Britain’s best places for Christmas cheer

Chris Carter looks at three of the best places around Britain at which to soak up the festive spirit.


Edinburgh: transformed into a winter wonderland this festive season
(Image credit: Digital Triangle Creative Ltd.)

"It's official," says Luke Abrahams in the Evening Standard. "Kew Gardens is the prettiest place in London this Christmas." Glowing orbs, trails of delicate lights, sparkling trees and some "cracking light shows" are on display at the iconic Unesco-listed botanical gardens in southwest London until the New Year.

There are more than a million twinkling lights, crystals galore, a few art installations, as well as fairground rides and Father Christmas himself for the little ones. But best of all, all the trails are full of the smells of Christmas roasted chestnuts and mulled cider and you can toast your own marshmallows over an open fire.

Until 1 January adults £18.50, children £12,

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Bath's festive markets

Bath is renowned for its Christmas markets, says Julie Delahaye in the Daily Mirror, and this year it is holding its biggest yet. Some 200 "chalets" have set up shop in the city centre, selling gifts and locally made festive treats. Bath Abbey is running festive tours every 45 minutes that include a climb to the top of the Abbey's tower: it's well worth the 212-step slog for a bird's eye view of the city, says Harriet Noble in Bath Chronicle.

Don't miss the Aprs-Ski Bar either, a "sparkling festive chalet" offering mulled wine and hearty food. "Expect festive music, blankets, and tonnes of atmosphere."

Until 10 December tower tours: adults £6, children £3,

Edinburgh's winter wonderland

Visitors to Edinburgh will be stumbling on a winter wonderland this year, says The Scotsman. The Christmas markets are split between East Princes Street Gardens and George Street, where revellers can pick up everything from festive gifts to handmade Christmas decorations and cashmere scarves.

"Ice Adventure: A Journey Through Frozen Scotland" is a new attraction, giving visitors "a magical, icy look back at Scotland's history", a story told through a series of stunning ice sculptures. Warm up with a traditional German bratwurst and mulled wine, then head over to the Spiegeltent in Festival Square, where cabaret troupe La Clique is laying on festive entertainment, including comedy, music and burlesque shows.

Ice Adventure runs until 24 December, from £7

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.