Christmas is always a special time of the year, no matter where you happen to be. However, some towns do just happen to be a little more magical than others during the festive period. If you’re looking for an extra special UK spot to spend the festive season in, family, friends and any other loved ones in tow, then you’re in luck. These winter wonderlands are some of the most magical Christmas towns around, featuring plenty of twinkling lights, cosy pubs and an abundance of festive cheer.
(If you fancy a Christmas break, search for a Christmas Cottage)
Ten of the most magical Christmas towns in the UK
- Chipping Campden
Best for: A cosy countryside Christmas.
If you do one thing: Make sure you visit Castleton’s enchanting Christmas Tree Festival.
This pretty little village in the Peak District is reputed to be one of the most beautifully-situated spots in the whole of Derbyshire. What’s more, during the festive season, Castleton is made even more special by its annual Christmas Tree Festival. Wrap up warm and wander the village’s quaint streets, marvelling at the trees adorned with twinkling Christmas lights, glittering baubles, rustling tinsel and shining stars.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Enjoy incredible countryside views, heaps of rustic charm and plenty of walking opportunities with a stay at Mushroom Cottage during the Christmas period. This romantic barn conversion is located on the edge of Castleton and is just a stroll away from the village’s cosy pubs and picturesque Christmas light-filled streets.
Best for: A quaint Christmas break.
If you do one thing: Explore the local landscape with a picturesque Christmas stroll.
One of the Cotswolds’ most charming spots, Chipping Campden is well known for its elegant terraced High Street and traditional honey-coloured stone cottages. During the Christmas months, the town becomes even more enchanting with an annual Christmas Market taking place in the Town Hall and Market Square. Browse numerous pretty little market stalls, selling local produce and arts and crafts, before tucking into a hearty turkey bap, washed down with a steaming mug of mulled wine, of course!
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Enjoy a cosy Christmas break at this gorgeous holiday cottage, set in the heart of town. A Grade II listed Georgian character terraced house, Sherborne House is an atmospheric spot indeed. What’s more, the cottage is located opposite Greville House, the oldest house in the whole of Chipping Campden.
Best for: Good old fashioned Christmas cheer.
If you do one thing: Don your cape and bonnet, and head out to rub shoulders with locals at the fair.
Set amidst the wild and windswept beauty of the Yorkshire Dales, the sleepy little village of Grassington really comes alive at Christmas time. With the annual Dickensian Festival taking place on intermittent weekends throughout December, history lovers and Christmas-addicts alike will adore a trip to this twee town. The cobbled streets, quaint cafes and boutique shops are filled with shopkeepers and entertainers in Victorian dress, while the smell of mince pies, roasted chestnuts, steaming mugs of hot chocolate and spice-filled mulled wine waft through the breeze.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: With thick stone walls, exposed wood rafters and a traditional wood burning stove, you’ll feel as cosy as can be at Sycamore Cottage. Set on the edge of Grassington, this cottage has the best of both worlds: close to all the action, yet far enough away if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet.
Best for: A picture-perfect Christmas getaway.
If you do one thing: Hop aboard a festive cruise with Father Christmas on one of the traditional Keswick Launches.
Magical at any time of the year, the Lake District is particularly special during the winter months. The award-winning town of Keswick is definitely no exception to this rule; in fact, it’s probably one of the loveliest Christmas spots around. Christmas lights illuminate the pretty market streets, while the boutique shops, cosy cafes and quirky art galleries are all covered in a hearty dressing of tinsel. With a dazzling panorama of lakes and mountains acting as the town’s backdrop, this is a picturesque Christmas spot indeed.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Just five-minutes from the centre of town and sleeping up to eight people, the gorgeous York House is the perfect spot for large families or groups of friends.
Best for: Tucking into delicious festive food and drink.
If you do one thing: Sip on mulled wine and nibble on mince pies while enjoying live music at Chatsworth – a magnificent stately house just down the road from the town.
