Whether you're seeking festive vibes, tranquil retreats, or breathtaking views, there's a location in the UK to suit your winter holiday needs. 

Today, we've compiled a list of the five best places to visit in the UK on a perfect winter getaway.


1. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh winter Christmas lights

Edinburgh is one of the top places to visit in Scotland and is nothing short of magical at Christmas.

As the city is enveloped in a blanket of snow, it comes alive with its vibrant Christmas activities. At the heart of the festivities is the famous Christmas Market, which fills the air with the aroma of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. The city dazzles with enchanting light displays, and the ice-skating rinks beckon families and couples alike.

There are so many highlights of visiting during this period, you can wander through Edinburgh's cobbled streets and feel history come alive. Stroll down the Royal Mile, absorbing its atmospheric charm, and visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle for a dose of Scottish history with panoramic views of the city.

Something not to miss is Edinburgh's Hogmanay - a New Year's Eve celebration like no other. The streets come alive with fireworks, live music, and age-old Scottish traditions, ensuring you welcome the new year in style.


2. The Lake District, England

Lake District winter snow

The Lake District, with its snow-capped peaks, frozen lakes, and charming villages, transforms into a winter paradise. The landscape, painted in shades of white and blue, offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

If you like outdoor adventures you can indulge in winter hiking, snowshoeing, or simply wandering amidst the natural beauty. The Lake District's trails offer varying levels of challenge and unparalleled views.

After an exhilarating day outdoors, what's better than retreating to a warm and cozy nook? The Lake District boasts quaint cottages, welcoming pubs, and boutique hotels, ensuring you're enveloped in warmth and comfort.


3. Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff shopping arcade Christmas

Cardiff is a beacon of festivity during the winter months. The city is adorned with twinkling lights, vibrant decorations, and bustling holiday markets that exude warmth and merriment.

If you have never been to Cardiff before, an architectural marvel is Cardiff Castle which dons a festive look in winter. The castle grounds transform into a winter wonderland, complete with ice skating rinks and a slew of seasonal events to delight visitors of all ages.

Beyond its festive allure, Cardiff offers a rich cultural tapestry. Dive into the city's plethora of museums, soak in a theatre performance, or enjoy live music echoing through the chilly winter air.


4. York

Christmas market

If you're wondering “is York worth visiting” at Christmas, the answer is yes!

If you have never been to York before, this northeast city that was founded by the ancient Romans and there are so many attractions and places to see for such a small destination.

Popular destinations include seeing the York Christmas lights and markets, and if it is your first time sightseeing here you should also check out the The Shambles, Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster, museum gardens, the City Walls and Clifford's Tower.


5. London

London Regent Street Christmas lights

No list of the best winter UK destinations would be complete without including the capital - London.

London has something for everyone, shopping, restaurants, bars, clubs, museums, ice skating and so much more. During the winter festive season London comes alive with lights and festivities, and there are Instagram shots around every corner. 

If you are looking for a city break, this isn't the cheapest destination in the UK, but it is one of the best. Must see places include the Soho, Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Regent Street lights.


Other Places to Consider

These are some more popular options for a winter getaway in the UK:

  • The Cotswolds
  • Isle of Skye
  • Bath
  • Canterbury
  • Oxford
  • Salisbury
  • New Forest


Plan Your Winter Break Today

The UK realy does have a treasure trove of winter destinations, each with its unique charm and offerings. Whether it's Edinburgh's historical allure, the Lake District's tranquil beauty, or Cardiff's festive vibes, you will be sure to find an ideal place to visit to match your interests.

If you do plan on visiting these locations independently via car, it's crucial to have the right set of winter tyres installed to safely navigate the region's diverse landscapes, especially the more rural locations.

A lot of travel companies also offer organised winter and Christmas bus UK tours and excursions to all the locations featured on our list, some are day trips whilst others include accommodation. 

Aternatively, if you really do fancy warmer climates for a break, check out this list of the best winter sun destinations in Europe.