Travel challenge: A UK break between Christmas and New Year

Every week we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a short break in the UK between Christmas and New Year. Prices are for two people staying for two nights from 27 December.





i-escape.com



£390: The Cove, near Penzance, Cornwall



Includes accommodation in an apartment with hot croissants delivered each day, and basic supplies in the kitchen. i-escape guests receive a bottle of champagne. "The Cove offers all the style and facilities of a boutique hotel with the freedom of your own apartment. You're surrounded by fabulous beaches to walk off that Christmas excess or to continue the festive fun they've set up a kind of snow-free toboggan run through the trees," says Michael Cullen at i-escape.com.



von Essen hotels



£590: Mount Somerset hotel, Taunton, Devon



Includes accommodation with breakfast and an upgrade to a deluxe room (subject to availability), two 30-minute treatments or one one-hour treatment in the spa, a three-course dinner on the first night and an upgrade to a seven-course taster menu on the second night. "Mount Somerset is the ideal hotel for a country break and is only two hours from London by train. The brand new spa, set in the stunning grounds of the hotel and designed as a traditional bath-house, will provide an exclusive and intimate haven where guests can truly relax," says Greg Ward of von Essen hotels (01823 442500; vonessenhotels.co.uk).



Laterooms.com



£309.90: Malmaison Oxford



Includes accommodation in a double room with cooked breakfast. "This is a quirky getaway in the quintessentially British city of Oxford. The former prison has been converted into stylish rooms and suites, with original architecture, a brilliant brasserie and bar. The deal includes use of the fully equipped gym to make the perfect post-Christmas break," says Andrew Pumphrey of LateRooms.com (0844 774 2003; laterooms.com).

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<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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