There’s something magical about historic European cities in winter. A dusting of snow, twinkly lights, crisp chilly nights and the smell of glühwein and Christmas biscuits make everything seem extra special. So when Jet2Holidays asked me to try out one of their city break packages, I couldn’t resist a wintery weekend in Salzburg.
Christmas is creeping up on us, so it’s time I got over my aversion to shopping and started getting organised. I’ve read a lot of Christmas gift guides for travellers, but as a part-time traveller there’s only so many suitcases, adaptors and travel clothes I need – I’m more likely to be looking for ways to bring my love of travel home with me. So I’ve collated 24 of the best travel-themed Christmas gifts around. None are too expensive – half are under £20 and only one is over £100.
Each year Chatsworth House, the lavish home of the Dukes of Devonshire in the Derbyshire Dales, gets a major Christmas makeover. The lower floors of the house are transformed into a festive wonderland, with a different theme every year. It’s been Pantomime Villains and Dames, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Nutcracker in the past, but for my trip the decorations were inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
The decorations are up, the presents wrapped and the cards posted, but it still doesn’t feel like Christmas to me until I’m listening to carols at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s become a family tradition that each year we head up to London for a Christmas concert. We always have the same seats – behind the orchestra and so close to the choir that we could almost be part of it (though maybe not if they heard my singing voice).
Christmas adds an extra dose of magic to a trip to Paris, when the City of Lights is lit up even brighter by thousands of colourful twinkling bulbs. Each of Paris’ districts has something festive to discover, from window shopping at the grand magasins or browsing the Christmas markets with a glass of vin chaud, to taking a spin on an outdoor ice rink or exploring a vintage funfair.
In Paris’ 9th arrondissement, Galeries Lafayette is the city’s most glamorous department store – it’s the City of Lights’ version of Selfridges or Macys. And like its London and New York counterparts, it brings out the bling each Christmas. The centrepiece of the store’s decorations is the tree – a 65-foot-high giant decorated with two miles of lights which towers up four storeys under the beautiful stained glass domed roof. Each year there’s a different theme and design, and crowds gather for the annual unveiling.
We’re approaching the start of December, the weather’s getting chilly and the scarf and gloves have been dug out of the cupboard. It can mean only one thing – Christmas market season is coming. I love a good Christmas market and will be sipping vin chaud at one in Paris later this month, but for now I’m revisiting my trip to Belfast. The Continental Christmas Market there is held outside City Hall and is full of the usual mix of food, drink and gift stalls.
The sweat cooled from my skin at 7:30am Christmas morning as I pondered this holiday travel experiment with Ana; on the opposite side of the globe my nephews back home slept in eager anticipation of heaps of presents, but instead of a big traditional Christmas here in Thailand, I gave Ana an entrance ticket into a 10K […]
It’s just past midnight on December 26th and it seems time to share a very Merry Christmas to everyone back home the States! The time difference here in Australia makes it odd. I am heading to bed soon and for you guys, the day is just beginning. With a head start on you guys, I’ll share a […]