Family Winter Break Ideas ǀ Travel

Jess McGlynnNovember 8, 2016

It feels strange to be thinking about potential winter break ideas when we’ve just returned from a glorious holiday in sunny Spain, especially as this time of year is when I usually start thinking about Christmas markets, ice skating and all things festive.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still happily board a plane and be whisked off to somewhere like that but my head isn’t quite over the sunshine yet…even though I had to scrape ice off my windscreen this morning!

However, this is a post I have been mulling over for a while.  A couple of years ago we went to Bruges and last year we visited Oslo and I am definitely a lover of the cheeky family winter break to somewhere slightly more snowy than the North West coast of England seems to get.  When we were trying to decide where to go last December, we threw a lot of these ideas into the air and many of them are places that I would 100% add to my travel bucket list plus some recommendations from me to you:-

Oslo, Norway
It was obviously going to be top of the list as our visit is still very fresh in our minds but we absolutely adored our time in Oslo last year.  We didn’t see much {read: any} snow which was a shame but we got to experience the biggest Christmas market in the city, enjoy some twilight ice skating, watch some traditional and seasonal Norwegian dances and meet Father Christmas.  Two things which absolutely stood out to us travelling as a family were a) how clean the whole city was.  Seriously very noticeable and impressive and b) how family-friendly everyone and everywhere was.

I rediscovered my love of Scandi and Nordic inspired interiors and Oslo is somewhere we would definitely love to return in the future to explore further.

Geneva, Switzerland
This was a serious contender for our winter break last year and is somewhere I look forward to discovering in the near future.  If you can handle the cold I love the idea of watching the sun set over the lake, of the opportunity to travel into the Alps and try our hand at skiing as well as enjoying a visit to the tourist spots such as the Palace of Nations, one or two of the many museums found here and maybe even venturing further afield perhaps to Montreux on the other side of the lake.  I’ve even heard their vineyards are open for wine tasting all year long, is a glass of wine doesn’t warm you up then what will?! {adults only, of course!}

Edinburgh, Scotland
Of course there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a fantastic family city break closer to home and Edinburgh is definitely a potential contender.  There is the New Town and the Old  Town which are both worth exploring, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Palace if you don’t mind a brisk, uphill walk and if you happen to visit over New Year’s then you might be treated to some of the Hogmanay celebrations as well, undoubtedly one of the best ways to see the New Year in.  I’ve even heard that there are one or two ski slopes worth checking out too.

Bruges, Belgium
Another recommendation from me now and one which still fills me with festive cheer whenever I think back to our 24 hours in Bruges.  We didn’t take the kids for this particular trip but I can say, wholeheartedly, that it’s somewhere they would enjoy exploring.  Not only does the whole town have a very fairy-esque feel to it but there is a huge ice skating rink which dominates part of the Markt, the 13th century Belfort Tower which offers stunning views across Bruges, horse-drawn cart rides and, of course, more chocolate shops than you could shake a cocoa dipped stick at.

What child would not love being surrounded by so much chocolate delight?!  The Christmas Markets are pretty cool too and a great place to pick up some presents for folk back home.

Berlin, Germany
I don’t think I’ve talked about our time in Berlin on the blog before {mostly because it was pre-children} but seeing as we all love to flock to the German Christmas Markets which pop up in all major cities here in the UK, why not visit the real thing?  Although the temperatures do plummet quite a bit there is something very magical about wandering around the twinkling lights and the wooden market stalls, clutching your hot chocolate and bartering for a trinket or two.  There are lots of tourist attractions to keep your interest as well including the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Charlottenburg Palace and the Reichstag Building to name but a few.

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