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!
Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.
Edinburgh at Christmas
Not only does the city look magical in winter light, but there are also festive decorations up all over town. This might just be the most Christmassy place in the UK.
In the UK (or Great Britain and Northern Ireland), families often celebrate Christmas together, so they can watch each other open their presents! Most families have a Christmas Tree (or maybe even two!) in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping.Where is the most Christmassy place in the world? ›
Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland, has become synonymous with Christmas and Santa Claus. The town of Rovaniemi is known as "the official hometown of Santa Claus" and visitors to the charming Santa Claus Village can meet St.
- Whitby. If you're looking for places to go for Christmas in the UK, Whitby should be at the top of your list! ...
- Ludlow. Ludlow is a medieval market town with a bustling atmosphere all year round. ...
- Broadway. ...
- Bakewell. ...
- Ambleside. ...
- Conwy. ...
- Buxton. ...
The street that most locals usually avoid like the plague becomes an attractive place to head for one time of the year, when Christmas lights give Europe's busiest shopping street a heart-warming glow.
On Christmas Eve, children around the UK hang stockings (a type of large sock) on their fireplaces so that Saint Nicholas (otherwise known as Santa Claus or Father Christmas) can fill their stockings with presents, fruit, candies or coins.What is the most decorated Christmas street in the UK? ›
Regent Street has long been renowned for its spectacular light display during the festive season, as the first ever central London location to boast Christmas lights, which decorated the street in 1954.What is the UK most popular Christmas dinner? ›
Overall the traditional Christmas dinner classic, the turkey, is far and away the winner for most popular festive food. The turkey category usually sees an increase in demand of 284.7% in December, compared to September to November sales.How is Christmas different in UK USA? ›
Duration Americans do Christmas in one day – December 25. In the UK and Ireland, it often lasts for 10 days and can sometimes go on for nearly a month. Americans have Thanksgiving in late November but also have far shorter breaks from work. The UK now combines Christmas and New Year into one big, unofficial, holiday.What is Santa called in England? ›
English: Santa Claus / Father Christmas
In the UK, US and Canada, “Santa Claus” or “Father Christmas” is believed to travel around the world sporting a red suit on his sleigh, pulled by reindeer.
Brits say "Happy Christmas" instead of "Merry Christmas."
You might remember a scene from the first "Harry Potter" movie in which Ron says, "Happy Christmas, Harry!" While this may sound strange to an American, saying "Happy Christmas" is commonplace in the UK, as opposed to "Merry Christmas."
North Pole, Alaska
This town stays decked out for Christmas year-round—so if you're craving a little holiday spirit in July, you'll still find candy-cane posts, boughs of holly, and a Santa Claus house (with live reindeer!). But we think it looks its best at Christmas when snow turns it into a total winter wonderland.
Leavenworth, Washington is the most Christmassy town in America, and it's not surprising why. The town is designed to resemble a Bavarian village and goes big for Christmas, with 21 miles of Christmas lights decorating the town.Where is the most Christmassy place in Europe? ›
It's official – Berlin takes first prize as the most festive city to celebrate the holidays in Europe. This city is no stranger to Christmas markets, with the city's first Christmas market dating back to 1530.
It is the best time to visit England to enjoy all the major attractions in the city. One just need to use warm clothes. England experiences winter from December to February. Christmas is the time when the city becomes most lively with Christmas decorations and lights all over.Where is Christmas Street in the UK? ›
Dubbed London's “most festive street”, residents of Pinewood Close have been decorating their houses for Christmas since the 1960s, with the whole street getting involved in this annual tradition. To make things even more extravagant, No.Where in the UK is best for White Christmas? ›
- The Cairngorms National Park is the snowiest location in the UK, and is also the country's leading destination for snow sports. ...
- Discover the Cairngorms.
- The Orkneys are a group of islands that lies just off the mainland's north-east tip and, being so far north, receive their fair share of snow.
Every year, one road in Hampshire takes Christmas cheer to another level with every house on the block transformed into a winter wonderland. In total, seven houses in Byron Road, New Milton, band together to light up the street with dazzling fairy lights to raise money for the NHS.Where is the most Christmassy place in London? ›
- Leicester Square Christmas Market. ...
