Your Ultimate Guide to The Best Festive Breaks This Winter

You guys already know that at House of Coco we are avid travellers, always hunting out the new, cool, quirky places to visit. You also know that we LOVE Christmas (sorry to those that are offended by our use of the C word in November!). So it was obvious to us to combine our two favourite things to bring you this : The House of Coco Ultimate Guide to your festive break!

We have scoured the WORLD to find you the best deals, steals and destinations to visit to get you in the festive mood and to make your Christmas that little bit more special. So get your Christmas jumper on, pour a glass of mulled wine and get ready to devour our list of must visit places in December.

The Isle of Erika

The Isle of Eriska is a picturesque 300 acre private island off the West Coast Highlands of Scotland with a 5 star hotel, Michelin starred restaurant and a spa. The island is a haven of tranquility just a two hour drive from Glasgow and two and a half hours from Edinburgh. This year Eriska have two luxurious breaks on offer for Christmas and New Year, filled with optional events and activities that are guaranteed to make your festive wishes come true. Highlights of the packages include The Highland Games, a Christmas black tie dinner, fireworks, golf tournaments and traditional Hogmanay celebrations.

The Christmas Package offers a lavish yet relaxed opportunity to experience Christmas on a heavenly private island with friends and family; and absolutely no time taken up worrying about the cooking or clearing up. Guests will be well and truly taken care of with Eriska’s second to none hospitality, and spoilt with delicious light lunches in the daytime and dinner cooked every evening by Michelin starred chef Ross Stovold. On Christmas Day there is the option of a carol service at a local church, plenty of smoked salmon and Christmas cake and a glamorous Christmas Black Tie Dinner in the evening.

The incredible food, wildlife, second to none service and serene location all help to give Eriska a magical feel that truly is unrivalled and make it the idyllic place to spend Christmas.

Magnetic North Travel 

The brand new Christmas package with Magnetic North Travel will see guests snowmobile deep into the arctic silence to reach the iconic Isfjord Radio hotel in Spitsbergen.  On the edge of the Polar Circle at 78° North, the Isfjord Radio wilderness hotel serves as the stylish base for the stay. Built in 1933, the historic building was positioned at the top of the world to help navigate ships, but today is the perfect point from which to experience wonders of the world close to the North Pole.

Getting to Isfjord Radio on Spitsbergen is an adventure in itself; travelling across the snow covered landscape, over glaciers and along fjords on snowmobile is the only way to reach this hideaway far from civilisation. Once there, guests can enjoy a variety of arctic activities, from snowshoeing, tobogganing, exploring the remote Russian mining town of Barentsburg on snowmobile (optional extra), trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic Polar Bear, and hunting out the Northern Lights. With the long Polar night casting a twilight glow over the snow throughout much of the day, Isfjord’s solitude means that this spot is of the best places in the world to witness nature’s own version of Christmas tree lights.

After building up an appetite in the great space outdoors, as with Scandinavian tradition, the main Christmas meal will be served on Christmas Eve, a chance for guests to get dressed in their festive finest and indulge in a five-course feast of contemporary Norwegian cuisine.

Magnetic North Travel is offering the seven day Christmas Adventure in Spitsbergen from £2810 per adult and £1795 per child, departing 21st December. The price includes: return flights from London, an overnight stop in Oslo (including breakfast), two nights’ accommodation at Basecamp Trapper’s Hotel (including breakfast), four nights’ accommodation and all meals at Isfjord Radio, activities, equipment and guidance.Magnetic North Travel Ltd

To book a four night Christmas stay at Eriska, prices start at £1,008 per person based on two people sharing and the five night Hogmanay break starts at £1,220 per person.  (www.magneticnorthtravel.com 0845 5195 242).


Kristiania, Lech


Skiing in a Winter Wonderland – The perfect Christmas experience at the Kristiania, Lech

Lech in Austria is a picture perfect, chocolate box ski resort, with oodles of natural Alpine charm and festive fun beyond the slopes for those wanting that perfect white Christmas experience. More akin to a luxurious home than a hotel, guests staying at The Kristania, Lech can take advantage of a whole host of Christmas themed frolics, from taking sleigh rides through the winter landscape to snowy picnics, toboggan runs, ice skating and deer watching.

