From the delicious seasonal food and drink that you've been waiting for since January to Michael Bublé playing on repeat and twinkling lights brightening the dark, snowy nights, Christmas really is a magical time of year. And here at Original Travel UK, we have the inside track on all of the most exclusive and fantastically festive experiences across the UK and Ireland that will be sure to win over any Scrooge…
Bath Christmas Market
Bath's magical and award-winning Christmas Market lights up the Cotswold city between the 22nd November and 9th December. The historic Georgian streets are filled with over 200 chalets selling handmade local Christmas gifts to take home to family and friends, as well as delicious festive treats and drinks (did someone say mulled wine?). Enjoy the festive entertainment at this Christmas market to top off a wonderful day exploring the beautiful city of Bath on a private-guided tour and indulging in a traditional English roast in a quintessential Cotswold countryside pub.
The Ultimate Christmas Choir Experience
Listen to world-renowned choirs and soak up the regal and gothic surroundings at two of England's most historic and celebrated royal venues. Experience St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle (host of Prince Harry and Meghan's royal wedding earlier this year) and London's Westminster Abbey (host of Prince William and Kate's royal wedding in 2011) like never before during a festive Choral Evensong ceremony which will enchant even the most avid bah humbug-ers.
Santa's Official Residence in Ireland
Pay a festive visit to the main man himself, meeting Santa in his official Irish residence in a magical 19th century cottage. Nestled in Northern Ireland's Mourne Mountains, enjoy the spectacular light show before being invited on a private tour of Santa's cottage with his little helpers leading the way. Tour around the elves' workshop where they'll be busily working away making toys ready for Christmas Eve and visit Santa's Post Office where he receives letters from all around the world. Heading outside, say hello to Santa's reindeers - there may even be some baby Rudolphs this winter!
A Bespoke Festive Day Out in London
As specialists in creating luxury bespoke itineraries, we can of course tailor-make personalised festive day outs all around the UK and Ireland. The list really is endless, but here's just one example of a festive family day out in London…
Spend the morning making Christmas wreaths with an expert London haberdasher before enjoying a festive roast lunch in one of most-popular gastronomic London pubs, which usually has a waiting list of over a month. After lunch, and with fully-satisfied stomachs, it's time to make your own dessert (if you have any room!). Spend the afternoon hand-icing beautiful festive biscuits in a quaint Notting Hill café before an evening of ice skating at the magical Somerset House along the Thames River, or at the equally impressive Natural History Museum.
Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden Light Trail
This botanical garden winter trail in Edinburgh's city centre is a place where fairytale and fantasy combine. As night falls, illuminated larger-than-life flowers rise high into the starry sky leading you on a path towards tree sculptures with beautiful beads of light clinging to each branch. As you stroll, indulge in some mulled wine or hot chocolate while the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air. There are hidden surprises to look out for too - watch out for frosty snowflakes, marching reindeer and gingerbread men all hiding within the grounds. Not to be missed are the Cathedral of light and the scented fire garden, and the grand finale on Inverleith House lawn where brightly coloured projections will dance in time to Christmas classics.