All I want for Christmas is a city break
Simone Kane suggests how you can turn the annual search for presents into a overnight stay
Sunday 07 December 2008
See the sights: Don't miss the bicentenary Darwin exhibition at the Natural History Museum (020-7942 5000;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
- 5 Google search history can now be downloaded in its entirety, mass embarrassment expected
It's Italian, but it's definitely not Italy: Stephen Wood visits Lampedusa, an island beyond the map's edge, where North Africa meets Rome and even the sharks are poets
Cycling in America: A revolution on two wheels
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
£21K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Front of House Receptionist to provide th...
£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...