From carol singers and a black-tie dinner at a boutique hotel in Dorset to a treasure hunt and a traditional feast at a Gothic castle in Scotland: 10 cracking Christmas packages across the UK
- Simon Hepinstall picks the best hotels to spend Christmas in – all of which include a delicious festive feast
- Enjoy champagne-tasting and a formal airing of the Queen’s Christmas speech at Holbeck Ghyll, Lake District
- Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa in Keswick has a dazzling list of entertainment, including a Santa visit and pianist
If you fancy spending Christmas at a relaxing hotel, wherever you choose has to feel very special – so we’ve selected ten of the best packages on offer across the UK to help you pick a winner.
All, of course, include that essential centrepiece of the festive calendar – a mouth-watering Christmas dinner.
Scroll down to read the full list, which we think yule love.
1. HOLBECK GHYLL, LAKE DISTRICT
Holbeck Ghyll overlooks Lake Windermere, pictured, is dog-friendly and has three AA Rosettes for its fodder
Why here? Luxurious Edwardian country house featuring a traditional fine-dining restaurant with three AA Rosettes (outstanding) overlooking Lake Windermere.
Christmas cheer: Guests can enjoy a champagne-tasting event, a traditional boat cruise on Windermere and a formal airing of the Queen’s Christmas speech with Christmas cake in the lounge.
Boxing Day walk: Bracing fell-rambling from the doorstep.
Insider tip: Holbeck is dog-friendly.
Christmas Package: Four-night stay from £1,880pp. holbeckghyll.com
2. THE LYGON ARMS, BROADWAY, COTSWOLDS
The most wonderful time of the year: Guests at Lygon Arms (above) in the Cotswolds will be entertained by a magician
Why here? A postcard-pretty coaching inn that’s been around a while (guests have included Charles I and Oliver Cromwell). These days there’s a sumptuous spa plus an acclaimed restaurant.
Christmas cheer: Gaze out over a huge decorated tree in the main street, tuck into Christmas dinner in the atmospheric 16th Century dining hall, and be entertained by a magician and carol singing.
Boxing Day walk: After watching the local hunt meet outside, climb nearby Broadway Hill for views from Broadway Tower.
Insider tip: Choose the Charles I Suite for the sheer thrill of sleeping where the King held meetings.
Christmas package: Three nights from £2,565 per couple. lygonarmshotel.co.uk
3. ALEXANDRA HOTEL, LYME REGIS, DORSET
The Alexandra Hotel is in Lyme Regis, which boasts a splendid harbour (pictured) and a pretty beach
Why here? This beautiful 18th Century aristocrat’s home is now a super family-friendly boutique hotel overlooking the Jurassic Coast. The stylish sea-view restaurant has won awards for its use of local produce.
Christmas cheer: Enjoy carol singing in the hotel’s own cliff-top chapel followed by home-made mince pies. Buck’s fizz is served in your bedroom on Christmas morning and you can enjoy a delicious black-tie dinner complete with hand-made crackers on Boxing Day.
Boxing Day walk: A path from the large garden leads to the harbour, the Cobb – made famous by the 1981 movie The French Lieutenant’s Woman – and the renowned fossil cliffs.
Insider tip: Family-friendly details include a children’s playground in the garden.
Christmas package: Three nights from £695pp. hotelalexandra.co.uk
4. LYMPSTONE MANOR, EAST DEVON
Yule be comfortable: One of the sumptuous bedrooms at East Devon’s Lympstone Manor
Why here? Overlooking the Exe Estuary, this Georgian house – the ancestral home of famous banking family the Barings – has been transformed into celebrity chef Michael Caines’s glamorous five-star hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant. Luxuries include private terraces with fire-pits and hot-tubs, a hotel vineyard and wine room for tastings, crystal chandeliers and monthly art exhibitions.
Christmas cheer: Besides gourmet menus, there are wine tastings, carol singers and live jazz on offer amid sumptuous decorations. Guests can be transported to Exeter Cathedral’s midnight mass.
Boxing Day walk: Enjoy a guided wildlife walk along the nearby coast and estuary.
Insider tip: Leave room for home-made traditional Christmas pudding made by Michael’s mum.
Christmas package: Three nights from £797 for two. lympstonemanor.co.uk
5. CRINGLETIE HOUSE, PEBBLES, SCOTLAND
Why here? It’s an imposing Victorian gothic castle with open fires in bedrooms where guests are left a bedside whisky nightcap and can relax amid tartan carpets, frescoed ceilings and big old cast-iron radiators. You can also book in-room spa treatments and enjoy the walled garden and 28-acre estate with waterfalls, woodland walks and Scotland’s oldest yew hedge.
