The UK in winter can be magical, with outdoor ice rinks, festive cheer in the air, busy shopping centres, seasonal exhibitions and general anticipation for what the New Year might hold. However, this time of year can also be filled with cold, wet and dark days – the perfect excuse to rekindle your passion for wintertime with a city break!
A great bonus of visiting London over the winter months is travel on the Underground is far more pleasant – gone are the sweaty armpits of tourists in the summer, and present instead are the enormous shopping bags of those armed with Christmas wish lists. Plus, because Christmas is within touching distance, you can enjoy the festive lights of the capital, whether when strolling down Oxford Street or from above in the London Eye.
Somerset House ice rink is well worth a visit during your stay, and there are plenty of places to enjoy the cool, crisp air including the South Bank and various London parks. And of course, there are still the usual gems of this great city, from museums, galleries and bars to theatres, markets and restaurants.
Beautiful at the best of times, Oxford has a special appeal when the days draw shorter and frost lays claim to its artefacts. Whether you want to soak up the architecture on a winter’s day – highlights include Carfax Tower, the remains of the thirteenth-century St Martin’s Church, and Oxford Castle – peruse the 9 million items in the Bodleian Library or enjoy the natural wonders of Britain’s oldest botanic gardens, this city will not disappoint.
As you’d expect from such a popular place, there are ample hotels in Oxford to ensure your stay is comfortable and convenient – whether you want to be based a walk away from the museums, shops and buzz of the city or on the outskirts with easy access to both the centre and nearby towns and villages.
This vibrant city promises so much, that you’ll likely struggle to see and do everything you want to within the one visit – what more excuse for a return trip do you need, though! Alongside the fantastic city centre with its theatres, cafes, restaurants, shops and more, you will no doubt be tempted by the likes of Crosby Beach to see Antony Gormley’s Another Place and enjoy a brisk walk, and Speke Hall with its Tudor charm and views of the River Mersey.
Renowned for its lively nightlife, Newcastle boasts an eclectic mix of sights to entertain you during your stay. So it’ll be easy to grab a slice of culture during the days from the likes of Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North, one of the best surviving Norman keeps Castle Keep, and Gateshead Millennium Bridge, before settling down to a play, film or fine dining in the evenings.
Famous for its wonderful Hogmanay celebrations, this Scottish capital demands to be visited at this time of year. In addition to the usual charms of this city are the likes of the German market which runs from the end of November until Christmas Eve – ideal for finding Christmas presents and enjoying a glass of mulled wine – and the ice rink at Princes Street Gardens.