The top 16 best hotels in the UK for an extraordinary Christmas vacation

By Alina GoncharovaApr 7, 2024 19:55 PMThe best
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The top 16 best hotels in the UK for an extraordinary Christmas vacation
A holiday illuminated by thousands of lights. Source: Image JUNG HYUN HA/Pixabay

The Christmas holiday season is undoubtedly one of the most magical times of the year, but it can also bring a lot of worries and stress – from meticulously cleaning the house to queuing up in supermarkets and hosting a number of guests. If you want to try something new this year and take a break from the hustle and bustle at home, we recommend taking a short vacation in one of the UK's charming hotels to make the most of this time of year.

Whether you're planning to spend the Christmas holidays with just the two of you, your children or grandchildren, or a fun group of friends, you're sure to find an option for an unforgettable celebration. Afternoon tea with the most delicious cakes, carols, champagne, and long walks in the well-groomed grounds illuminated by lights – this is just the minimum that awaits guests. From real castles in the Highlands to atmospheric country houses in the Cotswolds, the best Christmas hotels are looking forward to welcoming guests. All you have to do is choose the best option, go on a pleasant journey, and enjoy the holidays without stress.

Forth Seasons Hotel, Hampshire

The top 16 best hotels in the UK for an extraordinary Christmas vacation
A homey feel for a great vacation. Source: https://www.fourseasons.com/

This stunning country house in Hampshire is a charming place to be at any time of year, boasting beautiful views and plenty of activities for both children and adults. However, with just a little bit of festive atmosphere, Four Seasons Hampshire will shine with new colors at Christmas.

The hotel, which occupies a historic manor house, is located on a 500-acre site and is just an hour's drive from London. During the holiday season, Four Seasons is making great efforts to ensure that each of its guests can have a wonderful Christmas holiday. Some of the key attractions the hotel has to offer include

  • an open-air ice rink;
  • carriage rides;
  • mime performances;
  • fireside evenings accompanied by aromatic mulled wine.

In addition, guests can get their own miniature Christmas tree and decorate it themselves. Don't miss a visit to the Off-Piste restaurant, where you can order fondue with three cheeses and truffle shavings. Of course, on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus is waiting for children and adults alike, and during the celebration, everyone will have the opportunity to create a card and send it to someone important.

If you want to relax after the parties, head to the spa, located in a converted 18th-century salon, and book a deep tissue massage.

Port Lympne, Kent

A stay in this special Kentish nature reserve takes you far from the UK to an amazing place where bears, elephants, lions, tigers, and other inhabitants live on 600 acres, which you can get up close and personal with on a special tour. Port Lympne hosts a wonderful Christmas dinner in the cozy Garden Room, where traditional mince pies are served, carols are performed, and, of course, Santa Claus comes to visit. You can open your presents in your bed and then enjoy a delicious breakfast served right in your bedroom. In addition, this great UK hotel for a Christmas getaway offers fireside movie screenings, buffet-style dinners, and many other fun activities.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire

This amazing 42-room property with a Palladian-style facade and tree-lined avenue is located in the picturesque village of Colerne in northern Wiltshire. On the eve of the holiday, guests of Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa can enjoy board games and workshops where they can create their own Christmas wreath. Before a sumptuous dinner prepared by Hywel Johnson, the famous Michelin-starred chef, enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, and in the evening, head to the atmospheric midnight mass, lit by hundreds of candles, at Colerne Parish Church.

Of course, guests can count on unlimited amounts of fragrant mulled wine, hot chocolate, and meat pies. The little ones will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus in a horse-drawn carriage filled with gifts for children. After the packages are unwrapped, guests of the charming Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa will enjoy open-air walks through the 500-acre countryside, a hearty lunch, and a Black Tie dinner as the perfect end to the festive day. Another advantage of the hotel is the presence of a state-of-the-art spa, one of the best in the UK, with a large swimming pool and a wide range of treatments.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'saisons, Oxford

The main highlight of this top UK Christmas vacation destination is the restaurant, which has received two Michelin stars since its opening in 1984 by the talented Raymond Blanc. That's why guests of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'saisons look forward to Christmas dinner the most. The menu, designed by the renowned chef, includes six courses, and guests are treated to an incredible cardamom meringue to finish the meal, served with hot coffee at the end.

