Christmas travel: The perfect Twixmas getaways for relaxing before the New Year festivities begin


There’s a new rising star on the festive scene which every smart hotelier and holiday company will be wishing on this year: Twixmas.

It’s a term – derived from the old English word betwixt, for ‘between’ – that has been coined to describe the five-day lull after Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve, when not much is going on but which allows ample time for a cheeky getaway. And this year there’s a wealth of wonderful ideas around to help you see out the end of 2021 in style. Here are some of the best.

Cocktail masterclasses are on offer at Verzon House, just outside the market town of Ledbury in Herefordshire’s Wye Valley, where mixologists at the bar will teach you the secrets behind shaking and stirring.

At Verzon House, pictured, guests dine from delicious seasonal menus created with local produce, including Herefordshire beef

At Verzon House, pictured, guests dine from delicious seasonal menus created with local produce, including Herefordshire beef

Pictured is the bridal suite at Verzon House. A junior suite for two nights from December 28 is £320, based on two sharing

Pictured is the bridal suite at Verzon House. A junior suite for two nights from December 28 is £320, based on two sharing

Cocktail masterclasses are on offer at Verzon House, and mixologists at the bar will teach you the secrets behind shaking and stirring

Cocktail masterclasses are on offer at Verzon House, and mixologists at the bar will teach you the secrets behind shaking and stirring

Otherwise, take in stunning views from the luxury rooms and dine from delicious seasonal menus created with local produce, including Herefordshire beef.

A junior suite for two nights from December 28 is £320, based on two sharing (verzonhouse.com).

At The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire, explore its beautiful 300-acre grounds on a Segway or bike, or make the most of a brilliant range of Twixmas activities that include arts and crafts, woodland trails, archery and laser clay pigeon shooting. 

If that sounds too energetic, you can unwind in the spa or head to one of the lounges for a festive tipple or afternoon tea.

A Twixmas stay costs from £485 per room per night (thegrove.co.uk).

Explore the beautiful 300-acre grounds of Hertfordshire's The Grove hotel, pictured, on a Segway or bike

Explore the beautiful 300-acre grounds of Hertfordshire’s The Grove hotel, pictured, on a Segway or bike 

Make the most of the Twixmas lull and head to one of the lounges at The Grove (pictured) for a festive tipple or afternoon tea

Make the most of the Twixmas lull and head to one of the lounges at The Grove (pictured) for a festive tipple or afternoon tea

Pictured is the hydrotherapy pool at Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa in Northamptonshire, which offers a variety of heat and ice experiences

Pictured is the hydrotherapy pool at Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa in Northamptonshire, which offers a variety of heat and ice experiences

Tea time at North Yorkshire’s Feversham Arms Hotel

Tea time at North Yorkshire’s Feversham Arms Hotel

At North Yorkshire’s Feversham Arms Hotel in the market town of Helmsley, the romantic You And Me Time Spa Break includes a three-course evening meal, a 60-minute spa treatment and a hearty Yorkshire breakfast.

From £260 per room per night (fevershamarmshotel.com).

Where better to sweat off an excess of mince pies than Northamptonshire’s Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa, with its heat and ice experiences? There’s an aromatherapy crystal steam room, a caldarium (a Roman-style hot bathing room), foot spas, a hydrotherapy pool and an ice cave.

Its two-night Indulgent Spa Stay includes two treatments. From £432 per person (spabreaks.com).

At Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, you’re perfectly placed for exploring the Hampshire countryside, or just hunker down and enjoy the gorgeous Herb House Spa and Angela Hartnett’s festive menu.

B&B from £675 per person per night over Twixmas (limewoodhotel.co.uk).

Above you'll see tables set for the Angela Hartnett menu at Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest

Above you’ll see tables set for the Angela Hartnett menu at Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest

One of the rooms at the Lime Wood Hotel. Prices for bed and breakfast at the hotel start from £675 per person per night over Twixmas

One of the rooms at the Lime Wood Hotel. Prices for bed and breakfast at the hotel start from £675 per person per night over Twixmas

The enchanting manor at Ellenborough Park, on the edge of the Cotswolds near Cheltenham, is transformed into a winter wonderland over the holidays, with twinkling lights and grand Christmas trees in the Great Hall. Explore the beautiful grounds and relax in the boutique spa.

B&B Twixmas breaks start from £399 per room per night (ellenboroughpark.com).

