6 of the best places in the UK for a winter holiday

Sunlight catches the main facade of the cathedral in Winchester in Hampshire, one of the largest in E

Winchester is one of England's most beautiful cities, and has a number of sights to see - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With England having entered a three-tier system on Wednesday December 2, those living in tiers one and two are now able to travel and visit any other tier one and two regions, following government advice.  

Overnight stays are now permitted with those either in your household or support bubble, so here’s a handful of places that you should definitely check out for a quick winter getaway this month.  

Be sure to keep an eye on any government updates, and follow all Covid procedures that have been put in place. If you feel unwell or are displaying any Covid symptoms, ensure that you stay home, regardless of tier.  

Winchester City centre High Street at night

Winchester is filled with tea rooms, independent shops and places to have a browse - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Winchester  

Famously the home of Alfred the Great, Winchester is a city steeped in rich history and beautiful architecture. Hampshire’s county town was once the capital of England, and has since gone on to become one of the country’s most picturesque destinations. 


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One of the largest gothic cathedrals in Europe, Winchester Cathedral has recently partially-reopened and is now allowing visitors to walk around the cathedral itself and the refectory. Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the church’s attractions, including Jane Austen’s grave which is located in the north aisle of the nave.  

Winchester is also home to The Great Hall, which proudly displays one of the greatest symbols of medieval mythology, King Arthur’s Round Table. This replica of the famed table was restored by Henry VIII and has been hanging in The Great Hall since, capturing the imagination of all who visit. Other museums worth a visit include Winchester City Museum and The Rifles Museum. 

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With a number of quaint tea rooms and independent restaurants available to visit as well, meandering down Winchester’s lanes is the best way to uncover all that this city has to offer. 


Compton bay, Isle of Wight, UK. Holidaymakers explore the cliffs and beach at Comp

Isle of Wight's Compton Bay is the perfect place to go if you're looking for miles of unspoilt beaches to explore on a walk this winter - Credit: Getty Images

Compton Bay 

If it’s sea air and tranquillity you’re after, then Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight is the place for you.  

With vast stretches of sandy shores to explore, you and your family will be able will be able to safely keep your distance from others - and on some days, you could be the only people around for miles.  

Spend the day walking along the beach, admiring the bay’s coloured cliffs - which when looked at from right to left, change colour due to their age. Dinosaur fossils, teeth and footprints are also in abundance throughout the bay.  

When you're done exploring, be sure to stop off at The Cow, one of the island’s most-beloved restaurants. Located in a converted barn just a 10-minute drive away, The Cow champions all things home-grown and locally-sourced. Famed for its award-winning burgers, it also serves gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.  

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK, with a queue waiting outside to go in

Why not stop off for a spot of afternoon tea on your weekend break? - Credit: Getty Images

Harrogate  

Nestled in the heart of Yorkshire, this Victorian spa town is currently in tier two, and is one of the north’s most charming locations.  

With spas reopen and some treatments allowed to commence again, why not melt away the stresses of this year at the town’s famed Turkish baths? While the baths themselves are still unfortunately closed, there’s a number of treatments currently available including massages and facials.  

If you’re looking to go on a relaxed stroll, then Harrogate’s Valley Gardens is a must-see. This English Heritage garden covers 17 acres of gardens, floral displays and historic buildings. Alternatively, indulge your sweet tooth at Bettys - an elegant, traditional café that’s been in the town for over a century, serving afternoon tea, freshly made cakes and sandwiches. 

Worthing Pier reflected in wet sand at low tide, illuminated, by a beautiful sunset.

Worthing is one of England's most quintessential seaside towns - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Worthing  

While Brighton might be the first place you think of when planning a Sussex escape, have you thought of Worthing instead? This seaside town has plenty to offer this winter, and with its row of Georgian townhouses dotted along the seafront, this coastal town is a nostalgic throwback to the quintessential British holidays of years gone by.  

If you’re looking to go on a trek, why not take a hike around Cissbury Ring? Formed sometime around 250BC, this isolated hilltop is Worthing’s highest point and offers spectacular views all around. If it’s an especially clear day, you may be able to spot the Isle of Wight in the distance.  

However, no trip to the seaside is complete without indulging in some of the local fare, and Worthing’s Crab Shack is a must-visit. Famed for its fresh seafood, you can enjoy dishes such as crispy squid, fish and king prawn tacos, and even cockle and shrimp popcorn. Once you’ve eaten, why not walk down the world-famous Worthing Pier? Open all year around, weather-dependent, its amusements are now open with Covid-safe measures. 

Burley 

For anyone looking to escape to the woods this winter, Burley in the New Forest is the ultimate getaway. Traditional and quaint, the village is home to a number of tea rooms, gift shops and cosy inns – and unlike the other destinations on this list, is full of friendly, free-roaming ponies and cattle. 

For any history buffs, the village is steeped in a fascinating history of witches and smuggling. In the late 1950s, self-proclaimed white witch Sybil Leek lived in the settlement, with many of Burley’s shops now selling an array of witchy souvenirs and trinkets, while The Queens Head pub was once used by smugglers to store contraband.  

Like many pubs in tier one and two, The Queens Head is now open for food and drinks – why not stop off there and ask whoever’s behind the bar to regale you with tales from years gone by? If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, Burley Manor is the village’s luxury hotel that has a number of rooms and suites, a state-of-the-art spa and a vibrant restaurant.  

Stockbridge 

One of the smallest towns in England, Stockbridge in Hampshire is a quaint settlement that makes for an ideal getaway this December. One of the town’s most interesting sights is the trail of ten poems that are set in stone, metal and glass, dotted around the town centre - so be sure to keep an eye out for those! 

Home to a number of tea rooms, pubs, restaurants and independent boutiques, Stockbridge High Street was once proudly awarded the accolade of ‘Best Foodie Street’ by Google Street View Awards. The Crown Inn is just one example of the town’s dedication to fine food, serving real ales, vintage wines and traditional English food. 

After indulging in some food, why not head to Stockbridge Down? This chalk hill is diverse in terms of its wildlife, and is an important site for conservation and archaeology thanks to its Iron Age hill fort, earthworks and 14 Bronze Age burial mounds.  

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