From Exeter to Edinburgh, the UK has a wealth of festive tradition that makes the season a sensory feast.
With Christmas markets and entertainment up and down the country, you’ll be looking for warm, welcoming, stylish hospitality to enjoy alongside the celebrations.
Well, you’re in luck! The Good Hotel Guide is sharing their list of 10 of the best hotels ideally situated for some fabulous Christmas markets around the UK. Why not start planning your short break now…
Padstow Townhouse – Padstow, Cornwall
Spoil yourselves at the Padstow Townhouse, Paul Ainsworth’s luxury B&B. There are six sumptuous suites to choose from in the centre of the seaside town. Here, service is sacrosanct and foodie treats abound at their own Michelin-starred restaurant.
Padstow is known for its culinary excellence, especially everything fishy. You’ll find this and more at the Padstow Christmas Festival from December 5-8 – attractions include:
- More than 60 chefs giving free demonstrations including Rick Stein, Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw
- A Christmas market featuring some of the best locally produced food and drink the West Country has to offer
- An array of gifts and products from artisan manufacturers and companies to inspire your Christmas ideas
- A Santa Fun Run for those who feel energetic and enjoy dressing up!
The Witchery by the Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland
Superlatives flow in support of The Witchery by the Castle, an enthralling gothic-inspired set of suites and restaurant.
“Is this the prettiest restaurant ever?” asked Andrew Lloyd Webber. “The ultimate romantic bolthole,” commented a reviewer from The Guardian. “A pure unmitigated pleasure palace,” declared The Times.
Stay here, on The Royal Mile, by the gates of Edinburgh Castle itself while visiting the Edinburgh Christmas market from November 17-January 5.
As you’d expect in Scotland’s capital city there will be lots to see and do:
- The Christmas Market offers a unique mix of crafters, artists, gift shops and gastronomic surprises
- Carol concerts (on Nov 29 in Morningside United Church, Dec 12 in St Mary’s Cathedral and Dec 18 in the Usher Hall, to name a few)
- “Winter Windows” (themed artwork by pupils from across the city)
- The Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar
- Hogmanay activities for adults and children.
The Yorke Arms – Harrogate, Yorkshire
A creeper-covered 18th-century stone coaching inn, The Yorke Arms is every kind of magic you could possibly ask for – especially if you visit at Christmas time.
Its Michelin-starred chef makes food one of the key attractions, while the country-style bedrooms are a blend of traditional and contemporary complete with handmade treats and high-quality toiletries.
Harrogate is well known for its charm, style and beauty, and at no time is that more postcard perfect than Christmas. The Christmas market is the perfect time to explore – being held from Thursday to Sunday, November 14-17 this year, on The Stray in the historic Montpellier Quarter.
Here you will find over 200 stalls selling everything from Yorkshire cheeses and chutneys to handmade gifts and Christmas decorations. If you search hard enough, you might even find Santa’s grotto complete with real reindeer.
The Bloomsbury – York, Yorkshire
A previous winner of York’s Bed and Breakfast of the Year, The Bloomsbury prides itself on its pleasing touches such as home made cake on arrival, handmade chocolates in the room and a wide choice of breakfast items including porridge, Eggs Benedict and grilled items.
Its delightful leafy location is just a short drive, or 20-30 minutes’ walk, into the city centre where York’s Christmas Festival is located. This award-winning event from November 14-December 22 includes:
- The St Nicholas Christmas Market
- The Made in Yorkshire Yuletide Village
- Santa’s Grotto
- A traditional pantomime – oh, yes, there is!
- Christmassy food and drink including roasted hot chestnuts and mulled wine.
Hart’s Hotel – Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
A big advantage of Hart’s, a modern hotel built on the ramparts of Nottingham’s medieval castle, is its location. Staying here, you are less than 10 minutes walk from the city centre, yet tucked away on a peaceful side street with a garden and stunning views.
Another plus point is that top class food is on offer (it’s one of Nottingham’s favoured foodie spots). There are also dog friendly rooms available, so there’s no need to leave your canine friend at home.
