5 Winter Break Ideas For Those Of You Wanting To Escape Christmas

Worth thinking about?

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Christmas - what a magical time of year. The chance to see family and friends, enjoy Bucks Fizz for brekkie, get that gift you’ve been drooling over (an iphone 7 if anyone’s feeling generous) have a much needed rest, and celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus of course.

That being said… some folks just don’t like it.  A growing number of people are turning their backs on tinsel and choruses of Do They Know It's Christmas Time for a multitude of reasons. If you’re one of those and you’re wondering how to avoid the hype this year - why not get away from it all? We have some brilliant ideas right here.

Drum roll please...

5. Norfolk Broads

Just an hours flight from Manchester or a five hour drive, be captain of your own ship on a river and take a lake cruise on the Norfolk Broads. Never steered a boat before? No problem - the broads are easy to navigate and you’ll get lots of support from the super friendly boating staff. 

Coined ‘Britain’s Magical Waterland’ there are over 200 square kilometres of water to explore with unspoiled villages and market towns along the way. Catch your own lunch as there are plenty of  fish roaming the waters - pan-fried sea bass anyone? Just be sure to get a fishing license...

4. Crete

Greeks do celebrate the Orthodox Christmas but it’s on the 7 January so that means it’s business as usual on the 25th December. Crete is the warmest of the Greek islands with its own micro-climate. With an average December temperature of fourteen degrees you won’t be hitting the beach - but it’s the perfect weather for a spot of hiking or mountain biking.

If that sounds a bit too much like hard work, rent an electric bike (incredibly easy to ride with minimum effort required) to discover the magic of long lost villages, historic chapels, and rustic kafeneíos (cafes) all in the heart of the Cretan hills. Be aware that every single place that you stop off at will offer you a glass of raki (unsweetened, anise-flavored alcoholic bevvie) so steady on the way back down!

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3. Surf's up dude

Swap your turkey for a Cornish pasty? Ok maybe not; but mulled wine, hot chocolate and sausage rolls (all free of charge) are all served at Bude Surf Club’s ‘Christmas Day Swim’ which is their main fundraising event. It’s a six hour drive or train ride from Manchester but you’ll be rewarded by wide sandy beaches and pastel painted beach huts.

Not for the faint-hearted as there is a ‘no wetsuits allowed’ policy; however  there are loads of cosy Cornish cottages to choose for your stay - get in front of that fire and get all warm and rosy after. No harm in a Baileys to take the edge off.

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2. Galloway Forest Park, Scotland

Just over a three hour drive from Manchester, the Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland is eagerly waiting for you. The UK’s only ‘Dark Park’ is situated in 300 square miles of rugged wild beauty.

Scotland has far less light pollution than England so once night falls the sky here is the darkest in all of Europe and comes alive. Here you have a chance to see the wonder of the galaxy including shooting stars and - the holy grail - the Aurora Borealis aka The Northern Lights. There are various accommodation options here and they even allow wild camping. Make sure you pack your thermals and a flask of hot toddy...brrrr.

1. Goa -n what are you waiting for?

Ten hours away from Manchester Airport, Goa is a paradise of sandy beaches and some of the finest curry known to mankind. With an average December temperature of 28 degrees you can spend Christmas day on the beach enjoying a massage whilst sipping fresh coconut milk (freshly extracted from the fruit before your very eyes) and all for a few rupees. Indians do celebrate Christmas but in a much quieter and simpler way.

Head to Anjuna beach at night to dance under the stars at one of the infamous Full Moon Parties, which also just so happens to be on the 25 December this year. 

Note: if you buy cakes from the cafe here, they have added hallucinogenic ingredients; you’ve been warned.

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Written By

Hannah Anstee

Lover of yoga, cocktails and new experiences. Curiosity never did kill that cat.