Now summer is drawing to a close, it’s time to start switching our attention to the winter months; and in particular, the festive season! OK, so it might be a bit premature to be talking about Christmas in September, but when it comes to planning your winter getaway, it’s always a good idea to get ahead of the pack and book early before all the best places are gobbled up.
With that in mind, we’ve sniffed out the very best Christmas markets in the country and suggested some wonderful dog-friendly hotels to stay nearby, so you can make it a Christmas break to remember for you and your pooch. Each market is totally dog-friendly, so Fido can join in on the festive fun, too!
Disclaimer: at the time of writing, all events are open to the public, unless otherwise announced closer to the time.
For 25 days, the historic streets of Bath (specifically between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths) are transformed into a magical festive shopping wonderland. Soak up the sights and scents of Christmas as you walk the cobbled streets; lined with over 130 twinkling chalets, boasting a beautiful array of hand-crafted decorations, as well delicious food and festive tipples. Take a stroll with Fido from Bath Abbey to the Roman Baths and experience the finest festivities, all whilst surrounded by some of Britain’s most iconic architecture.
Located in the city centre, this unique and quirky hotel offers close proximity to the amazing Thermae Spa, the famous Roman Baths the Royal Cresent, and Royal Victoria Park, as well as being just a few minutes away from the Christmas market itself.
Situated just a 2-minute walk from the centre of the city (and market), this super stylish dog-welcoming hotel is the perfect base for exploring the stunning sights Oxford has to offer. You can dine with your pooch in the lounge and ArtBar area of the hotel, where the restaurant’s fabulous menu is available.
Renowned for its unique location – the spectacular Winchester Cathedral – Winchester Christmas Market is considered to be one of the best in Europe; so it’s no surprise it attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year! Inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets, this festive fairyland boasts a wonderful selection of crafters and exhibitors; selling all sorts of homemade Christmas goodies. The Cathedral’s historic inner Close is lined with an abundance of pretty chalets, which are surrounded by a magical open-air ice rink made from real ice.
Tucked away in the picturesque village of Hursley, this charming 4* Georgian coaching inn is just a short 15-minute drive from WInchester, and right on the edge of the New Forest National Park; making for an ideal place for a country retreat for you and your canine companion.
Set in 63 acres of stunning Hampshire countryside, this 17th-century 5* hotel offers luxury accommodation in a secluded rural location, as well as close proximity to a variety of fantastic attractions. Winchester is just a 10-minute drive away, whilst the River Test, Marwell Zoo, Paultons Park and Bombay Sapphire distillery are all nearby.
A real Christmas cracker, Edinburgh’s Christmas market has absolutely everything; from festive rides and Big Wheels to live shows, glittering stalls, amazing market food and a spectacular oval ice rink that loops around the historic Melville Monument. Time your visit with Edinburgh’s infamous Hogmanay and you’ll get to experience a fantastical display of lights, with an enchanting array of festive sounds, sights and flavours. The Scottish capital truly does come alive at Christmas time, creating a vibrant, bustling atmosphere like no other.
St Andrew’s Square and East Princes Street Gardens
Located in Edinburgh’s fashionable West End district, this super pet-friendly 4* boutique B&B offers comfortable, characterful accommodation, with gorgeous landscapes, castles and parks right on the doorstep. The hotel is just a 15-minute walk from the Christmas market, or you can hop on a tram, which will take you to the centre of the city in less than 10 minutes.
This newly renovated castle hotel boasts the perfect mix of real Scottish grandeur with original, characterful touches. Set in 54 acres of beautiful castle grounds, there’s plenty for you and your curious canine to explore. The hotel is also just a few minutes drive away from the centre of Edinburgh and its many fantastic attractions.
When it comes to festive destinations, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is in a league of its own. Located in the heart of London, the six-week-long family fun event is one of the capital’s best winter attractions. Featuring a fabulous selection of festive entertainment, activities, from ice skating (at the UK’s largest ice rink) and a Santa Land to live music and a Christmas market, it truly is a Winter Wonderland.
The market itself is one of the largest in London; with over 200 charming wooden chalets, offering a variety of handmade gifts, unique crafts and decorations, and delightful festive delicacies. Sample some of the tasty Christmas treats, enjoy a cup of mulled wine and have a mosey through the cute festive stalls with your best furry friend in tow. Note: As spectacular as they are, the evenings do tend to get busy, so if you’d prefer to experience the Wonderland at a slower pace with the family and Fido, it may be better to go earlier in the day.
Lying right at the centre of London’s biggest tourist attractions, The Rubens at the Palace is a majestic 4* hotel that oozes class. The gorgeous Royal Parks are right on the doorstep, whilst Buckingham Palace is also just a short walk away. You can get to Winter Wonderland in just under 20 minutes, too!
Where better to get into the Christmas spirit than the city of dreaming spires? Located in the heart of the historic city, the Oxford Christmas Market is a truly magical festive experience. Picture glistening wooden stalls offering unusual, handcrafted gifts and seasonal delicacies, pretty lights and decorations draped throughout the streets, the sound of Christmas carols, and the aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon drifting in the crisp Oxfordshire air. In the run-up to Christmas, the city of Oxford transforms into a scene from a fairytale – something you and your pooch will never forget!
Nestled within the Cotswolds, this delightful riverside inn offers the very best of British country life in stunning surroundings. There’s so much for you and Fido to discover right from the doorstep, and the city of Oxford is only a 25-minute drive away.
A beautiful, grand old house situated in the picturesque village of Great Milton, this dog-friendly hotel has it all – impeccable service, magnificent rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant. When you and your furry friend have finished exploring the captivating countryside that surrounds you, the hotel is roughly a 25-minute drive from Oxford city centre.