Winter Wonderland & Whisky Trails

From mist-lined forest walks to outdoor skating in the grounds of stately homes rinks and the very best festive Victorian markets, tis the season to explore Britain at its most picturesque.

Where better to get in the festive season mood than one of Britain’s best castles? It’s difficult to chose a favourite with so many amazine castles and so many that celebrate the festive season well. But we opted for Leeds Castle in Kent, because it is a picture-perfect fortress; even more so when clothed in a soft blanket of snow.

Its exterior has changed little since Henry VIII smartened it up to impress his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. December visitors will be equally impressed by its fine interiors, created by the last private owner, Olive, Lady Baillie in the 1920s and 30s, festively decorated this year in the theme of classic children’s fairy stories. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Aladdin and The Nutcracker all feature.

On certain evenings, guests can enjoy a glass of mulled wine before a tour in the company of Jack Frost and other traditional characters. An oak-beamed restaurant, Fairfax Hall, has spectacular views over castle and moat.