Every area of the hotel comes alive as a winter wonderland, with Christmas trees inside and out and decorations festooned wherever there’s a spare space. From  giant baubles to polar bears adorning the Christmas tree – it’s the perfect kitsch take on Christmas, put together by the truly creative owner Gertrud Schneider, who herself grew up enjoying Christmas at the hotel, when run by her father, former Olympic downhill champion Othmar Schneider. Come Christmas Eve (when Christmas is celebrated in Austria), families can expect home baked Christmas biscuits, chocolates, Gingerbread Houses and even a visit from Santa, as well as impromptu carol singing and celebrations for all in the bar, which can lay claim to the largest selection of Schnapps in the Alps. Guaranteed to give you some Christmas cheer…

One-night at the Kristiania, Lech costs from €350 per room. This includes bottle of Champagne in room, complimentary mini-bar, wifi and snow shuttle van as well as the services of a ski concierge. Valid for minimum four-night stays. www.kristiania.at

 

Christmas at The Nare
The Nare is a privately owned elegant country house hotel set on Cornwall’s pretty Roseland Peninsula.  Sitting in its own  grounds, overlooking a beach with perfect sea views, here guests will find peace and relaxation in elegant and luxurious surroundings. As well as beautifully decorated rooms and stunning sea views, The Nare has everything you need for a perfect Christmas break.
The build-up to Christmas at The Nare will see a traditional festive luncheon, carols in the cocktail lounge, candlelit dinners and hot punch and mince pies following the midnight church service at Veryan Parish Church on Christmas eve.  With the essential ingredients of log fires crackling in the grates, Cornish Afternoon cream teas with Chef’s special Christmas cake and home-made mince pies every day, wonderful seafood buffets, and formal dinner dances in the evenings, not forgetting The Nare’s special brand of hospitality, this is the place to be this year.
The full Christmas 4/5-night break is available between 23rd – 27th December.
For the full programme of events and tariffs please click here  or to book click here
South Meadows Caravan Park


Located in the picturesque historic village of Belford in Northumberland, South Meadows Caravan Park is a 40-acre site surrounded by woodlands.  It is no stranger to snow at Christmas with Northumberland being one of the snowiest counties in the UK.  Be sure not to become ‘Frosty the snowman’ by staying in the site’s two-bedroom Scandinavian lodge.  It offers accommodation for up to four people in two ensuite bedrooms.The lodge also comes with a large kitchen with an oven, hob, dishwasher, fridge/freezer, washing machine and microwave. The living area features a log-effect fire, TV, DVD, music centre and underfloor heating. The lodge also offers its own private outdoor area complete with parking, garden and outdoor furniture.  A minimum seven-night stay applies with a week over Christmas costing £650.

 

Cunard Line – Christmas Market

Cunard has carried guests across the great oceans and to the far points of the globe in unparalleled style aboard the world famous Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. The most glamorous names of yesterday and today have made champagne toasts in her salons, waltzed the night away in Cunard’s grand ballrooms, savoured grand feasts of the finest flavours in her dining rooms, and whiled away hours immersed in fascinating conversation on decks.

Zeebrugge is your gateway to Brussels, Bruges and Ghent. The old capital of the Duchy of Burgundy, Brussels is famed for its fine cuisine and is also capital of the European Union. Bruges and Ghent are perhaps the best-preserved cities in Northern Europe. Bruges is a fairy-tale city where medieval edifices, proud bridges and overhanging trees admire their beautiful reflections in glassy canals. Around its waterways quaint cobbled streets lead you to markets, museums and churches.

Depart Southampton on December 12 on board Cunard Line, Queen Mary 2, for a three night cruise calling at Zeebrugge (Brussels),This package costs from £359 per person based on two adults sharing an inside cabin and full board cruise.

For more information or to book visit www.jetlinecruise.com or call 0800 082 2186

The Hall, Northumberland


5* Grade II listed mansion in its own grounds, which include woodland, gardens and boating lake. Boasts a wealth of stunning features including ornate ceilings, hand-carved oak staircases, log fires and games room with full-size snooker table. The dining room seats 24 and has chandeliers, an Italian marble fireplace and painted panelling. The owner can arrange for catering staff for an extra cost- ideal for a luxury Christmas dinner!See it here
5 nights from 22nd December for £5,305.00.

 

Marlin Apartments – London


It’s easy to see why so many of us travel to experience the magic of London at Christmastime each year. Favourites include the famous outdoor ice skating rinks, the enchanting Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, Christmas shopping at London’s premier shopping destinations, and authentic Christmas markets.

