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Christmas in historic town in England that Americans would enjoy

(32 Posts)
Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 21:19:49

My american relatives are coming to UK for christmas, we are going to get a place to rent for all of us.

We have done this before, had a great time but were in the middle of nowhere. This time we want somewhere a little less rural for the poor folks not used to literally being stuck in the middle of nowhere(bad weather several years ago!).

So, they have stayed in Devon and also in Cornwall (again, very rural, for our wedding, BIL spend most of one day lost trying to find our place from his as all the roads looked the same and it was dark due to rain/lots of trees!).

Now, they have expressed an interest in Manchester/Nottingham (christmas fair apparantly, and also Robin Hood etc!) but, they also want to do a day trip to London (the boys do, for footie). My DH is also going to working for some of it so we want it to be vaguely commutable from West Devon so he can come up for a few days.

This means Manchester is probably not the best place - any ideas of location where there is some history, some things to visit, but also where we can get the pub without risking being hit by a speeding tractor at 11pm when walking home, and maybe some 'shops' for shopaholic SIL?

Ormirian Mon 15-Aug-11 21:21:36


Ludlow is very pretty but quite far from Devon

pinkhebe Mon 15-Aug-11 21:22:40


Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 21:24:20

oh ludlow is nice! although possibly too far...i will investigate further.

Brighton - oh not sure, that might be too close to London and shops for my liking!

Earlybird Mon 15-Aug-11 21:24:49

Stay in the Cotswolds in a picturesque village - the Americans will love it.

Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 21:25:07

ok i want to go to Ludlow.

DH will just have to stay in Devon.

Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 21:26:32

earlybird can you recommend? We stayed in a 'village' last time and it was in fact a row of house (like 5 or something) a farm (where we were) and a post office about 5 mins walk away which was open like 2 hours a week or something daft! Nearest life was a looooong walk down icy hill! I am not sure I trust myself again!

MrsSharp Mon 15-Aug-11 21:28:48


Earlybird Mon 15-Aug-11 21:31:31

I am far from knowledgeable about it - maybe Chipping Camden or Chipping Norton (maybe someone will come along that can be more helpful with specific suggestions).

Otherwise - Americans might like Oxford or Cambridge.

Sariska Mon 15-Aug-11 21:41:29


Not too far from Devon (2 1/2 hours-ish <wracks brain>). And only 50 mins from London Waterloo on the fast train.

Gorgeous Christmas Market in the cathedral grounds (including an ice rink) plus some lovely boutiques and many of the usual High St suspects for shopaholics. Plenty of cosy pubs and a few decent restaurants, a cinema in a converted Church, country walks that are actually walkable from the City itself and lots of history (England's ancient capital, the Cathedral, King Arthur's Round Table, Jane Austen etc). Oh, and the possibility of tours around Winchester College if your relatives are into that kind of thing.

hermioneweasley Mon 15-Aug-11 21:45:19

York? Only 2 hours from London by train. Gorgeous anyway, but has a Christmas Market as well. Carols in the Minster, mince pies from Betty's. Perfect.

Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 22:05:00

oh winchester is good too.

York - too far I think, it will be christmas so DH will not be able to just nip up (2.5hrs drive is ok i think) in car or by train as that will cost.

So, i am going to email her some suggestions for Stratford upon Avon and surrounding areas (cotswold) / Ludlow / Winchester. Manchester etc is accessable to all but winchester so likely to be a hit. Winchester might be a hit just because of where it is! The men definitely want to do 'quaint english pub drinking ale', us females are happy with wine and maybe a bar for cocktails one night.

fivegomadindorset Mon 15-Aug-11 22:07:46

Somwhere near Cheltenham.

follyfoot Mon 15-Aug-11 22:08:54

Lavenham in Suffolk is a perfect English village. Lots of small shops and not far from Cambridge.

Oh and Warkworth in Northumberland is wonderful at Christmas too (we've stayed with a fab company if you ever want a recommendation). And its got a castle. Not far from Alnwick for the shops.

fivegomadindorset Mon 15-Aug-11 22:09:50


delphinedownunder Mon 15-Aug-11 22:13:44

i second Stamford and York. Or Norwich? Or Truro? Or Harrogate?

FoundWanting Mon 15-Aug-11 22:15:19

Salisbury? Has a Christmas market and craft fair. Very pretty. Will have loads of carol services etc at the Cathedral.

Danthe4th Mon 15-Aug-11 22:16:45

Chipping campden would be lovely and some amazing cottages or rather huge houses to rent, also only 25 minutes from cheltenham, 20 minutes from stratford on avon, great food in the town as well and just down the road from Broadway which would also be a lovely village to stay in.
Its about a 2/3 hour drive to manchester from here and 2 to nottingham both easy drives.

Danthe4th Mon 15-Aug-11 22:18:35

Train to london is also easily caught in moreton in the marsh straight into paddington. Moreton being 20 minutes up the road.

Pavlovthecat Mon 15-Aug-11 22:19:02

oh huge houses are good! there will be 5 adults and 4 children (13, 5 x 2 and 2yrs old). 2 hours is fine to travel. I will look into that village further as there has been two mentions of it!

I am going to send my SIL a list of all those suggestions listed here, the ones that I will think potential (most of them!) and get her to wittle them down for me from that.


MaryBS Tue 16-Aug-11 08:21:49

Lincoln also has an amazing Christmas market.

FoundWanting Tue 16-Aug-11 21:27:32

I've been to Lincoln today. What a lovely city. Definitely something for everyone there.

TheHumanCatapult Tue 16-Aug-11 21:30:53

hmm not so much to stay but if near Rochester`s Dickenson festvial always goes down well and the snow they do at the cathdreal and carols is magic

Mammonite Tue 16-Aug-11 21:35:45

I just got to the bottom of the thread before finding Lincoln (grew up there). Look for a house to rent in the "uphill" area. It has lots of history and good shops although the Christmas market is an event (early December only though, is not a permanent fixture). It's an hour from Nottingham and has trains to London. I would find a link but broadband is playing up here.

Mandyville Tue 16-Aug-11 21:50:56

That's a good point, *Mammonite". I was about to join in to sing Winchester's Christmas praises, but the market finishes before Christmas - well, 21st December. Worth bearing that in mind, I guess. Winchester has also recently started more regular markets down the High Street which might be attractive at Christmas time... And of course the pubs!

They aren't desperately child friendly, mind you. The Vine does great food, but bans kids. Wycombe Arms ditto. The Black Boy is a great place to drink but doesn't really welcome kids (although we've taken ours and sat outside with no problem - less attractive in December, I guess)! It's pretty annoying as a local, but might be a real downer as a visitor. We usually end up in the less attractive/chain pubs. The only one close-ish to town that I can really recommend from a food and beer and kids point of view is the King Alfred. Further out is much better - The Plough at Sparsholt, the Chestnut Horse in Easton, the Half Moon and Spread Eagle in Micheldever etc.

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