Last Updated: November 26, 2021
For many, Christmas is a time of wonder, excitement, new opportunities, and brilliant decorations. While most create this winter wonderland at home, some choose to travel to far-off places that offer such marvels. You can find a myriad of fantastic places to go at Christmas in the UK, but we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best ones.
Keep reading to learn more about them!
Top 10 Christmassy Places to Visit in the UK
In 2019, over 50% of Brits said they were spending Christmas at home, which was an foreseeable change due to the pandemic. Regardless of which of the following enchanting destinations you choose for your festive escapade, you’ll definitely have a blast.
We begin our list with arguably the best place to spend Christmas in the UK: Somerset’s Bath—the city with one of the UK’s best Christmas markets. Unfortunately, the physical Bath Christmas market is not proceeding as planned in 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However, visitors can still enjoy other festive activities to get in the Christmas mood despite the market’s cancellation. For example, the city’s iconic light trail will take you through Bath’s most symbolic landmarks. The world-renowned Museum of the Moon will also make an appearance in the Bath Abbey for a most wonderful experience.
From wandering among Abbey Quarter’s artisan stalls to skating, playing Christmassy golf, or enjoying a warm beverage in the Alpine Lodge, Bath offers you one of the best Christmas trips in the UK. Of course, when you grow tired and hungry, you can always get some festive treats and rest while enjoying the city-wide entertainment programme.
Edinburgh’s Christmas is set to return in full splendour in 2021. But why is Scotland’s capital one of the best places in the UK for Christmas fun? Well, aside from its Christmas market that will leave you gasping in wonder, this city offers many holiday events and attractions for festive fun without age restrictions.
The entirety of the city will be decorated in the most magnificent decorations that will enhance its Christmas-fueled activities like the Tree Maze, the ice skating rink, the Star Flyer, the Waltzers and much more! Edinburgh is even one of the best places to stay at Christmas with children with family-friendly attractions such as the Santa Land and Santa’s Grotto.
Note that the Edinburgh festive season lasts for six weeks until 4th January 2022, so you’ll have plenty of time to see all of it.
York, one of the best Christmas towns in the UK, is putting the most cheerful holiday festival year after year. From chocolate making workshops to the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival, this particular Christmas destination lights up the festive cheer like no other place in the UK.
To fully experience York’s Christmas, you first have to visit the St. Nicholas Fair—the city’s immensely popular holiday market. Then, after enjoying a joyful stroll among its lovely chalets, you can partake in any number of delicious foods and warm drinks while considering which engaging activity to try out next.
Whether you decide to take your family to Narnia or visit a romantic candlelit concert with your significant other, York allows you to experience a fabulous Christmas break in the UK. In case you have some more time to spare, you can choose from a plethora of other merry activities, including visits to several exhibitions, festivals, and musical events.
As the country’s capital, London has a reputation to uphold as one of most Christmassy places to visit in the UK. Even outside of the holiday season, London is one of the world’s most visited cities, so it comes as no shock that it’s the Mecca of Christmas destinations.
To begin with, you must visit Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland—one of the biggest and most varied Christmas markets in the country. To fully embrace its festive spirit, browse through sits charming chalets, skate to live music, or gasp at the acrobatic feats of its magnificent circus.
Even if you can easily spend a whole day in Hyde Park, you should still see more of what London has to offer since it’s one of the best places to go for Christmas in England. While walking the city’s sparkling streets, you’ll discover anything from Warner Bros’ Hogwarts studio to The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House.
What better place to do your Christmas shopping too than London—arguably the most popular shopping destination in the world. You would need a whole day just to visit all the shopping hotspots. So if you decide to visit London for Christmas, make sure you find enough time to explore all the wonders it hides.
The Highlands, Scotland
How does Christmas look like in Scotland’s magical Highlands? Well, Nessie spends all her Christmases there, so it should be fantastic, right? Well, apart from the cheery mythical monsters, the Highlands epitomise cosy winter nights under a thick blanket with a warm drink in your hand. With their snow-capped tops, the Highlands are by far one of the best Christmas getaways in the UK.
These historic mountains are a naturally occurring winter wonderland, with breathtakingly picturesque sceneries, the island’s freshest air, and excellent hotels that offer you the time of your life. There, you can tour the region’s famous trails, visit Loch Ness, knit by cosy fireplaces, and try out as many whiskies as you can!
If you need a break from this outdoors Christmas in Britain, you can always visit Inverness—the Highlands’ capital, which is marvellously decorated and full of wonders during Christmastime.
