Dingle HarbourPortmeirion, North WalesRoyal Edinburgh Military TattooWindsor CastleFanad Lighthouse in County Donegal, IrelandLoch Lomond, ScotlandRock of Cashel, IrelandOrford CastleStonehengeFfestiniog RailwayParadise Mill, Macclesfield, England

The best of Britain and Ireland in winter

It might not be the most obvious time of year for a vacation in northern Europe, but a winter tour of Britain and Ireland has many charms to recommend it.

Loch_Lomond.jpgMajestic Loch Lomond in Scotland framed by snow-capped peaks

Sometimes we get the chance to do something quite different. We get to vacation out of season and in places where visitors usually go only in summer months. This often allows us to miss the crowds and to enjoy a more relaxed travel experience.

welsh_highland_railway.jpgThe Welsh Highland Railway is the perfect way to explore North Wales in winter

Of course, not all accommodations may be open and some of the places we might want to visit may be open only for “winter” opening times. There’s less daylight too, so we need to plan our time carefully to make full use of the shorter winter days.

FOC_Father_Christmas_night_-_Copy.jpg

But to compensate there are events that we experience only in winter, Christmas markets throughout England, carol concerts (in and out of doors), 'Father Christmas' touring the streets in his sleigh, Hogmanay in Scotland, the Plygain singing unique to parts of Wales, and the hardy enthusiasts who insist on taking a dip in London’s Serpentine lake every week of the year even when the lake is frozen!

FOC_Scrooge_-_Copy.jpgCharles Dickens's Scrooge at Portsmouth Festival of Christmas

Christmas as we know it today owes so much to the influence of Charles Dickens and events take place across the United Kingdom each year to celebrate the life and work of the country’s most famous Victorian novelist. A lantern tour of Lavenham in Suffolk in Dickensian costume is one way to relive Christmas past. Lavenham is perhaps the most medieval town in Eastern England, and a winter visit truly is like stepping back in time.

Liverpool_Christmas_Market.jpgLiverpool Christmas Market

And we can be sure of a special welcome in the thousands of great hotels, guest houses and B&Bs which do stay open 52 weeks of the year - and at the castles, palaces and historic houses which are everywhere in Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland.

Bodnant.jpgBodnant Garden in North Wales looks magnificent in winter

There’s nothing quite like Ireland’s Dublin Castle or Powis Castle in Wales, Chatsworth House in Derbyshire or Edinburgh Castle in Scotland all dressed up for the winter season... log fires, light displays, holly, Christmas decorations and of course traditional winter treats like mulled ale (see our own favourite recipe by scrolling down), mince pies and hot punch! Our friends in Scotland are quite sure the Scotch tastes even better in the months between November and March! Add a sprinkling of snow, some special winter sunshine and a brisk walk... there’s nothing like it!

Jan_-_Rock_of_Cashel.jpgOur Chief Executive Janet enjoys a bracing winter visit to the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Lake_Vyrnwy_in_the_snow_-_1.jpgA walk around Lake Vyrnwy in mid-Wales is magical in the snow

And all the great pubs, wine bars and restaurants are especially welcoming on a chilly winter’s evening. It is hard to beat a warming Irish coffee beside a roaring log fire!

Bonnie_and_Mark_Irish_Coffee.jpgEnjoying traditional Irish coffee!

Pale_Hall_1_-_Copy.jpgA welcoming fire at Palé Hall Hotel in North Wales

Those of us who live in northern Europe have loved our winters for decades - but we’re more than willing to share them with our friends who come visiting at this special time of year!

Celtic_Cross.jpgA Celtic cross in Ireland silhouetted against the clear winter sky

For that special winter vacation in Britain or Ireland, please do get in touch with us here at Janet Redler Travel & Tourism. If there are special places or events you or your group would like to include in your trip, or if you’d just like some great suggestions then relax, you can do no better!

Our favourite mulled ale recipe

Mulled Ale

1 pint of ale
1 dessertspoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of brandy
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
Two slices of orange

Heat all the ingredients together but do not bring to the boil.
Pour straight into glasses or pour into a warm bowl.

Cheers!

Tags: Ireland  Britain  Winter Tours  

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