Christmas in a Scottish Castle - Christmas Travel Specials to England - New Years Travel Packages - Christmas in England

Celebrate an old English Christmas in a quaint manor house, or in Scotland at a baronial castle. Stay in a Scottish Castle. The countryside unveils a series of ancient villages and picture perfect scenes, even in December. Scores of narrow country lanes twist and turn among the gentle slopes.
Christmas Tour in Scotland


Christmas Eve Arrive during the afternoon and enjoy cream tea in the lounge and library. At 7pm, join your fellow guests for our black tie Champagne reception, where you’ll be entertained by our festive carol singers. After a fabulous five-course gourmet dinner, you may wish to take a stroll to one of the two local churches for midnight mass.
Christmas Day Continental breakfast will be served in your bedchamber. At noon, we meet in the lounge by the Christmas tree where you will receive a complimentary glass of sherry and a Christmas gift. At 1pm our Christmas ‘feast’ is served with all the trimmings. Later, enjoy cocktails and an informal light supper with a port tasting.
Boxing Day After a hearty ‘Hunter’s Breakfast’, you may wish to stroll into the town to see the spectacular and traditional departure of the Berkeley Hunt. Return to the Castle for a light three-course lunch, after which you will be entertained by a spectacular falconry display on the Castle lawn with one of the country’s leading falconers, Michael Davie. In the evening we will welcome you to our Farewell Gala Dinner.


The crunch of boots on frosty ground. The infectious laughter of a group of new found friends. The spicy warmth of mulled wine and mince pies. The irresistible rhythm of a ceilidh band. The clink of glasses as you toast in the New Year.

Let us look after you at our warm and welcoming Country Houses for a fabulous festive break with wonderful food, good company, and great walks. 

Relax at our cozy Country Houses in Britain and enjoy guided walks during the day, followed by sociable evenings in a festive atmosphere.

Date Description Nights usd
23-Dec-16 Christmas in the Cotswolds 6 $2122
23-Dec-16 Christmas in the Lake District 4 $1,679
23-Dec-16 Christmas for Solos in St. Ives 6 $2,354
27-Dec-16 CSXFW - Festive Walking - Church Stretton 3 $942
27-Dec-16 CSXFW - Festive Walking - Church Stretton 7 $2,199
23-Dec-16 Christmas in Exmoor Devon 4 $1,559
single supplement per night $19
Date Description Nights USD
23-Dec-16 Christmas in Wales 4 $1,559
29-Dec-16 LHXFW - Festive Walking - West Lulworth House 5 $1,846
Date Description Nights USD
23-Dec-16 LLXFW - Festive Walking - Glen Coe 6 $2,187
29-Dec-16 LLXFW - Festive Walking - Glen Coe 5 $1,846

Festive Discovery Tour at Abingworth

During this holiday we will visit historic towns, great houses and picturesque villages all built with the beautiful honey-coloured Cotswold stone and set amongst the backdrop of the gentle green rolling countryside (wolds) of this ‘quintessentially English’ region of our country. 

Holiday highlights

  • A blend of winter sightseeing tour and festive house party
  • Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best.

    Peaceful countryside, lovely landscapes of rolling downland of white chalk, pretty villages – all this and more will be captured during this holiday in Sussex and the South Downs.

    Holiday Highlights:

    • The historic village of Steyning with its different types of architecture
    • The fascinating garden at Highdown
    • The Weald and Downland Museum
    • Petworth where Capability Brown designed the rolling parkland landscape 
    • The interesting old Norman port of Bosham
    • Return to the warmth of Abingworth Hall at the end of each day for wonderful festive food and excellent company

    Great reasons to join us: 

    • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus mini-coach tours, with plenty of stops at places of interest
    • Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the history and landscapes of the Cotswolds countryside from your knowledgeable leaders
    • Accommodation: Enjoy great food and a special festive atmosphere at Abingworth Hall
    • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays, but particularly so on all our Festive holidays
    Date Description Nights USD
    29-Dec-16 AWXFW - Festive Walking - Abingworth 5 $1,846

New Years Discovery Tour in the Heart of England

Enjoy our special festive Discovery Tour in the heart of England. Enjoy excellent food, great company, plus daily excursions that explore the delights of the Peak District. We’ll visit Castleton with its festive decorations. We'll also visit the spa town of Buxton, walk back in time at the National Stone Centre and visit Arkwright’s historic mill and village at Cromford. Enjoy New Year's in a typically English way.


