It’s that time of year again: the heating is going on and the hats and gloves are coming out. The festive season is well and truly upon us.
Shorter and colder days are setting in, but that doesn’t mean we have to be doom and gloom about it. In fact, there’s no shortage of activities across the UK to enjoy and lift our seasonal spirits.
New data has revealed the UK’s best winter hotspot for a festive-packed day out. So, stick on a warm jacket, your boot cut jeans, and a snug scarf, because it’s time to see what the UK’s cities have to offer this season.
The data analyses and scores the number of activities in each UK city, such as winter-walk locations, museums and galleries, cafes for hot chocolate, and the amount of winter snowfall for a festive touch. Comparing these scores with each city’s population, we’ve ranked the best places to visit this winter. Let’s take a look at the top five:
While Manchester is often considered to have one of the biggest and best Christmas markets in the UK, it is neighbouring city Salford which secures fifth place as the best winter city.
With a fair collection of winter walks, cafes, and other activities, Salford is one of the best cold cities to visit this season. Salford secures a winter index score of 19, beating 64 other cities to secure its place in the top five.
Aside from crunching your feet through the snow and drinking hot chocolate, you may also enjoy visiting Salford’s MediaCityUK. The gardens of MediaCity are transformed into a winter wonderland with unique outdoor dining in December, twinkling with beautiful lights throughout the festive period.
Welcome to the city of festive hot drinks. Peterborough takes fourth in the winter rankings, no doubt thanks to the huge number of cafes in the East-English city. In fact, Peterborough has 502 cafes — the second most in the UK (just behind London). Thanks to that, Peterborough scored 27 on the winter index.
After you’ve secured a hot chocolate or gingerbread latte, take a peek at Peterborough Cathedral which houses a festive market of unique gifts over the winter. With hand-crafted jewellery, candles, and toys, there’s enough to fill your stockings.
There’s no shortage of winter activities in Durham. Ranking third as the best UK city to visit this season, the historic cathedral city welcomes the Lumiere Festival at the end of November – installations of light shows across the city. Following this, you can prepare for markets and festive cheer all around.
Durham placed third in the best winter city ranking, with a score of 54. Durham is also a café hotspot, following Peterborough with the third most cafes in the country.
Make sure that you have some sturdy shoes on when you visit. The climb up to the cathedral can take the winter wind out of anyone.
2. St Davids
St Davids takes second place on the winter destination rankings. With a score of 65, St Davids is a quaint city with a lot to offer in the festive season. Despite having the smallest population out of any city in the UK, it has more museums and galleries per capita than any other location. Make sure you check out the Goat Street Gallery and Oriel y Parc Landscape Gallery.
By ranking second, Wales dominates the list as the best place to visit during the holiday season, with the very best winter city sitting north of St Davids…
1. St Asaph
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, then St Asaph is one of the best UK cities to visit this winter. With an average snowfall of 33 millimetres in December, the Welsh city sees the second most snow of all UK cities, just behind Scotland’s Perth.
Enjoy a walk through the snow in this picturesque city, a hot drink in hand, and relax in this small winter wonderland. Following behind St Davids with the second-smallest city population in the UK, St Asaph will fuel all your festive feelings. It’ll be like walking into a Hallmark movie.
Despite the cold, there’s plenty to do all over the UK this winter. It’s time to get out, see family, visit markets, and enjoy all the winter activities we may not have got to experience last year. So whether you’re visiting St Asaph or a city closer to home, you can guarantee this will be a winter to remember.