Marlin Apartments is a four-star serviced apartment provider in the capital, with six locations to choose from nearby London’s most popular leisure destinations. They are the smarter accommodation choice compared to hotels with almost three times the space of the typical London hotel room.

Their apartments can be booked for overnight stays or longer, and each apartment has a fully-equipped kitchen as well as a living area plus free Wi-Fi. With 1 and 2 bedroom apartments ideal for couples and families, and our new 3 bedroom apartments perfect for groups (sleeping up to seven), you’ll only ever need to book one apartment with Marlin.

Their Canary Wharf property is the perfect base for your Christmas getaway, situated just a few minutes’ walk from Canary Wharf shopping centre as well as an annual outdoor ice skating rink. It is also moments from Greenwich Park, and the nearby tube station provides direct access to the sights of central London in less than 15 minutes.

What’s more, book now and receive up to a 15% discount on your stay when booking our advanced purchase rates (rates from around £100 per night).

Visit Marlin Apartments to book our advanced purchase rates and view our other current special offers.

Simply Sweden’s Icehotel-Bjorkliden

ICEHOTEL is situated in the picturesque village of Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland, on the shores of the River Torne, which flows freely through the unspoiled wilderness. As winter approaches every Autumn the pure clear water and gentle movement creates

crystal clear ice up to 1 metre thick. This unique building material is the source of ICEHOTEL, ICEchurch and the Absolute ICEbar. In fact the entire ICEHOTEL is on loan from the mighty river Torne.

ICE HOTEL is always full of surprises and 2014/15 will be no different. The spectacular rooms of ice, snow and snice (snow and ice!) never fail to amaze and here at Simply Sweden we give you the unique opportunity to tailor make your perfect ICEHOTEL holiday in Swedish Lapland.

Simply Sweden’s Icehotel-Bjorkliden holiday costs from £1,650pp, based on two sharing, from 22-26 December, including return flights from the UK, transfers, three nights’ full board in Björkliden and one night’s b&b in an Artsuite at the Icehotel, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. To book, visit www.simplynorthernlights.co.uk or call 01427 700115. For more details on the holiday, follow the link above. 

 

Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park is unspoilt, country house living at its very best. One of the finest luxury hotels that England has to offer – with Gourmet Restaurant, Spa, Brasserie, Equestrian Centre and Cookery School – Lucknam Park is the ideal place to relax away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.  This magnificent Palladian mansion, with its spectacular setting, crackling log fires, luxurious rooms and suites, the finest of gourmet cuisine and acclaimed spa is surely the quintessentially perfect place to spend this magical season.
Christmas Escape

  • Three nights half board accommodation
  • Christmas Eve champagne reception with carol singing, followed by dinner & midnight mass
  • Father Christmas delivers gifts from a Victorian horse-drawn carriage on Christmas morn
  • Traditional Christmas lunch
  • Trip to see Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Bath or a Treasure Hunt
  • Black tie dinner & dancing on Boxing Day

Christmas at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa (T. 01225 742 777 / www.lucknampark.co.uk) costs from £458 per person per night based on 2 adults sharing a standard room on a half board basis (excluding drinks) and above activities. Children under 12, cost from £95.00 per night b&b when sharing a deluxe room with parents. Christmas bookings are subject to a minimum 3 night stay.

 

Isfjord Radio Hotel

The brand new Christmas package with Magnetic North Travel will see guests snowmobile deep into the arctic silence to reach the iconic Isfjord Radio hotel in Spitsbergen.  On the edge of the Polar Circle at 78° North, the Isfjord Radio wilderness hotel serves as the stylish base for the stay. Built in 1933, the historic building was positioned at the top of the world to help navigate ships, but today is the perfect point from which to experience wonders of the world close to the North Pole.

Getting to Isfjord Radio on Spitsbergen is an adventure in itself; travelling across the snow covered landscape, over glaciers and along fjords on snowmobile is the only way to reach this hideaway far from civilisation. Once there, guests can enjoy a variety of arctic activities, from snowshoeing, tobogganing, exploring the remote Russian mining town of Barentsburg on snowmobile (optional extra), trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic Polar Bear, and hunting out the Northern Lights. With the long Polar night casting a twilight glow over the snow throughout much of the day, Isfjord’s solitude means that this spot is of the best places in the world to witness nature’s own version of Christmas tree lights.