  • A blend of winter sightseeing and house party
  • Visits to Castleton and Buxton
  • Enjoy a New Year’s Eve party

Great reasons to join us:

  • Great value: all prices include all meals, accommodation, plus full-day mini-coach tours, with plenty of stops at places of interest
  • Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the history and landscapes of the countryside from your knowledgeable leader
  • Accommodation: Enjoy great food and a special festive atmosphere at our country house
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holiday programs, but particularly so on this New Years in the English countryside.

Christmas in Scotland

Picture the scene – frosty, starry nights; the smell of pine burning in open fires; the crackle of chestnuts roasting; dancing, as well as a whole host of activities to entertain you. You’ll find the very best of Scottish hospitality, with an attention to detail and personal touches that have become our hallmark. New Year Join our three night house party from 30 December to 2 January. Gleneagles is legendary for the style of its New Year celebrations in the finest Scottish tradition. Be our guest at the Hogmanay Ball, where pipers herald the New Year.

For All the Family The festive holiday is a time for thanksgiving and celebration to be shared with your family. It’s a time when traditional values are upheld and magical stories are bought to life! At Gleneagles, you’ll find an array of activities to inspire and delight the whole family.
Ask for pricing.

Christmas in a Scottish Castle
"Where fairytales come true". Stay in a Scottish Castle this Christmas. New Years, too. We can assist in arranging transfers by chauffeur driven cars, small coaches or helicopters.

What could be nicer that spending Christmas or New Years (or both if you can manage it!) at a fantastic historic property across in England or Scotland? Let somebody else have the stress of preparing Christmas lunch or a dinner to die for as you count down the hours into 2015! Relax by cozy log fires as you enjoy a wee dram before retiring into a sumptuous 4-poster bed, offered by many of our castle properties. Book as a group with family and friends.

 Christmas did not become a national holiday in England until 1834.
Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much loved customs and traditions.

To rent: Some private castles for you Have you always dreamt of living in a castle, if only for a few days? Live like royalty of old in baronial splendor. Rent an exclusive use castle in Scotland, complete with staff, and in some cases, all meals. Here are our recommendations:


Fully staffed Fernie Castle 20 rooms. Centrally located within easy reach of Dundee, Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow and St. Andrews

Castle Stuart - near Inverness Exclusive Use. Entire Castle (8 bedrooms, maximum 16 people). This includes afternoon tea, evening banquet, full Highland breakfast and government tax (VAT).

Scottish Castle Accommodation - Our 5 star lodgings in this romantic castle, set magnificently on the Moray Firth near Inverness, and just 20 minutes drive from Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. Fully restored and furnished in Jacobean elegance, our Scottish castle is ready for entertaining in traditional grand manner or modestly with your chosen guests in regal comfort (8 bedrooms). The entire castle or individual bedrooms, each with their own private facilities, may be reserved or hired for your exclusive use. Maximum 16 guests (4 twin and 4 double rooms). All meals included

Christmas in England and New Years in the countryside

Christmas in Whitby
Whitby is dominated by the cliff-top ruins of a beautiful 13th century Abbey. This quaint maritime town, with its old cobbled streets, picturesque houses is set among fine stretches of coast with spectacular cliffs and bays. 199 steps lead down from the Abbey to the old town where you find yourself in an array of unique shops offering local crafts, maritime memorabilia and antiques. Typically held the first weekend in December, the event gives all visitors and residents the opportunity to dress up in traditional Victorian costume. The village also benefits from a flurry of Christmas decorations from lights to window dressings, Christmas trees and festive wreaths.

