Take a fun and relaxed approach to the pre-Christmas madness with our 10 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 (22nd November- 9th December). Voted by Vogue and The Telegraph as one of the best, it boasts over 180 twinkling chalets spread out across the city’s picturesque Georgian streets, with more than 80% of stallholders from Bath and the South West, and a strong fair trade current. Missing the slopes? Pop into the infamous Apres Ski Bar for a warming tipple after shopping.
(HINT: If you really want to spoil yourself, our Bath Christmas Shopping Break, is a real treat. Enjoy a glass of Prosecco and a cream tea on arrival and then we help to whizz you into the heart of Bath and the market with none of the traffic woes. Afterwards there's time to spa and relax in our warm indoor pool, sauna and steam room).
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 Christmas Market (30 November to 2nd December) on the canal, complete with mulled wine and carols. 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 (13th December to 13th January), The Scarlet Pimpernel (6th December-13th January) and Snow Mouse (13th December- 20th January). Something for all ages! Rather specially, Michael Morpurgo is also coming to Bath to celebrate his re-telling of Raymond Briggs’ the Snowman (9th December, Bath Pavilion)
At the world class Wiltshire Music Centre (just down the road from us) you can enjoy Mystical Creatures and Mythical Tales (8th December), Wiltshire Young Musicians Concert (9th December), livestreaming of the Royal Ballet The Nutcracker (16th December) and The GBH Big Band (16th December).
St Margaret’s Hall in the centre of Bradford on Avon presents Cinderella &Rockerfella (4th December) and The Snowman (21st December).
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.
A pre-Christmas meal out is the perfect excuse for a get-together with friends without having to think about (and find time for) more cooking.
Check out our pre-Christmas festive menus …there’s even a free glass of prosecco on offer, just to get you in the mood, and, if you’re staying, complimentary baby listening.
Our Festive Afternoon Tea and Festive Sunday Lunch are great opportunities to treat the children too. Menus below (please note, less than 6 adults can book this, but, if you'd like a free glass of Prosecco each, it's worth getting a table of more together).
4. 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 on 1st, 8th and 15th December, and children of spa members can visit on 16th 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 17th November until Christmas Eve, best to book). They also have real live reindeer who you can watch being fed daily at 4pm from Saturday 3rd 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.
5. Explore a Fun Family Trail
If your children are a little older, they might enjoy going on a family trail.
At Woolley Grange we have the infamous Woolley Sheep Trail or for a more seasonal slant, check out the Bradford on Avon Elf trail (from 17th November). Go on a treasure hunt to find the elves displayed around Bradford on Avon and note down their names for a chance to win a prize. Just ask for an entry form at Reception.
There's also the Bath Christmas Tree Carol Trail (from 20th November). Wander around the city and follow the Carol Trail to see if you can spot all ten uniquely-decorated trees and identify the musical theme at each one.
The American Museum, Bath (10 minutes drive from the hotel) is running a Winter's Trail (from November 22nd). Journey along the Winding Way following the trail map and uncovering stories and solving riddles to lead you on this fun family trail.
Alternatively, go on a the self-guided Murder Mystery Tour of Bradford on Avon with the Treasure Trails. Suitable for 6+ years or adults only!
6. Try Outdoor Ice Skating
Fancy yourself as a Skating Queen or King? Now is your chance to shine!
Bath on Ice (16th November- 6th 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 3rd November- 6th 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.
Various local communities come together to display trees that represent their groups.
Take a look in the beautiful Holy Trinity Church in Bradford on Avon (from Thursday 6th December) or Lacock Abbey (1st December- 4th January), where the trees are set in the atmospheric medieval cloister.
8. Experience the Longleat Festival of Light
The Longleat Festival of Light is renowned countrywide. This year stunning Chinese lanterns will light up Longleat as you travel on 'A Fantastic Voyage', a thrilling expedition around the world, journeying through time and space with explorers, Harry and Bea, a plucky brother and sister, and their fearless terrier companion, Monty.
Great for kids and ideal for a day trip from Woolley. Pre-booking essential.
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 with Felicity Courage Youth Choir (4pm Sunday 23 December). All welcome.
For a warmer option, join Bradford Choral Society Concert (Friday 07 December 2018) for a Christmas concert featuring excerpts from Bach's Christmas Oratorio in Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon.
We do hope that we've inspired you with some ideas! The hotel is now 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. We'd be happy to welcome you.
If we don't see you before, we wish you a most peaceful and happy Christmastide.