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Top 5 UK destinations for Christmas in your ‘van

Are you staying at home this Christmas?

The attractions of doing so are obvious and traditional but increasing numbers of people are looking for a change of scenery and routine during the festive season.

If you’re one of them, why not think about taking your caravan on a short winter trip?

Here are five of the top UK Christmas caravanning destinations that you might want to consider. Of course, this is just personal opinion!

Constable country

Constable’s paintings of rural life in East Anglia are rightly regarded as national treasures.

Set around Essex and Suffolk, they capture the spirit of a bygone age – except that it’s not quite ‘bygone’! In fact, there are beautiful villages and small towns in this area, many adorned with small cottages and thatched roofs. That’s to say nothing of some of the oldest pubs in the country and with their roaring log fires, they’re a great place for Christmas dinner.

Now it’s true that most shops and entertainments in the towns are going to be closed over the holidays but these days that’s usually just on the 25th itself. So you can combine rural explorations with looking around ancient towns such as Norwich (Norfolk) and Ipswich.

If you are thinking of a pub restaurant for Christmas dinner – remember to book ahead as they’re usually very popular.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital is world-renowned for its beauty and architecture. It’s also a place where the locals know a thing or two about enjoying themselves!

True, you’re unlikely to get a tan in December so you’ll need some warm and waterproof clothes but the countryside nearby is stunning and entertainment in the city itself rivals anywhere in Europe. If you can, plan to stay on for Hogmanay – though access to the city centre on 31st is now by ticket-only to limit numbers for safety reasons.

The Cotswolds

This is one of those areas that people seem to struggle to precisely define in geographic terms other than to say it’s ‘sort of’ parts of Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Worcestershire.

In a sense, its precise boundaries don’t matter because the whole area is beautiful and it undoubtedly has some of the most picturesque villages and towns in the UK.

It’s a marvellous area for peace and quiet in winter, though again you’ll find some fantastic pubs and restaurants.

York and the moors

Many would argue that the city of York is the most beautiful in the UK. It’s a wonderful mixture of Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Norman and Mediaeval styles and you’ll find history on every corner.

The town is usually buzzing, which is great if your stay starts a few days before Christmas and carries on towards New Year. Inevitably, much will be closed in the city on 25th/26th but just walking the streets is magical.

The nearby moors offer some of the wildest and most impressive countryside in England. Make sure you keep in touch with the weather forecasts though – moorland countryside at altitude can be dangerous if the weather is very severe and you’re unprepared.

Devon, Dorset and Cornwall

These three counties in the far west of England may have summer holiday connotations but they’re also popular over Christmas.

There are historic towns everywhere and an enormous coastline. Walking along doing some beachcombing with the dog is a thought that appeals to many.

Towns such as Lyme Regis are always pretty and full of interesting things to see and do. Not only that but those pasties might make a nice change from cold Turkey for days after the 25th!

General Tips

If you are planning a trip over this period, keep the following top tips in mind:

  • check that your caravan insurance will cover the trip. Look out for things such as maximum days utilisation in a year, requiring sites to be fully supervised 24 x 7 (not always the case out of summer season) and so on;
  • be sure that your caravan site is actually open and that all utilities will be connected and working. It’s less safe to presume that in winter than in summer;
  • yes, its repetition but do make sure you have warm, waterproof and windproof clothing. Be certain that your caravan’s heating is also fully working!