Not sure what a Christmas Cracker is? Imagine a cardboard tube filled with lots of fun stuff like toys, rings, jokes and of course a florescent paper hat shaped like a crown, and all this wrapped in brightly colored paper twisted at both ends. Two people pull the cracker apart by its ends, and the person left with the largest part of the cracker wins the goodies inside. The 'Crack' in 'Cracker' comes from a bang caused by a chemical strip inside which blasts as you pull the 2 ends apart. This ingenious Christmas novelty was invented in the late 1800s by London baker, Tom Smith. Tom made a fortune from his invention, and the company he started today holds the Royal Warrant for supplying Christmas Crackers to the Queen.  

Christmas and New Year Celebrations in a British Country House Christmas & New Year

Christmas and New Year holidays are available at some of our Country House hotels in Britain. We offer you the chance to enjoy spectacular winter scenery and festive celebrations at this special time of year. Just relax, soak up the house party atmosphere for which we are famous and leave all the organizing to us. Guided walks are available during the day, with our experienced leaders, and evening activities include dancing, quizzes, carol evenings and New Year celebrations.

A seasonal blend of guided walks and festive fun. There'll be a choice of walks each day and social activities after the evening meal including quizzes, carol singing and New Year celebrations. The food will match the seasonal celebrations and you'll need a daily outing to walk of the festive fare. A full walking and social program is offered.

Festive Discovery Tour at Whitby, North York Moors A blend of winter sightseeing and festive house party Four full days and one half day sightseeing Visit to local pantomime

At Bourton-on-the-Water - Cotswolds explore ancient cities, towns and glorious Cotswolds villages at this wonderfully atmospheric time of year as well as enjoying the conviviality of a traditional house party. Festive Rover Tour in the Cotswolds, Cotswolds A blend of winter sightseeing tour and festive house party Explore Bath, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Cotswold villages Boxing Day steam train ride Five day tours include the Forest of Dean, where we will enjoy lunch at a rustic 15th century pub, a festive ride on the Gloucester & Warwickshire Steam Railway from Toddington to Cheltenham, and the fabulous Arts and Crafts house of Rodmarton Manor, where we shall enjoy coffee and a guided tour. The famous attractions of Stratford, where we can see some of the famous sights by coach or take a backstage theatre tour, and Cirencester, home of the largest wool church in the Cotswolds, also feature. If shopping’s your thing, there will be time to indulge in the unique; we visit the historic market town of Tetbury, famous for its antique shops, or sale bargains; with some free time around bustling, cosmopolitan Oxford.

At our other locations, we have a festive walking program at Christmas. A great seasonal blend of guided walks and fun-packed evening program. There’ll be a choice of walks each day - except on 27 December at some locations . During the holiday there'll be a range of social activities, many with a festive theme, which could include dancing, quizzes and carols plus we'll mark the occasions with a chance to dress up and enjoy a Gala Dinner. Enjoy our cozy Country Houses and the special festive atmosphere. What’s included? .... .... Virtually everything Wonderful meals - full selection at breakfast, your choice of picnic lunch, an excellent evening meal, afternoon tea and cakes, and plenty of festive sweets and nuts.

All prices are in USD per person and include ALL MEALS, en-suite accommodation, holiday program, transport costs, services of leaders and 17½% VAT.

What's included...virtually everything Wonderful meals - including breakfast, picnic lunch, evening meal, afternoon tea and cakes and plenty of treats. A program of organized walks and social activities. Any transport to and from walks or sightseeing. Services of Leaders. 17½% VAT. Airfare may be added at extra cost

A Victorian Christmas

 Christmas pudding No Christmas dinner is complete without a moist, fruity Christmas pudding engulfed in flaming brandy. The recipe is based on the Royal family's Sandringham recipe of dried fruit, spices, nuts, apple and carrot - going back to a time when sugar was scarce. The first Sunday in December is 'Stir-up' Sunday, the day when the best puddings are begun. Everyone has a stir of the rich, sticky mixture and makes a wish. The pudding is cooked, cooled and tucked away in a dry place to wait for its final steaming on Christmas Day.
Happy New Year from Edinburgh's HogmanayThe World's Best New Year Celebrations
Hogmanay in Scotland New Years in Scotland

Hogmanay and New Year in Scotland is immortalised, needs little introduction to most, and there is simply no better way to experience it than to indulge yourselves in one of the great selection of Scottish New Year breaks and hotel deals on our site. Whether you decide to join in one of the great street parties, notably the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, or want to escape to a traditional Scottish highlands Hogmanay retreat – there’s something for everyone.