After building up an appetite in the great space outdoors, as with Scandinavian tradition, the main Christmas meal will be served on Christmas Eve, a chance for guests to get dressed in their festive finest and indulge in a five-course feast of contemporary Norwegian cuisine.

Magnetic North Travel is offering the seven day Christmas Adventure in Spitsbergen from £2810 per adult and £1795 per child, departing 21stDecember. The price includes: return flights from London, an overnight stop in Oslo (including breakfast), two nights’ accommodation at Basecamp Trapper’s Hotel (including breakfast), four nights’ accommodation and all meals at Isfjord Radio, activities, equipment and guidance. Magnetic North Travel Ltd (www.magneticnorthtravel.com 0845 5195 242).

 

South and South East of England 

Enter the magical world of narnia, swing in to the festive season Great Gatsby style or expect great things at a Victorian Christmas with a Dickensian twist

As the nights draw in the picturesque towns and cities of the South and South East of England are transformed in to winter wonderlands, coming alive with twinkling lights, festive entertainment and delicious, seasonal aromas.   Discover the magic of Christmas by visiting the region’s enchanting destinations, many of which wholeheartedly embrace the festive spirit with Christmas markets, Victorian scenes, grottos, ice rinks and spectacular seasonal events.

We recommend :

A Dazzling Christmas

The “Gardens of Light” will once again brighten up the dark winter nights in Bournemouth leading you on a magical mystery tour though an alternative Bournemouth. (28 Nov – 4 Jan).   The award winning, free of charge exhibition features an ice rink, Santa’s Grotto and innovative, interactive light pods all nestled within the beautiful, Grade II listed Lower Gardens of Bournemouth.

Whether you’re in search of a wintery wonderland, last minute gift shopping, stunning settings or lashings of mulled wine, a festive break in the South and South East guarantees bucketloads of Christmas cheer.

 

Leeds : Christkindelmarkt

Christkindelmarkt, Leeds is one of the most established German Christmas Markets in the UK, with traditional wooden stalls, festive greenery, Christmas carousel ride and twinkling colourful lights all creating a unique continental festive atmosphere in the heart of Leeds city centre.

Set in the stylish civic setting of the award winning Millennium Square, Christkindelmarkt attracts many hundred thousands of visitors to Leeds each year and forms an essential part of the city’s annual events programme.

With its market consisting of over 40 wooden chalet stalls, featuring authentic German traders providing a wide range of seasonal gift ideas for everyone including; handcrafted toys, jewellery, Christmas cards and festive decorations, speciality foods and traditional German delicacies such as gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, goulash, soups, schnitzels, stollen, gingerbread and candied fruits its a must visit UK Christmas destination to get you into the festive spirit this season.

Paris Christmas Markets with SuperBreak

In addition to the many chic Parisian shopping destinations, why not visit one of the magical Christmas markets?  Sample the local cuisine as the famous Maison de l’Alsace brasserie or pick up the perfect gift at one of the many stalls selling traditional produce and arts and crafts.

From: £170 per person based on two nights at the 3* Avalon Hotel Gare du Nord, including continental breakfast, return Eurostar from London St Pancras & a free Seine river cruise. Valid for arrival on the 10th December 2014.

 

Portmeirion Village : Wales 

Enjoy a fantastic three day festive package and celebrate Christmas at Portmeirion. Arrive at leisure on the 24 December to a festive afternoon tea served in the Hotel lounge, with a children’s choir singing carols. In the evening return to the Hotel lounge for pre-dinner drinks, before sitting down to enjoy a meal in the restaurant.

After breakfast on Christmas day, guests are free to wander and explore the gardens and village and maybe venture to the Gwyllt, then join the hotel for a glass of Champagne before Christmas lunch in the dining room. The celebrations continue on Boxing Day with a Black Tie dinner and a jazz band

Prices for the Christmas Package start from £999.00 for 2 people sharing a village double or twin room.

 www.portmeirion-village.com
The Old Quay House Hotel

The hotel has 11 luxury rooms and is located on the water’s edge in Fowey. The whitewashed Victorian building was originally built as a refuge for seamen, and can be found nestled amongst the town’s restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries.

For those looking for a relaxing time over the festive period, the hotel has confirmed its Christmas offer. The hotel’s Christmas package includes two nights’ accommodation with breakfast and Christmas Day lunch. Room rates start from £500 based on two people sharing a classic room, arriving on 24th December, for a minimum two night stay.

