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most magical places to visit at christmas

Are you looking for the most magical places to visit at Christmas in the UK? Picture the twinkling of fairy lights, the scent of roasted chestnuts and the joyous laughter of families gathered around a crackling fireplace.

No matter where you are, the Christmas cheer is alive, and these villages and towns are better than most at providing that magic.

Our guide is ideal for anyone looking for the best places to spend Christmas in the UK or simply looking for that Christmas spark!

Step into Christmas and discover the most magical places to visit at Christmas…

1. Broadway

Broadway, Worcestershire

Broadway is one of the most beautiful villages in England, so it is no surprise to see it on our magical places to visit at Christmas guide!

This UK Christmas village, nestled at the foot of the Worcestershire hills, is an ideal starting point for exploring the Cotswolds. Look forward to exploring the picturesque village, which boasts excellent cuisine and a rich cultural heritage.

At Christmas, admire the honey-coloured stone cottages draped in snow! Afterwards, discover the chestnut tree-lined High Street and the lovely festive shop window displays!

This village offers late-night shopping in addition to its magical setting in December. On a Friday evening, browse the many independent shops for one-of-a-kind gifts or catch a glimpse of a reindeer when visiting Santa’s grotto!

2. Ludlow

ludlow in winter

Ludlow is a medieval market town with a bustling atmosphere all year round. It has a reputation for producing high-quality food and drink, and thousands of people visit each year for the Ludlow Food and Drink Festival.

What’s more, the festive season sees the town transform into one of the most magical places to visit at Christmas. Admire the town’s Christmas lights, warm up with a mulled wine in one of the medieval pubs or browse the shops for the perfect gift.

If you are looking for something extra special this year, head to the Ludlow Local Produce Market located at Castle Square. Here, you will find a collection of local food and drink producers from the area, selling charcuterie, preserves, baked pies and lots more!

3. Whitby

Whitby Abbey Ruins at sunset

If you’re looking for places to go for Christmas in the UK, Whitby should be at the top of your list!

Magical at any time of the year, Whitby has a wide and varied culture that even the Grinch would love. There is something here for everyone, from the traditional Christmas tree competition at St Mary’s Church to the exciting lantern parade.

Venture to the market for some lovely gifts, which in true Whitby style is a collection of beach huts selling the most beautiful crafts and produce.

Aside from the Christmas markets, admire the winding cobbled streets, the array of perfect Whitby pubs and the unique things that Whitby is famous for.

As a result, the festive events, cosy pubs, and enchanting scenery make Whitby one of the most magical places to visit at Christmas.

Browse our Whitby Travel Guide for more travel inspiration for your next Christmas visit.

4. Conwy

conwy castle and harbour

What is more magical than seeing one of the best castles in Wales, a quaint harbour, the smallest house in Great Britain and the silhouette of Snowdonia?

With all that in mind, it will come as no surprise that Conwy is on our list of best Christmas towns. From the moment you cross the Telford Suspension Bridge, you know that you are in one of the UK’s most popular places to go at Christmas.

Imagine meandering the medieval walls before warming up with a hot chocolate in one of the cosy cafes on the high street. Then venturing to the harbour, where you’ll find the little, red-painted house measuring just 3.05m x 1.83m, before returning to the warmth of a quaint holiday cottage in Conwy. Bliss!

Use our things to do in North Wales guide for even more inspiration!

5. Bakewell

River Wye in Bakewell

Famed for being the home of the Bakewell tart, the Peak District town of Bakewell is sure to get a little sweeter at Christmas.

With a plethora of quaint cafés, snowy riverside walks, and cracking Christmas displays, it is easy to see why this is one of the best places to go for Christmas in the UK.

As well as the attractive town centre, the magnificent Peak District National Park is waiting to be explored. And, of course, there’s the nearby Chatsworth House, which always has a lovely Christmas display.

Bakewell is one of the most magical places to visit at Christmas, with so many charming things to see and do!

Find your holiday inspiration with our Bakewell Travel Guide.

6. Ambleside

Rydal Water in winter

During the summertime, the pretty town of Ambleside is full of tourists wishing to explore the beauty of the Lake District National Park.