Christmas cheer: Enjoy chestnuts roasted on open fires, a treasure hunt by foot or car, then sit down to a traditional Highland supper with haggis while a piper plays.
Boxing Day walk: Spot owls and deer on the woodland path from the hotel or join an organised walk into the hills with the hotel’s own alpaca (wellies supplied).
Insider tip: Romantics should book ‘Glentress’, a fairytale turret bedroom.
Christmas package: Three-day break from £835 per person. cringletie.com
6. ACKERGILL TOWER, NEAR WICK, SCOTLAND
Winter wonderlands: Majestic Ackergill Tower (above), Scotland, where guests will be welcomed with local single-malt whisky
Why here? This 15th Century fortified tower is the UK’s most northerly Grade A listed monument. Now it’s a wonderfully remote five-star hotel surrounded by a 3,000-acre estate. There are beds in the castle, cottages and even a treehouse – so perfect for a big family party.
Christmas cheer: Guests are welcomed with local single-malt whisky and can enjoy a kilt-wearing formal dinner in the wood-panelled Great Hall with the traditional ‘drumming in the beef and addressing the haggis’. You can also try toasting marshmallows in a fire-pit on the beach with a bagpiper playing, feast on mince pies and play board games in the drawing room. There will also be live music and dancing in the castle ‘pub’ and a festive castle treasure hunt.
Boxing Day walk: Spot otters and seals on the estate’s seven miles of unspoilt coastline.
Insider tip: Pack light – guests are provided with Hunter wellingtons and Barbour jackets.
Christmas package: Three nights from £995pp. ackergilltower.com
7. DEAN COURT HOTEL, YORK
Why here? This grand Victorian hotel, which once housed clergymen, stands opposite the Minster.
Christmas cheer: Wake on Christmas morning to the Minster’s bells. The hotel’s house-party atmosphere includes quizzes, a panto trip, a visit from Santa and elves, carol singers and a magician. Cross the road for midnight mass followed by mulled wine and mince pies.
Boxing Day walk: Take a two-mile circuit of York’s intact Roman town walls with views across the rooftops of the historic centre.
Insider tip: Lean out of the window of Suite 17 and you can almost touch the West Door of the Minster.
Christmas package: Three nights from £1,095 for two. deancourt-york.co.uk
8. LODORE FALLS HOTEL & SPA, KESWICK
Relax: The outdoor heated hydro pool at Lodore Falls in Keswick, which also boasts a glitzy spa
Why here? Following a £10 million makeover, this 200-year-old Borrowdale hotel now boasts a glitzy spa with an outdoor heated hydro pool and acclaimed restaurant.
Christmas cheer: There’s a dazzling list of entertainment that includes a welcome ‘gin & tea party’ with the local choir, a black-tie dinner with a magician, balloonist and pianist, a candlelit lakeside party with hot punch and marshmallows, a Santa visit, a treasure hunt, quiz, charity duck race and Michael Bublé tribute act.
Boxing Day walk: Guided trek from the hotel with picnic lunch at Derwent Water. Hot chocolate and mince pies by the fire on return.
Insider tip: Walking boots are provided for guests.
Christmas package: Three nights for £765pp. lakedistricthotels.net
9. STANBROOK ABBEY HOTEL, NEAR WORCESTER
Novel attraction: Stanbrook Abbey Hotel’s homely Library Bar, above, where you can sip on a G&T with a good book
Why here? This former monastery with chapel and cloisters is now a luxury hotel.
Christmas cheer: Lift your spirits at a carol service in the hotel’s own candlelit Victorian chapel. Enjoy a falconry display on the lawn or sip a G&T with a good book in the Library Bar.
Boxing Day walk: It’s set in 26 acres beneath the Malvern Hills, so explore the glorious paths enjoyed by composer Sir Edward Elgar.
Insider tip: Recognise the ornate architecture? Stanbrook’s architect was Augustus Pugin, who designed London’s Big Ben.
Christmas package: Two nights –Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – from £415pp. handpickedhotels.co.uk
10. FISHMORE HALL, LUDLOW, SHROPSHIRE
Why here? This snow-white Georgian country house hotel in spectacular Shropshire landscape offers modern luxuries such as spa treatments and a pillow menu, where you can choose from a variety for your bed.
Highlights: Enjoy a champagne reception with the hotel covered in decorations, watch the hunt gallop past on Boxing Day with mulled wine, and enjoy midnight mass at the ancient St Laurence’s Church also known as ‘cathedral of the Marches’.
Boxing Day walk: Follow the path into historic Ludlow.
Insider tip: Dog-friendly. Plus pack swimwear to enjoy the hot tub with glorious views.
Christmas package: Two nights from £385pp. fishmorehall.co.uk
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