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Fun festive experiences to enjoy this winter

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Published: 31st October 2023

Christmas fun by coach

The festive season is here, and with it comes sparkling lights, mulled wine, and making memories with your loved ones.

There are plenty of places to visit to help you get in the Christmas spirit, and here are just some of our favourites...

Enjoy the sights and smells of Christmas at these markets

Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market

17 November - 21 December 2023

For a beautiful and unique shopping experience, head to Winchester Cathedral for their German-inspired Christmas market. Discover over 100 festive stalls, all hand-picked for their exclusive products.

Take in the awe-inspiring Cathedral with a carol service and try not to fall on the ice rink! There’s nowhere better to soak up the atmosphere and pick up some unique gifts for your friends and family.

Manchester Christmas Markets 

10 November - 21 December 2023

Arriving in 1999, Manchester’s Christmas Market was actually the first in the UK, and has grown each year. Explore over 300 stalls of mouth-watering food, drinks and, of course, some beautiful gifts.

There are ten festive sites across the city including the Cathedral Gardens, where you can enjoy a toffee waffle and some hot chocolate whilst you watch the street performers. For sights of Manchester like no other, head to Albert Square Market and climb the town hall tower, which will give you a panoramic view of the twinkling city lights.

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

2 November - 24 December 2023

If you fancy a taste of Germany, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German market outside of Germany or Austria.

Enjoy the sights of the beautiful lights and the smells of the bratwursts and beer as you explore stalls filled with handmade gifts. Head to Victoria Square to soak up the festive atmosphere and enjoy the live music with your friends and family.


Welcome in the season with spectacular sparkling light displays

London Christmas Lights

Similarly, London’s streets will be illuminated with beautiful lights and decorations. Visit the starry skies on Oxford Street, look at the 60-foot tall Christmas tree in awe at Covent Garden, and take in the sights of sparkling angels on Regent Street.

Carnaby Street continues to go all out at Christmas, this year compiling the best displays from the past 25 years, so head down there and experience elements from 14 different themes!

Bath Lights Trail

For some spectacular sights that are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit, head to Bath to see the beautiful illuminations across the city’s most iconic streets and buildings.

Most sites are right in the middle of the city, so why not take a festive stroll to see Bath’s twinkling lights? Locations include Bath Abbey, Abbey Green, the Roman Baths, and even the mini golf course in Royal Victoria Park!

Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool’s annual illuminations are world-famous, and for good reason! The entire promenade will be shining with beautifully curated displays, inspired by the flamboyant seaside resort.

Visit Beachside Boulevard which celebrates the best parts of summer, featuring neon sandcastles, giant ice creams and colourful waves. Take a stroll down the Golden Mile and be dazzled by the Art Deco style arches.

You can also experience a camp rendition of Bananarama’s Venus. Inspired by local drag artists, it features a dazzling sound and light show. And the star on top is the various projections on The Blackpool Tower, each telling a spectacular story that you won’t soon forget!


Awe-inspiring attractions guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit

Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland

16 November 2023 - 2nd January 2024

For the ultimate Christmas experience filled with festive favourites, visit Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland. Both Cardiff Castle and City Hall Lawn are free to enter, and you’re welcome to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

Grab a Yorkshire pudding wrap before getting your skates on and enjoying the ice rink at the castle, then head to the lawn to enjoy some family entertainment at the bandstand and perhaps hop in a funfair ride or two. Finish off your festive adventure with a warming drink at the ice bar!

Edinburgh Winter Festival

17 November 2023 - 6 January 2024

For a Christmas extravaganza to remember, head to Edinburgh for their Winter Festival. East Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a winter wonderland with loads of handmade gifts, festive food and drink, and of course Santa Land with rides for everyone to enjoy.

Head to The Castle of Light from the 17 November for extraordinary light displays across the castle. You will experience joyous performances from local choirs and an exciting pyrotechnics display. What better way to welcome in the festive season?


Christmas shopping spots to help you find that perfect gift

Newcastle Shopping

If you’re looking for the perfect spot to start your Christmas shopping, then Newcastle is the place for you - it offers one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. You’ll find all your high-street favourites as well as several hidden gems and quirky boutiques.

Visit Central Arcade or High Bridge Quarter for the best in independent stores. If you visit on a Sunday, you’ll also have the pleasure of experiencing the craft market at Armstrong Bridge. You’ll find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life here!

Brighton Shopping

The first thing you think of when visiting Brighton probably isn’t their selection of quirky shops, but they really are a must at this seaside town. The Marina Square is a beautiful place to start your Christmas shopping, and offers many speciality stores offering clothes, crafts and jewellery. The Lanes is a great place to hunt for a gift for your arty friend, with a number of galleries lining the streets.

North Laine is one of the best shopping districts in Brighton too, offering unique gift ideas such as graphic novels, musical instruments and paraphernalia and even retro clothing. Experience a different side of Brighton this festive season!


So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone special or are just looking for a festive day out, we can take you to your winter adventure.

Visit our destination pages for more ideas of what to do in these fantastic places.

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