Hogmanay is a more important festival in Scotland than Christmas . Perhaps because at one stage in its history, the celebration of Christmas was banned in Scotland, the Scots have always made New Year's Eve something special. The traditions associated with this pagan mid-winter festival are repeated not just in Edinburgh, the capital city, but in towns and villages throughout the country. Great events, festivals and celebrations take place every year in Pitlochry, Dundee, Aberdeen Stirling, Inverness and Perth – to name but just a few.

An integral part of the traditional Hogmanay partying, which still continues very much today, is to welcome friends and strangers alike, with warm hospitality - and of course a kiss - to wish everyone a ‘Guid New Year’. The underlying belief is to clear out the vestiges of the old year, have a clean break and welcome in a young, New Year on a happy note! The origin of the word is somewhat ‘cloudy’! "It is ordinary among some Plebians in the South of Scotland, to go about from door to door upon New Year`s Eve, crying Hagmane." Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, 1693. Opinions differ as to whether it originated from the Gaelic oge maidne ("new morning"), Anglo-Saxon Haleg Monath ("Holy Month"), or Norman French word hoguinané, which was derived from the Old French anguillanneuf ("gift at New Year"). It's also been suggested that it came from the French au gui mener ("lead to the mistletoe") or a Flemish combo hoog ("high" or "great"), min ("love" or "affection") and dag ("day").

Some Scottish Christmas and New Years traditions:

This 13th century fortress is the perfect retreat this festive season, choose from our two night Christmas residential package or enjoy a traditional three night Hogmanay celebration.

Both packages include afternoon tea, a historial tour of the Castle and grounds, falconry, full use of the Aqueous spa, fine dining, entertainment and much more.

Special Christmas Celebration at Dalhousie Castle - Traditional Christmas at Dalhousie Castle and Spa

Christmas at the perfect Castle Retreat. 13th Century Dalhousie Castle and Spa is the ideal retreat to enjoy an enchanting, traditional and relaxing Christmas break. While away Christmas Eve by the fire in our traditional Library with log fire glowing, celebrate a traditional lunch on Christmas Day and there will also be a special visitor dropping in from Lapland on Christmas morning. Celebrations continue into the evening with our popular live entertainment. You leave us on Boxing Day after a hearty Scottish Breakfast served in our Orangery Restaurant. We look forward to welcoming you to the Castle this Christmas!

24th December - Christmas Eve 3.30pm – 4.30pm Owls, Myths and Legends (optional extra - additional cost $30.00 per person) Participate in the ancient art of Falconry. You will be welcomed to the Castle Chapel by our Falconers, dressed in 13th century costume, where you will meet some of our wonderful owls. Take part in flying these graceful creatures and listen to fascinating owl facts as you marvel at their silent flight 2.30- 4.30pm Full Traditional Afternoon tea will be served in the Sir Alexander Room. 5.00pm Welcome to the Castle and greetings from the Management and Staff of the Castle 5.15pm Historical tour of the Castle by our Castle Steward. 6.30 pm Pre dinner glass of Champagne or Bucks Fizz served in the Library. 7.00pm – 8.30pm: An indulgent 5 course Dinner, including Coffee will be served in our 2 AA Rosette Dungeon Restaurant or The Orangery. Please note that due to limited availability within The Dungeon Restaurant and the Orangery we strongly advise you to pre- book your table reservation at the time of reserving your room in order to avoid disappointment. 7.00pm -11.00pm: Clarsach playing back ground music within the Library 9.30pm- 10.00pm: Join our Carol Singers from the local Cockpen Church on the Quarter Deck 10.30pm: Enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine before bed, to wait for Santa's arrival!