Why are we adding this small Cornish fishing port to our list of the best places to visit in the UK at Christmas? Well, this seaside village is the home to one of the country’s most spectacular Christmas lights displays.
Mousehole’s astonishing light show has been beautifying its harbour with an array of illuminated shapes and colours every Christmas since 1963. The lights are switched on as soon as December comes, and the installation is open to visitors until early January.
After 2020’s cancellation due to pandemic-induced financial difficulties, Mousehole is bringing back its famed Christmas lights display in full splendour. However, the organisers will gradually light up the displays instead of holding an official switch-on ceremony to avoid large crowd congregations.
Once the initial amazement of this volunteer installation wears off, you can begin enjoying a more romantic and quieter Christmas in this idyllic seaport. Grab a tasty bite from its numerous food stalls, enjoy the village choir, or walk the luminous quayside. Despite being one of the cheap Christmas destinations in the UK, Mousehole still has plenty to offer.
If you are wondering where to spend Christmas in the UK in 2021, how about Oxford? Surely a city with hundreds of years of colourful history knows how to organise a festive and magic-filled holiday.
Under its spire-punctured sky, Oxford welcomes you amid beautiful university buildings, fantastic shops, and festive attractions, all decorated with the most brilliant Christmas lights. You can also do some shopping at the Clarendon Centre and Westgate Oxford or explore some indie shops at the Covered Market.
Once you get something incredible for your loved ones, visit the city’s world-class museums and attractions, such as the Story Museum or the Oxford Castle and Prison, or even grab a bite to eat and wash it down with a hot wintry drink.
Birmingham, West Midlands
Suppose you are still looking for places to visit in the UK in December. In that case, Birmingham is worth considering by virtue of its fantastic Christmas market, as well as the plethora of other events and attractions.
Once you begin to unwrap 2021’s Christmas in Birmingham, you’ll be astounded by its variety of pantomime productions, trails, ice rinks, grottos, displays, shops, and much more. For instance, you can attend a lovely Christmas concert at Symphony Hall or visit the Enchanted Gardens. Then, when you grow hungry, you can stop for festive afternoon tea at The Edgbaston or visit Marco Pierre’s skyline restaurant on the top of The Cube building.
If you’re looking to do some shopping as the perfect ending to a day full of wonders, explore the famous Bullring & Grand Central mall or maybe step into the famed Jewellery Quarter. As you see, Birmingham has a bit for everyone, making it one of the best Christmas trips in the UK.
Clovelly, North Devon
Speaking of the best Christmas holiday ideas in the UK, have you looked at Clovelly?
This scenic fishing village in North Devon is one of the most charming places you could visit in the UK, especially during Christmas! This unique little UK corner has always been privately owned (even by the Queen), which preserved its magical atmosphere.
Located on a 400-foot cliff, Clovelly’s steep cobbled streets run through flower-covered cottages and picturesque little corners that have lured poets and artists for centuries. This bewitching hamlet welcomes visitors throughout the year, but it truly shines (figuratively and literally) during Christmastime as the most enchanting place for a Christmas break in the UK.
The winter holidays are a fairytale come true in Clovelly. After the grand switch-on in the afternoon, a local brass band paves the way for a choir-led procession down its cobbled streets to the harbour. There, visitors will enjoy a feast with a hog roast, hot dogs, and other Christmassy delights. The spectacle is finally topped off with a carol service and fireworks.
Last but not least, enter Nottingham: full of wonder, artisan boutiques, luminous events, warm and cosy pubs, and bustling markets—a recipe for one of the best Christmas towns in the UK.
For 2021’s winter holidays, the city council decided to put up a 60-foot Christmas tree as the focal point of the city’s joyful events. Nottingham is also placing an enormous observation wheel, so visitors gaze into the shimmering lights from a 33 m height.
If you’re not one for heights, enjoy a warm beverage in the new Après Ski themed pop-up bar or ride the colourful carousel in the main square. You can even take your family to the Christmas village to have festive fun under its glass igloos.
Make sure to find the time to thoroughly explore the centre’s Christmas market and taste all the delicious wintry treats found within.
Before You Pack Your Suitcase
Enjoying a very merry time with your friends and family is the essence of Christmas. By travelling somewhere more festive, you can make that experience even more magical. We hope our list of the best places to go at Christmas in the UK has inspired you to pack your winter clothes and have a jolly good time in another cosy UK corner!