Supa sava Riga stays top
For more great holiday ideas, see page 39
there is to showcase tasty local produce alongside Cornish art and crafts. As well as the market, there will be cider-making tours and tractor rides down to 20 acres of orchards. In Manchester, which is also host to a traditional showpiece city centre Christmas market, the arches of the former railway station of Mayfield will become an unusual experience cinema for Christmas films – entered through a Narnia-inspired wardrobe, with the big screen set in a magical enchanted forest “full of festive surprises”. See mayfieldmanchester.co.uk.
Deck the halls Festive country houses
Many of our aristocratic properties up and down the land recreate a Victorian Christmas. Great Halls are filled with pines decorated with ribbons and garlands, and there will be dancing, singing, mistletoe-kissing and roaring log fires. Check the FOR a bargain festive weekend break, Latvia’s capital Riga is No1. Prague was second cheapest, the Post Office’s Christmas Market Barometer found, with Tallinn in Estonia in third place. Riga kept its crown for National Trust’s website for locations going big over Christmas – nationaltrust.org.uk.
Of individual houses doing things a bit differently, it is worth mentioning the medieval banquets laid on by 13th century Beaulieu Abbey, with goblets of mead and platters of meat. See beaulieu.co.uk.
Holker Hall in Cumbria is kicking off its Christmas season with a jazz night among the decorations – see holker.co.uk. Waddesdon Manor, which looks as if it belongs in the Loire Valley but is in fact just outside Aylesbury, Bucks, is staging a Christmas carnival, with a bit of everything, from sumptuous feasts, lavish gifts and masked balls, to theatre, fancy dress and fairytales. See waddesdon.org.uk.
Twinkle twinkle Winter illuminations
Lantern-lit or candlelit processions have long been a part of Christmas. Somerset’s medieval village of the second year. It cost £499 for a two-night B&B break for two, including flights, transfers, evening meals with wine, coffee, drinks and snacks. Copenhagen, the most expensive city surveyed, worked out at £884. Dunster will be lit by candlelight. On Friday December 7 there is a Lantern Lighting Procession and the following day the Sutton Household Soldiers march through the village with flaming torches, see visit-exmoor.co.uk.
Elsewhere in the country there will be more light and less heat in the new phenomenon of Light Trails, where parkland and woodland are turned into magical after-dark wonderlands with the introduction of sparkling snowflakes and traditional storytelling figures.
This year these Light Trails are at Beaulieu in Hampshire, Dunham Massey in Cheshire, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, and Kew Gardens in West London, plus others. For details see mychristmastrails.co.uk.
Meanwhile Wiltshire’s Longleat continues with its award-winning Festival of Light in parkland illuminated with Chinese lanterns and figures recreating scenes from this year’s theme – adventure and exploration. See longleat.co.uk.
LIGHT TRAIL: At Beaulieu CIDER BAR: In Cornwall SANTA PAUSE: Holker Hall SHOWTIME: The Snowman WONDERLAND: In Tamworth