From the best places to visit and festive markets to the best wintery activities, the UK in the winter is a truly magical place to be.
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There are so many wonderful activities to do in the winter, so there is never a dull moment while you are on your travels.
How about horse riding in Great Windsor Park, shooting in Stevenston, or hunting in Buckinghamshire. Maybe you would prefer a falconry experience at Chavenage House, curling at the Oxford Ice Rink, Clay shooting at the Wormsley Estate, or even archery at Broughton Castle.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed activity while you are away, how about a wreath-making workshop, winter well-being sessions and winter floral wrapping displays at locations such as Daylesford and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.
Although we have only listed a few of our favourite places, these activities can be done at a huge number of locations across the UK.
Our favourite places to enjoy the winter season:
There are hundreds of winter light displays across the UK, so here are some of our favourites
Winter is a great time to visit Windsor, especially Windsor Castle. During the winter months, Windsor Castle's Semi-State rooms are open for tours. These rooms are richly decorated and the spectacular private apartments are where The Queen hosts her guests.
Every Christmas Windsor Castle’s State Apartments are lavishly decorated for the festive season. Twinkling lights, garlands and highly decorated Christmas trees are put up. You can also enjoy Advent and Christmas services in St George’s Chapel, where The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were married.
Windsor holds a number of festive activities such as ice skating and visiting the Pantomime. Windsor also holds an incredible selection of fantastic food and drink locations with specialised seasonal menus.
Oxford is one of the oldest and most majestic cities in England, and is steeped in history and beautiful architecture. It's best to visit the spectacular medieval buildings on foot with an incredibly insightful Walking tour.
In Oxford you need to pass iconic structures such as the Bodleian Library and Christ Church Cathedral, which are made even more stunning when sprinkled with snow. For a bird's-eye view of Oxford, visit Carfax Tower in the centre of town before visiting the vast number of shops and restaurants lining the pretty High Street. Or climb the tower at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It boasts impressive city and countryside vistas.
Oxford also has a wonderful Christmas market which is only growing year on year. With a beautifully grand Christmas tree, lots of places to get hot chocolate, mulled wine and hotdogs. Oxford is a place you will not want to miss in the winter months.
The other University city in the UK is also an exceptional place to visit in the winter. Each year, the city hosts the Big Christmas Lights Switch On, which happens in mid-November. A couple of weeks later, visitors are presented with the Mill Road Winter Fair. Here, they are treated to festive music, tasty treats, and even dancing in the streets. Cambridge is home to the Winter Wonderland in Parker's Piece Park where you can show off your ice skating skills, take a ride on a giant Ferris wheel or slide down an ice slide! It also has incredible hot chocolate with marshmallows and a selection of cosy wintery food While here, you can show off your skating skills on the covered outdoor ice rink, ride a giant Ferris wheel, or slide down an ice slide.
Visit the vibrant city of Winchester. Known for its medieval cathedral, Winchester is a wonderfully beautiful location in Hampshire. Formally England’s capital city, Winchester is a city steeped in history, offering rich pickings for visitors looking to uncover Britain’s past. Winchester is home to the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market, which is one of the top 10 in Europe, meaning Winchester is a location you do not want to miss this festive season.
The Cotswolds always looks charming, no matter the time of year, but the Popular towns like Castle Combe, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, and Painswick look even more phenomenal without the hordes of tourists that bombard their tiny streets in spring and summer.
Visiting the Peak District in winter is simply magical. Explore fabulous frozen landscapes, soak up the festive sights and scents on a wander around a Christmas market, then warm up by the fire with a glass of mulled wine in a cosy traditional country pub or restaurant.
Scotland's capital is majestic in every season, but during the Winter months, it shines even more. With a huge range of restaurants, shops, cafes and activities as well as Edinburgh Castle on the top of the hill makes the perfect magical wintery location.
Visit before Christmas, and you'll be treated to adorable Christmas markets, extravagant lights, and festive music along the charming streets. Lace up a pair of rental skates and swirl your way around St. Andrew Square and Murrayfield Ice Rinks.
York hosts a wonderful festive Market. The award-winning, St. Nicholas Fair takes up most of the city's streets there is also an outdoor ice rink, carol singers, a giant lighted tree, and a vast market featuring 100 wooden chalets line Parliament Street and St. Sampson's Square. Be sure to wander around the historic Shambles, where you'll be transported to the 13th century.
A narrow street lined by medieval buildings made of timber, it is perfectly captivating and boasts a wide selection of eclectic shops and a Yuletide Village featuring local arts and crafts.