Guests looking for a one night stay, or a longer break between 26th December and the new year are able to book accommodation based on the hotel’s standard tariff, with classic rooms priced at £190 per room, per night, based on two people sharing.

Owner Jane Carson says, “Many of our regular guests see us as their home away from home. At The Old Quay House we aim to take the stress out of the festivities and offer a relaxing, tinsel-free environment where people can recharge their batteries.”

theoldquayhouse.com

 

Sopwell House, St Albans, Hertfordshire 

Sopwell House, the beautiful Georgian country retreat in St. Albans, has been planning ahead to the festive season to ensure guests are offered excellent value for money packages this Christmas. Whether you’re booking for yourself and loved ones, or organising a big family gathering, you won’t want to miss the superb packages that we are offering. The parties, accommodation, cuisine, facilities and more – they’ve brought it all together to make this a Christmas season to remember!

Guests can choose two or three night packages to celebrate Christmas and New Year in style and will be welcomed with Sherry and mince pies upon arrival on Christmas Eve. Evening celebrations commence with Christmas carols in the reception area with canapés and drinks, followed by a three course Christmas Eve dinner. If you’re still in the party spirit, end the evening dancing away to the sounds of the resident DJ or attend Midnight mass at St Albans Cathedral; you will be greeted with a warming mug of hot chocolate or egg-nog on return.

On Christmas day, Sopwell House’s very own Father Christmas will bring presents for all children and a resident pianist will play traditional Christmas music to add to the already festive atmosphere. For lunch, a delicious Mediterranean buffet will be served followed by a quiz / bingo or virtual horse racing in the afternoon. As to not stray from tradition, you can still watch Her Majesty The Queen’s traditional Christmas broadcast, this time with Christmas cake and coffee helping you to relax before the big event; dinner!

Two night package: Arriving 24th December – £469 per person / Arriving 25th December – £435 per person

Three night package: Arriving 24th December – £595 per person

Booking details: www.sopwellhouse.co.uk / enquiries@sopwellhouse.co.uk / 01727 750499

 

Chester Christmas Market

Shoppers are in for an enchanting time at the FREE Christmas Market, with over 70 traditional wooden chalets positioned in the heart of Chester, all neatly wrapped around a 40ft sparkling Christmas tree.

Visitors will be spoilt for choice with a variety of quality local and regional products on offer including crafts, clothing, accessories, jewellery and unique gifts you wouldn’t find on the high-street.

There will also be plenty of delicious hot food and drink to enjoy, including hog roasts, mulled wine and hot chocolate; the perfect way to keep warm whilst enjoying the market.

The market’s opening is set to coincide with the fantastic Christmas Light Parade on 20th November, and will continue for 25 magical days. The festivities don’t stop there! With late night opening until 8pm on Thursdays, a Children’s Activity Area to keep the kids entertained and festive performers throughout, you can’t help but embrace the Christmas spirit.

Date: 20th November – 14th December 2014

Opening Times: 10am-6pm 7 days a week, late night shopping every Thursday until 8pm

Locations: Town Hall Square, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HJ

Library Square, St Werburgh Street and other central locations. www.christmasinchester.com

 

Washingborough Hall 

The oldest (32 years) and still the largest Christmas market in Britain is held in Lincoln, where more than 250 stalls draw in 250,000 visitors over a four-day period every year.

This year’s event takes place from December 4-7 in the historic streets around the impressive Gothic cathedral and castle – with a special one-way pedestrian system introduced especially for the market to make getting around easier. In addition to the stalls selling food and drink from far and wide, there are fairground rides, a ferris wheel, open-air music concerts, ice-skating and traditional events such as barrel-rolling.

A five-minute drive outside the city, Washingborough Hall is a small and friendly, family-run, 200-year-old country house hotel which offers rooms throughout the weekend, starting at £135 for a standard double (for two) with breakfast. Beautifully decorated for Christmas, with a large fir tree in the hall and twinkling lights adorning the mantelpieces above the crackling log fires, the pretty hotel has 12 beautifully-decorated bedrooms and a fine two AA-rosette restaurant. Call Washingborough Hall on 01522-790340; www.fihotels.com

 

The Dylan Amsterdam

Winter in Amsterdam is one of the best times to visit the city. To celebrate the season, The Dylan Amsterdam has introduced their newSerendipity Winter Package – a perfect offering enabling guests to experience all that the city has to offer, including its stunning annual light festival as well as some added extras. Guests are invited to stay in one of the hotel’s brand new Serendipity Junior Canal View Suites, enjoy a private morning cruise around the canals on the hotel’s salon boat, complimentary entrance to the famous Canal House Museum plus a traditional Dylan High Wine.