Come wintertime, the crowds of tourists are replaced with endearing fairy lights. While the independent shops and eateries fully embrace the Christmas spirit!

With a panorama of mountainous fells and majestic lakes as your backdrop, you can see why this is one of the most magical places to visit at Christmas.

Discover plenty more things to see and do with our Ambleside Travel Guide.

7. Mousehole

Mousehole Christmas Lights Cornwall

Every December, this Christmas village transforms into an illuminated spectacle. Mousehole‘s cottages and quayside are lit up, and the harbour features many strange and wonderful festive symbols!

Look for the festive serpent bobbing in the water and the nearly 150-foot-long Merry Christmas sign on the hillside!

The Christmas tradition began in 1963, and the display has grown in size and popularity over the years. Every night until January, people come from all over to see the illuminations.

In addition, a Carolaire is held in the village. Several Mousehole societies gather here to sing carols in the open air! This, combined with the lights, makes Mousehole one of the most magical places to visit during Christmas in the UK.

8. Staithes


Following 2020’s Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Christmas special, Staithes has become one of the UK’s most popular Christmas villages.

Displaying traditional charms and an old-fashioned pace of life, come here to experience the magic of Christmas by the sea. Navigate the narrow streets and winding paths to admire the stormy outlook from the cliff edge.

Take refuge on a winter’s evening at the Cod and Lobster, where a cosy fire awaits and a well-deserved pint. Watch the bobbing boats from the window as you delve into a home-cooked meal!

Browse our Staithes Travel Guide for more things to see and do on your next visit.

9. Llandudno

Llandudno Pier

Llandudno is loved by all who visit and is sure to fill you with some holiday glee! This Victorian gem has a sense of elegance throughout the year. But when the Christmas lights adorn the streets, Llandudno turns on the charm.

The town hosts a chance to have breakfast with Santa, an array of festive lunches and festive afternoon teas, all with a view of the North Wales coast. This is what Christmas dreams are made of, right?

After filling up on tasty festive snacks, why not enjoy the fresh air of a North Wales coastal walk? Alternatively, discover the nearby national park and find the best things to do in Snowdonia in winter!

Take a look through our Llandudno Travel Guide for further things to do inspiration. 

10. Bowness-on-Windermere

Jetty At Windermere

Bowness-on-Windermere is the next stop on our list of the most magical places to visit at Christmas.

This sprawling tourist town is located next to England’s largest lake and is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery that begs to be explored.

The annual Windermere Christmas Celebration is an event, not to be missed! It is a fun family affair that features over 40 local produce stalls with a Christmas twist. There will also be live entertainment and a welcoming community spirit, giving it a true Christmas feel.

Find a plethora of things to do on your next holiday with our Bowness-on-Windermere Travel Guide.

11. Buxton

Buxton Park Pavilion in the Snow

Next up on our guide to magical places to visit at Christmas is Buxton. This idyllic spa town is at the centre of the Peak District National Park and offers the Christmas charm that you are dreaming of.

During the winter months, the ornamental gardens are covered in snow, a picturesque sight to behold. And what better way to work off the Christmas calories than with an easy Peak District walk?

Furthermore, enjoy candlelit tours of Haddon Hall, the snowy beauty of the Peaks and the many lovely Buxton cafés for an indulgent drink.

For further inspiration, take a look at our free Buxton Travel Guide.

12. Scarborough

Scarborough in snow

Another coastal spot to celebrate Christmas in the UK? That’s right, Scarborough brings our list of the best places to visit for Christmas in the UK to a close.

The North Yorkshire seaside resort may be synonymous with the British summer holidays, but there are lots of Christmas events to get excited about too! Be sure to visit Santa at the harbour and shop for excellent holiday gifts.

Add to that a stunning coastline, which is especially lovely for wintery strolls, and you’ve got yourself a magical Christmas town! Don’t forget to wear your winter woollies!

Use our Scarborough Travel Guide to plan your next getaway.

Inspired by these magical places to visit at Christmas? Take a look at our best places to visit in the UK in winter and secure your Christmas holiday today. Alternatively, use our free UK travel guide to discover more things to do during your UK Christmas holiday. 

Image Credits:  Shropshire&TelfordTSB(CC BY 2.0); Toubunshin(CC BY-SA 3.0)

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