes making it one of the best Christmas breaks in the UK!

Find accommodation in Shrewsbury here.


Recommended by Sinead from Map Made Memories

Historic York is a perfect destination for a winter break as it is easily accessible by road and rail with the city’s Victorian rail station a short ten-minute walk from the city centre.

York is a small, compact city and winter sightseeing is easy due to its pedestrianised city centre that is easily covered on foot.

Christmas in York is magical. The city’s Georgian and Victorian era buildings are decorated with lights and trees. Local favourite Betty’s Tea Rooms creates a festive window display whilst festive buskers entertain shoppers and tourists alike.

The city also plays host to a six week-long Christmas Market where over 100 wooden chalets sell locally made crafts, food and drink. Christmas shoppers can warm themselves in front of the fire with a mulled wine at Thor’s pop-up tipi or take advantage of a festive themed afternoon tea at one of the city’s historic hotels.

Catch a pantomime at one of York’s three theatres or attend a candlelit carol service at York Minster, York’s iconic cathedral which is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Take a break from Christmas shopping and visit York Castle Museum whose famous full size Victorian street recreation ‘Kirkgate’ is decorated each Christmas.

Stay at the elegant The Principal Hotel next to York rail station or for a fabulous city centre location, stay at Dean’s Court Hotel directly opposite the illuminated York Minster. 

Ready to enjoy Christmastime in York? Plan your trip here!

Find more accommodation options in York here.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - York


Recommended by Ella from Many More Maps

For a festive city break filled with freshly baked mince pies, twinkly Christmas lights and plenty of cosy libraries to warm up in, you should definitely head to Cambridge. At just an hour away from London by train, it’s very popular to visit Cambridge as a day trip. Since it’s a small city, you can definitely see the city’s highlights in one day or a weekend.

This ancient university city is famous the world over for its breathtaking colleges, which you’re able to visit year-round. Many of the colleges charge a small admission fee. However, there are a small number that are free to wander around, such as Christ’s College.

To warm up, it’s worth heading to the Fitzwilliam Museum, which is free to enter and houses countless historical artefacts and pieces of art from around the globe. Just down the road from the Fitzwilliam Museum you’ll find Fitzbillies, a Cambridge institution known for their baked goods. Warm up over a steaming cup of tea and a mince pie before heading out to do more exploring!

Like London’s Winter Wonderland, Cambridge has its very own Christmas attraction – the North Pole. With an ice-rink, Christmas market stalls and plenty of festive rides, it’s an unmissable attraction for any festive visit to Cambridge.

Find accommodation in Cambridge here.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - Cambridge


Recommended by Sophie from Solo Sophie

One of the most magical Christmas breaks in the UK is the city of Manchester. Boasting multiple Christmas markets, as well as some truly gorgeous illuminations, the best time to visit is during December. All the city is lit up by twinkling lights and the pop-up Christmas market stalls across the city are in full swing.

In general, one of the top highlights of Manchester includes a plethora of wonderful museums which are perfect for wandering around on cold days when you don’t want to go outside. Think the People’s History Museum and The Manchester Art Gallery- both free to visit.

Best Christmas Breaks in the UK - Manchester

Another cosy activity that is best enjoyed indoors is to check out the fantastic foodie scene that Manchester has become known for in recent years. Otherwise, the Manchester Christmas Markets are the perfect place to warm up with a hot drink and shop for some last-minute festive gifts. In the stalls, visitors will find everything for sale from handmade soaps to luxurious jewellery.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Manchester is one of the largest cities in the UK and so is best explored over the course of a long weekend (as opposed to a day visit) and never has a shortage of seasonal activities, fairs, and things to do.

Find accommodation in Manchester here.

The Lake District

Recommended by Rose from Where Goes Rose?

The Lake District is a beautiful area of the UK that’s worth a visit around the year. Although the crowds dwindle outside of the summer months, making it a lovely place to escape the crowds of city Christmas markets. Cosy cabins and Christmas movies, what more could you want?

There are plenty of destinations to add your Lake District itinerary that can be visited throughout the year. Although some hikes are better during summer, there are others that can be done during winter and offer spectacular views of snowy peaks. The five-mile path around Derwentwater Lakeshore, for example, would make an excellent hike before heading for hearty winter comfort food.

