Christmas breaks in the UK

Over the Christmas period, many Britons choose to flee domestic shores, lured by the promise of warmer climes. While the UK can’t compete with the Southern Hemisphere’s lashings of sunshine, it nevertheless has its own appeal. From the bright lights and vibrant atmosphere of Britain’s major cities to the snow-draped moors and mountains, there’s a lot to love in the UK at Christmas. The best way to soak up the full UK Christmas experience is by plotting a December break. Take a look at the HomeAway Holiday Rentals site to find a host of spacious and comfortable UK accommodation up and down the country. To make it easy to plan your winter holiday, we’ve compiled a guide to some of the country’s top destinations during the winter season. Just remember to wrap up warm!

Christmas in London


You would be hard pushed to find another city that wholeheartedly embraces the spirit of Christmas in as spectacular a fashion as London. The city centre becomes a hive of activity, from the famous lights of Oxford Street to the bustling ice rink by the Natural History Museum, by way of the vertiginous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. For the kids, a clutch of well-known celebs will be taking to the stage for panto season around the city, so why not catch a festive show in the West End? For all its glitz and glamour, one of the simplest pleasures in the Big Smoke at this time of year is a simple stroll along the South Bank of the Thames: indulge in the sweet and savoury delights of the myriad Christmas markets, and you'll be feel the festivities in no time.

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Christmas in Edinburgh


A city steeped in history and culture, and renowned for its world-class architecture, Edinburgh truly stands out as a winter destination. Visitors won’t want to miss Edinburgh Castle, sat proudly atop a volcanic rock, just a stone’s throw from the vibrant shops of Princes Street and the effervescent nightlife of George Street. If the young ones have outgrown Santa’s Grotto, they may enjoy partaking in one of the many ghost tours the spooky Old Town has to offer, including the chilling tunnels of Mary King’s Close under the historic Royal Mile. Weather permitting, it’s worth slipping into your walking shoes and taking in the breathtaking panoramic view of the city from the tip of Arthur’s Seat.

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Christmas in Cornwall


A favourite destination for summer holiday-makers due to its stunning coastlines and surf-friendly beaches, the southwest coast of England is still a fantastic place to take the family over the festive period. Children will love visiting St Nick’s base camp at the Eden Project in St Austell, while the adults will relish exploring the site’s sprawling indoor rainforest. To absorb the beautiful West Country scenery, why not take the 13-mile round trip on the quaint steam railway from Bodmin, a lasting testament to the region’s industrial past? Rent a cottage with a genuine hearth fire for that quintessential Christmas feel.

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Christmas in the Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands

Adults and children alike will love exploring the haunting snow-covered valleys of Glencoe and Fort William, areas so isolated and atmospheric that one can easily be transported back in time to an era when the clans roamed the glens. Those with a keen eye may fancy their chances at monster-hunting, but even if Nessie fails to make an appearance, the scenic drive along the shores of Loch Ness is always a spectacle to behold. Be sure to stop off at Urquhart Castle, with its ruined battlements and picture postcard setting on the shores of the loch.

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Christmas in the Peak District

Peak District

With some of the finest scenery in the whole of the British Isles, the beautiful Midlands National Park (the second busiest of its kind in the world, falling just short of Japan’s Mt Fuji) has plenty to offer over the Christmas period, particularly to keen walkers, climbers and cyclists. The opportunity to take in the views that inspired the likes of Jane Austen will tempt bookworms, while family attractions like Conkers Winter Wonderland in Swadlincote will put a smile on the kids’ faces. With no shortage of traditional Yuletide fixtures – including carol-singers, lights and Xmas concerts – in the neighbouring villages, it’ll feel like a traditional Christmas, just like the ones we used to love growing up.

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