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Best Christmas Road Trips in the UK 2023 | ALA Insurance

 Best Christmas Road Trips in the UK

As the festive season approaches and streets become filled with Christmas lights and celebrations, what better way to embrace the magic than embarking on a fun road trip to see the UK’s best festive scenes? From charming villages adorned with twinkling lights to historic cities steeped in traditions, a Christmas road trip can be a brilliant experience for the whole family. All you have to do is decide where to go!

To make choosing a bit easier, the data elves here at ALA Insurance have analysed locations around the UK to reveal the best Christmas road trips. Looking at everything from awe-inspiring Christmas lights to the festive food and drink options and even the weather, we’ve listed the top 10 must-see Christmas locations in the UK. 

So queue the Christmas songs and get driving! And if you’re in need of more peace of mind before you set off, be sure to take a look at some of our services, including GAP Insurance and car warranty

Top 10 Christmas Road Trip Destinations

UK Map Showing the UK's Best Christmas Road Trips
  1. Windsor

Nestled along the picturesque River Thames, the royal town of Windsor comes alive during the festive season. Our study found Windsor’s Christmas lights to be by far the most popular, seeing a whopping 19,400 Google searches last year. The town is also host to not one, nor two - but three beautiful Christmas markets - one of which is set in front of Windsor Castle, another must-see on your visit. 

As well as scoring high for scenic spots and festivities, Windsor scored low for rainfall and traffic, so you needn't worry too much about your journey being disrupted (though it is still the UK…). You can even make a stop off at the UK’s most family-friendly service station, as Beaconsfield Services is just 20 minutes north of the town centre. 

  1. Shrewsbury

The mediaeval town of Shrewsbury emerges as the second-best location in the UK for a magical Christmas road trip. Illuminated by the warm glow of festive lights, Shrewsbury captivates visitors with its historic charm and vibrant festive atmosphere.

Our study scored Shrewsbury high for its two magical Christmas markets as well as its remarkable number of eateries offering delectable holiday treats. If you’re a Christmas foodie, a trip to Shrewsbury is a must.

Reports show that it’s often low in traffic during the festive season too, so it won’t take long to get your mince pie and mulled wine fix.

  1. Scarborough 

Perched along the scenic coastline of North Yorkshire, Scarborough is a charming destination for a Christmas road trip, offering not only breathtaking sea views but also a huge offering of festive market stalls and restaurants. 

Our data scored Scarborough as the best place in the UK for Christmas food options, while its two markets and array of festive fairs make it a must-visit through November and December. 

There may be a touch more chance of rain and traffic than the Southern top spots but the picturesque coastal drive makes it all worthwhile. 

  1. Llandudno

Llandudno in North Wales is a hidden gem for a Christmas road trip, offering a perfect blend of festive charm and logistical ease. Our findings reveal that Llandudno is a perfect Christmas market spot, with the town transforming into a winter wonderland in November.

Its two markets, set against the backdrop of a picturesque Welsh landscape, showcases handmade gifts, seasonal treats and a cheery atmosphere. What makes Llandudno even more appealing for a Christmas road trip is its remarkably low traffic, ensuring a stress-free journey through the scenic routes leading to this coastal haven. 

Llandudno is the ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful yet enchanting Christmas adventure.

  1. Harrogate 

Yorkshire’s quaint Harrogate is another ideal destination for a Christmas road trip, offering a delightful combination of tasty food and festive charm.

As well as hosting a highly rated Christmas market, Harrogate also stands out for its impressive array of restaurants. Featuring famous eateries that are known for going all out at Christmas such as The Ivy and Betty’s, Harrogate’s dining options are sure to satisfy.

Adding to the allure, our research shows that Harrogate is less likely to experience a large amount of rainfall during the Christmas season, offering a higher probability of clear skies and optimal visibility for a memorable road trip experience.

  1. Whitby 

Yet another Yorkshire Christmas gem! Whitby is a beautiful destination for a Christmas road trip, known for its three enchanting Christmas markets with a vibrant culinary scene. 

Our data found that Whitby's trio of Christmas markets transform the town into a festive wonderland, while its plethora of restaurants cater to all taste buds from families to foodies alike. 

The research did show a bit more traffic in Whitby during the Christmas season, so we’d recommend avoiding peak days such as Saturdays in late December.

  1. Stratford-upon-Avon

If you’d like a trip to Wawrickshire’s countryside, Stratford-upon-Avon is a top Christmas spot, particularly for those who’d love to look at twinkly festive lights.

Ranking third in our study for the most in-demand Christmas lights, the town transforms into a radiant wonderland. It’s particularly famed for its dazzling light up tree that illuminates the town square, where its Christmas market is also set. 

Stratford-upon-Avon also shows a low chance of rain during the Christmas season, so you can stay dry while you explore the beaming town. However, it's worth noting that the town ranks highly for traffic, so you may need to be willing to navigate a bit of congestion.

  1. Hay-on-Wye

If you’re looking for festive cheer and stress-free travel, you’ll find it on a serene Christmas road trip to Hay-on-Wye, found on the Welsh border.

Our data ranked Hay-on-Wye eighth on the list because of its picturesque Christmas markets selling local produce, gifts and crafts. Strolling through the cobbled streets, you can enjoy the charm of the markets, which showcase the town's unique character against the backdrop of the surrounding hills. Hay-on-Wye is also famous for its many bookshops, making it perfect for families who’d like to pick out a fun festive storybook. 

Even better, Hay-on-Wye experiences minimal traffic during the Christmas season, ensuring a peaceful and relaxed journey for those seeking a tranquil holiday escape. For a road trip that combines Christmas market mooching with the serenity of the Welsh countryside, Hay-on-Wye is an idyllic destination.

  1. Mousehole

The charming fishing village of Mousehole in Cornwall is a twinkling gem for a Christmas road trip, securing the second spot in our study for the most popular Christmas lights.

Mousehole’s Christmas one-of-a-kind light display attracts visitors from all over Southern England, because its whole harbour is illuminated. Lights spread all across the water, making its Cornish coast scenery even more magical. You’ll also find a Christmas market to peruse too. 

The village does offer far fewer eateries than our other locations and rainfall is often likely, so we’d recommend packing a bite to eat and a brolly. But Mousehole’s storybook Christmas scenes make it more than worth it. 

  1. Canterbury

If you’d prefer a city to visit this festive season, you might want to take a road trip to Caterbury in Kent, which is famed for its breathtaking Christmas lights, vibrant Christmas market and diverse culinary scene.

The city transforms into a sparkling wonderland with a huge Christmas light display that brightens its historic streets, kicked off with its highly-anticipated annual Christmas light parade. The Christmas market adds to the seasonal charm, offering a delightful array of crafts and treats. 

It might come as no surprise that due to Canterbury’s large-scale festivities, the city grapples with heavy traffic during the Christmas season. In fact, it ranked as one of the most congested areas in the locations we analysed. 
So, which of our top 10 Christmas road trips will you be choosing? Tag us in your road trip stories over on Instagram!