Does anyone have any ideas for a great place for a family of 6 (college and teenage kids) to stay for 2-5 days over Christmas in Scotland or Ireland? My daughter is spending the year in northern England (near Durham) so we have decided to have a British Isles family Christmas, but I don't know of any great places to spend Christmas. We could just stay a week in London, but I would prefer something a little more unique - castle, picturesque town/city with a Christmas festival, memorable Christmas service at old church, etc. Given it is winter (a bit cold and dark)and there is 6 of us with luggage, I am looking to find one place where we could stay for multiple nights instead of renting a big car and moving around a bunch. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.
Edinburgh has a nice German-style Christmas market. But Christmas is a rather more quiet holiday in Scotland than in most places. It really is a family time. Their BIG holiday is Hogmany (New Years). If you can stay for that, there's LOTS going on- parades, fire walks (everyone carries a torch and there are people swinging big 'fire balls') up to Arthur's Seat, street festivals, concerts, balls, special dinners, etc.
Check the National Trust UK or Scottish National Trust sites for special Holiday events. That could lead you to some wonderful locations. You will have to start making reservations now. I personally would not bother to travel all the way to Ireland that time of year when there are so many places to visit closer to Durham. If you do want someplace different think about Wales...best castles ever! Check online for Christmas Market Towns.
ok, I live near Durham..here are some ideas....stay at Lumley Castle (google it) its an impressive medieval castle near Durham slightly less expensive but slightly further away is Walworth Castle. if you want to do Scotland there are many great options what about Inverlochy Castle? Its expensive but worth it. A great website is www.celticcastles.com Don't forget near Durham is a great city called Newcastle it is a fantastic mixture of everything art galleries (google the Baltic flour mill) music venues for every type of music most on the same night the sage Gateshead) if you want to see a nice short video on the local area go to the website passionate places passionate people it gives some good info and a lovely video on the area. or look it up on you tube. Durham has lots to see and do too, the magnificent cathedral and beamish open air museum.. Anything you would like to know just get in touch..
Joe, if you're going for the holidays do try to celebrate New Year's in Scotland. As Toni says, it's the big holiday. Edinburgh is a bit crazy, but I bet you could find some wonderful celebrations is smaller towns. Pam