- Oxford Street. ...
- Regent's Street + Piccadilly Circus. ...
- Bond Street. ...
- Christmas at Covent Garden. ...
- Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree and Market. ...
- Harrods and Selfridges. ...
- Carnaby Street.
- Turkey. This one is probably one of the most popular dishes at Christmas because it is usually the main course! ...
- Roast Potatoes. There is nothing like scoop of properly roasted potatoes! ...
- Stuffing. ...
- Pigs in Blankets. ...
- Yorkshire Pudding. ...
- Gravy. ...
- Cranberry Sauce. ...
- Brussel Sprouts.
Christmas dinner in the United Kingdom usually consists of roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, pigs in blankets, bread sauce, redcurrant jelly, roast potatoes; vegetables (particularly Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots and parsnips) with dessert of Christmas pudding, mince pies (both served with brandy butter, custard ...What are 3 fun facts about Christmas in England? ›
- Christmas pudding was initially made with meat, not fruit. ...
- Mince pies were also originally made with meat, not fruit. ...
- Decorating Christmas trees began in England in the 16th century. ...
- The first recorded use of the word “Christmas” was in England in 1038.
- Leeds Christkindelmarkt.
- London Leicester Square Market.
- London South Bank.
- London Winter Wonderland.
- Manchester Christmas Market.
- Nottingham Christmas Market.
- Winchester Christmas Market.
- York Christmas Market.
Christmas in Edinburgh is known for the Christmas lights along the Royal Mile, and for its large funfair. As well as family rides, you'll find a Christmas Tree Maze and ice-skating rink. End your evening at the Dome to see the views over the top Christmas decorations, while sipping a tasty Christmas cocktail.What is the most famous London Christmas market? ›
TRAFALGAR SQUARE CHRISTMAS MARKET
And the most magical of all the yearly events is the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market.
It's just supposed to be a middle-of-the-day meal, so the Queen's speech, at 3pm, adapted to it rather than the other way round. In other parts of Europe, people prefer their Christmas meal on Christmas Eve and eat leftovers the next day.Does the UK have a white Christmas? ›
Although most places in the UK do tend to see some snow in the winter, it generally falls in January and February. However white Christmases do occur, on average every 6 years.Is Christmas big in UK? ›
Christmas in Britain, and most particularly in England, is the biggest party season of the year. Christmas Day itself, the start of the great holiday period, is the one day in the year on which the head of state - the Queen - speaks to the nation.Is Christmas a big deal in London? ›
Christmas is a magical time of year to be visiting London. There are spectacular decorations everywhere, and people are generally in a festive mood. Here are some of our favourite seasonal experiences, which are all great reasons to visit London during the Christmas holidays.What do British kids call Santa? ›
According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (19th edn, 2012), Father Christmas is considered to be "[a] British rather than a US name for Santa Claus, associating him specifically with Christmas.
🎅 Santa Claus emoji
It is commonly used to refer to Santa Claus specifically, or Christmas and the Christmas holiday season.
A 2011 children's book about the origin story of Mrs. Claus dubbed her Annalina, while in Jeff Guinn's 2006 book, The Autobiography of Santa Claus, Santa refers to his wife as Layla.Why do Brits not say Merry Christmas? ›
Does anyone say "Happy Christmas"? Yes! For starters, it's important to note that "Happy Christmas" hasn't faded completely—it's still widely used in England. This is believed to be because "happy" took on a higher class connotation than "merry," which was associated with the rowdiness of the lower classes.What does shagmas mean in the UK? ›
Since the word shag found in most of the characters and terms associated with Arkadia (e.g. Shagshag, Shagmir, the Shagma, etc.) has a meaning in British slang of sexual intercourse, new names were invented for these.Why don't British say Merry Christmas? ›
When King George V gave the first royal Christmas message in 1932, he wished his subjects a “Happy Christmas,” and Queen Elizabeth II continues to do so every year. Perhaps as a result of the royal preference, happy overtook merry in Britain during the 1930s, although merry is making a comeback there today.Where in the USA is a town called Christmas? ›
Noel, Missouri, in the Ozarks region, calls itself “Christmas City” and encourages people to send their holiday cards from there to get a special Noel postmark. In Christmas, Florida, where a large, fully decorated tree is up year-round, volunteer elves help answer letters from children to Santa.What town is known as Christmas Town USA? ›
McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town USA. You can purchase a copy at. MONA'S BOUTIQUE & GIFTS. 121 MAIN STREET, MCADENVILLE, N.C. 28101.What town always has a white Christmas? ›
Mammoth Lakes, California
Thanks to its high elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, the town of Mammoth Lakes sees long, snowy winters. Snowfall is particularly heavy from December to March, with over 45 inches falling on average in December alone.
