With all the Christmas preparations and the stress of the festive season, it can be hard to find the time to spend with your loved ones. All too often we forget that Christmas is a time for family – too wrapped up in the shopping, cooking, and planning. This winter, treat yourself and your family to a city break.
Here we break down the best cities for the family to explore this winter:
New York comes into its own in winter. The Christmas season begins the day after Thanksgiving, with the lighting of The Tree at Rockefeller Center, and this city knows how to do festive. Don’t miss The Holiday Walk, which stretches Fifth Avenue from 39th to 59th Street, where the windows of famous department stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks are lit with nativity scenes. Take the kids ice-skating in Bryant Park, book a visit to Santaland at Macy’s, and have some fun in the famous NYC snow.
Prague boasts snow-capped Gothic spires, one of the best Christmas markets in the work, and fewer crowds than the usual tourist locations. It is also one of the most affordable options for a winter break. Head to the ice rink under the TV Tower, where you can order hot drinks while skating. You can also take the kids to a creative centre to craft some festive Prague souvenirs. If you fancy a religious Christmas experience, journey to the Church of Our Lady Victorious to see the famous baby Jesus and what he’s dressed in – his outfit is changed most days.
You may be surprised by this pick, but actually, there is no better time to visit Barcelona than in winter. Notoriously rammed with visitors in summer and incredibly rainy in autumn and spring, winter makes for a refreshing break. The Santa Llúcia Christmas market will dazzle the kids with its nativity scenes and Christmas trees and the Carassa de Nadal procession on weekends will excite them to no end with its music and sweet-throwing “big head”.
Usually the City of Lights, Paris becomes the City of Fairylights in winter. Every attraction is lit, even the Champs-Elysées with its illuminated Christmas trees. Paris boasts an array of Christmas markets where you can keep warm with hot chestnuts and a chocolat chaud. Head to Parisian department stores like Les Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps where the children can meet Santa.
There’s no place like home, and London is a great city to explore with the family in the wintertime. Visit Hyde Park, where the magical Winter Wonderland pops up – a collection of funfair rides, shows, an ice-rink, and market stalls. Admire the Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square and even do some window shopping in Harrods – the kids will love visiting the toy department and it’ll give you some present ideas. In London, try a hotel in a stylish and comfortable location. Dorsett Hotel, Shepherds Bush is a perfect choice for all the family.