25th December - Christmas Day 8.00am - 10.00am: Enjoy a relaxed Christmas Morning Breakfast in the Orangery. 10.00am- 11.30am: Archery (optional extra ) Try your hand at this ancient sport on the Castle Lawn. (30 minute booking slots available Booking essential- please call 01875 820153) 12.00noon: The Celebrations will begin with a Champagne reception in the Alexander Room. Santa will arrive and be seated on the Quarter Deck with presents for the Children. 12.30 - 2.30pm: Christmas Luncheon will be served in the Dungeon Restaurant and the Orangery a truly indulgent 5 course menu! Please note that due to limited availability within The Dungeon Restaurant and Orangery we strongly advise you to pre- book your table reservation at the time of reserving your room in order to avoid disappointment. 4.00pm -4.30pm Tea, Coffee and Christmas cake will be served in the Library and Dalwolsey 7.30pm Enjoy a Festive Buffet Dinner served in the Ramsay Room and perhaps take home a sketch memento created by our caricaturist (Half Bottle of wine per person included) 7.30pm- 11.30pm Entertainment by the wonderful Le Jazz Hot

26th December - Boxing Day 8.00am - 10.30am:A hearty farewell Boxing Day Breakfast will be served in the Orangery ''Fond Farewell and Haste Ye Back''



Hogmanay Traditions (New Years)
Traditionally, the Scots were a superstitious race at the best of times and for an event as significant as the dawning of a new year, customs, rituals and traditions inevitably arose around the country. Many of these have now disappeared but others have carried on down through the years and some have even become essential ingredients of today's celebrations.
Cleaning the House The last day of the year was traditionally regarded as a time of preparation: business would concluded to let the new year start afresh and houses were thoroughly cleaned (known as 'redding'). Fireplaces in particular had to be swept out and in a variation on reading tea-leaves, the ashes of the last fire of the old year were believed to show what lay ahead in the new year.

First Footing One of the major Hogmanay customs was 'first footing'. Shortly after 'the bells' - the stroke of midnight when public clocks would chime to signal the start of the new year - neighbors would visit one another's houses to wish each other a good new year. This visiting was known as 'first footing', and the luckiest first-foot into any house was a tall, dark and handsome man - perhaps as a reward to the woman who traditionally had spent the previous day scrubbing her house (another Hogmanay ritual). Women or red heads, however, were always considered bad luck as first-foots. First-foots brought symbolic gifts to 'handsel' the house: coal for the fire, to ensure that the house would be warm and safe, and shortbread or black bun (a type of fruit cake) to symbolise that the household would never go hungry that year. First-footing has faded in recent years, particularly with the growth of the major street celebrations in Edinburgh and Glasgow, although not the Scots love of a good party, of which there are plenty on the night!
Regional Variations Each area of Scotland often developed its own particular Hogmanay ritual. In the east coast fishing communities and Dundee, first-footers used carry a decorated herring while in Falkland in Fife, local men would go in torchlight procession to the top of the Lomond Hills as midnight approached. Bakers in St Andrews would bake special cakes for their Hogmanay celebration (known as Cake Day) and distribute them to local children. Other Scottish towns and cities had their own celebrations, as did institutions. For example, amongst the Scottish regiments, the officers had to wait on the men at special dinners while at the bells, the Old Year is piped out of barrack gates. The sentry then challenges the new escort outside the gates: 'Who goes there?' The answer is 'The New Year, all's well.' Sadly, almost all of these regional traditions have now lapsed although a number of Scottish communities still retain their own very distinctive ways of celebrating Hogmanay, notably Stonehaven, Comrie and Biggar. Other Traditions Two further Hogmanay traditions that have survived are the singing of 'Auld Lang Syne' and the making of new year resolutions. It's not clear when joining hands with your neighbor for the singing of the Burns' favorite became associated with Hogmanay particularly, although it's now a world-wide phenomenon. Because of this widespread popularity, the song's rather touching lyrics tend to get reduced to a spirited repetition of the chorus which is a shame. So impress your friends and learn at least a verse or two, particularly if you're planning to take part in the world's biggest 'Auld Lang Syne' as part of this year's Edinburgh's Hogmanay.

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