There’s something undeniably charming about winter. Even with the commercialism and consumer stampedes that inevitably make the high street during this time a, shall we say, bit of a chore. Because when all’s said and done, the run in to Christmas is a period when the festive spirit takes over and time spent with loved ones becomes central. So when the dreaded shopping is over and done with, what better way to celebrate the season than with a romantic getaway?
It goes without saying that Paris is the epitome of the traditional romantic break, and Christmastime is no exception. This is, after all, the City of Love. The trees along the Champs-Élysées are resplendent in thousands of twinkling lights, cascading towards the giant Ferris wheel at Place la Concorde. And for a magical couples activity, don’t miss the chance to strap on your skates at the specially erected rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.
The English capital is hardly famed for its romantic qualities – a Richard Curtis film or two aside – but as winter descends, there’s an unmistakably Dickensian feel in the air on these famous old streets. From the dazzling lights of Oxford Street to the gigantic ice rink at the Natural History Museum, the entire city embraces the spirit of the season like no other. The best way to soak up the atmosphere is on foot, perhaps strolling hand-in-hand along the south bank of the Thames to sample the staggeringly diverse array of foods on offer at the Christmas markets.
New York City
Yes, it’s loud. Yes, it can be brash. And yes, it will certainly be busy. That said, New York is still among the most perfect places to spend a romantic getaway over the holiday period. Indulge in a mulled wine or two in the shadow of the colossal Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, or perhaps take a stroll through the transformed winter wonderland that is Central Park. For sheer grandiosity, scope out the mesmeric Santaland attraction at Macy’s.
In a city famed for its architecture and as a cultural hub, one may not expect much in the way of earthy festive cheer; but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You and your partner can escape the bitter winter chill while still basking in your wondrous surroundings with a dip in the Széchenyi Bath. Better still, take a ride on one of the fairy light-strung trams that weave through the city before stocking up at the Christmas fairs.
If you’d rather trade the biting cold for a more exotic romantic getaway, there’s nowhere more suited than St Lucia. As a largely Christian community, the islanders embrace the holiday feverishly, with the much- anticipated Festival of Lights among the most renowned celebrations. All of this, with some of the most naturally breathtaking beaches and agreeable climates in the world, makes for a truly unique romantic break.