cheap christmas market weekend getaways from manchester

I think you can’t get excited for Christmas until AT LEAST 25th November however, that doesn’t mean to say we can’t all be booking our Christmas Market getaways now…

Berlin Christmas Market

All deals listed are:

  • 2 night weekend breaks – Fri to Sun or Sat to Mon
  • Decent flight times that allow at least 1.5 days in your chosen city
  • Based on 2 people travelling
  • Less than £175pp for flights and accommodation

And this time, I’m looking at departures from Manchester.

(You can check out my London deals here).

Sat 1st Dec – Mon 3rd Dec

Hamburg, Germany

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  • Christmas Markets start: 22nd November 2018
  • When it comes to this sort of thing, Hamburg is a worldie. I mean, nothing says German Markets more than actual real life Germany, right?
  • Great food, great drink, great nightlife – Hamburg should be on your wishlist, regardless of markets!

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Flight – £96pp

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Airbnb – £71.50pp

  • This Airbnb may not be nothing particularly fancy, but it looks clean, full of light and has got great reviews
  • Location wise, you’re just a few metro stops away from the action
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking
  • For a bit more, you could stay in this CUTE studio for £85.50 per person – it’s slightly more central as well

Total cost – £167.50 per person

Sat 8th Dec – Mon 10th Dec

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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  • Christmas markets start: from 17th November 2018
  • Amsterdam has A LOT going on for Christmas including multiple markets, multiple ice rinks and even a World Christmas Circus!
  • It’s such a popular city to visit anyway – you won’t be stuck for things to do!

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Amsterdam – £80pp (there are a few cheaper options but I preferred the timings on this one)

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Hotel – £78pp

  • Qbic Hotel Amsterdam WTC
  • This is a proper cool 3 star hotel – I actually once won a stay at the Qbic in London (I am bloody jammy) which I gave to my parents and they loved it!! A really great way to do a more budget stay but without having to lose out on the style
  • Whilst on a map you may think it’s fairly far out, it’s in the area of Amsterdam Zuid which is well known for its museums. The hotel is also next to the Metro station and so you can be at Centraal station in just 10 minutes

Total cost – £158 per person

Also for the same dates is a cracking £27 flight to Belfast – their markets are also supposed to be top notch.

Sat 15th Dec – Mon 17th Dec

Basel, Switzerland

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  • Christmas markets start: from 22nd November 2018
  • This is not your start up Christmas Market, this is your bonafide WINTER WONDERLAND Christmas Market but do keep in mind that Switzerland is PRICEY!
  • The airport is actually in France so you can say you’ve visited two countries in one – kapow

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Flight – £64pp (or just £54pp if you left at 1810)

There are some really decently priced Airbnbs including this and this HOWEVER, in 2018, Basel introduced a nifty little incentive for tourists where if you book into a hotel, you get a free BaselCard which gives you free public transport and a load of discounts! Given how spendy the city is, I think that’s a good deal. The website says that it will be handed to you on check in, but apparently if your booking is marked ‘mobility ticket’ then you can even use it to get to your hotel. Madness. So make sure you email your hotel ahead of time to ask what’s what.

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Hotel – £81 each

  • Hyperion Hotel Basel
  • I really wasn’t expecting such lush hotels for the budget! This one is 4 star and really well rated
  • 22 min walk from the markets!

Total cost – £145 per person


Let me know if you end up booking any of these – or if you find your own deals of your own! I STILL haven’t booked a getaway for myself… There are just TOO MANY OPTIONS!

top tips on finding the best black friday travel deals

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The wonderful thing about being obsessed about finding travel deals is that when a brand you know and love gets in touch and says things such as ‘we’re offering up to 75% off hotels for Black Friday, does that interest you?’ it’s the easiest decision in the world.

So here is a post brought to you by yours truly – and Expedia.

Here’s the deal. On Friday 23rd November at 9am, they’ll be releasing a hotel coupon from here that could see you saving up to 75% off (fan me down, lads).

This can only be used on their app so make sure you’ve got it downloaded and ready to go at 9am before someone else (read: me) swipes a bargain from right underneath your nozzle.

