All I want for Christmas is a city break

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Simone Kane suggests how you can turn the annual search for presents into a overnight stay



London



See the sights: Don't miss the bicentenary Darwin exhibition at the Natural History Museum (020-7942 5000;
nhm.org ).

Stop for lunch: Dip into dim sum at Min Jiang (020-7361 1988; minjiang.co.uk), recently opened at the Royal Garden Hotel on High Street Kensington.

Hit the shops: Westfield (020-3371 2300; uk.westfield.com/london) is London's latest uber-mall, with five department stores, 265 global high-street names such as Rigby & Peller, Desigual and Fornarina, and The Village of designer brands, including Amanda Wakeley, Tiffany & Co and Twenty8Twelve.

The package: K West Hotel & Spa (020-8008 6600; k-west.co.uk) has a Shop 'Til You Drop deal from £109, including a night's B&B in a deluxe room, mocktail, manicure, use of spa facilities and glass of champagne.

Leicester

See the sights: Catch a show at the Curve theatre (0116-242 3560; curveonline.co.uk), the state-of-the-art cultural venue that was officially opened by the Queen last week.

Stop for lunch: Leicester's most stylish restaurant, The Quarter, (0116-251 1889; thequarterleicester.co.uk) is currently serving up seasonal, contemporary cuisine in the heart of the city.

Hit the shops: One of Britain's oldest cities is undergoing a £3bn facelift, including the recently opened Highcross (0116-242 8644; highcrossleicester.com), home to a flagship John Lewis and 120 further stores, including newcomers to the city, Ghost, G-Star and Reiss. For something a little more quirky, take a look at the independent outlets in the Leicester Lanes.

The package: Hotel Maiyango (0116-251 8898; maiyango.com) is offering a Christmas and New Year shoppers' deal from £170 for two, including a night's B&B in a superior room, champagne cocktails, £75 of cruise vouchers and a personal shopper.

Bristol

See the sights: Don't miss taking a stroll across the city's famous landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge ( visitbristol.co.uk).

Stop for lunch: Brasserie Blanc (0117-910 2410; www.brasserieblanc.com) is chef Raymond Blanc's most recent venture, housed in a renovated Georgian Quaker meeting house and medieval halls.

Hit the shops: The autumn opening of Cabot Circus (0117-9529 360: cabotcircus.com) in the heart of Bristol, has transformed the city into a top shopping destination. Anchored by Harvey Nichols and House of Fraser, it houses 120 new outlets, including 15 flagship shops, as well a huge selection of high-street names. For independent shops, make a diversion to see the small stores and studios of Park Row and Christmas Steps.

The package: The Mercure Holland House hotel & Spa Bristol (0117-968 9900; mercure.com) has a Shop 'Til You Drop offer, from £67.50 including a night's B&B in a luxury bedroom, with a relaxing aroma foot relief treatment (book when making reservation) and 3pm checkout.

Liverpool

See the sights: Make the most of the final days of Liverpool's reign as European City of Culture; visit The Beat Goes On at the World Museum (0151-478 4393; liverpoolmuseums.org.uk ), an exhibition looking beyond the Beatles at the city's musical history.

Stop for lunch: Eat pastrami on rye at nearby award-winning Deli Fonseca (0151-255 0808; delifonseca.co.uk ).

Hit the shops: The city is now the UK's fifth-best destination for retail therapy, thanks to the launch of Liverpool One (0151-232 3100; liverpool-one.com ). It covers 42 acres of city centre, reconnecting the shopping district with the historic docks; expect to find the likes of a flagship John Lewis and newcomers Bench, Karen Millen, Mango, Radley and Ted Baker among its 160-plus shops, restaurants and bars.

The package: Posh Pads at the Casartelli (0151-708 6666; thecasartelli.com ) has a Luxury Shopping Package, from £99, based on four sharing a two-bedroom apartment. The price includes a breakfast hamper, champagne, personal shopper, bag-carrying, shopping discounts, three-course meal in a top city restaurant, VIP reservation for cocktails (with vouchers) and free parking.

Leeds

See the sights: Call in to the Leeds Art Gallery (0113-247 8256; leeds.gov.uk/artgallery), which houses a world-class collection of 20th-century British art.

Stop for lunch: Try the Restaurant at the Ellington (0113-204 2150; theellington.co.uk), an award-winning collaboration with Albert Roux.

Hit the shops: Harvey Nicks earned this city the nickname "Knightsbridge of the North". That's in the Victorian Quarter, where you'll find a host of high-end brands. But the new additions to the shopping scene include Clarence Dock (0113-391 2881; clarencedock.com) for all things urban, and, for foodies, the Corn Exchange (0113-234 0363; cornx.net ).

The package: 42 The Calls (0113-244 0099; www.42thecalls.co.uk) has an Ab Fab Christmas Break from £225, including one night's B&B, a chilled bottle of bubbly, £50 of Harvey Nichols vouchers and a Christmas goody bag from the store.

Glasgow

See the sights: Swing by the Mackintosh House (0141-330 5431; hunterian.gla.ac.uk ) for some classic interiors inspiration.

Stop for lunch: Take advantage of one of the special offers for Christmas shoppers put together by the Glasgow Restaurateurs' Association ( graonline.co.uk ), which represents 60-plus of the top culinary venues in the city.

Hit the shops: One of the world's top 10 cities, according to Lonely Planet, and the best for shopping outside London, Glasgow has a unique mix of stores, from high street to niche names. The compact centre, including Princes Square – look out for new pop-up shop Reposition – and Buchanan Street, is home to everything from Primark to Prada. Check out the new Che Camille (07862 720215; checamille.com), a 3,500 sq ft loft space showcasing the city's independent designers.

The package: Abode Glasgow (0141-572 6000; abodehotels.co.uk ) is offering a Girls' Night In deal, from £100, including a night's B&B in an Enviable room, based on four sharing, a three-course dinner at the hotel's MC Bar and Grill, and a £20 voucher redeemable against a treatment from the resident beautician.

All prices are per person per night, based on two sharing a twin/double room, unless otherwise stated. Offers subject to availability. 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea