13 December 2016 by Anna Staford
Christmas is perfect for enjoying some time with your loved ones. If you were thinking of taking a last minute trip, take a look at our selection below where you will find a little bit of something for each member of the family to enjoy at this festive time:
London always turns on its Christmas charm during the holidays, and every year they seem to outdo themselves as the celebrations get better and better.
Central London is buzzing with several Christmas markets like the Christmas Market at Tate Modern, Christmas in Leicester Square market, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, and Real Food Christmas Market.
Several areas in central London are renowned for their Christmas lights. Oxford Street is lit up for the 57th year in a row this year. Also worth visiting are Regents Street, The Brunswick Centre, Bond Street, Covent Garden, Leadenhall Market, St. Katharine Docks, Carnaby Street and Kew Gardens.
The entire family will also enjoy skating in some of the most enchanting ice rinks amidst historic locations all decked with Christmas trees and lights. The best ice skating rinks are in Hampton Court, Hyde Park, the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, and Tower of London. But make sure you book in advance.
Christmas theatre in London is always a special event with ballets, musicals and Pantomimes of old classics like Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, and The Little Match Girl.
Read also: 15 Best Christmas Markets in Germany
New York is the quintessential holiday city, and they put out all the stops each year with Christmas shows and activities.
All the iconic New York attractions are bedecked in twinkling lights, Christmas trees and holiday decorations. People also wait all year for the Christmas store-front window displays on 5th Avenue’s biggest department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales. There are also amazing holiday displays if you consider going to the outer boroughs like Dyker Heights in Brooklyn or the Bronx Christmas House.
There is a promise of great fun at the Winter Village at Bryant Park with its famous skating rink and holiday shops with kiosks shaped like jewel boxes. Central Park’s Wollman Rink is also a great place for ice skating with the family. There are other Christmas markets worth visiting like the Union Square Holiday market and the Columbus Circle Holiday market.
Christmas in New York is not complete without seeing the shows, especially The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
There are many ways to get into the Christmas spirit in the city of lights. When Paris puts on its lights and decorations, the city seems even more magical, if that’s possible.
Numerous twinkling Christmas lights adorn Champs Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, and the entire city. Also don’t miss the bounty of the seasonal treats displayed in patisseries and served in restaurants and dinner cruises along the Seine.
Read also: 5 Things You Don't Want to Do in Paris
Throughout the city, there are Christmas concerts in stunning venues like the Notre Dame, Palais Garnier, and La Sainte Chapelle. The Festival du Merveilleux will be open for 10 days at the Musée des Art Forains, where visitors young and old can enjoy the largest collection of fairground attractions.
Enjoy shopping for gifts, sweets, and treats at the Christmas markets at the Place des Abbesses, Notre Dame, and the Champs Elysées Christmas Village.
Children will have a great time at the Big Wheel in Place de la Concorde, the stunning Great Ice Palace skating rink, Christmas merry-go-rounds installed in various districts of the city, and special shows and storytelling at Vaux Le Vicomte Chateau.
Christmas in Montreal is always filled with fun, family, and food. This English and French-speaking city celebrates Nöel with the much-awaited Santa Claus Christmas Parade, which has been held annually since 1925 and is the largest Christmas parade in the city.
The ornate churches throughout the city are a site to behold at this time of year.
For superb entertainment for all ages, the seasons seventh edition of Luminothérapie, a light installation, show, and awe-inspiring playground will be held at Place de Festivals. For younger children, McCord Museum features an interactive musical experience called Alfred’s Adventures.
The whole family can also enjoy the outdoor activities and shows at Nöel dans le Parc (Christmas in the Park) which will be held all December and it will be spread out in several locations around Montreal.
Get into the spirit of merriment in the traditional, medieval city of Bruges. The entire city is all aglow with Christmas lights and decorations, and you and the family can ride through the cobblestone streets on a horse-drawn carriage, enjoying the decorated houses and shops.
Bruges is a city that is very famous for its Christmas markets. There is the Grote Markt, with a beautiful ice rink amidst the wooden chalets and the belfry tower.
Another delight to enjoy in Bruges is treats such as chocolates, sweets, and cheeses are on sale in market stalls, and served in restaurants and cafés. Don’t forget to try Babelutten, which is caramel candy and Neuzekes, which is a traditional Belgian chewy candy.
Read also: Essential Vienna City Break Guide
The glittering view of Vienna’s city centre at Christmas is like a scene from a fairy tale. The glittering lights at Rathauspark, The Schönbrunn Palace, and the Neo-Gothic City Hall are also ablaze with light and colour. There are more Christmas lights to behold when you see the 19-storey tall Schottenring Christmas tree at the Ringturm building.
The city of great music has Christmas concerts every night during the advent. There’s the Advent Concert at St. Stephansdom, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Theatre an der Wien, and the annual Christmas in Vienna concert.
The family shouldn’t miss the series of outdoor events at the Museumsquartier, with ice pavilions, ice shows, and live music. If you love ice skating like the Viennese, there is an ice skating rink set up during the season at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
There are also Christmas markets to visit, like the Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, the Karsplatz Christmas Market, and the Freyung Christmas Market.
Any of these magnificent cities will be a treat for the entire family, so just chose which one is best for you. There are only a couple of weeks to go before Christmas, so start getting excited and map out your plans for that unforgettable family trip.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important things to do before you begin to travel with kids is to ensure their safety. Note, that we cover kids of 18 years or under at no extra cost. So buy yourself a peace of mind during this festive season by taking out travel insurance that suits your trip plans. Travel safe!