Fancy a change of scenery this Christmas? Sun or snow, near or far, we explore the best places to head for a festive getaway.
Twilinking Christmas markets, snow-covered slopes or winter sun, the Christmas period is a great time of year to head off on a getaway.
So whether you’re thinking of heading off with your little one or you’re thinking of using this time as a Christmassy babymoon, here are some festive getaway ideas to fully immerse yourself in the magic of the season.
Festive Getaway Ideas for Christmas 2022
Finnish Lapland could be the holiday of your child’s dreams. As well as having the chance to meet Father Christmas, starry-eyed little ones can enjoy sleigh rides and snowmobiles, and get up close to reindeer, huskies and even Santa’s mischievous elves.
Why not try the ‘Ultimate Christmas Invitation’ by Off The Map Travel, which starts at home, with a personalised hand-written letter and photobook from Santa, before guests travel to meet him at his home in Lapland.
Available from November to January, the adventure begins with a night in Finland’s capital, Helsinki, where a ‘golden ticket’ for the festive ‘Polar Express’ overnight train to Rovaniemi awaits. Travellers can experience dog sledging, meeting reindeer up close, and snowmobiling through the Lappish landscape. Staying in a log cabin, complete with a sauna and an open fire in a real winter wonderland will feel like a fairy tale.
The seven-day, six-night Ultimate Christmas Invitation itinerary costs from £3299 per person, on a full board basis, not including flights.
Germany will always have a firm place in the best destinations for a festive getaway for its world-famous Christmas markets. The capital Berlin offers up nearly 60 Christmas markets around the city – traditional, modern and fairytale-themed!
Young children will love visiting Potsdamer Platz’s Winter World, with its swinging merry-go-round and colourful confectionary stalls. A large outdoor ice rink (with penguin skate aids to rent for younger skaters) is great for the whole family and offers free ice skating lessons for children ages 4 to 7!
For little ones that are obsessed with Disney’s Frozen, why not follow in the footsteps of Anna and Elsa and visit Norway! Leading Norway specialists Up Norway have created an epic adventure for families who love the movie Frozen, who will explore the locations and people of Norway that inspired the movies, making it a perfect break for families who wish to discover magic, reindeer, fjords and the Frozen winter wonderland.
Head off on an epic six-day Frozen Fairytale Journey this Christmas and make the fairytale a reality whilst also allowing travellers to meet Norway’s indigenous people. On this trip, families can experience private reindeer sledging, meeting the real characters that inspired those in Frozen, an ice sculpting class, dog sledging and snowshoe hiking under the Northern Lights! From £2794 per person for the six-day trip.
Celebrate Christmas the Croatian way and visit the popular Dubrovnik Winter Festival returning after two years, taking place between the 26th of November to the 6th of January. Expect an Advent market, lights galore, amazing food, carol singing and even a rock concert! A fantastic event for families, a host of programmes has been designed to entertain little ones, including an ice rink and festive train – among several theatre shows and other fun activities in the city’s suburb, Mokošica.
If you’re heading here for a festive babymoon, top it all off with a stay at the scenic, five-star foodie retreat (complete with a luxury spa) Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, accompanied by spectacular views of the glistening Adriatic. For families indulging in a winter city break, head to Hotel Dubrovnik Palace for an unforgettable stay. Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik package (from November 26, 2022 until December 28, 2022), starting from 180 EUR per night.
With just a 2-hour 45-min flight time from London, the Portuguese capital celebrates Christmas with a programme full of markets and fairs. A country famous for its love of nativity scenes, Lisbon may not be a traditional festive destination, however the mild weather is ideal for perusing market stalls whilst still being fully immersed in Christmas lights galore!
The popular Rossio Christmas market in the city’s iconic Rossio Square runs from 18th November – 6th January, and even bigger is Wonderland Lisboa in Parque Eduardo VII which includes a ferris wheel, ice rink, carousel and trampolines as well as stalls selling handicrafts, jewellery and local produce.