Christmas markets take place across the whole of the country, and you cannot come to the UK without visiting at least one of them. They really fill you with festive joy as you look around each stall at the handmade items, delicious food and the cosy hot chocolates and mulled wine.
Arguably one of England's most elegant and gorgeous cities, Bath thrives during the winter months. The main attraction is the over 2,000 year old award-Winning Roman Baths, which boasts the ancient hot springs and an incredible spa. During the winter months, the Roman Baths stay open for twilight hours and offer special three-course meals in the Pump Room Restaurant.
Although the Christmas market is sadly not happening this year, it has previously been voted one of the best in the country and featured over 170 chalets selling unique gifts and tasty treats set within ancient streets lined by Georgian buildings.
Every November Bath hosts the annual Bath Mozartfest which is a nine-day festival honoring the famed composer as well as his contemporaries like Beethoven and Schubert. There are over 16 concerts which are performed by world-class musicians in some of the town's most beautiful venues.
Bath Abbey is particularly enchanting when draped with snow. Head inside for some warmth, and admire the stained-glass windows (the King Edgar Window is incredibly intricate) and carved angels found throughout the building.
Stratford-upon-Avon’s award-winning Victorian Christmas Market, takes place in the town centre, it has over 100,000 visitors each year, the ever-popular event spreads festive cheer with masses of shopping, food and street entertainment.
There are around 300 stalls, complete with Victorian outfit-clad tradespeople, that will be selling a wide range of gifts and seasonal products, and over on Wood Street there’ll be a traditional funfair to keep the whole family entertained.
If you want a traditional Christmas fair set in a quintessential English market town, be sure to visit the Chipping Campden Christmas Market. This truly is a place where things are kept local and authentic in every way. The winter season here is fantastic, with its low key, small scale market which normally kicks off on the first Saturday of December. Get there early though, because you don’t want to miss the official lights switch-on.
It is a must attend event that marks the symbolic start of the yuletide period. Expect carol singers, local entertainment and a big Christmas tree extravaganza, as well as some fabulous stalls on launch day.
Each year Waddesdon has an exciting variety of high-quality, unique gifts, decorations, crafts and festive foods, with chalets that change from week to week. The spectacular fair at the front of the house is a Christmas shopping experience not to be missed. The fair will be set against the backdrop of the floodlit North Front of the Manor with its 20ft Christmas trees.
Soak up the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas with our hand-selected stalls all housed in charming wooden chalets, surrounded by twinkling trees.
Escape the high street bustle at the Blenheim Palace Christmas Market. Wander through the boutique chalets filled with an assortment of hand-picked, hand-made, irresistible gifts and tempting treats for foodies. With over 70 designer/maker craft traders who will be housed in wooden chalets in the Great Court, their distinctive range of artisan products will make perfect treats and gifts this Christmas.
Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria.
Expect a fine range of traditional, personalised gifts and products on its 80 stalls and get into the German spirit while feasting on schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein and weissbeer. Another huge draw is its bandstand location in Victoria Square and the programme of live music and carol singers that bring the party atmosphere to festive shopping.
Millennium Square in Leeds is transformed for the city’s annual Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market, with the addition of more than 40 traditionally decorated wooden chalets. Browse through hand-crafted jewellery and festive decorations, tuck into authentic German food and feel extra festive with a ride on the popular Christmas Carousel.
With its unique location in the shadow of the Winchester Cathedral, This Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best. There are more than 100 chalets, which are home to hand-picked exhibitors offering exclusive gifts that visitors won’t find on the high street – from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine.
Travel back in time for three days of festive fun at the Victorian Christmas Festival, held in the impressive surroundings of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This year marks 20 years of Christmas magic, with the festival home to 120 market stalls selling all sorts of festive treats, an array of Victorian street performers and the chance to meet Father Christmas.
Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place at the centre of Parliament Street, offering up an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts.
For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, fly down the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement you’ll be in need of a tipple or two, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for a glass of mulled wine and a cup of hot chestnuts.
With the sound of choirs singing Christmas carols, market traders offering unusual and handmade gifts, colourful decorations brightening wooden stalls and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the air - a visit to the Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical Christmas experience.
HYDE PARK LONDON
Winter Wonderland in the heart of the city, transforms one of the most well-known parks into a festive paradise. It is home to the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom, and an array of comedic acts at its own Comedy Club, along with the UK’s largest open air ice rink and plenty of bars and food stalls, there’s something for all the family.