Supa sava Riga stays top

For more great hol­i­day ideas, see page 39

The People - - LIFESTYLE -

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

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