The newly refurbished rooms (Serendipity Collection and The Jacob van Campen Suites) are a welcome addition to the existing hotel, which prides itself on its 40 uniquely designed rooms. With the belief that every guest is refined and distinct, they offer a charming choice of accommodation.

Amsterdam is the ideal location to do some Christmas shopping by wandering through the ‘9 streets’ neighbourhood to explore various boutiques or perhaps catch a traditional ballet or opera at Amsterdam’s Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The city also comes alive with classical and choral concerts in various venues whilst the canals are often draped in snow and the streets are lit up with fairy lights creating the city’s ‘village’ charm – exactly the destination to get you in the festive mood.

The Dylan Amsterdam’s Serendipity Winter Package includes:

  • One night stay in a Serendipity Junior Canal View Suite
  • One and a half hour private morning cruise in a classic wooden salon boat on the canals. Guests may board between 07:00 & 09:00 AM.
  • Design your own breakfast plate to be served on board
  • Entrance to the Canal House Museum
  • High Wine Experience

Stay at The Dylan Amsterdam with the Serendipity Winter Package from £258 per person. This package is subject to availability excludes the 5.5% city tax

Available from 1st December 2014 – 28th February 2015. Email reservations@dylanamsterdam.com or call +31 20 530 20 10

 LetsGo2

Seasonal shopping: Dubai

Set across its own private beach, Madinat Jumeirah resort is an authentic recreation of ancient Arabia, capturing the natural beauty of the region. Madinat Jumeirah features two grand boutique hotels, Al Qasr and Mina A’ Salam, 29 traditional summer houses in Dar Al Masyaf, 7 Malakiya Villas, over 40 restaurants and bars, conference and banqueting facilities including two grand ballrooms, a 1000-seat amphitheatre and the region’s only dedicated entertainment centre and multi-purpose venue, Madinat Arena.

Combine relaxation with festive shopping with five nights bed & breakfast at the five-star Dar Al Masyaf Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from only £1345 per person included return flights with Royal Brunei from London Heathrow (travel 1 – 20 Dec 14). To ensure this is a truly indulgent holiday, enjoy complimentary daily pre-dinner drinks in the Majlis of each individual Summerhouse between 6pm-8pm, as well as access to Wild Wadi Water Park. www.letsgo2.com
SenSpa

Experience the perfect pampering spa break this winter with Christmas spa days at SenSpa. With a divine array of treatments and therapies to warm the soul and spirit, Christmas at SenSpa is the ideal opportunity to unwind and escape the winter chills. SenSpa is the world-class Thai spa and the sparkling jewel of Careys Manor Hotel. Multi award winning SenSpa have created a sensual space that will leave your body glowing, your mind renewed and your soul soothed. Offering elegance and comfort, luxurious bedrooms at Careys Manor, will ensure a great night’s sleep, allowing you to awake refreshed for a hearty New Forest breakfast the following morning.

A SenSpa Pre-Christmas Pamper Break includes:
Luxury Accommodation
New Forest Breakfast
2-course Thai Dinner
30 Minute Indulgent Treatment
Prices from £147 per person, subject to availability.Isle of Wight

Indulge in the peace and tranquillity of the Island at this special time. Wrap up and take a stroll along our coastline, you’ll feel like you’ve got the Island to yourself as you walk along deserted beaches or through sparkling frosty woodland.

There’s always a warm welcome from friendly local Isle of Wight pub – a pint by the fire is the perfect way to relax!  Isle of Wight Christmas breaks are a great time to soak up the festive atmosphere in our towns and villages. They’re filled with specialist independent shops; you’ll be able to buy unique treats for family and friends as well as enjoying festive illuminations, outdoor carols concerts around the tree – there’s even a Christmas Tree Festival in one of our quaint rural villages. Go on, dream of a Wight Christmas (and a happy new year!)

 

Château Rhianfa offers a Christmas with a difference

-Learn as you celebrate this year-

Those looking to enjoy Christmas without the hassle and stress of cooking for their loved ones can gain the culinary skills needed to impress their friends and family, and take the pressure out of the festive season for years to come by spending Christmas in Anglesey at Château Rhianfa.

