The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Christmas breaks

Looking for a stress-free festive holiday? From romantic escapes to family breaks, swap Christmas at home this year for one of these cosy retreats
St Michaels Resort, Cornwall Christmas break

Looking for a stress-free festive holiday where you can focus on rest and relaxation rather than trussing the turkey? From romantic escapes to family breaks, swap Christmas at home this year for one of these cosy retreats

St Michaels Resort, Cornwall

Leave all your worries behind and enjoy breezy walks by the sea and warm evenings by the fire at St Michaels Resort.

The festivities begin as soon as you step through the door on December 23 with warm mince pies and steaming mugs of mulled wine. After you’ve settled in, sit down to an exquisite Cornish feast overlooking the ocean at Brasserie on the Bay.

On Christmas Eve, amble along the coast path, luxuriate in the hydrotherapy pool, or simply cocoon under a blanket with your favourite book. Then, as darkness falls, ignite your Christmas spirit with carols and live music as you prepare for a belt-busting three-course dinner.

As Christmas Day dawns, kickstart your celebrations with a festive breakfast and a glass of Buck’s Fizz. Then, if you’re brave enough, join the locals for a chilly dip at Gylly Beach, followed by a post-plunge hot chocolate and pastry. A five-course Christmas lunch is served from 12.30pm, after which you can bask in the beautiful surroundings before taking part in the resort’s Christmas after-dinner quiz.

On Boxing Day, a relaxed breakfast brunch awaits. Chase this with a dose of vitamin sea and an invigorating beach walk, before enjoying a decadent three-course Boxing Day dinner.

The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Christmas breaks

The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Cheltenham

Winter spices will fill the air and fairy-lit pine trees will cast a warming glow when you venture to The Greenway Hotel’s winter wonderland for a three-night festive break.

Starting on December 24, you’ll be treated to a Champagne cream tea in the country house hotel’s drawing room, followed by a four-course candlelit dinner in the evening accompanied by festive tunes on the piano.

Ease into Christmas day with a Champagne breakfast as you unwrap your pressies. Then, after a few hours R&R, don your festive finery for a cocktail reception and six-course Christmas lunch. In the evening, test your trivia knowledge with the Christmas Day quiz and, if you’ve still got room for it, an informal supper.

On Boxing Day, why not pamper yourself in the hotel’s Elan Spa or do a spot of sale shopping in Cheltenham before tucking into tea and Christmas cake in the afternoon? Round off your stay with a four-course candlelit supper in the evening and a hearty Cotswold breakfast the next morning before you depart.

The Acorn Inn, Dorset, Christmas breaks

The Acorn Inn, Dorset

Charles Dickens may be the author most associated with a traditional English Christmas but at this charming 16th century coaching inn you can take your festive cues from Thomas Hardy. Featured in his novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Acorn Inn is an enchanting and atmospheric rural bolthole where you can cosy up with your loved ones for the holidays.

The inn’s two-night festive package starts on Christmas Eve and includes a Champagne reception on arrival and the option to join the village carol service in the early evening before heading indoors for an à la carte meal.

Rise on Christmas morning to a hearty English breakfast and an invigorating walk around the stunning grounds of Melbury House and deer park. Appetite reawakened; you’ll then take your pew for a relaxed five-course lunch. Choose from a range of show-stopping mains, including Dorset turkey with all the trimmings, beef wellington, halibut fillet or winter squash, followed by homemade Christmas pud and brandy crème anglaise. In the evening, snuggle up by one of the inn’s three open fires or, if you feel energetic, test your bowling skills in the skittle alley.

After a peaceful night’s slumber, enjoy a lazy Boxing Day breakfast before you bid the inn farewell.

Fowey Hall, Cornwall, Christmas breaks

Fowey Hall, Cornwall

Festive family fun without the hassle of hosting? Yes, please. Fowey Hall has everything you could possibly wish to enjoy an action-packed, multi-generational festive break, and canine companions are welcome too.

Young ones will relish the chance to trim the tree with their own homemade festive baubles, toast marshmallows round the campfire, snuggle up with Christmas films in the cinema room, and be dazzled by the hotel’s in-house magician.

On Christmas Eve, leave your pressies to be wrapped by the hotel team as you take the kids to see Father Christmas and his reindeer in the courtyard. Ignite further festive feelings by taking part in the annual gingerbread house-making competition and listening to a magical reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas before bedtime.

Christmas Day is all about the food as you feast from morning to night on traditional festive favourites with board games and present unwrapping in between. Guests with pooches can also participate in Crufts at Christmas, a fun competition with prizes for furry companions.

There’s yet more family fun on Boxing Day with activities in the den, a seaside dip at Readymoney Cove and festive movies in the Cinema Room.

Tewkesbury Park, Christmas breaks

Tewkesbury Park, Gloucestershire

Family-owned Tewkesbury Park is known for its first-class 18-hole golf course and is also an irresistibly grand hotel in which to cosy up for Christmas. Handily located just off the M5 between Bristol and Birmingham, guests will be greeted with halls festooned with festive decorations, twinkling fairy lights and a blazing log burner.

Festivities start on Christmas Eve with afternoon tea and a Christmas movie, complete with hot chocs, marshmallows and popcorn. After sunset, enjoy pre-dinner drinks and canapés before a three-course meal in the Mint restaurant.

Christmas Day is another day of indulgence, starting with a bountiful breakfast and a glass of Buck’s Fizz. Lunch is a four-course affair, featuring the likes of Scottish king scallops and ham hock and chicken terrine to start, alongside turkey with the trimmings or alternative Christmas mains of Gloucester Old Spot pork wellington or pan-fried Bibury trout. Christmas pudding not your bag? Plump for the cheese board, featuring Alex James’ Blue Monday and Rosary Ash goat’s cheese.

Leisure is the name of the game on Boxing Day. After a late breakfast, wrap up warm and traverse the grounds or soak yourself in the bubbly hot tub. Come nightfall, it’s time to dress up for an evening of music, cocktails, feasting and revelry.

Like 5 of the best Christmas breaks? Check out 5 of the best dine and stay experiences.

We choose the companies included in our 5 of the best features based on editorial integrity. Occasionally, some inclusions will be handpicked from clients with whom we have a commercial relationship.

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