I’m a self-confessed romantic and love everything about the festive season. There’s nothing better than curling up fireside to watch Love Actually, Serendipity, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Say the words Christmas Market and it has the very same effect. A weekend or day trip with the one you love on your arm and you’re starring in your very own holiday romance. Here’s the pick of the most romantic destinations ideal for putting the sparkle into any festive season date:
24 November – 24 December 2017
Forget the dreary and arduous schlep to the airport and taxi direct to the Eurostar for the much more civilised 5 hours 43 minutes via Paris direct to the centre of town. Book premier class for extra room enjoying the meal service and wines, and a comfortable armchair ride to your romantic winter wonderland. The Strasbourg Christkindelsmärik is the oldest Christmas market in France, dating back to 1570. Spread across the centre of town around the Cathedral Square and Place Broglie, it’s a veritable Christmas treasure trove. The very stylish and eclectic Le Moon is the place to stay and just a 350m stroll to the market itself. Make sure you have dinner reservations at 1741 or the fabulous La Brasserie des Haras. If you’re going to do Christmas market you may as well start at the top right?
23 November – 10 December 2017
Eschew the hassle of driving and spending hours in traffic getting in and out of London and do the smart thing, go by train. Advance bookings in first class on Great Western Railways will have you sipping a cup of tea as you zoom through the countryside to the centre of Bath, one of England’s most beautiful and historical towns. There are two very special places to stay, firstly the grand dame that is The Royal Crescent which is also located in what is the most iconic architecture of Bath. Think grand and quintessentially British. The other has been featured in Conde Nast Traveller amongst the world’s top 100 hotels, The Gainsborough Hotel & Spa. The Christmas Market is award winning and divine. It’s an easy town to stroll about and perfect for festive season shopping. You can easily dine in at either hotel, but if you want something casual but fabulous in a gastro pub then you can’t miss the Hare & Hounds with spectacular views, winning roasts, and sticky toffee pudding. Just two and a half hours from London and you’ll be transported into a romantic and authentic winter wonderland.
2 December – 6 January including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day
If you’re game to fly, then the chocolate box fantasy of Prague and its Christmas Market is not to be missed. If you’ve ever enjoyed belting out a good Christmas Carol you’ll probably be familiar with the verse; “Good King Wenceslas last looked out on the feast of Stephen. Where the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even”. The square named after this royal legend is the location of the dazzling Christmas Market. Go to the British Airways website and search hotel + flight for a deal that includes both. You can choose economy or club class for price results. From Art Nouveau to historical to contemporary you are spoiled for choice in Prague. Hotels on our hit list include the quiet street location and small number of rooms at The Emblem near the old town square. The opulent whimsy of Le Palais Art Hotel is genius. You can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons and The Mandarin both of which embrace the destination. For the Michelin starry dinner don’t miss La Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise or drop in at lunchtime for the warming smoked meat dumplings at the Café Savoy.
24 November – 24 December 2017
For a touch of Europe just a train ride away from New York, there’s nothing better than a weekend in Philly. The Christmas market at City Hall has a decidedly German flavour and ambience with lashings of sparkling romance. Just 1 hour and 23 minutes from Manhattan’s Penn Station and you’re in the heart of Philadelphia, easy. The usual suspect reliable big chain hotels abound but we propose the romance of a four poster bed at the luxury Rittenhouse Hotel, or something chic at the Hotel Monaco. Oysters are supposedly an aphrodisiac so a pit stop for half a dozen and a glass of champagne at the fabulous Oyster House is a must. Serving patrons since 1976 it’s a Philly institution. Farm to table dinning doesn’t get better than Southwark the perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
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