Festive events that can be enjoyed in the Lake District include a trip on Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway with complimentary mince pies. Foodies can take a trip to Muncaster Castle and tuck into a Christmas-themed afternoon tea or a mulled wine while curled up in front of a roaring fire!

There are countless hearty pubs in the Lake District where you can get cosy and sample regional dishes and local ales. Afterwards, book yourself into a cosy cottage and crack on the Christmas movies. It’s a winter wonderland for sure!

Find accommodation in the Lake District here.


Recommended by Victoria from Guide Your Travel

Aberdeen is somewhat of an underappreciated city in Scotland. Most tourists head to Edinburgh or Glasgow but tend to skip the much smaller Aberdeen. However, the granite city is actually quite beautiful and there is a lot to see and do especially during the festive season.

Aberdeen always has an annual Christmas market which takes place from late November until Christmas. There are booths selling traditional foods, mulled wine, and of course some themed rides. There are also regular events with reindeer which you can feed and pet.

While the weather is sometimes a bit unpredictable Aberdeen actually gets a decent amount of sun even during the colder months. This is the perfect excuse to go on a winter hike along the beautiful coastline to places like Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle or Newburgh.

There are also a lot of whisky distilleries you need to visit to truly appreciate Scotland. A lot offer guided tours and tastings which is a must do to warm up after a long day of sightseeing in the cold Scottish winter. The Brewdog Brewery is also located close to Aberdeen and can easily be reached by bus so put it at the top of your to do list.

Aberdeen also has a few fantastic museums to try when it rains like the Maritime Museum or the Toolbooth Museum.

Find accommodation in Aberdeen here.

Resources for booking Christmas breaks in the UK

Ready to start planning one of these great Christmas breaks in the UK? Here are some of my favourite travel planning resources to make organising your break easy!

15 Places for the Best Christmas Breaks in the UK

So, if you’re ready to start planning a winter escape to the best places to visit in the UK at Christmas, be sure to bookmark this page or pin it using the image below.

Are you inspired and planning one of these Christmas breaks in the UK? I’d love to hear about your trip! Let’s connect on Instagram and send me a DM telling me where you are planning to visit!

Until our next adventure,

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P.S. Love it? Pin it!

If you like this guide to the best places to visit in the UK at Christmas, be sure to follow Get Lost on Pinterest. That’s where I’ll be sharing all my great UK travel guides.

34 thoughts on “15 Places for the Best Christmas Breaks in the UK 2022”

    • A huge UK Christmas road trip would be incredible! Sign me up!! I love Christmas too, it is such a magical time of year to travel! I hope you get to experience some of the festive fun this year!

  1. All of these Christmas Markets look beautiful and loads of fun! I of course would love to experience all of these one day but the Mousehole, Leeds, Scottish Highlands, and Manchester would be the first ones I’d like to attend!

    • There are so many great places for a Christmas break in the UK, aren’t there? I want to visit them all too! The Christmas lights at Mousehole sound incredible! I’d love to see those! I hope you get to enjoy some of the festive fun this Christmas!

  2. We’re trying to figure out where to spend Christmas this year in Europe! Thanks for the great ideas for a Christmas break in the U.K., I’m definitely pinning them! If not Christmas, maybe spring!

    • Ooh I love a Christmas European break! If you don’t make it to the UK, Berlin is incredible at Christmas! Dublin is also great and Barcelona is ideal if you want somewhere slightly warmer! Christmas in the UK is always enchanting and well worth exploring if you get the chance!

  3. They all look so lovely. I remember going to Oxford several times during Christmas when I lived in London…such an enchanting place. I haven’t traveled to Scotland but Aberdeen looks really cool as well. Any place with a castle always adds a magical feeling. 🙂

    • They all look like magical Christmas breaks, don’t they? I can’t decide where I want to visit first! I’d love to see more of Scotland so maybe Aberdeen will be up there on the list! We visited Edinburgh a few years ago and it was lovely there!

