Feeling festive? It’s time for our annual edit of fabulous no fly Christmas breaks 2016. Consider getting away from it all this year: flying not necessary, natch
Let’s start by hopping on the Eurostar and taking a Christmas break in the beautiful city of Paris…oui s’il vous plaît!
If you’re Paris-bound, best enjoy your stay in style: the historic Hilton Paris Opera, in the Champs-Élysées district, oozes opulence and elegance – and a two-year, $50 million restoration job means it’s bang up to date with every mod-con, including a state-of-the-art fitness centre.
Originally built in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel Tower, the hotel’s listed fixtures were protected during the redesign: the majestic Le Grand Salon has a 46-foot high ceiling and hand-painted frescos, while the Baccarat ballroom has beautiful vintage chandeliers by the famous crystal maker.
Also across the water, the Isle of Wight is a plum place for a festive adventure.
And how about staying in a stunning church conversion?
On the outskirts of Chale, a picturesque farming village on the island’s south coast with an award-winning pub with breathtaking coastal walks, Chapel House offers complete luxury.
The original architecture and stunning stained glass windows have been enhanced with contemporary technologies and colours and guests can make the most of three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two sitting areas, a cosy snug and a spectacular kitchen with island and dining area. 7 nights at Chapel House from December 23 start from £1,519.
Fancy celebrating Christmas from the comfort of a cosy, Scandinavian-style log cabin on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula in West Scotland, with stunning views of Loch Sunart?
From the Iona pine cabins, which sleep 6 and cost from just £639 for 7 nights from December 23, it’s just a 5-minute walk to the loch and the village of Strontian. There, celebrate Christmas at a local restaurant – or with a quick afternoon drink at the pub before dinner.
If you’d rather snuggle up for a quiet one at your home-from-home, there’s a well-equipped fitted kitchen, perfect for cooking up a storm, and the open plan living area has comfortable seating and a dining table where Christmas dinner can be enjoyed.
The living area has a large wall of windows to savour the views and there’s a decked area outside where you could wrap up and sit out in the winter sun with a glass of mulled wine – or a flute of champagne. Why not?
What could be more festive than afternoon tea and opera? On December 11, that’s what’s happening at Danesfield House Hotel – and there’s a full programme of festive events and menus at this luxury hotel, 30-minutes drive from London, between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.
A country house surrounded by 65 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland, the Grade II listed house was completed in 1901.
Today, the Restaurant at Danesfield House is known for great British food cooked well using seasonal produce. The Cocktail Bar is the perfect place to enjoy an aperitif before dinner and Spa Illuminata is an award-winning spa with a 20-metre swimming pool, eight treatment rooms and a fully equipped gym.
Christmas breaks kick-off on December 23 and include two and three-night residential packages.
If you’re looking for an elegant country retreat in the north of the country, The Coach House is set within the woodland grounds of Northumberland’s 17th century mansion, Middleton Hall.
A five-star rated property sleeping up to 10 guests, The Coach House (priced from £2,539 for 7 nights from December 23) has a sleek, white kitchen with plenty of room to make Christmas dinner – and a dishwasher, for a stress-free clean-up.
The dining room seats all 10 guests comfortably and the sitting room has a woodburner. There’s also a games room with table football and plenty of board games to get stuck into.
Walk off your Chrizzy dinner with a stroll around the beautiful grounds and boating lakes, or head for a brisk walk amongst the Cheviots.
If you’re after some fine dining, Sopwell House in St. Albans has an award-winning AA Rosette restaurant – and a host of festive favourites on its set lunch and dinner Christmas menus.
The hotel’s Christmas party nights launch from December 1, and the Christmas Eve dinner and dance (£59 per person) includes a sparkling reception and canapés with carol singers, a spectacular dinner with all the traditional trimmings, and a disco featuring Christmas classics.
Dinner on Christmas Day is a banquet – complete with Father Christmas, or, if you prefer your festive feast on the musical side, the Boxing Day Jazz Brunch (£65 per person) includes a sparkling arrival drink before an extravagant buffet, accompanied by a live jazz band. Nice!
And for something truly unique, North Farm in Norfolk is a family business owned by Gill and David Harley.
The couple’s eco-friendly holiday accommodation includes two eco-cottages and a handmade Shepherd’s Hut – as well as chickens, an antique farm machinery collection and resident artists.
Converted from an 18th-century cart-shed, the cottages, Kingfisher and Barn Owl, provide luxurious, eco-friendly self-catering accommodation for four – but for a rustic Christmas break with a difference, the Shepherd’s Hut provides a retreat for two on a secluded water meadow.
The hut has a comfortable double bed as well as room to relax, and in winter, the built-in woodstove makes it wonderfully cosy for the festive season.
So, if you want to lock yourself away for an unforgettable festive experience…you’re welcome.
Words: Johanna Payton for Feet on the Ground