A Winter Vacation in England
Winter vacations, at least when you live someplace like New England, are typically a way to escape the cold weather and snow. The Caribbean is the obvious choice for those of us on the east coast, but this past winter we opted for an unconventional winter destination: England. This was partly due to Zika concerns and partly due to the fact that Wow Airlines was practically giving away January flights to Europe. Going somewhere cold (still warmer than Boston), dark, and dreary in the winter seems like an odd choice, but it was one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever been on.
First off, England really isn’t that cold in the winter. It’s not that warm either, but with an average high in January of 46 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s much more bearable than winters in New England or the Midwest. England also doesn’t get much snow compared to the colder cities in the US.
The two obvious advantages of a winter trip to England are affordability and lack of crowds. Prices of flights and hotels/Airbnbs are significantly less expensive so you can either pocket those savings or splurge on a nicer accommodation that may have been out of your price range in the summer. Certain tourist attractions like Stonehenge will always attract its fair share of tourists at any point in the year and London is always crowded, but for the most part, sightseeing will be a much more pleasant experience when you’re not competing with lines of tour buses. We practically had the Seven Sisters cliffs all to ourselves and from our conversations with people in town, it gets swarmed with tourists in the summer.
Our road trip through England was pretty much just a connect the dots of quaint villages where we stayed in cozy inns and drank house ales and ciders by the fireplaces at the local pubs. It’s not exactly the same as laying on the beach in 90 degree weather, but it was perfect alternative and an incredibly relaxing way to spend a week in the winter…Also, we didn’t get sunburned, so that’s another plus. Actual Brits might think this sounds crazy, but as stereotypical Americans who love the charm of all things British, the trip was everything we hoped for. We spent a night walking in the footsteps of Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn at Thornbury Castle, stayed in the village where they filmed The Holiday, and spent an afternoon in the insanely picturesque village of Castle Combe. Had we visited in the summer our itinerary likely would have been a bit different, but the small towns in the winter had an unparalleled bucolic charm that was exactly what we were looking for.
If you’re looking for palm trees and tropical drinks, then England obviously isn’t going to check those boxes, but if you want to mix it up this winter, you won’t regret a winter trip to England.