Destinations, Hostels

Winter City Breaks

It’s never too cold for a city break!

Oh the weather outside may be frightful, but it’s perfect weather for getting to know a city better. From winter festivals to Christmas markets, there’s plenty of things to see and do this season in some of the best cities in the UK. There might even be a glass of mulled wine (or two!) on offer to keep you warm.

YHA has budget accommodation in all of these fantastic cities so you’ve always got somewhere comfortable to rest your head after a busy day exploring the local area.


The Welsh capital is one of the most exciting places to spend winter – where better to explore it from than our 5-star YHA Cardiff Central? Cardiff Christmas Market has over 190 stalls and it’s the perfect place to pick up some beautiful Welsh gifts. Head to the city centre’s WalesOnline Winter Wonderland to find breathtaking ice sculptures, a cosy alpine village and fun fairground rides.


YHA Brighton has all the glamour you’d want for a winter break – why not treat yourself to a stay in a luxurious premium room? Our quirkiest location gets extra extravagant in winter and the city’s Royal Pavilion transforms into “the most beautiful ice rink in the South East”. Visit the German Market, handcraft your own Christmas gift or visit the Artists Open Houses to find a masterpiece.


With some of the biggest events in the UK, it’s all happening in London this winter. Book a stay at one of our hostels and be in the middle of it all! With a massive range of both traditional and alternative things to do, there’s everything from ice rink discos to drag queen cabaret. Look out for the Hyper Japan Market, Victoria Park’s Winterville and the Christmas shopping of your dreams.


Green as our logo and oh-so upcoming, this city oozes atmosphere during winter – YHA Bristol is perfectly in tune with its vibe. Bristol’s sacred buildings come to life at Christmas and there’s a fantastic German Market; complete with Bavarian-style music from Der Alpen Klaus. Visit Stokes Croft for more indie shops than any street in the country, or experience Bristol’s fab events scene.


One of our most stylish hostels, YHA Cambridge has everything you need to explore the university city this winter. The North Pole Christmas Festival is in full swing – an extravaganza of interactive stalls, festive fairground rides and warming cocktails. Visit us for skating in the park, Santa powering down the river by speedboat, and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in a 900-year-old music room.


The city of spires looks even dreamier with its historic streets lit up for Christmas. YHA Oxford has a gift of a location too; just minutes from the train station. Never outshone in culture, Oxford’s best-loved museums are hosting special events and late-night openings this winter. Travel back in time for impossibly picturesque scenes, traditional carol singing and wooden stalls of luxury wares.


From concerts in the cathedral to massive family-friendly events – this city boasts that “Nowhere does Christmas like Manchester”. Winter Wonderland Manchester is the UK’s largest indoor festive theme park – featuring rides, magic shows and lots to capture the imagination. Use our city centre YHA Manchester for unrivalled shopping sprees in the Arndale or the lantern parade at Tatton Park.


One of England’s most picturesque cities, Bath’s historic Georgian streets light up with over 170 wooden chalets for the Bath Christmas Market. Don’t miss the new Lodge in the city centre; serving real ales and heart-warming foods. You can even float in the thermal spa waters, surrounded by steam. Book a stay in our atmospheric YHA Bath mansion to experience Christmas in all its glory.

Other hostels

It’s not just city breaks that YHA does so well. If you’re more into wandering in the wilderness than bustling in the city, we’ve got plenty of countryside locations and rural retreats, perfect for cosying up this winter, as well as seaside getaways for rugged walks on the beach and hot chocolates by the sea. So if you want to get away for less this winter, have a look at our other lovely locations.

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