Seven perfect winter getaways that look like they could be in a Christmas movie

Festive holiday makers don’t need to jet off anywhere abroad to get into the Christmas spirit this winter

Christmas Tree, Covent Garden, London, England
Christmas Tree, Covent Garden, London, England

Winter getaways can see romantic city breaks that look like a scene from Love Actually, while others opt for off-grid remote cabins in the woods.

But whatever kind of festive escape you’re seeking this Christmas season, you don’t have to travel as far as you think.

Forget Icelandic lagoons, Lapland and heading for the Rockefeller tree – there are some amazing yuletide-worthy resorts right here in the UK.

And frankly, your Instagram followers might even struggle to tell the difference.

Sweetcombe Cottage Holidays has looked at the favourite winter break destinations from around the world and compared them to the perfect staycation alternative in the UK, so you don’t have to worry about finding your passport.

From thermal hot springs to reindeer watching, here are seven winter breaks you can drive to this Christmas.

Instead of Blue Lagoon, Iceland, visit Thermae Bath Spa, Bath

Visitors enjoy the naturally warmed spa water as they relax in the rooftop pool of the Thermae Bath Spa, Britain’s only natural thermal in Bath


2014 Getty Images)

Iceland, famous for its geothermal hot springs, is a winter holiday hotspot. Popular for those looking for snowfall and festivity, while relaxing in the tranquil blue lagoons. If you can’t get to Iceland over the winter months, Thermae Spa in Bath, with its rooftop heated pool, is a great alternative.

Bathe in Bath’s naturally warm waters while soaking up the city’s wonderous skyline.

According to 2Chill member Nia Dalton, the city’s Mokoko Coffee & Bakery has ‘crispy, sugary’ cinnamon rolls that are perfect washed down with a coffee.

Or if you’re looking for something super Instagrammable, she also rated Sweet Little Things four stars, writing: “It’s pretty in pink and covered in floral walls. The coffee and breakfast was surprisingly good too – sometimes you’d expect the food not to live up to the aesthetic, but here it did.”

Instead of Grindelwald, Switzerland, visit Nevis Range Ski Resort, Scotland

Nevis Range Mountain Resort

The Alps may prove popular for those ski lovers looking for awe-inspiring views and smooth snowy trails, but Nevis Range Ski Resort in Scotland edges close to the mark.

With skiing up to 3900 feet, the Aonach Mor mountain delivers thrill and excitement. You can even enjoy some apres-ski at The Snowgoose Restaurant after a day on the slopes.

Instead of Tromso, Norway, visit Shetland, Scotland

Aurora borealis in Scotland, Shetland Islands in winter



With winter being one of the best times to see the northern lights, Norway proves to be a popular winter break as one of the best places to witness the wonder. However, you don’t have to leave the UK to catch a glimpse.

Shetland in the Northern Isles of Scotland lies as the UK’s closest point to the North Pole, meaning it is one of the best places to see the dancing lights this winter.

Instead of Old Town Square, Czech Republic visit Princess Street, Edinburgh

Members of the public visit market stalls in Edinburgh

One of Europe’s favourite Christmas Markets, Prague’s Old Time Square rings with traditional festive cheer. Although Prague might be one of Europe’s best, Edinburgh Christmas Market is a close match. Sporting an ice rink and an abundance of Christmassy stalls, Edinburgh Christmas Market lights up in festive wonder.

After the markets, 2Chill member Ella Walker recommends a trip to the Great Edinburgh Bookshop.

She said: “This is a joy to visit, stacked to the rafters with books, well laid out and great selection. The best thing is the atmosphere in the shop, really calming with quiet corners where you can sit down and read.

Upstairs there are lots of little rooms so it feels like you’re in a house. It is central, at the top of Leith Walk.”

Instead of Lapland, visit Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

The stunning scenery of Cairngorms National Park


Getty Images)

Lapland, situated between the northernmost regions of Sweden and Finland, is the ultimate winter wonderland. With a reindeer population of around 200,000, Lapland delivers arctic adventure.

If a trip to Lapland is not on the cards this winter, head to Cairngorm National Park to witness Britain’s only free ranging herd of reindeer and see the majestic arctic creatures up close.

Instead of New York, visit London

Christmas Tree, Covent Garden, London, England


Getty/Joe Daniel Price)

A winter break in New York staying at the famous Plaza Hotel is most likely on most people’s bucket list. For its shopping, or window shopping and cold brisk walks through Central Park, New York promises an unforgettable winter break.

Around 4,000 miles away, London proves a worthy alternative, take a wintery stroll through Hyde Park, and stay at The Landmark Hotel, to try and beat any New York experience – without the jet lag.

Covent Garden always looks amazing at Christmas too, with Zoe Forsey reviewing the area as ‘a busy and bustling shopping area filled with London charm’.

Perfect for picking up gifts for loved ones, she said: “Shops are laid out around a courtyard which contains a covered market. Street performers entertain crowds in the courtyard and there is a good selection of bars and restaurants.

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“The market sells quirky items, local art and clothing. Make sure you visit the Punch & Judy pub, which has a balcony overlooking the square.”

Emily Chudy thinks that Redemption Bar is a must-visit if you’re in the area.

She said: “In the heart of Covent Garden, Redemption is an all-vegan bar and restaurant with stylish décor suited for special occasions. The bar caters for brunch as well as dinner, with healthy, filling food, as well as an extensive cocktail and mocktail menu.

“The venue is on the smaller size, so be sure to book in advance if you have your heart set on a meal here.”

Instead of Barbados, visit Orcombe Point, Devon

Orcombe Point in Exmouth, Devon.



Flying to Barbados to get away from the cold UK weather is a popular winter break. Flaunting temperatures of up to 30 degrees throughout winter, Barbados is the ultimate tropical getaway.

The UK might not have the same climate, but the Jurassic Coastline, beginning in Devon’s Exmouth, still promises sandy beaches and stunning views, the perfect coastal retreat for your winter break.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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