The days are drawing in, the temperature has dropped, and for many of us there’s nothing more tempting than the thought of a cosy fire and a glass of mulled wine somewhere far, far away. With Christmas creeping up, we can’t all afford to be jetting off to magical unknown lands, but fortunately we’re lucky that Britain is home to many wonderful cities – perfect for last minute breaks. If you’re smart, you can find low-cost options and festive deals that are sure to brighten up your winter and make your Christmas extra-special.
Research has revealed that the cost of living is over 32% lower in the Scottish capital than in London; this includes the cost of food, transportation and entertainment, making Edinburgh a great option for a bargain Christmas trip.
Like London, Edinburgh is home to many museums and galleries which are free to visit, as well as the stunning Royal Botanic Garden. If you’re feeling the allure of the Scottish landscape, you can rent a bicycle and explore the city’s extensive cycle routes, which are safe and interesting for all ages.
For an even more magical last-minute festive break, spend some time at the East Princes Street Gardens Christmas markets. Discover a sparkling array of bespoke and traditional Christmas trinkets – you certainly don’t need to buy anything to find your Christmas spirit here.
As well as its usual seasonal offering, this year Edinburgh is unveiling ‘Silent Light’, a festive street party set beneath an awe-inspiring arrangement of 60,000 twinkling lights. Tickets to this event cost less than a Gingerbread Latte, so you can treat the whole family to an unforgettable evening of singing and dancing beneath Edinburgh’s LED stars.
If you’re considering a last-minute trip but don’t want to break the bank, you might have ruled out the capital without much thought, well – not so fast! London has plenty of inexpensive options for the thrifty among us, especially during the festive season.
Many of the city’s acclaimed museums and galleries are completely free to visit, so you can take a break from the cold and soak up some culture at the same time. The National Gallery and the Natural History Museum are great ways to spend a couple of hours getting lost in the splendour of the exhibits.
When it’s time to re-charge, you can find plenty of amazing cheap eats around the streets of the capital, just look out for one of the many trendy food trucks or head to the iconic Borough Market for something fresh and delicious without putting a dent in your wallet.
If you’re all about the festivities, London has a huge variety of Christmas events which run throughout the season and are free to visit. Families of young and old will enjoy milling about the warmly-lit wooden stalls with a mug of hot chocolate in hand to keep the cold at bay.
With so many London hotels to choose from, finding the right place to stay can seem an impossible task. For low-cost options in the city centre and surrounding boroughs, head to the Accor website and find your dream last minute deal.
If you’re looking for a hotel that’s close to the action, you can’t beat the ibis Edinburgh Centre Royal Mile. Set in the heart of Edinburgh’s iconic Old Town, this beautiful, contemporary hotel boasts convenience, comfort and surprisingly low prices. For a great option in the New Town, check out the ibis Styles Edinburgh St Andrew Square, a stunning and stylish hotel in an ideal location within the city’s bustling cultural hub.
Whether you choose London, Edinburgh, or one of the UK’s fantastic non-capital cities for your last-minute Christmas break, you’re sure to find a great selection of free or low-cost activities for the whole family to enjoy – just remember, while money can buy many things, memories with loved ones are priceless.