  4. These pictures are really just so beautiful, and it REALLY feels like a great list of places to visit for Christmas. Is anyone else wishing they could escape internationally for Christmas/winter holidays? I want to visit these enchanting places so much! But I will be stuck here in the Sonoran Desert.

    • I imagine Christmas in the desert is very different to Christmas in the UK! I think the UK is such a charming place for a Christmas break and there is such a great variety of places to visit! I’m sorry you won’t get an opportunity to experience it this year, I hope you get to enjoy a UK Christmas break in the future!

  5. So many great places I’d be happy to visit any time of year, but I’m sure Christmas is even more special. I’m actually in Cornwall right now and was thinking of visiting Mousehole so even though it’s not Christmas I think I might go there this week as it sounds lovely

    • I think the UK is especially charming at Christmas and is the ideal place for a Christmas break! Mousehole does sound beautiful, doesn’t it? The Christmas lights in the village sound enchanting! I hope you enjoy your visit!

  6. oh wow these all look incredible! I would love to do a Christmas break in the UK someday. It looks truly magical. thanks for sharing these. Scotland whiskey distilleries sound incredible.

    • Christmas in the UK is such a charming experience! I love all of the fun festive activities. I hope you get an opportunity to experience it one day! Thanks for reading!

  7. Manchester is one of my favourite Christmas markets in the UK since it’s enormous, but I also enjoyed going to the Edinburgh and Leeds markets too. I haven’t been to many of the ones in your list so thanks for the recommendations!

    • I need to visit the Manchester Christmas market again, I haven’t been for years! I love to visit the Leeds one, it’s small but so lively! There are so many great Christmas markets in the UK, aren’t there? I want to visit them all!

  8. I love Christmas markets so thank you for putting this great list together. I go to the Manchester one every year but would love to venture out to other places too to compare them 🙂

    • There are so many beautiful places in the UK to visit at Christmas, aren’t there? I’ve not been to the Manchester one for years so I’d love to get back there! I love to visit anywhere that has a fun Christmas vibe – it is my favourite time of year!

  9. I’ve never heard of Mousehole before and now Im making it my lives purpose to visit this adorably named village. It sounds spectacular!

    • It is an adorable name isn’t it! Locally they pronounce it like “Mauzel” which I think makes it sounds even cuter! I hope you get a chance to visit!

    • I agree, Hay-on-Wye sounds so magical! It has been on my list to visit forever and I’ve still not got there! A Christmas trip sounds perfect though! Thanks for reading!

  10. Great post & as I may still not be able to see my family (in Australia) again this year, I may well take full advantage & get into the spirit at home. There are some excellent ideas & love all the light displays to explore too.

    • What a shame you might not be able to spend Christmas with your family again! I’m sorry to hear you might not be able to celebrate with them. There are definitely so many amazing places for a Christmas break in the UK! All of the Christmas markets and light displays sound so cozy!

  11. Oooh I never considered visiting the Scottish highlands for Christmas, but it would be looovely to stay in a cabin in that gorgeous scenery!! These are all fabulous Cristmassy spots though. 🙂

    • The Scottish Highlands don’t spring to mind when you think about a Christmas getaway do they, but I bet it is a magical place to for a winter break! I want to visit them all, they all sound so beautiful!

    • There are so many incredible places for a Christmas break in the UK! It’s hard to choose where to start!

  12. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love all the pictures you shared! It’s exciting to see so many amazing places in the UK for Christmas!

    • Christmas is my favourite time of year too! My birthday is also in December so it is double the celebration! We usually enjoy a festive UK Christmas break for my birthday and it is great having so many lovely places to choose from!

  13. I LOVE it! We wanted to go to the UK for Christmas but there are no direct flights from where I live and the flights are already so pricy. Have you ever been to Liverpool for Christmas? That’s where my boyfriend used to live so we were thinking of going there. Maybe next year, we will plan better and get cheap air tickets ahead of time.

    • Christmas in the UK is certainly magical! What a shame you’re not able to make it this year but I’ll keep my fingers crossed you can get here next year instead. I haven’t explored Liverpool very much at all to be honest but I am keen to visit. I might see if I can squeeze in a festive trip before the end of the year!


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