DOWNLOAD ME NOW

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As I’m also in the market for a hotel or two at the moment (when am I not?), I also got thinking about all the things that can help make Black Friday shopping an ease and not an effort. Starting with…

1. Mark your calendar

This year, Black Friday lands on Friday 23rd November however some brands may start to trickle out the deals a few days before and after.

2. Research

The best way to get a good deal is to prepare and have a think about where you’d like to go.

On my list at the moment is:

  • Santiago in Chile
  • Cape Town in South Africa
  • The Azores in Portugal

(so HOLLER AT ME if you see any deals for these come up)

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Who fancies a trip to the Azores with me?

So, what we all need to do before Black Friday is research those destinations a bit more:

  • Who flies there?
  • What routes do they take?
  • Will I need a visa?
  • Will I need to get injections?
  • When is a good time to visit?

Sure, you might find a proper cheap flight but if you find out you’re there for monsoon season and your £100 visa won’t even come back in time, you’ll be gutted.

3. Get ready

As you may need to pounce on a deal, it’s definitely worth asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much time can you take off?

Check your holiday allowances and remember, if you haven’t booked Christmas off yet (and you’re on a standard UK full time contract), you’ll need 4 days to take off between 22nd Dec – 1st Jan.

  • Can you get the time off work?

If you’ve got some dates in mind, it’s worth putting some feelers out with whoever controls your holiday allowance. In the very least, check when you definitely couldn’t take time off to avoid disappointment.

  • Who would you go with?

Be it a mate or a date, get them on board now. That, or just embark on your own solo adventure which makes things a hell of a lot easier to organise!

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I tend to holiday with the ‘housemate’…
  • Do you have everyone’s details?

Get all the travellers passport details ready to go!

  • How much can you spend?

This is really important because sales are EXCITING and before you know it, you’ve plonked £400 on your credit card that you can’t really afford. If you’re travelling with others, agree on your budget, and factor in a maximum price you’d go to if you find something proper lush.

  • Do you have the money?

Most sites will need you to put the full amount onto one card so if you’re going away with someone else, make sure you’ve got enough to cover the cost

4. Bookmark, follow and download

Now you’ve got an idea of where you’re going, it’s time to bookmark websites, follow social media accounts and download apps in preparation.

A good trick on Twitter is to create a list of airlines, hotel groups and comparison sites, which will compile all their social accounts in one place.

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If I was being coy, this is where I’d slip in the old ‘oh, did you know Expedia are up to something fun too?’ trick but I feel like I’ve blown that already. So, all I’m gonna say, again, is UP TO 75% OFF ON THEIR APP! DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

5. Check that you’re actually getting a deal

  • Check the location – nobody wants to stay 25km from where they intended
  • Check the reviews
  • And lastly, check what price it usually retails at

Right, I’m off to limber up for Black Friday morning. Do come and join me on Instagram where I’ll be sharing what I discover!

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cheap christmas market weekend getaways from london

Christmas may only be 6 weeks away but if you’re hoping to amp up your excitement with a festive weekend break, there’s still time to bag a bargain.

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All deals listed are:

  • 2 night weekend breaks – Fri to Sun or Sat to Mon
  • Decent flight times that allow at least 1.5 days in your chosen city
  • Based on 2 people travelling
  • Less than £150pp for flights and accommodation

First up, we’re taking a look at deals from London. Make sure you check back throughout the week to also find deals from other areas on the UK!

(Prices last updated on Monday 12th November at 7:30am)

30th Nov – 2nd Dec

Warsaw, Poland 

  • Christmas markets start: 24th November 2018
  • Poland is great value – the average cost of a pint is £2
  • As Poland’s capital, there’s lots to see and do around the city!

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Flight – £73pp

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Airbnb – £48pp

  • City centre studio apartment
  • Great reviews
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking

Total cost – £121 per person 


Sat 1st Dec – Mon 3rd Dec

Toulouse, France

  • Christmas markets start: 23rd November 2018
  • Held in the heart of Toulouse, at the famous Place du Capitole
  • Airport is just a 18 minute drive from the city centre

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 21.24.01.pngFlight – £21pp

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Hotel – £81pp

  • Le Grand Balcon Toulouse
  • 4 star city centre top rated boutique hotel
  • You could find even cheaper hotels or Airbnbs but this is a great deal!

