10 Christmas staycations in Cheshire and beyond

Backwood Hall
Photo: Jim and Sandra Burney

Backwood Hall Photo: Jim and Sandra Burney - Credit: Archant

Great festive getaways in and around Cheshire

Hollies Farm Shop forest lodges

If you’ve a hankering for escapism and rosy-cheeked walks, the lodges at the renowned Hollies Farm Shop look as though they could be perched on the fringes of a frozen Scandinavian forest. But these five achingly cosy boltholes squatting in woodland are, in fact, in Little Budworth, with bubbling hot tubs on the deck, log-burning stoves and twinkly fairy lights transforming the scene cinematically festive. And it’s win-win all round on the food front: buy your supplies from the gourmet farm shop, butchers and deli a brisk walk away, and your Christmas dinner will be off the charts. The Noble Fir Forest Lodge (sleeps four), from £249 a night.


Cheshire Boutique Barns

Stay in one of these ultra-snug barnlettes in Wrenbury, some sleep four, one sleeps two, and your Christmas Eve could end in a roll-top bath with celestial views and a glass of Champers in hand. Mezzanine pillowy beds are lorded over by windows for skywards views; there’s a roomy open-plan kitchen and dining area to potter about on Christmas morning with your PJs and The Cholmondeley Arms is on your doorstep for a big sit-down feast and warming nips by roaring fires. Four nights in The Cow Shed (sleeps four), from £1,099.


Peckforton Castle

If it snows, this grand dame could pass for a fantastical castle in Narnia before Aslan triumphed. There are enough turrets, nooks and hidden corners for kids to believe they’ve fled to an enchanted pocket of our county, and with a very convincing Father Christmas doing the rounds, glittery trees brightening up the place, and an impeccable Christmas lunch, Peckforton Castle nails feel-good festiveness with a touch of nostalgia. The two-night Christmas package is £600, based on two in a classic room.


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The Roebuck Inn

This lively pub with rooms, surrounded by miles of Mobberley’s bucolic landscape, blurs the lines between extravagance and elegance. Rooms are characterful, with bold prints and textiles, antique statement beds are piled high with cushions, and copper roll-top baths are an enticing proposition on a windblown day. Downstairs in the pub, there’s always a rollicking atmosphere and seasonal plates with all the frills will leave you gorged and merry. Rooms from £115 a night.


Oddfellows, Chester

There’s plenty of seasonal swagger at this hip pile in Chester to keep everyone hunky-dory. Kids can chow down with Santa over a festive afternoon tea, crackling fires and candles are lit for that wintry glow, and diners perch at the bar over hot mulled wine. For that urban fix, you can mooch around the twinkly streets of Chester that always takes Noel very seriously, but when you just want to curl with a hot choc, Oddfellows’ rooms and standalone apartments are made for wallowing with their snug beds facing standalone baths. Rooms from £99.50 a night.


Scarlet Hall

For an all-out family affair – COVID-restrictions pending – you could take over your very own country pile for a few days. Scarlet Hall in Malpas occasionally moonlights as a wedding venue. But for lord-of-the-manor-style staycations, this sprawling estate can sleep up to 22 with 12 acres to walk off your festive feasts. You will have to order your food in, but that’s a small price to pay for all that space. And to add to the smug appeal, there’s also an indoor pool, sauna, games room, snooker table and cinema room. A week’s stay from £5,995.


The Glasshouse, Bollington

Formerly a stained-glass workshop, this upside-down cottage for four in Bollington has had a Scandi-makeover with mid-century touches perched about the place. Timber beams stretch across the white-brick ceiling and stained-glass windows turn shafts of lights into kaleidoscopic fragments. White Nancy and the Macc canal – where icy fog unfurls – is close by for atmospheric Christmas morning walks; there are carols at Pott Shrigley church, and The Lime Tree restaurant rustles up extravagant classics on the high street. From £165 a night over Christmas.


Backwood Hall East Wing

There’s nothing quite like having your own wing for Christmas, and that’s the grandiose idea at Backwood Hall with space for up to six. Stock up with all the foodie trimmings in nearby Heswall and bed down here for several nights, curling up by roaring open fires and huddling around the dining table for a proper Christmassy knees-up. Feeling musty on Boxing Day? Blow off the cobwebs and skim stones along the Wirral Way Coastal Path for fresh-air feels and views over the River Dee. From £160 to £200 per night.


Kimpton Clocktower

One of Manchester’s most buzzed-about openings for 2020, the Kimpton overtook the former Principal on Oxford Road and was due to fling open its gilded doors just as Covid took hold. We all know what happened next, but it’s now up and running with hip urbanites booking into its bold rooms with plenty of design swagger to embody the spirit of this dynamic city. The Refuge by Volta is still going strong, where North West ingredients come into play on its plates and a top-notch Christmas menu is guaranteed. That and its unpretentious vibe of unstuffy modern hedonism. Deluxe double bedrooms from £92 a night.


The Reach

If there’s ever been a year to gather all your family and forget about the world, it’s this one. And The Reach, on the fringes of Manchester, is the sort of place you can curate a deliciously thrilling festive escape with space for up to 20 people; though if the rule of six is still hanging around, there’s a small annex to hole up in. Rooms are lofty and light-filled: softly hued fabrics, glossy wooden floors and calming country views. There’s a games room and mammoth dining table to kick-start off-the-cuff parties, enough surreptitious corners for the best versions of hide and seek, private chefs to sort out Christmas dinner, and a cinema room when you just want to sit in your fat pants. From £6,500 for a week’s stay.