Stay at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade on Avenida da Liberdade, which is within walking distance of both fairs. The Christmas tree in the hotel’s iconic lobby is complemented by performances from choirs and guests can dine with views of Lisbon in SEEN by Oliver on the 9th floor. Prices at Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa Hotel start from 280 Euros per night in December, including breakfast.
Gstaad, The Alps, Switzerland
For a postcard-worthy, snowy setting, this upscale resort town in the Swiss Alps couldn’t be more idyllic. And at the heart of it, Gstaad Palace is the perfect base to celebrate the festivities, as well as enjoy a range of ski and snowboarding activities.
There’s fun to be had off the slopes, too, with visits to famous Swiss chocolatier Maison Cailler for chocolate-making workshops, cosy horse and carriage rides through the town and star spotting at the nearby Igloo Village. Over Christmas, the hotel offers an array of activities for toddlers, with cookie-making classes, face painting, and a visit from the jolly present-giver himself on Christmas Eve. Rooms from £500 on a half-board basis, palace.ch
The Christmas spirit is well and truly alive in Salzburg in Austria. Fun fact, Salzburg is the birthplace of one of the most famous Christmas carols of all time Silent Night! Visit the many Christmas markets dotted around the city, including Cathedral Square which dates back to 1491 and Helbrunner Advenzauber where children of all ages can enjoy a magical sledge ride drawn by reindeer.
New York, USA
If you and baby are happy to take on the seven-hour flight, Christmas in NYC is spectacular – and for good reason. The sights, sounds and smells are unlike that of any other city, with so much to explore.
Visit the iconic Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, go ice skating in Central Park, enjoy a rendition of the Nutcracker on Broadway, and nibble your way through the New York Hall of Science’s Gingerbread Lane, a miniature village made from gingerbread, peppermints and icing.
Winter Staycation: Festive Getaways in the UK
If going abroad at this time isn’t on the cards, there are plenty of great places to have a festive getaway right here in the UK, in the city and the countryside.
Christmas time really lights up the dark winter evenings in England’s capital city. Spend your evenings exploring the magically decorated streets across London, such as Knightsbridge, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden. Plus, be sure to head to one of the city’s many outdoor ice rinks, such as the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Battersea Powerstation and the London Eye.
No Christmas visit to London would be complete without a trip to the huge Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where children can visit the giant fun fair, magical Ice Kingdom, Zippo’s Christmas Circus and have a ride on the Santaland Train.
From world-famous Christmas Markets to ice villages and festive light trails, Manchester is said to be the UK’s capital of Christmas! In 2022, the northern city is transformed with Christmas markets all over, including the Winter Gardens at Piccadilly Gardens, King Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, Market Street and Cathedral Gardens.
Aside from the markets, little ones will be in awe at the magnificent light installations and sculptures at Lightopia in Heaton Park. Embark on a magical journey through the new Fantasy-themed light trail through the parklands. Showcasing bright immersive installations, colourful lasers, and water shows, this is a festive wonderland for all ages.
With its quaint towns, historic high streets and honey-toned stone cottages, the Cotswolds is the ultimate British countryside getaway.
Why not visit Lucknam Park, an idyllic Palladian mansion which is the perfect location to experience a traditional, country house Christmas. This year, guests can add a touch of homemade charm to their festivities during special Christmas wreathing-making workshops. Under the guidance of an expert, guests can create their own luxury wreath using spruce berries, holly and moss, resulting in the perfect decorations to take home or give as a thoughtful Christmas gift to someone special.
Elsewhere, crackling log fires create a cosy atmosphere in the library and drawing room, where guests are invited to indulge in a special afternoon tea menu with festive flavours accompanying traditional notes. For example, mince pie scones will be accompanied by brandy butter and Norfolk bronzed turkey finger sandwiches will be filled with sage and chestnut stuffing.
Travellers may also choose to curl up in cosy corners to play board games on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. Plus, the 500 acres of parkland is the ideal spot for a crisp morning walk in the countryside ahead of an evening of revelries. And of course, a traditional Christmas lunch prepared by Michelin star chef, Hywel Jones, is set to be a real treat.