The home of the famous Bakewell tart, the lovely town of Bakewell is as sweet as a place can be. Christmas sees the town get that little bit sweeter, with an annual festive market taking place in the town centre. Countless bakery shelves groaning with fresh festive treats and pretty Christmas lights adorning the streets.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Have yourselves a very merry Christmas at Bakewell’s Hidden Treasure – a grand apartment right in the centre of town.
Best for: Cosy cream teas and a spot of Christmas shopping.
If you do one thing: Watch the nearby World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey illuminated by a spectacular array of bright and beautiful lights.
Situated nearby the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the twee little town of Harrogate has been popular with tourists since the dawn of time. Famous for its healing waters and sumptuous cream teas, Harrogate is also a lovely spot to spend Christmas in. During the winter season, the town hosts an array of Christmas fairs and markets. What’s more, with plenty of lovely boutique stores and specialist shops you’ll have plenty of opportunities for a spot of Christmas shopping while you’re there.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Just a five minute walk away from the town centre, 9 Franklin Road is a stylish townhouse with every comfort you need to make your Christmas stay truly special.
Best for: A very literary Christmas.
If you do one thing: Catch a winter performance of one of the Bard’s masterpieces by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Head to the Bard’s hometown this Christmas for a holiday filled with festive fun. Celebrate Christmas at one of Shakespeare’s family homes, visit Hall’s Croft Christmas Grotto and spend some quality time with Santa at the Magic Alley. What’s more, the town’s award-winning Victorian Christmas Market is considered to be one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Seeing as you’ve decided to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, you may as well stay at 25 Shakespeare Street. Situated in the centre of town and sleeping up to four people, this bright and stylish holiday cottage is a cosy Christmas hideout.
Best for: Festive family fun and coastal Christmas strolls.
If you do one thing: Set off on a walk along the coast to admire Dover’s famous White Cliffs in all their wintery glory.
Head to the White Cliffs of Dover this year for the town’s annual Christmas ICE-travaganza. This fabulous winter wonderland features an ice rink, Christmas market and Santa’s grotto, making it perfect for a fun-filled family Christmas. Once you’re done ice skating, why not warm up with a hot chocolate or two in the comfort of your cosy holiday cottage?
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Just a short walk away from the lovely village of St Margarets and it’s beautiful beach, The Hayloft is a snug holiday cottage, perfect for a group of four. What’s more, the on-site indoor heated swimming pool will ensure that everyone is kept happy and entertained this Christmas, even if the weather is grotty.
Best for: An enchanting Christmas in a historical setting.
If you do one thing: The magical Christmas tree festival at St Chad’s church.
Christmas in Shrewsbury is a special time indeed. The cobblestone streets of this medieval town come alive with fairy lights, lantern parades and groups of carol singers. As well as a jam-packed schedule of Christmas events, the town is also brimming with cosy cafes, traditional pubs and plenty of lovely shops – the perfect setting for a lazy winter’s afternoon.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Surrounded by the countryside, The Garden Room is the perfect rural retreat à deux this Christmas. This timber-framed studio apartment is set on the outskirts of the quaint village of Dorrington and is less than a 20-minute drive away from Shrewsbury.
Best for: A book-filled Christmas.
If you do one thing: Visit during the Hay Festival Winter Weekend for the Christmas Fair and Artisan Market.
If you’d like to continue the literary theme this Christmas, then book yourself in for a stay in the picture-perfect town of Hay-on-Wye. Known as the ‘Book Town of Wales’, this adorable little spot is even more special at Christmas time. Browse the cosy book stores, sip on a decadent hot chocolate at Shepherd’s Parlour and embark on a winter walk up the Hay Bluff. This is truly what Christmas dreams are made of.
Your cosy Christmas cottage: Nestled amidst 50 acres of charming woodland, you’ll have a peaceful and picturesque Christmas at Woodlands Retreat. With a wood-burning stove, rug-strewn floors and comfy sofas, this snug log cabin is the perfect romantic hideaway for two.