This is coming to you from my bedroom where I’m tucking into a box of quality street my mum bought me, and listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album and allow myself to fantasise about all the places I would love to visit this Christmas. So, without further ado, here are the 10 places that made the final cut.
- Lincoln Christmas MarketLincoln is a small, beautifully preserved medieval city in England. It is slightly more remote than the average Christmas market and yet no less beautiful. Taking place under the magnificent structure of Lincoln Cathedral, it showcases all the best local cuisine and crafts. The city is also home to the second highest central tower in the UK, you can climb to the top and look out across the beautiful city lights.
Spend your Christmas in a real life Yule Town, surrounded by breathtaking winter scenes such as the spectacular snow covered summits. You can take a night time boat and go chasing the Northern Lights! If the cold begins to set it, go visit the Blue Lagoons and enjoy an afternoon of relaxation in the naturally warm waters.
Go for a classic with a twist. Embrace your inner child and head on up to Lapland and stay in one of the beautiful Ice Hotels. Although it sounds cold, apparently ice acts as a natural insulation, plus the rooms are breathtakingly beautiful (not to mention eerily romantic).
Fairy-lights are my favourite thing about Christmas and a trip to the Starlight Garden in Tokyo would be the ultimate Christmas pilgrimage for any fairy-light enthusiast. This place takes my breath away just looking at the pictures. Although it is likely to always be extremely crowded, I think it is worth it to see such a wonderful Christmas display. (For a cheaper option, I recommend the Byre Garden at Night.)
This is an underground Christmas market! (as if Christmas markets could get any more exciting.) It is also the largest and oldest subterranean Christmas market in Europe. There is also an 18th century chapel and preserved murals dating back to roman times. So you can enjoy your Christmas shopping with a big old slice of history.
If you are desperate to get away from the Christmas crowds, this place is for you. It is a remote little village on a high desert plain in New Mexico. It is particularly beautiful at Christmastime due to the local cultural traditions including paper lanterns adorning the main street, reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter and the dramatic and captivating American Indian Christmas Eve celebration that takes over the main square for the night.
If the religious implications of Christmas are not you thing, try celebrating in an alternative way in Brighton, with the ‘Burning of the Clocks Festival’ on the 21st of December (the shortest day of the year). Willow and paper lanterns are produced and painted with clock faces, then carries in a procession to the beach front where they are burnt along with a sculptural light. Fireworks are also set off and there is live music! I wonderful way to enjoy the festive spirit without the religious ties.
Continuing with the underground theme here because it would seem underground attractions are much more exciting to me. If you are an adrenaline seeker, then take a visit to the largest underground trampolining complex! You can visit all year round, but it opens a Santa’s Grotto and there is a spectacular light display for the Christmas Season.
Okay so I put this one on here because it is actually manageable cost wise and it’s not very far away at all. If you’re going to go, I recommend booking a train in advance because it only takes an hour or so from St Andrews! Although I grumbled last year about the market changing hands, they really have pulled out all the stops this year, and my favourite ride (I call it the Leg Crusher) placed precariously closely to the Scot Monument is back to give that long missed adrenaline rush.
Whatever way you decide to spend your Christmas this year, I hope you wrap up warmly, indulge in lovely food and just have a very merry, well deserved break after a hectic first semester!