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland runs from November 14-December 31 and includes:
- Traditional Bavarian Christmas market
- A real ice rink
- A brand new 30ft toboggan slide
- The UK’s biggest mobile ice bar
- The Altitude Bar, an all-glass ski chalet perched up high, offering panoramic views of the Christmas crowds below.
The High Field Town House – Birmingham
There’s a lovely feeling of being in an exclusive home at the High Field Town House. Formerly a grand private residence and situated in upmarket Edgbaston, High Field guests enjoy restrained elegance and style, a Michelin starred restaurant and the opportunity to visit Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens, just five minutes’ walk away.
It’s just one mile – a short bus ride – to the town centre, where you will find the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market running from November 7-December 23.
This is the big one, the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany and Austrian attracting more than five million visitors a year. Think crafts and candles, carousels and Christmas food (bratwurst is most popular) plus hot chocolate, chestnuts and mulled wine.
Fischer’s at Baslow Hall – Baslow, Derbyshire
A stay at Fischer’s at Baslow Hall in the Peak District provides you with the best of all worlds. Great walks on the doorstep, wonderful décor inside and marvellous food.
The hotel has held a Michelin star for 25 years, and offers discounted tickets to Chatsworth House which is just five miles away!
Christmas At Chatsworth, which runs from November 9-January 5 is as refined as you would expect at this historic stately home. This year it involves a festive adventure around the globe, as well as a high quality Christmas Market.
If you stay in December and pay an evening visit on a Thursday or Friday, after the general public have departed, you can share a Festive Twilight Evening with mince pies, wine, live music from a string quartet and a chance to explore the house dressed for Christmas. Early booking is advised.
Southernhay House – Exeter, Devon
Captain William Kirkpatrick, the first owner of Southernhay House, was an officer in the East India Company. The décor reflects this today with photos of sultans, rich textured fabrics and rooms named after trade routes such as sugar, silk and cotton.
Restored eight years ago by its present owners, after lying virtually derelict, the hotel is right in the centre of town. It boasts a swanky cocktail bar and excellent food (scrambled egg, smoked salmon and avocado for a breakfast choice, snapper for supper among many other offerings).
Exeter Christmas Market runs from November 16-December 19, with the stunning backdrop of Exeter Cathedral. It features a selection of crafts, fresh food and a bustling atmosphere.
The Cathedral itself is also a hub of activities at Christmas with carol services, concerts and events. The area is also on the doorstep of the main shopping district.
Barnsley House – Cirencester, Gloucestershire
You could easily combine a spa break with a Christmas Market shopping trip at the adults-only Barnsley House, Cirencester.
Guests speak of the “relaxed feel” in a “lovely setting” with world-famous gardens from which fresh vegetables are supplied to the gourmet restaurant on site.
Barnsley House is just four miles from mellow Cirencester where there are several Christmas activities:
- November 30 – Advent Festival and Market with fireworks, food stalls and fair rides
- December 1 – Etsy Christmas Market for unusual Christmas gifts
- December 10-16 – Christmas Market
You could also pop up to Tetbury, 10 miles away, to the Highgrove shops for some Royal inspiration. All profits from the sale of Highgrove products go to charity.
Cathedral 73 – Cardiff, Wales
Cathedral 73 is a restored Victorian house on one of Cardiff’s prettiest avenues. It can offer an impressive level of pampering, with a butler, personal chef and chauffeur-driven vintage Rolls Royce at the ready if you wish!
The hotel also has a laid-back feel with plenty of space for lounging. It’s situated on the thriving Cathedral Road where bijou shops, sleek cafes and on-trend eateries abound. Regular buses head to the city centre or alternatively it’s a 15-minute walk.
Cardiff Christmas Market runs from November 14-December 23. Expect more than 200 individual stalls and a diverse array of arts and crafts interspersed with seasonal food and drink.
Elsewhere in the city, there’s a Winter Wonderland with an undercover ice rink, carols, concerts and a pantomime plus lots of superb shops.
The new 2020 Good Hotel Guide containing £150 worth of money off vouchers is out this week, priced £16. You can order yours here!