Lucknam Park’s wreath-making workshops are taking place on Monday 5th, Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th December 2022. Workshops cost £90 per person and include afternoon tea.
Lucknam Park’s festive afternoon tea will be served between 1st – 23rd December 2022 and costs £42 per person or £60 per person with a glass of Champagne.
Christmas package from £995 per room, lucknampark.co.uk
If you fancy retreating away from the bustling city, why not visit ‘the prettiest village in England’, Mousehole. Mousehole in Cornwall is known for its festive lights – over 10,000 of them – which surround the harbour from December to January, and bring that extra festive sparkle. Join the locals to watch the lights twinkle, pop-by the local pub for a festive sing-song or return home for a hot chocolate by the wood burner.
We reccomend staying in Mill Leat a beautiful traditional stone property in the centre of Mousehole – just a skip away from the harbour front and sandy beach, local pubs and restaurants are within each reach too. The interiors are paired back, scandi-inspired, packed with Cornish charm and completely beautiful. Price for seven nights from £875.
Winter Sun: Hot Festive Getaway Ideas
Have you always liked the idea of relaxing on the beach around Christmas time? If you’re more of a lover of hot climates over freezing cold, these destinations will make for the perfect alternative festive getaway for you and your family.
Lanzarote, Canary Islands
The Canary Islands may not strike you as the obvious spot for a festive getaway, but they are perfect for a spot of reliable winter sunshine and golden beaches. With a wealth of family-friendly hotels and a short four-hour flight time, Lanzarote has so much to offer new parents.
To ensure you actually get to relax, check into the Princesa Yaiza Suite Hotel in the island’s prime resort of Playa Blanca. With spacious suites, plenty of action and a huge area dedicated to little ones, there is plenty to cater for young family members. And for those staying in a Royal Kiko suite, you’ll be treated to two hours of complimentary childcare, giving you the chance to hit the spa or enjoy a date-night dinner at the Isla de Lobos restaurant. Rooms from approx £352, princesayaiza.com
Maldives, Indian Ocean
The Maldives offers little ones some of the most imaginative activities around, with the chance to explore local marine wildlife, get creative with crafts and enjoy water play with the in-house babysitting service, leaving you free to snorkel, eat, sleep, spa, sundowner, and repeat. For pure paradise, the all-villa St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is nestled on a private island, just a 40-minute seaplane flight from Malé.
The beachside family villas, designed to resemble traditional dhoni boats, are perfect for those with babies, while the two and three-bedroom villas can accommodate extended family, au pairs or nannies. And while the stunning Iridium Spa is strictly a child-free zone, under-threes are supplied with their own Burt’s Bees skincare so they can enjoy a little pampering too. Rooms from £940, stregismaldives.com
Marrakech, North Africa
With Instagram-worthy gardens to explore, colourful souks to shop and scenic tours of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is a veritable feast for the senses at any time of year. In winter, temperatures reach the early to mid-twenties – ideal for escaping the winter blues and exploring comfortably with baby in tow.
The city boasts a wealth of luxury hotels, including the newly restored Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi, which launched its new family programme this year. The five-star property is located just minutes from the vibrant Medina. Pack light, as you’ll have all the essentials you’ll need on demand – including baby baths, night lights and travel cots, so you can focus on turning this exotic trip into a festive getaway. Rooms from approx £128, movenpick.com
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If you’re happy to travel further out, Dubai is a hit with families seeking a festive getaway with guaranteed sun. For one, the country’s modern standard of living means you’ll find all your usual creature comforts, plus there are plenty of outdoor playgrounds and efficient public transport. For a festive retreat, the recently opened Dukes Dubai, on the west trunk of Palm Jumeirah, has a quintessentially British feel that’ll remind you of home, sans the nippy weather.
It also boasts its own beach with skyline views over the Marina, various food and drink outlets and facilities for toddlers. The Dukesy Kids’ Club will offer age-appropriate activities, an essential baby kit, healthy snacks and even adorable baby bathrobes and slippers – because baby deserves to holiday in luxury too, right? Rooms from £200, dukesdubai.com