With December only a few weeks away, many people are grappling with the age-old decision of where to spend Christmas. On the one hand, there’s the option of staying at home for a typical festive celebration with friends and family, exchanging presents and cooking a traditional dinner. On the other hand, acting as the host for yet another Christmas means all the pressure of preparations – not to mention attempting to establish sleeping arrangements that don’t induce sibling murder or sleepless nights for elderly relatives.
If you’re hoping to get away from home this Christmas, you don’t necessarily have to go through the hassle of booking flights, or even leaving the country. With our large holiday homes across the UK and Ireland, you can make your festive season truly magical simply by driving just a few hours to a spectacular mansion, villa or even castle. Rooms for eight guests at the Towerhouse Castle in Kilkenny, ensures that everyone gets their own space to relax, while still bringing everyone together for a spectacular roast dinner in the magnificent Great Hall.
However, if you’ve got your heart set on venturing further afield, there’s nowhere quite like Italy to really get you into the spirit of things. As the home of Catholicism, Italians take Christmas seriously, with beautiful pageants, carol services and festive fairs throughout the season. In Florence, you can wander through the Christmas markets at Piazza Santa Croce and Stazione Leopolda sipping mulled wine and crunching caldarroste – roasted chestnuts – before settling into the Villa Impruneta for the present giving. This magnificent home dates back to 1042, making it the perfect place to reflect and wonder at the historic celebrations.
For a Christmas unlike anything you’ve experienced at home, the enchanting city of Venice could be the ideal location. The mass held in St Mark’s Basilica is an enchanting experience for adults, while kids will be delighted by the sight of Father Christmas distributing goodies by gondola instead of sleigh. From the four-storey Palazzo Di Pietro you can substitute the obligatory Christmas Day walk for a water taxi ride, leaving directly from your private waterfront deck, and spend the evening in a hot tube with a glass of champagne. It may not be tradition, but chances are no one will be complaining!
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