Walk off Christmas excesses in Gloucestershire at Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, tucked away in a village in the heart of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. Symonds Yat, Tintern and the Wye River Walk are within easy striking distance, and if needed you’ll be armed with walking maps and a picnic.

Enchanted: The manor at Ellenborough Park, above, which sits on the edge of the Cotswolds. B&B Twixmas breaks start from £399 per room per night

Enchanted: The manor at Ellenborough Park, above, which sits on the edge of the Cotswolds. B&B Twixmas breaks start from £399 per room per night

On your return, sample delicious local produce in the restaurant before retreating to one of 20 luxury rooms – think rolltop baths, super-comfy beds, monsoon showers and Nespresso coffee machines.

B&B from £159 per room per night (tudorfarmhousehotel.co.uk).

Get away from it all at The Bothy, a pretty detached cottage in the Yorkshire Dales village of Arncliffe – the original setting for Emmerdale Farm. It’s a great spot for ramblers, with walks to Malham and Kettlewell on your doorstep, or a two-minute walk will get you to The Falcon Inn, which was used as The Woolpack pub in the soap.

The Bothy, pictured above, is a pretty detached cottage in the Yorkshire Dales village of Arncliffe

The Bothy, pictured above, is a pretty detached cottage in the Yorkshire Dales village of Arncliffe

The Bothy is a great spot for ramblers, with walks to Malham and Kettlewell on your doorstep

The Bothy is a great spot for ramblers, with walks to Malham and Kettlewell on your doorstep

Five nights for two over Twixmas costs £818 (snaptrip.com).

Luxury houseboat Blackbird, on a lake close to Holsworthy on the Devon/Cornwall border, is an off-grid escape. The traditional canal boat has been refitted to offer an open-plan living space with kitchen diner and en suite shower room, as well as its very own bankside ‘boudoir bathhouse’ with an elegant rolltop bath. The woodburner and sumptuous double bed with amazing views of the lake ensure you’ll feel super-cosy.

A three-night break for two starts from £1,000 (tregullandandco.co.uk).

The luxury houseboat Blackbird, pictured, is set on a lake close to Holsworthy on the Devon/Cornwall border

The luxury houseboat Blackbird, pictured, is set on a lake close to Holsworthy on the Devon/Cornwall border

Blackbird - an 'off-the-grid escape' - has been refitted to offer an open-plan living space

Blackbird boasts its very own bankside ‘boudoir bathhouse’ with an elegant rolltop bath (pictured)

Blackbird – an ‘off-the-grid escape’ – has been refitted to offer an open-plan living space.  It boasts its very own bankside ‘boudoir bathhouse’ with an elegant rolltop bath (pictured on the right)

A striking cedar-clad barn conversion awaits in the village of Wedmore, with panoramic views over the Somerset Levels and to Glastonbury Tor. Day trips close by include Cheddar Gorge, Wells with its cathedral and the beaches at Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea. Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve is right on your doorstep.

Four nights for two over Twixmas costs £690 (snaptrip.com).

If you’re after some low-key luxury, settle down at a rustic pub.

The Duncombe Arms, set on the edge of the Peak District and a stone’s throw from the Pennines, is well located for bracing walks. Its ten bedrooms are available from £195 B&B per night (duncombearms.co.uk). Or at the recently restored Bottle & Glass, a gorgeous thatched inn just outside Henley, the Chilterns are close by and an award-winning restaurant awaits for when you’ve worked up an appetite. Rooms cost from £360 for a three-night stay (bottleandglassinn.com).

Six self-catering stables at The Farm at Avebury in Wiltshire have views of Avebury Unesco World Heritage site. A two-night Twixmas stay in a one-bedroom stable starts from £330. If you’re keen for a break with the entire family, hire out the whole farm – it sleeps 22 – which costs from £3,590 for two nights (thefarmatavebury.co.uk).

Pictured is the main building at Newhall Mains. The estate has a private airfield so guests can enjoy flights over the Highlands or Sutherland coast

Pictured is the main building at Newhall Mains. The estate has a private airfield so guests can enjoy flights over the Highlands or Sutherland coast 

Two-bedroom Euan cottage at Newhall Mains, pictured above, is available over Twixmas from £330 per night

Two-bedroom Euan cottage at Newhall Mains, pictured above, is available over Twixmas from £330 per night 

North of Inverness, the gorgeous cottages on Newhall Mains on the Black Isle have a private airfield so guests can enjoy flights over the Highlands or Sutherland coast.

