Travel | Festive breaks

The streets of Paris and the sights of Edinburgh are never far away when you live near Bristol

Bruges

There’s a reason why every YouTuber and their girlfriend’s dog are vlogging about Bruges – its cobbled streets and horse-drawn carriages are postcard-perfect. Catch the Eurostar from St Pancras International and 3h 30m later you’ll be dropped a 20-minute walk from the city centre so you can start seeking out fresh waffles and coffee straight away. Head to the wooden chalets and ice rink at Grote Markt for melty cheese and the most scrumptious chocolates.

www.visitbruges.be/en

Edinburgh

Santa Land returns this year once again to Edinburgh in all its glory, complete with Santa’s Grotto and a Christmas market. East Princes Street Gardens are transformed into Lapland heaven for a six-week-long Christmas stint where you and your family can find their way through a maze, and hop on one of the many rides for fabulous views of the Norwegian tree and Edinburgh Castle.

www.edinburghschristmas.com

Paris

Thanks to Napoleon III and Baron Hausmann’s extraordinary and drastic decision to rebuild most of the city in the 19th-century, laying down the wide boulevards and parks that characterise it today, Paris is considered one of the most architecturally beautiful cities in the world. The air may be crisp, but the sights are stunning – stroll up to Sacré-Cœur and reward yourself with mulled wine in Montmartre, wander down the Champs Elysées and refuel at many a café en route. Bracing the winds at Trocadéro for a glimpse of the glittering Eiffel Tower at night is well worth it.

www.en.parisinfo.com

Scottish castles

Indulge your wildest fantasies and spend this year’s Christmas in a castle. Storybook-worthy fortresses can be found all across Scotland, from the cliff-top Culzean Castle with three miles of wild coastline to the charming 500-year-old Kilmartin Castle which has been restored as a luxury bed and breakfast venue. Why not book out an entire castle for your group?

www.celticcastles.com/christmas-in-a-castle/

Bath 

The pretty city within easy reach of Bristol makes for a jolly good festive break – Bath Christmas Market features over 150 different craftspeople’s stalls selling everything from fine art to natural stone tableware, and the Après Ski Bar at Abbey Hotel (open November 21–December 23) is the full Alps experience minus the plane fare! Don’t forget to pop into the spa to decompress for a few hours…

www.visitbath.co.uk

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