And so begins the season of Twixmas; that six day stopgap between Christmas and New Year's Eve that’s usually reserved for making cold turkey sandwiches, sofa-spent days watching The Bourne Identity, a few country walks to burn off all that brandy butter and, for some, going back to work even though it feels almost unnatural. But it doesn’t have to be a nothing week.
From culture-hunting to braving the cold, the UK is bursting with some incredible ways to fill these limbo days over the festive period. So, without further ado, here's our guide to making the most of the days in between.
1) Get Excited For Edinburgh
For a festive adventure you’ll have a tough time forgetting, pack your bags and head north. North of the border, to Edinburgh, where they do winter better than anyone else, turn every corner of the city into a fairytale, and the legendary Arthur’s Seat is the best place to take it all in. But why stick to the centre when you have the best of Scotland at your fingertips: Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, Holy Island at the Highlands. Just make sure you’re back in the city for New Year’s Eve, when the Scots do what the Scots do best: Hogmanay -- a three-day celebration of the New Year.
2) Spend It With The National Trust
To take a break from the indoors, the rich foods and garish decorations, start exploring the endless outdoors with the National Trust. Make the most of the Victorian Christmas celebrations at Tyntesfield Estate, stretch your legs through the winter wonderland at Dyrham Parkand, take in the winter lights at Corfe Castle and walk amongst the wildlife at Sherborne Park. Wherever you end up discovering, the National Trust boasts a thousand pinch-yourself moments.
3) Hit The Open Water
Nothing will get rid of that sluggish post-Christmas feeling like a bracing dip in some wild waters -- and it’s more popular than ever. All around the country, open-water swimming has become the micro-adventure to dive into, the sharp intake of air reviving you like you wouldn’t believe. So pack your backpack and join the Santa hat-wearing hordes on the North Norfolk Coast, or swim with the RNLI in Southend, or dash across the sand with the other hardy souls at Saundersfoot. You could even take your surfboard; just maybe swap your shorts for a wetsuit.
4) Lock Yourself In A Log Cabin
At some point or another, we’ve all had an urge to ditch the hustle and bustle of the real world and disappear into a secluded cabin in the woods, and now’s the perfect time to give into that little voice. Whether you go underground for a couple of nights or the whole of Twixmas is up to you, so long as you do it. Go off-the-grid at The Woodcock in Norfolk, bathe in the hillside hot tub at Aether’s Tilt or spend these long, cosy, wintery nights sat on the Devonian veranda of Gosling Log, wrapped up in blankets and the sound of a crackling log burner. The UK is full of secret boltholes hidden in the middle-of-nowhere, and now’s the time to go find them.
5) Head Into the Wilderness
The build up to the big day is nothing but non-stop food, booze, fun, frolics and boardgames, and that’s why you should use some of this six day lull to escape for a weekend. Enter Romjul - a Norwegian term that means spending time with friends and family between Christmas and New Year. Explore the sandy coves and wild moors of Devon, disappear into the wilderness of the Peak District or simply pack your weekend bag and drive until you find an off-the-grid Airbnb. There’s no better way to spend time with your favourites than curled up in a cosy cottage somewhere new, enjoying long walks and even longer lunches.
6) Ring In The Year Somewhere New
When it comes to raising a glass to the year just gone while heading into the next one with a rejuvenated sense of “let’s do this”, try looking beyond the usual New Year’s Eve suspects for an experience you’ve never had but always wanted. Gather your mates for a weekend away at a pub-pub where the best parties happen, take a road trip to that patch of coast you’ve always wanted to see, or simply shove a spare set of clothes in your commuter bag and see what Manchester has to offer. This is not the time for same-old, this is the time for something new, exciting and unforgettable.
7) Show Yourself Some Love
While the rest of the family are distracted with the final Harry Potter film, take the chance to enjoy a quiet moment focussing on you, whatever that might be. Pull-on your hat and head out for a solo-stroll outside, tiptoe around that dusty bookstore you’ve walked past a thousand times but never explored, head to your favourite park bench with a thermos flask and listen to a motivational podcast, or just head upstairs and lock yourself in the bathroom with some candles, a couple of beers and sink into a state of total relaxation before January comes around. We all need a little revitalisation, and now’s the time to enjoy some.
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