North Pole, USA
Drive 15 minutes east from Alaska's state capital Fairbanks and you'll come across North Pole: a town with candy canes painted on the streets and festive parades throughout the summer months. It's also home to the Santa Claus House gift shop and the world's largest fibreglass Santa statue.
A Very Charming Christmas Town takes place in Solvang and it was filmed entirely in the small town. In real life, Solvang has a population of a little more than 6,000, making it a genuine small town.
About The Christmas Capital Of The World
Strasbourg is a city in eastern France and the capital of Alsace – a region that shares culture, history, and borders with Germany.
Rovaniemi is one of the best Christmas destinations Europe has, because it's home to so many popular Christmas traditions. The Santa Claus Village a few miles from the city is a great place to start. It's next to the main Santa Claus Post Office, which is where your letters requesting presents end up.Which European city is best during Christmas? ›
London, England. If you are looking for one of the best European cities to celebrate Christmas, then visit London. The Christmas lights and Christmas decorations are incredible. Also, the Christmas markets in Covent Garden or at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland are amazing.Which town in the UK is most likely to have a white Christmas? ›
Which city is most likely to see snow on Christmas Day in 2022? Not quite a shock that Glasgow is at the top of the list with odds 11-4 and Edinburgh coming in third with a score of 4-1. The real surprise is that Leeds has come in second place with a score of 7-2.Where is Christmas street in the UK? ›
Dubbed London's “most festive street”, residents of Pinewood Close have been decorating their houses for Christmas since the 1960s, with the whole street getting involved in this annual tradition. To make things even more extravagant, No.What is the most famous holiday in the UK? ›
Christmas is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the UK, and the festivities are not limited to one day.Where is it most likely to snow on Christmas UK? ›
Historically, north and east Scotland are the coldest regions on 25 December, with average minimum temperatures just below freezing in the period from 1960 to 2010. This is reflected in the frequency of snow cover there, which is also the highest in the UK – about six days in December over the same period.Where in the US is there always a white Christmas? ›
In the United States, there is often—but not always—snow on the ground at Christmas in the northern states, except in the Pacific Northwest, with Alaska the most likely to see snow on the ground at Christmas.Where can I go for a white Christmas UK? ›
However, with the increase in betting on where will see a white Christmas, the number of locations have increased and can now include sites such as Buckingham Palace, Belfast (Aldergrove Airport), Aberdeen (Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen FC), Edinburgh (Castle), Coronation Street in Manchester and the Millennium Stadium ...What is the famous Christmas street in London? ›
Perhaps the most famous place to view Christmas lights in London is Oxford Street.
When Are the Lights Turned On? This year, the lights turned on on the 2nd of November and will shine until the 8th of January 2023. New for 2022, the lights will not stay on all day but will turn on at 15:00 and off at 23:00.How long do Christmas lights stay up in London? ›
The switch gets flicked on most Christmas Lights in London by mid-November. They continue to light up the streets until around 6 January.What is the most popular Christmas village? ›
Calling itself the Best Christmas Town in America, Colonial Williamsburg particularly shines at Christmastime. Traditions abound, such as caroling by torchlight, a gun-salute display, and every home in the historic area lighting a candle in their windows—dating back to the days of the Founding Fathers.What is a popular Christmas decoration in England? ›
They decorate their homes with holly, ivy, and other evergreens and hang a mistletoe "kissing bough." Throughout the holidays, carolers go from house to house at twilight ringing handbells and singing Christmas songs. "The Holly and the Ivy" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" are English favorites.