Take a look at our 10 fun festive ideas, including some rather special local nuggets...
1. Visit a Christmas Market
Get into the spirit by visiting a Christmas market and what better choice than the Bath Christmas Market (28th November- 15th December). Voted by Vogue, The Telegraph and Visit England as one of the best, it boasts over 150 twinkling chalets spread out across the city’s picturesque Georgian streets, with a strong fair trade and local artisan presence.
Hate crowds? Then opt for Bradford on Avon’s more laid-back shopping vibes. Check out some of our favourites: The Christmas Shop at the Granary Barn (fabulous) and the neighbouring Tithe Barn Workshops, Doghouse for the pooch or moggie in your life, Made in Bradford on Avon for local artisan gifts, The Bradford on Avon Cheese Shop (ask for Christoph's expert advice) and the Bradford on Avon Floating Winter Market (29th November to 1st December) on the canal, complete with mulled wine and carols and a range of artisan traders including silversmith Anna Berthon, The Goblyn's Portal and the floating vinyl store. You’re sure to find presents for all the family!
Alternatively, if you like to avoid ‘Jingle Bells’ altogether and do your Christmas shopping online, we’ve got some lovely ideas for the ones you love in our online gift voucher shop.
2. Take in a Family Show
There’s nothing quite like the tradition of a family show around Christmas. When it’s cold outside, the warmth of the theatre and excitement before the performance, is one of those memories that lasts forever.
Locally, we love the Theatre Royal in Bath and this year they’re putting on Peter Pan Goes Wrong (26th November to 1st December), Beauty and the Beast (12th December-12th January), Rapunzel (6th December- 12th January) and, post-Christmas, Snow Mouse (2nd January- 2nd February). Something for all ages!
The world class Wiltshire Music Centre is just down the road from Woolley Grange and this year is featuring the Royal Ballet Coppelia (Sat 14 Dec), GBH Big Band - a festive treat with Mike Daniels (Sun 15 Dec) and a screening of The Royal Ballet: Nutcracker (as live, Wed 18 Dec).
3. Enjoy a Relaxed Meal with Friends
You may feel obliged to cook for Great Aunt Ethel and Grandad Harry on Christmas Day itself, but make sure you counter balance this with some ‘you’ time beforehand.
Come with friends, colleagues or partners for our delicious weekday December Festive Lunch menu (see below). If you have children in tow they are welcome to join you (we have tasty children's menus too) or, if you would prefer to 'Eat in Heavenly Peace' check out our childcare offer below.
4. Treat the family to a Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea
This year, in celebration of Disney's Frozen 2 film release, we've launched a special Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea, fit for Princes and Princesses of all ages!
Siberian chocolate and raspberry bombs, frosty vanilla macarons, blueberry ice mountain cupcakes, aerated chocolate snowflakes and marshmallow snow cubes, served with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones, along with a selection of drinks, including flavoured teas for the grown ups and hot chocolate (or soft drinks) for the children.
A fabulous festive treat for all the family. Please pre-book as, unsuprisingly, it's proving very popular!
5. Pay a Visit to Santa
Hands up if you remember a visit to Father Christmas as a child? Make memories for you and your children this year with a visit to Santa's Grotto.
At Woolley Grange our small but perfectly formed grotto is open for resident guests at 4.30pm on 7th, 8th and 21st December, and children of spa members can visit at 4.30pm on 15th December. Santa looks forward to welcoming you!
If you want to see Father Christmas at a bigger, all-singing-all-dancing venue, we recommend the Whitehall Garden Centre at Lacock (from 16th November until Christmas Eve, best to book). They also have real live reindeer who you can watch being fed daily at 4pm from Tuesday 12th November. Be sure to take a look at the beautiful Cotswold village of Lacock and the National Trust Abbey (of Harry Potter filming fame) whilst your there.
6. Try Outdoor Ice Skating
Fancy yourself as a Skating Queen or King? Now is your chance to shine!
Bath on Ice (15th November- 5th January) is 1000m2 of ice, and has Penguin and Seal skate aids for children.
Whitehall ice rink at Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock, is open from 12th November- 5th January.
7. Visit a Christmas Tree Festival
If you've never been to a Christmas Tree Festival before and if you love Christmas decorations, then you're in for a treat.
Take a look in the beautiful Holy Trinity Church in Bradford on Avon (from Thursday 3rd-8th December) or Lacock Abbey (30th November- 5th January), where the trees are set in the atmospheric medieval cloister.
8. Experience the Longleat Festival of Light
The Longleat Festival of Light 9th November- 5th January) is renowned countrywide. This year join the thrilling odyssey as myths and legends from across the world are brought to life. Filled with extraordinary creatures, ancient deities, magnificent scenery and stunning structures
Great for kids and only half an hours drive from Woolley. Pre-booking essential. Please note that, given enough notice, we can offer our guests discounts on Longleat tickets.
9. Take Some Well Deserved Adult Spa Time
Don't just treat the children! Spoil yourself with a little spa time. The Spa at Woolley offers Jessica Nails manicures and pedicures and relaxing Elemis massages and facials. We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment during the busy party season.
10. Indulge in a Spot of Carol Singing
Christmas isn't Christmas without a bit of carol singing. Fill those lungs with fresh country air and scare the dogs by joining in 'Singing round the Christmas tree' outside the tithe barn in Bradford on Avon (4-5pm 22nd December).
For a warmer option, join Bradford Choral Society Concert (7th and 8th December) for a Christmas concert featuring excerpts from Bach's Christmas Oratorio and traditional Christmas carols in Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon.
We do hope that we've inspired you with some ideas. The hotel is nearly full for Christmas itself, but if you fancy a pre or post-Christmas stay, when the hotel is decorated in all its finery, please let us know.
Stay on our Pre-Christmas Celebration Break and enjoy mulled wine and mincepies on arrival. When you're ready, we'll help to whizz you into the heart of Bath and the market with none of the traffic woes. Afterwards there's time to revive tired shopping legs in our spa - perhaps enjoy an Elemis treatment and relax in our warm indoor pool, sauna and steam room. The perfect pre-Christmas treat!