Total cost – £102 per person


Fri 7th Dec – Sun 9th Dec

Bucharest, Romania

  • Christmas markets start: 1st December 2018
  • Yes, you’ll pay more for your flights but you’ll spend a lot less when you’re there – we’re talking £1.50 a pint!
  • As the capital, you’ll have plenty to see and do

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Flight – £94pp

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Airbnb – £41pp

  • Just a 10 min walk to the Old Town (and 23 mins from the market)
  • Brilliant reviews
  • Not booked with Airbnb before? Sign up here to get £25 off your first booking

Total cost – £135 per person


Sat 8th Dec – Mon 10th Dec

Bremen, Germany

  • Christmas markets start: 26th November 2018
  • No one does German markets like the Germans, right?!
  • Bremen airport is super close to the city centre – only 10 mins away!

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Flight – £34pp

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Hotel – £95pp

  • Maritim Hotel and Congress Centrum Bremen
  • 4 star city centre and well rated
  • I do prefer a more modern hotel but for the location and the fact that most places (even Airbnb) is super booked up, it’s a good deal!

Total cost – £129 per person


Fri 14th Dec – Sun 16th Dec

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Christmas market starts: all will be open from 17th November 2018
  • Often featured in top 10 lists of the best markets in Europe
  • Make sure to visit the city centre amusement park Tivoli which looks incredible at Christmas – park entrance will cost you 110DK (around £12) and then you pay extra for rides

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Flight – £67pp

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Hotel – £97pp

Total cost – £164 per person

FINE I WENT OVER BUDGET ON THIS ONE – but it does have free breakfast so… Can you let it slide??!

If you want something fancier than a 2 star, you could also try this lush 4 star hotel for the same price but it is a little further out. However, Copenhagen public transport is very good.

FINAL OPTION: you could also fly to the Danish city of Aarhus on the same dates for a mere £35! The flight times are mint too and, having visited twice before, I can imagine Christmas on its cute, cobbled streets being proper magical.


Sat 15th Dec – Mon 17th Dec

Gothenburg, Sweden

  • The second largest city in Sweden has plenty to offer – including the fact that it’s a hell of a lot easier to get to from the airport than its capital (if you’re flying cheap, that is!). The centre is just a 30 minute bus shuttle away.
  • Another Scandi country with a festival amusement park! Visit Liseberg for artificial snow and over five million fairy lights (110 SEK – around £9.50)

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Flight – £46pp

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Hotel – £91pp

  • Scandic No 25
  • The room may be on the cosy side but this hotel is well rated and in a great location
  • Free breakfast – this will definitely help in pricey Sweden!

Total cost – £137 per person


If you do end up booking any of these deals – or finding an even better one of your own – then please, let me know!

As well as commenting below, you can also find me on Twitter and on Instagram.

London done – Manchester deals are next!


watch related videos:

James and I visited the Christmas markets in Timisoara, Romania last year and for a two night break for two adults with B&B accommodation, flights, airport transfers, a three-course meal, coffee, mulled wine and cake spent the grand total of… £92.10 each.

I AM NOT JOKING.

how to stay in a €1,000,000 holiday apartment | barcelona wedding vlog

What’s even better than going on holiday and living like a local? Going on holiday and living like a LUXURY LOCAL!

Our apartment in Barcelona was stunning – and here’s exactly how you could stay here yourself for a whole lot less money than your average hotel.

ENTER STAGE LEFT: Love Home Swap!

This is the second time we’ve used Love Home Swap (remember that insane New York apartment with the Emmy Award? Yeah, that one was one of them too) so to say we’re impressed is a total understatement. I really love how not only the quality of homes on the site are proper BANGIN’, but also that there’s nice ‘community vibes’ – because no one’s there to make money out of you. Everyone’s just after the same thing – somewhere nice to stay.

