If you thought that Britain was purely a summertime holiday destination, then it’s time to think again. There are few pleasures that can match settling in the glow of a proper log fire in a traditional British inn with a hearty ‘winter-warmer’ ale as snowflakes drift past the window…
But as far as winter holidays go, Britain has even more exciting opportunities to offer, from fully-fledged ski resorts to Alpine-style Christmas markets. Then there’s the melancholy romanticism of a traditional Victorian seaside resort in winter and even places where you can enjoy summer warmth in the depths of the coldest months, whatever the weather.
Britain is just as captivating in the winter as it is in the summer, but benefits from fewer crowds, generally less expensive accommodation and some truly gorgeous winter landscapes. If you still need convincing, here are a few excellent examples that demonstrate why the UK is a winter holiday wonderland.
Skiing in Scotland
If you thought skiing in Europe was confined to France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland you were wrong. The lively ski resort of Aviemore is an ideal winter destination and the gateway to a range of superb skiing locations including the Cairngorms, the Nevis Range, Glencoe, the Lecht and Glenshee. With around 120 pistes between them to suit skiers of all grades, beautiful highland scenery, abundant accommodation and a ski season that usually lasts from late November to late March, Aviemore presents the perfect base for a winter ski holiday in the UK. For that authentic wintery touch, you can even visit Aviemore’s very own reindeer herd, and with the world’s finest malt whiskies at your disposal you’re guaranteed a warming and spirited après-ski.
The seaside, out of season
Strange as it seems, Britain’s seaside resorts possess and enchanting yet melancholy beauty after the summer has departed for another year. Empty promenades still neon-lit against grey winter skies, dramatic crashing waves that lash sea walls and beaches that are half-sand and half-snow make for a peculiarly stirring experience. The crowds may have gone, but steadfastly traditional Victorian resorts such as Scarborough, Margate and Cromer are both enchanting and invigorating when blessed with winter sunshine. The fact that it’s no longer summer doesn’t mean that Britain’s seaside towns shut up shop; there’s still plenty to see, do and enjoy in the wintertime, and with less noise, hustle and bustle you can take your time and soak up the romance of an out-of-season coastal resort at your leisure.
Cool city breaks
Many of the UK’s main cities come to life in the winter months; Manchester, for example, fills its streets with vibrant and authentic European-style Christmas markets; an atmospheric and unmissable riot of colourful stalls selling mulled wine, traditional foods, handcrafted gifts, jewellery and more with traders from as far afield as Lapland taking part. Many other cities host Christmas markets, as well as outdoor skating rinks, carol concerts, pantomimes and a host of other winter festivities. And of course, when it comes to New Year celebrations there are few better places in the world to be than in Edinburgh or central London.
Stay in subtropical surroundings
It’s easy, but not entirely fair, to cite atrocious winter weather as a reason to avoid a winter holiday in the UK. It’s true that Britain can experience extreme conditions in the winter but these are the exception and not the rule. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to combine an outdoor holiday with a bit of winter warmth and a splash in a heated swimming pool, Centre Parcs could provide your perfect UK winter holiday. In four beautiful woodland locations, including the legendary Sherwood Forest, Centre Parcs offers more than two hundred indoor and outdoor activities and a sheltered subtropical swimming paradise at each means that you never have to get chilly if you don’t want to.