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Sometimes all it takes to relieve the stresses of everyday life and strengthen family bonds is a winter family getaway. Taking a short trip away with the family is a perfect way to kick the winter blues and have some fun!
Shrewsbury is almost entirely looped by the River Severn, which makes it feel like the setting from a fairy tale. Add that to the 650 old buildings that are grade listed and you’ll fall in love with the quaintness of this old English town, nine miles from the Welsh border. There’s a great balance of independent shops to satisfy the ‘shop-til-you-droppers’ in the family and activity-based attractions for the energetic ones, such as the ‘Jump In’ trampoline park! The best part of visiting this town in Shropshire is walking around the old buildings, including the 11th-century cathedral and the 18th-century prison which is also open for tours!
If you’re looking to give the family a winter wonderland experience, make your way to Bergen. This town on the west coast of Norway may be cold during the winter but it has enough charm to warm the whole family’s heart! The winding cobbled streets, the city’s old quarter and beautifully coloured buildings are lovely to look at, and there’s plenty of things to do in lots of them! There’s independent shops, cafes, restaurants and museums to keep the whole family occupied all day – literally. Bergen keeps its paths and roads lit up for most of the evening so you can explore the city and visit its late-night Christmas market!
If you’re looking to escape the winter blues and not wanting to head for the usual beach resort holiday, Athens should be on top of your list. This ancient city has been around for over 3,000 years and is rich enough with history alone to keep the whole family amazed! Even at the heart of winter, the weather doesn’t get much below the mid-teens and the sun shines most of the year through, which gives you the perfect opportunity to visit its many sites. Perhaps the best spot to visit is the Acropolis – an ancient area of the city which contains the remains of temples, gateways and statues. Like most cities, there are also lots of modern luxuries, for shopping, eating and attractions, such as the Museum of Illusion which is sure to send your little ones in a spin!
Wells is the smallest city in the UK and also a contender for the cutest! This place is really best experienced during winter; there are twinkling lights hung through the streets, a huge Christmas tree lit up in the city centre and a Christmas market to give the whole family that festive, winter feeling! If you’re looking for something a bit different for the little ones, try taking them on the Wells Mystery trail around Bishops Palace. They’ll have to follow clues on a sensory tout around the fourteen acres of beautiful gardens on the grounds! There’s plenty of other great historic sites to see, including the ancient cathedral which was being built as early as 1176!
If it’s Christmas you want Ghent will give it to you! This city in Belgium has a festive winter market which is well-known throughout the country: there’s trinkets, toys and gifts to buy, as well as sweets, treats and mulled wine (for the big ones) to taste! If you go slightly later in the winter period, there’s also a spectacular Light Festival every February which puts all of the city’s stunning historic buildings and monuments into the limelight! There’s plenty of them to see, but the main highlight is the Castle of the Counts, where your little prince and princesses can go visit some ‘real-life’ knights! If they do get tired of the historic sites, you could always take them to one of the many playgrounds and parks! Ghent is a very child-friendly place and even offers free-pushchairs for parents, so that’s one less thing to pack!
Avoid the summer hustle and bustle by opting for a winter family getaway! Taking a short trip to somewhere new is a great way of escaping the ‘everydayness’ of life and strengthening bonds with the whole family!