Capturing the Essence of a Very English Christmas | TravelResearchOnline


Capturing the Essence of a Very English Christmas

Bustling and colourful Christmas markets in historic settings, treasure-filled castles and stately homes in full festive mode, carol singers, sparkling and highly decorated Christmas trees, mulled wine, mince pies, and ice skating outdoors at famous London attractions. Welcome to an exciting series of tour ideas that can be gift-wrapped to generate valuable extra commission in the run-up to Christmas in Britain.

My top story brings together 5 Christmas markets in London, Winchester, Salisbury, and Bath which can be given extra festive flair by adding one or more of my After Dark Tours. December also sees the appearance of outdoor skating rinks at several famous heritage sites in London and they’ll appeal to families on the move.

I couldn’t resist creating a programme where you can meet a crowd of much-loved characters at Rochester’s annual Dickens Festival, complete with visits to the castles at Hever and Leeds – both fully decorated for Christmas.

Chester and York’s Christmas Markets play an important role in my two final stories, as do visits to the great treasure houses of Chatsworth and Castle Howard.

Email me for details for each of these programmes.

A Cornucopia of Christmas Markets

This truly festive experience begins with the London Belgravia Christmas Market and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland annual gathering of festive fairground rides, ice skating, grottos, and glühwein galore. Then you’re out into the English countryside where you’ll discover the magical Christmas markets in the great heritage cities of Winchester, Chichester, and Bath. Use the link and take a look.


After Dark Tours

As it’s dark by 4pm in December, why not add a late afternoon visit to one of the impressive sound and light extravaganzas at some of our major attractions. Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt and the Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle can be included in a Cotswolds itinerary, while Christmas Glow at Wisley and Kew After Dark are easily accessible from London.

Get Your Skates On

Families will love a whirl around some of London’s best outdoor ice-skating rinks at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, The Natural History Museum, and the National Maritime Museum Greenwich. Include a side trip to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour and time at the world famous Hamley’s toy shop. They’ll be wide-eyed with amazement at this pre-Christmas London tour.




Fairy Tale Castles and Meet Mr. Pickwick

Packed with shopping stalls, the cathedral city of Rochester becomes a feast of Victorian delights during their annual Dickens Christmas Festival. There are lamp-lit parades, carols to be sung, and even a guaranteed snowfall; along with a host of familiar characters from Dickens’ much-loved stories. Add festively decorated Hever Castle and Leeds Castle topped and tailed with a few days in London.

Decorated for Christmas

Imagine Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon Manor filled with huge Christmas Trees and festive decorations, the beautifully decorated wooden stalls at the Oxford Christmas Market, and the pubs and tea rooms in the very English market towns of Burford and Woodstock. Topped and tailed with late-night shopping in London, you’ve assembled the right ingredients for some valuable pre-Christmas commission.


Sudeley Castle’s Spectacle of Light


Experience the night-time magic of privately owned Sudeley Castle through an illuminated trail that meanders through the majestic trees and romantic ruins, all lit under the stars. Follow the White Rabbit as he reveals characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, including the Cheshire-Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the scary Queen of Hearts! Discover the glorious Field of Poppies, Meteors, and Moroccan Lanterns – sip festive warmers of Mulled Wine and Hot Chocolate along the way and tuck into scrumptiously festive food.

An Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt

See the rare and beautiful trees at the National Arboretum in a whole new light along a magical, illuminated trail that follows the magical story of the Holly King and the Oak King and discover a magical winter wonderland that highlights the striking structures of Westonbirt’s trees against the winter night sky.


Capturing the Spirit of Christmas

The major event in this 6-night programme is the colourful St. Nicholas Christmas Festival in York; complete with seasonal sparkle, Victorian costumed traders, carol singers, and hot chocolate laced with brandy! It includes a visit to Castle Howard and the Fairfax House, both traditionally decorated for Christmas; and you’ll also be there during the annual Early Music Christmas Festival.

Chester, China, Chatsworth and Collectables

The 70 traditional wooden chalets at Chester’s festive Christmas market, treasure-filled Chatsworth House fully decked out for Christmas, a shopping day in the world capital of ceramics aka Stoke on Trent, and a day at the International Antiques and Collectors Fair Newark. Perfect for 2 clients or as an 8-10 pax Girls Getaway. For easy access, use the non-stop flights to the Manchester Gateway.




Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at or email him at

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