Two-bedroom Euan cottage is available over Twixmas from £330 per night (newhall-mains.com).

With epic views along Dorset’s Jurassic coastline, the Pennsylvania Castle Estate on the Isle of Portland offers a jaw-dropping backdrop for five super-luxe clifftop lodges, sleeping four. From £1,174 for a three-night stay (thepennestate.co.uk).

The Pennsylvania Castle Estate on the Isle of Portland offers a jaw-dropping backdrop for five super-luxe clifftop lodges (pictured above)

The Pennsylvania Castle Estate on the Isle of Portland offers a jaw-dropping backdrop for five super-luxe clifftop lodges (pictured above) 

Guests at the Pennsylvania Castle Estate can enjoy epic views of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline (pictured)

Guests at the Pennsylvania Castle Estate can enjoy epic views of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline (pictured) 

The pool at Pennsylvania Castle Estate. Prices start from £1,174 for a three-night stay at the estate's clifftop lodges

The pool at Pennsylvania Castle Estate. Prices start from £1,174 for a three-night stay at the estate’s clifftop lodges

Luxury continues at Lakeside cabins in Lincolnshire, which include Scandi-style interiors and huge windows that make the most of the peaceful lake views. Each large decked terrace features a sunken bathtub, fire pit and outdoor grill.

The cabins, sleeping two, are surrounded by 17 acres of private woodland, and there’s a rowing boat available if you fancy a lake picnic.

Four nights costs from £1,305 (qualityunearthed.co.uk).

Scandi-style: A luxury cabin at Lakeside in Lincolnshire, where guests are surrounded by 17 acres of private woodland

Scandi-style: A luxury cabin at Lakeside in Lincolnshire, where guests are surrounded by 17 acres of private woodland

Or opt for an equally scene-setting stay in one of the lodges within the 1,000-acre Gisburne Park Estate in Lancashire’s beautiful Ribble Valley, where you’ll find the historic walled gardens transformed into a picturesque wonderland complete with reindeer and Santa’s grotto.

Lodges (sleeping up to six) from £765 for three nights (ribblesdalepark.com).

The stargazer lodges at the Blaithwaite Estate, set between the Lake District and the Solway Coast, have a mezzanine level with large roof window and sleep from four to six. By day you can roam the 250-acre estate complete with trails, gardens, woodlands, crazy golf and giant chess; by night you can watch the moon and stars from under your duvet. Costs £545 per lodge for four Twixmas nights (blaithwaite.co.uk).

One of the stargazer lodges at the Blaithwaite Estate, which are set between the Lake District and the Solway Coast

One of the stargazer lodges at the Blaithwaite Estate, which are set between the Lake District and the Solway Coast

The interior of a stargazer lodge. Each lodge has a mezzanine level with a large roof window and sleeps from four to six

The interior of a stargazer lodge. Each lodge has a mezzanine level with a large roof window and sleeps from four to six

Give the car a break when you unpack at the Snoozy Bear Cabin, a cosy and quirky converted artist’s studio for just the two of you on the North Pembrokeshire coast.

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is right outside the door, or it’s a 15-minute walk to the beaches of Abermawr and Aberbach.

Four nights over Twixmas costs from £804 (qualityunearthed.co.uk).

How about a glamping break to drag you away from your screens?

The shepherds’ huts at Romney Marsh, a wetland area in Kent which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offer a peaceful Twixmas backdrop with a flock of Romney ewes your only neighbours.

The shepherds’ huts at Romney Marsh are nestled in a wetland area in Kent, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The shepherds’ huts at Romney Marsh are nestled in a wetland area in Kent, which is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The huts are ideal for a peaceful Twixmas getaway - and a flock of Romney ewes will be your only neighbours

The huts are ideal for a peaceful Twixmas getaway – and a flock of Romney ewes will be your only neighbours

Three nights costs from £361 for two adults (bloomstays.com).

The glamping domes at Abbey Farm in Norfolk include a log-burner, kitchen and bathroom. With mulled wine and mince pies on arrival, a hot tub, plus a hamper full of goodies to enjoy around the fire pit, you couldn’t ask for a cosier Twixmas.

Four nights costs from £2,750 for up to six people (abbeyfarmnorfolk.com). 

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