If you arrive at the hotel on the eve of the holiday, we recommend spending some time exploring the picturesque grounds around the estate, which dates back to the 15th century, until you reach the shimmering winter dome. Inside, you'll find champagne and a cozy blanket to keep you warm in the evening. This aesthetic picture deserves to be depicted on a postcard.

Regardless of which of the 32 rooms you book, each of the individually decorated bedrooms will have a small Christmas tree (in addition to the festive trees on the grounds).

Zen Retreat at Elcot Park, Berkshire

A relative newcomer to the UK's impressive hospitality scene, The Retreat at Elcot Park, located in Berkshire, has only celebrated two Christmases. Despite having little experience, the hotel impresses with the amount of preparation it has put into transforming a historic 18th-century country house into a winter wonderland. With an emphasis on rest and maximum relaxation, The Retreat at Elcot Park is suitable for all guests regardless of age or preference. You can even travel with your pets, as dogs are allowed on site, and some rooms have private access to the grounds.

The Brasserie restaurant organizes wonderful family evenings, and on Boxing Day guests will have the opportunity to take a traditional walk, exploring the 16 acres of well-groomed grounds with many interesting corners. After an active day, we recommend spending time in the spa, which has a heated outdoor pool in addition to treatment rooms.

Claridge's, London

One of the best hotels in the UK is always charming, but in winter, with carefully selected decor and lights, it exudes magic and special charm. During the holiday season, Claridge's always has a large Christmas tree, stylishly decorated by designers, and the pre-Christmas events are as fun as you can imagine. Don't miss the holiday-inspired afternoon tea, accompanied by the ringing of the children's voices of the Southend Choir.

In addition, the hotel offers a wide range of activities for children, from crafts and art workshops to carriage rides and delicious marshmallow hot chocolate. While the kids are doing their own thing, adults have the opportunity to spend time in the paneled Fumoir with a glass of champagne before heading to the Christmas dinner. Chic meals are served in the lounge, the elegant French salon, or the grand mirrored room to choose from.

Cliveden House, Berkshire

One of the most popular hotels in the UK, ideal for a holiday vacation, is Cliveden House. Located in Berkshire, this complex organizes not just an event with dinner, Santa Claus, and gifts, but a large-scale party lasting at least three nights. That's why the hotel is unlikely to be the best choice for a family vacation with children, but it's perfect for a romantic weekend or a glamorous, fun-filled vacation with a group of friends.

The festivities begin on Christmas Eve with traditional afternoon tea and mulled wine. After that, you will enjoy exquisite canapés with Laurent-Perrier champagne, as well as a decadent three-course dinner designed by Chef Christopher Hannon. Between lunch and the last meal, we recommend taking a walk, as 376 acres of National Trust grounds are available for exploration. On Boxing Day, book a place on the exclusive Butlers tour, where you will learn about the extraordinary history of Cliveden. In particular, the original house was built in 1666 by order of the Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress.

Middleton Lodge, Yorkshire

Occupying a manor house in North Yorkshire, Middleton Lodge is a secret hideaway with Cotswold charm, offering many options for an unforgettable family vacation and a large selection of rooms dotted around a former dairy and lush gardens. James Ellison, the owner of this top UK hotel, grew up here, so everything is designed with families in mind and inspires a homey feel.

Middleton Lodge has an excellent spa on site, so check in on Christmas Eve and enjoy a swim under the stars in the heated outdoor pool. On Christmas Eve, guests can enjoy a traditional dinner in the elegant Coach House restaurant. There are also 200 acres of woodland and parkland available for exploration, and a special two-acre garden where vegetables are grown for Christmas dinner. Middleton Lodge is a great choice for those who want to spend their holiday vacation in the countryside, away from the bustling metropolis.

Ze Lygon Arms, Cotswolds

The top 16 best hotels in the UK for an extraordinary Christmas vacation
Eclectic and charming hotel. Source: https://www.cotswolds.com/

The famous Cotswold countryside attracts travelers at any time of year, but it is especially magical in winter when the winding cobbled streets are lightly snow-covered and the blazing fire dances in the wind, creating a cozy glow. At the Lygon Arms, Christmas Eve is marked by the singing of local carols, and on Christmas Day, guests are sure to enjoy a rustic lunch. Of course, on Boxing Day, you can take a walk in the picturesque countryside, and then satisfy your appetite with warm pies and aromatic mulled wine.

