Whether you'd like a traditional Christmas break with all the trimmings or an unusual escape in the sun, we've got Christmas for couples covered.
Those looking for an alternative holiday can discover winter in Southern California, when Santa Monica and Newport Beach come alive with a Christmas boat parade, an ice skating rink and outdoor shopping in cute boutiques.
For a low-key escape to get away from it all and experience utter seclusion, look no further than Finnish Lapland and a treehouse hotel offering breathtaking views and clear winter skies. If a Christmas cruise floats your boat, head for the Rhine to take in the Christmas market of Cologne and sample wonderful German food.
Escape to Finnish Lapland’s cool new treehouse for the ultimate romantic escape this Christmas. Opening in December, the Arctic Treehouse Hotel is set into the hillside of a snowy forest near Rovaniemi and made up of 32 private pod suites, each boasting warm wooden interiors, stylish Scandinavian design and breathtaking views of the surrounding forest from a glass feature wall. Couples can enjoy excursions such as husky mushing through the remote arctic wilderness and zipping across icy plains on a snowmobile safari, while in the evenings, skis and snowshoes are available to explore the pristine white landscapes around the hotel and search for a secluded spot to see the Northern Lights. Regent Holidays offers three-night stays at the Arctic Treehouse Hotel from £1,899 per person on a half-board basis, including flights.
For Christmas in the sun, spend it sailing around the British Virgin Islands with a gourmet chef and private captain on hand to take care of everything. Premium yacht charter company The Moorings has a crewed yacht charter departing 21 December, with the chance to join in a festive boat procession on Christmas Eve. Couples can charter a whole yacht for two or grab two other couples and share the romance. Expect to spend your days sailing and exploring the islands and nights joining in the festive Caribbean fun as parties take place all over the islands. A seven night-sailing holiday costs from £4,160 per couple, based on three couples sharing, or £12,800 per yacht, including captain, chef and all meals.
Experience a Christmas with a difference on a romantic cruise through the Rhine Valley, where all the traditions are taken care of and a mountain of delicious festive food and fun-filled entertainment await. The seven-night Christmas Rhine Cruise with The River Cruise Line takes in Cologne, Andernach, Rudesheim, Koblenz and Bonn, with optional excursions including a tour and tasting at the oldest wine cooperative in the world. Couples will have the chance to sample wonderful German food, sail through the UNESCO-protected Rhine Gorge and explore the mighty city of Cologne. From £709 per person.
For a rejuvenating Christmas break, head to a romantic Balinese hideaway where you can indulge with beach time, spa bliss and exotic days under the Asian sunshine. Banyan Tree Ungasan is a perfectly placed retreat overlooking the Indian Ocean, where you can enjoy some of the island’s largest private pool villas, alongside fine dining, an amazing spa, a beautiful beach and personalised service. This Christmas, the resort will play host to musical delights including an acoustic live band at the Ju-Ma-Na restaurant on Christmas Eve and a Masquerade Ball on New Year's Eve. Unmask A New Chapter will be a night of traditional Balinese performances, great DJs on the decks, a stunning fireworks display and a balloon drop at the stroke of midnight. Overnight stays during the festive season start from £608 per villa per night.
Escape to Warwick Castle's magnificent Tower Suites for a fairytale romance this Christmas. Each of the two suites is located on its own private floor of the 14th century Caesar’s Tower and features an opulent bed chamber with a four-poster bed and contemporary en-suite facilities. Evoking the opulence of the Victorian era, The Peacock Suite and The Rose Suite offer you the chance to experience the grandeur of Warwick Castle nobility. This Christmas, couples staying in the suites will receive entry to the Castle, which will transform into a winter wonderland, with tours by torchlight, Santa's Stately Breakfast and medieval banquets. From £550 per night, including breakfast, a private expert-led Castle tour, two days' priority access to all Castle attractions and car parking.
A favourite for A-list couples, the romantic Italian Riviera is just as spectacular in the winter as the summer months. The port city of Rapallo, famous for its 16th century fairytale castles and churches which line the harbour, transforms into a winter wonderland from 26 November to 8 January, when the town centre welcomes Father Christmas’ seaside grotto, a Ferris wheel and two mini enchanted forests. In the evenings, the town comes to life with theatre and music including acrobatics, concerts and food and wine tastings. Couples travelling to Rapallo over the festive period can enjoy a two-night indulgent stay at five-star Excelsior Palace Hotel, a member of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, from 390 euros per person.
Weather phenomenon La Nina is predicting a warm winter for Southern California for those looking to escape the cold without missing out on the festivities. In Santa Monica, you can complete your Christmas shopping outdoors at Santa Monica Place, before doing a few laps on the ice rink by the Pier. Next, head to Newport Beach for the famous Christmas Boat Parade (14 to 18 December), which sees boat-owning residents deck out their vessels with an abundance of lights and sail around the marina. Couples can also enjoy night-time gondola rides, dock and dining at the waterfront restaurants and spa time at Newport Beach’s beautiful resorts. Bon Voyage offers a seven-night holiday staying at Santa Monica's Ocean View Hotel and the Fairmont Newport Beach in Newport Beach, with return flights from Heathrow and convertible car hire for £1,455 per person when you depart between 11 and 14 December.
For a traditional Christmas treat for two, take a trip to the Royal Opera House to see The Nutcracker. Covent Garden Hotel has secured tickets to the annual Christmas performance of The Nutcracker with a package that includes two tickets to the ballet, an overnight night stay for two at the hotel, special Nutcracker Afternoon Tea for two, full English breakfast, a welcome gift on arrival and late check out. Around the hotel, there is a cosy drawing room with a log burning fireplace, quirky furniture and a huge Christmas tree greeting guests during the festive period. £750 for The Nutcracker Package on 6, 8, 27 or 28 December.
At the foot of the majestic Matterhorn, Zermatt is arguably one of the prettiest mountain villages in Switzerland and wonderful for a snowy Christmas escape. The traffic-free resort is accessed via railway and you can explore the village by modern electric taxis or traditional horse and carriage. On a romantic Christmas break, you can take a walk through the old town Hinterdorf, ride the highest-altitude, open-air Gornergrat Railway and ice skate on natural and artificial ice rinks dotted around the town. Kuoni offers a seven-night Ski Independence holiday at the four-star Hotel Mirabeau from £1,729 per person, including flights departing from London Gatwick on 17 December and First Class Swiss Rail transfers.
Just an hour’s flight from the UK, Dublin is the ideal long weekend destination in the run up to Christmas. You can pick up presents at the department stores on infamous Grafton Street or at the chic 40 days & 40 nights Christmas market on St Stephen’s Green, before retreating to The Westbury for a mid-shop glass of champagne or a Christmas afternoon tea experience. With views overlooking Grafton Street, The Gallery at The Westbury has a sublime festive afternoon tea, featuring delicious sandwiches, handmade scones served with clotted cream and berry preserves, along with mince pies. Double rooms at The Westbury Hotel cost from €260 bed and breakfast; the traditional Festive Afternoon Tea costs €47 or €59 with Champagne.