For just £550 per person, guests can partake in the Christmas Food and Drink Masterclass which covers festive cocktail making, a Q&A over dinner with Michelin star-rated resident chef Andrew Sheridan and a food and wine pairing class, all whilst staying at stunning Grade II listed Château Rhianfa.

The special Christmas package includes an arrival tour with afternoon tea on Christmas Eve, followed by canapés, carols and a cocktail masterclass with a mixologist, who will recommend three festive cocktails to suit guests’ individual tastes. Guests will then enjoy dinner with a Q&A session with Andrew Sheridan, the property’s head chef. Ask Andrew anything from how to jazz up a Christmas dinner with minimal effort to how to execute the basics such as perfect sprouts or roast potatoes. Andrew will share with guests how to cook the Michelin way so that they can ‘wow’ their own Christmas visitors for years.

After dinner, there will be a pairing course which will offer all kinds of advice and tips on festive alcohols from which wine goes well with traditional Christmas meats to which dessert wine will compliment a festive pudding.

After spending the night in luxury in one of the suites at the Chateau, Christmas morning will include breakfast and present-opening by the fire before enjoying a falconry display in the picturesque grounds. A Christmas lunch will be served after Champagne and canapés before settling down to watch the Queen’s speech with teas, coffees and cakes. Rounding off Christmas day, and if guests have room in their tummies, a carved buffet will be available, followed by festive games should guests have the energy.

Boxing Day will start with a traditional Welsh breakfast and be followed by the opportunity to explore the grounds or the private beach or relax and spend time with loved ones before an incredible evening meal and entertainment.

The property overlooks the Menai Strait in Anglesey and boasts 22 luxury bedrooms for guests to enjoy a Christmas with a difference.

The Westbury

Festive afternoon tea at The Westbury:

The perfect retail pick-me-up in Dublin this Christmas

Just an hour’s flight from the UK, Dublin is the ideal long weekend destination to visit in the run up to Christmas this year. You’ll be sure to pick up presents for everyone – from high-end department stores to the chic Christmas market on St Stephen’s Green, as well as a sumptuous spot at The Westbury for a mid-shop glass of champagne. Experience all the festive fun Dublin has to offer:

Grafton Street Christmas Lights: Forget Oxford Street. The place to experience the Christmas lights this season is Dublin’s shopping mecca, Grafton Street. Whether they resemble snowflakes or read, “Baile Atha Cliath”, Dublin’s spectacular Christmas lights transform the likes of Grafton Street into a winter wonderland. 13th November from 4pm.

Christmas afternoon tea at The Westbury Hotel: With views over-looking Grafton Street, The Gallery at The Westbury Hotel has a sublime afternoon tea this Christmas. Unwind on luxurious sofas and armchairs with sandwiches that include Honey baked Limerick ham, tomato and mustard relish on malt harvest bread; Bronze Turkey Breast Salad, Cranberry chutney on Brioche Roll; and Irish Oak smoked salmon and crab with lemon aioli on homemade soda bread. If there’s still room, hand made buttermilk cranberry and plain scones served with clotted cream and berry preserves are included along with minced pies. Available from 13th November. €45 for traditional Christmas afternoon tea (€55 includes champagne).

Shopping and window displays at Brown Thomas: Ireland’s most famous department store, Brown Thomas, is home to the world’s finest brands. A true institution on Grafton Street, the store features designs by Diane von Furstenburg, Helmut Lang and Michael Kors, to name but a few. Venture beyond the high street and head for the high-end boutiques, quirky vintage shops and artisanal stores that line the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, Drury Street and South William Street. The Brown Thomas window displays are featured throughout the Christmas period.

St Stephen’s Green Christmas market: The inaugural ‘Dublin at Christmas Market’ on St Stephen’s Green promises to be the jewel in the Dublin festive calendar. As well as Christmas gifts, Irish designed handicrafts, jewelry and home décor, the market promises a real festive feel with carolers and choirs. The market runs for 40 days and 40 nights, from 13th November to 23rd December and is open midday-8pm everyday.

Where to stay: Five star The Westbury Hotel’s central location adjacent to Grafton Street is second to none. Double rooms from €250 bed and breakfast. www.doylecollection.com/westburyhotel

 

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