The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

The best holidays to book for December, from Christmas in the Alps to Somerset lodges

Whether chasing winter sun, cosying up on a UK staycay or sliding down freshly powdered slopes, here are the hottest holidays to end 2023

Mary Novakovich
Saturday 04 November 2023 13:22 GMT
<p>Somerset’s rolling greens and quintessential English towns promise a change of scenery for Christmas  </p>

Somerset’s rolling greens and quintessential English towns promise a change of scenery for Christmas

With Christmas decorations already in the shops, some people will be looking to swerve the festive season once December actually rolls around.

There are numerous options, from going hiking in some of Gozo’s wondrous landscapes, to catching winter sun in one of the Canary Islands. And the Algarve’s coast is packed with beautiful beaches where you can go for slow strolls in the Atlantic sunshine, stop for freshly grilled seafood and, if you pick the right week, celebrate Christmas, Portuguese style.

While some are racing to the sun, others can’t get enough snow. Spend Christmas week on the slopes of the French Alps and swap turkey for gooey cheesy fondues.

If you want to stick closer to home, rent a cottage in the Somerset countryside, or get friends together for a lively New Year’s Eve celebration in the Lake District.

Wherever you want to have a holiday in December, you’ll find some inspiring ideas here.


Shedloads of snow transform Les Deux Alpes into a winter wonderland

You get a proper winter wonderland if you spend Christmas in the French Alps. Family-friendly Les Deux Alpes has fabulous skiing for all abilities, and there’s also the glacier if you want snow-sure slopes at high altitude.

SNO has a week’s self-catering at the central MMV Les Clarines in the village centre, which features a spa and children’s play area, with prices starting at £614pp based on four sharing. The price includes flights and transfers, departing 23 December.


Top up your tan in time for New Year’s Eve on the beaches of Playa Blanca

Treat yourself to a pre-Christmas treat and bask in Lanzarote’s pleasant temperatures. The sea will be warm enough for lazy swims, yet you’ll be able to go hiking without sweltering. Stay in the resort of Playa Blanca and you’ll have a string of beaches within walking distance.

Mercury Holidays has a week’s self-catering in the low-rise whitewashed apartments of Palmeras Garden, which also has an outdoor pool, bar and children’s playground. Prices start at £408pp for a 9 December departure and include flights.


The village of Cricket St Thomas oozes rural charm

If you want a change of scenery over the Christmas week but want to stay local, book one of the Swandown lodges in the rolling green Somerset countryside near the village of Cricket St Thomas. Lodge 2 Blackdown has two bedrooms, a wood burner, airy, spacious rooms and a large garden. All of the lodges have access to a communal indoor pool, and guests are able the use the leisure facilities at the Cricket St Thomas Warner Hotel a mile away.

Available through Helpful Holidays, the lodge costs £1,302, down from £1,604, for seven nights from 22 December.


It’s a feast for the eyes and stomach on Portugal’s Algarve

Steal away to the Algarve for a Christmas break under sunny Portuguese skies. It might not be sunbathing weather, but you can enjoy long beach walks along the Atlantic coast and feast on fabulous Portuguese food. Martinhal Quinta do Lago combines all the amenities of a resort, including a kids’ club, shops, restaurants and golf, with the convenience of self-catering, and their smart townhouses come with plunge pools.

CV Villas has seven nights’ self-catering in a three-bedroom townhouse from £1,047 per villa, down from £1,213, from 20-27 December. Flights to Faro aren’t included but can be arranged.


Gozo in the Maltese archipelago is a year-round haven for hikers

Let yourself be lulled by Gozo's laid-back beauty and astonishing landscapes on this seven-night self-guided walking holiday with Inntravel. Dramatic clifftop walks, Neolithic temples, history-packed towns including Victoria and Xewkija, and red-sand beaches can be explored at a suitably leisurely pace while staying at the Grand Hotel in the harbour town of Mgarr.

Departures before 17 December cost from £870pp and include transfers, breakfast and two dinners. Flights are extra but can be arranged.

Lake District

Get cosy in Cockermouth this Christmas

See in the new year with a gang of friends or family in the charming Mayflower Cottage near Cockermouth on the outskirts of the Lake District National Park. The cottage sleeps six in three bedrooms, and there’s a wood-burning stove to keep things cosy. One dog is allowed, and there’s a large enclosed garden with outdoor seating and dining.

Booked through Canine Cottages, it costs £1,110 for a four-night break from 30 December, down from £1,227.

Mary Novakovich is editor at large at

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in