Mitre Hampton, London

Located in Surrey, The Mitre exudes aristocracy and sophistication in everything. One of the best hotels to celebrate Christmas in the UK is a stone's throw from Hampton Court Palace, the favorite residence of King Henry VIII, which features an extremely attractive facade. The Mitre, listed as a Grade II listed building, boasts extraordinary views of the frozen banks of the River Arcadia.

Start your Christmas morning in a soft four-poster bed, in a bedroom decorated in candy colors. After you exchange gifts, dress warmly to spend time at the ice rink at Hampton Court Palace. Don't forget to bring your camera or at least your phone, as the snowy landscapes around you are worthy of a Christmas card.

Beaverbrook, Surrey

Lord Beaverbrook purchased this abandoned property back in 1910, but it was only transformed into a hotel a few years ago. Beaverbrook, located on the outskirts of London in Surrey, is one of the finest country houses, with restored antiques, open fireplaces, parquet floors, and unique artwork. All this is perfectly complemented by traditional Christmas decorations. On the big day, Santa Claus appears in front of the guests, and you can listen to the king's speech in the cozy atmosphere of a private cinema hall.

Before heading to the festive dinner, which necessarily includes lamb and eggplant, as well as cider and mulled wine, spend time at the ice rink to work up an appetite. On Boxing Day, the best solution would be to visit a beautiful spa center where you can rejuvenate and relax as much as possible.

Monkey Island Estate, Bray

If you want to spend your favorite holiday on a private island, you don't have to go to the Caribbean, because Monkey Island can surprise you by redefining the concept of vacation. This beautiful Christmas hotel in the UK occupies a fantastic estate, but its main advantage is its unique location. Monkey Island Estate is located in the village of Bray on a private island on the River Thames, occupying seven hectares of grounds with beautiful landscaped gardens and stunning views, and offering 40 exquisite rooms and the luxurious Wedgewood Suite.

The hotel is perfect for lovers of traditional Christmas. On the agenda is a midnight mass at the nearby St. Michael's Church, after which guests will enjoy a delicious hearty meal, such as mince pies accompanied by a classic hot toddies cocktail made with whiskey, water, honey, and lemon juice. In the morning, Santa's helpers deliver gifts to children, and then Monkey Island Estate hosts a traditional five-course Christmas dinner. If you want to continue the celebration, head to the underground Whisky Snug, which boasts 27 types of whiskey, including Monkey Shoulder.

Chewton Glen, Hampshire

Frederick Merriat stayed here while writing the popular novel Children of the New Forest, but it's not just the rich history that draws guests to this Hampshire hotel, located just steps from the beach. Chewton Glen is a great choice for celebrating Christmas. To maximize the experience and enjoyment of your stay here, we recommend staying in the amazing Tree Suite, which includes a private bath and outdoor Jacuzzi, with woodland views and plenty of space for family activities. The party in honor of the holiday takes place in the main building, which dates back to the 18th century. After dinner, you can watch one of the charming children's movies in the Beehive Treehouse.

The Ned, London

The Ned is one of the most festive hotels in the UK thanks to its abundance of stylish décor and a packed schedule of Christmas events to suit all tastes. From traditional afternoon tea with meat pies and gingerbread in the shape of Christmas trees to merry carols accompanied by choirmaster Gareth Malone, this is a great place for seasonal entertainment that will appeal to both children and adults. On the main day of Christmas, guests will enjoy a delicious feast of festive porchetta, roast, lobster, and delicious Italian-style desserts.

Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland

This exquisite estate located in Perthshire, Scotland, was recently renovated in a restrained modern style, offering 233 rooms in various configurations. In addition, the Gleneagles Hotel has two Michelin-starred restaurants. While waiting for Santa Claus and elves, you can spend time at the ice rink with the whole family. The Gleneagles Hotel also becomes a place where ice shows are organized, festive delicacies are served, and annual clay pigeon shooting competitions and even fortune telling are held. If you're lucky, it might even snow in Ochterarder to make Christmas as magical as possible.

Heckfield Place, Hampshire

One of the best Christmas hotels in the UK, located in Hampshire, perfectly combines home comfort and elegance, without being too intrusive and pompous. A festive vacation at Heckfield Place includes walks in the picturesque 438-acre grounds, cocktail master classes, live music concerts, and comfortable winter movie nights. Expect to see Santa Claus and his reindeer with hot chocolate in hand, and then head to the Hearth for a Christmas dinner, where you can enjoy performances by a jazz trio, choir, and harpist.

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