It’s almost here again, the most “Wonderful time of the Year” – the festive season, Christmas and New Year.
As well as a chill, there’s usually magic in the air, and there’s no better time to take a city break in the UK.
A long weekend is the perfect time to do your Christmas shopping, visit traditional Christmas Markets and soak up the spirit of the season.
Here are our three of the coolest Christmas City Breaks you can take in the UK this year and all without breaking the bank.
3 Cool Christmas City Breaks
The Welsh Capital has excellent transport links by rail, road and air and is a brilliant blend of cosmopolitan culture, history, sport, shopping and unforgettable architecture.
Where to Shop
Cardiff has been voted the UK’s 6th best shopping destination and blends historic Edwardian and Victorian arcades with super-shiny and new St David’s Dewi Sant shopping mall.
There are 88 stores in Cardiff’s newest shopping mall and its glass-roofed Grand Arcade is the length of 24 double-decker buses. You’ll find chic designer brands and high street labels under its roof.
Wander further afield into one of Cardiff’s many shopping arcades and you’ll find distinctive and independent retailers, charming café’s and the world’s oldest existing record store – Spiller’s Records – in the Morgan Arcade.
What to See
Cardiff Christmas Market
Where: St John Street, Working Street, Hills Street, the Hayes and Trinity Street
When: Thursday 10 November to Friday 23 December, (10am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sundays), open every day.
What: Cardiff’s pedestrianised zones are turned into a stunning Christmas Market with over 80 stalls where talented artists and crafts-people sell everything from local cheeses, pottery, handmade jewellery, artwork and micro-brewed ales to hand poured candles.
Find out more about Cardiff’s Christmas Market at Visit Cardiff: http://www.visitcardiff.com/
Carols for Christmas at St David’s Hall is an unmissable performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC National Chorus of Wales.
18th December, 15:00 to 17:00pm, Tickets: £5
Where to Stay
Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff is less than 400m from Cardiff Rail Station in the heart of the city. Rooms in our design-led budget hotel start from £49pp pn including breakfast. Visit www.sleeperz.com
Step off the train at Waverly Station in November or December and you simply can’t miss the fact that Scotland’s Capital loves to go Christmas and Hogmanay (Scots for New Year) crazy.
The giant Ferris Wheel of the Christmas Market creates a stunning silhouette against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh’s festivities all fall under the handy banner of Edinburgh’s Christmas and there’s all the usual favourites – pop-up ice rinks, European Christmas Markets, rides, attractions, theatre, song, dance, food, drink and lots of revelry.
At the same time, you can enjoy the world class shopping on Princes Street or the more traditional Scottish wares available on the Royal Mile and in the Grass Market.
What: Edinburgh’s Christmas is an organised annual collection of festive events and experiences
When: 18 November 2016 – 7 January 2017
Street of Light returns to a new location on the west end of George Street.
Opening on 20 November as part of Light Night, Street of Light runs until 24 December with performances at 6pm & 8pm.
It will illuminate the West end of George Street in a canopy of light, synchronised to music from local choirs and bands including the Edinburgh Festival Chorus, Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, fiddle music from the Highlands with Blazin’ Fiddles and Scotland’s very own bhangra group, Tigerstyle.
The European Christmas Market in East Princes St Gardens, opens 19 November – 7 January, and the Scottish Market at George Street opens from 26 November – 24 December.
Where to Stay:
Cityroomz Edinburgh is a 72-bed budget hotel on Shandwick Place, just off Prince’s Street only a few minutes’ walk from Waverly Station. With free Wi-fi and comfortable stylish bedrooms, it’s ideal for your low-cost Edinburgh city break.
Book far enough in advance and you could save 10% off standard room rates.
With world famous nightlife, iconic bridges, chic shops, epic city streets and Georgian architecture, Newcastle is another cool Christmas city break destination.
The Geordie capital is easily reached on the East Coast mainline route from London to Edinburgh and boasts some amazing Christmas shopping venues including INTU MetroCentre in Gateshead – Europe’s biggest shopping mall – measuring 2,093,000sq feet and home to over 340 stores.
Closer to the heart of the ‘Toon’ is Newcastle’s Eldon Square and Northumberland Street, where you’ll find high street stalwarts like John Lewis, M&S and the iconic Fenwick’s Window – a stunning Newcastle tradition – which draws huge crowds to see an animated Christmas story brought to life through toys and moving figures.
NewcastleGateshead runs its own Winter Festival each year and curates an outstanding series of events including the illuminatingly brilliant Enchanted Parks at Saltwell Park, Gateshead, an expansive outdoor ice rink at The Centre for Life and The Living North Christmas Fair at Newcastle Racecourse.
Our top pick is the Christmas Market at Monument, right at the top of Grey Street – often voted the most beautiful street in Britain – and which houses around 50 chalets selling Geordie gifts from local ales and handmade jewellery to pottery, prints and landscape photography.
Runs 12th to 18th December 2016.
Where to Stay:
Sleeperz Hotel Newcastle is a 98-bedroom design-led budget hotel right in the heart of the city, only two minutes’ walk from Newcastle Central Station. Rooms are sophisticated and stylish, with bathroom pods, wet rooms and luxury beds. New in 2016, Sleeperz Newcastle beds each have a handmade Sleepeezee mattress with over 800 individual pocket springs.
There’s no more convenient and wallet friendly place to stay in Newcastle than Sleeperz Hotel. Rooms start from £59 pp pn, book direct and receive £5 to spend on food and drink in the hotel.
There you have it, three cool Christmas City Breaks on a budget to get you in the mood for the 2016 festive season.
Stay in style for less!