In this video, I’ll break down how we found this particular apartment and how we used Love Home Swap’s clever ‘points swap’ feature to stay. We also go to our friends’ incredible Barcelona wedding, get a chronic hangover (standard) and properly explore the neighbourhood of Eixample.

my 5* stay at the sofitel st james and how you can stay luxe for less

I often get asked what I prefer when I go away – a hotel stay or a short term rental.

And whilst I love having a a full size fridge to store my 2 euro wine (what, that’s not the first thing you buy when you’re on holiday?!!), I’ve really started to appreciate a night or two at a super lush hotel.

That’s why when Booking.com asked if I fancied staying a night at the Sofitel London St James I had to enforce the ’10 min text back rule’ as to not scare them off by going ‘OF COURSE I BLOODY DO I’M OUTSIDE ALREADY CAN YOU LET ME IN PLZ BBZ’.

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Being a mere 35 minutes from my usual place of residence, this was definitely more of a ‘staycation’ but a quick google summarised the hotel’s 5 star credentials (restaurant and bar – tick, spa – tick, Hermès toiletries – TICK) meaning that this mere jaunt across town warranted a full face of makeup, a coiffed bouffant and an IRONED TOP (huge feat).

On arrival, the doorman took our bags and I had around 3.7 seconds to come up with my new ‘I always frequent 5* hotels’ alias (Tamara, interior designer, wears jodhpurs on the weekend).

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We were given a Luxury Room (the hierarchy of rooms goes Classic – Superior – Luxury – Premium Luxury) and all you need to know is that the bed was HEAVEN ON EARTH. James had to do a bit of a high jump backwards spring to get on and I thought I’d nearly lost him in the marshmallow folds at one point.

The next morning, we swanned down to breakfast and I was made up over the Veggie Fry Up (£14 – not too bad for a central London hotel) which someone had actually given some thought to. The sweet potato hash brown and overloaded avocado on toast were veggie brekkie EXCLUSIVE. Other breakfastaries (real word) take note.

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Being INCREDIBLY CENTRAL (basically the Queen’s neighbours) and pretty plush, this hotel ain’t the cheapest. In fact, when I rang up reservations to ask what price their rooms start at, I unwittingly entered a volley of dead end questions and was told “unless you know the date, I can’t tell you a price”. Thanks love.

Booking.com, however, were a little more forthcoming and online it states that ‘prices for upcoming dates start at £331 per night’.

Sofitel St James Booking.com

For someone who loves a good deal, that’s a lot of money (hell, I think I did three holidays for that last year) but more and more I’ve found myself planning getaways where I’m happy to stay somewhere less flash if it means that I can go all out for the last night or two.

So, what are my tips for staying somewhere glam AF without breaking the bank?

  1. Stay on a Sunday – with the weekend tourists packing back off home and the business breaks yet to begin, Sundays can often be the cheapest night of the week.
  2. Off peak – stay in a quiet period. For example, my Ma and Pa, always go away on the 1st January (it’s their anniversary the day after) and they always bag a great deal. Talk about starting the new year right.
  3. Book cheap and blag an upgrade – heading to a nice hotel but got the cheapest room? Story of my life. If blagging an upgrade doesn’t work (I speak about how to do this here), then try asking at the desk if there’s anything available. I tried this on a recent work trip to Mexico and managed to get a suite with late checkout for just £30 extra.
  4. Get a discount – if you haven’t used it already, you can still get £25 off your next stay at booking.com by using my referral link – I don’t get anything by you using the link, it’s just an actual, real life legit way for you to save money. As long as it’s over £50 and you haven’t used a referral code before (mine or anyone else’s), it’s an easy way to make your next luxuuurrrioussss stay that bit more affordable.
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The suite life

As always, let me know where you end up booking (or if you score any amazing 5* hotel deals) as I shall always endeavour to holiday vicariously through you all!


Booking.com gave me the room (THANX GUYZ!) and, having not written anything more than a YouTube bio in a while, I decided to blog about it. Therefore, here lie my honest thoughts, feelings and advice for you to enjoy your own luxury stay! 😄

tuesday 29th may: today’s top deals

Since I’m full on obsessed with cheap holidays, I see a lot of deals from the numerous newsletters, facebook groups and whatsapp groups I’m signed up to. However, since I can’t be on holiday 24/7 (alas!), many of these brilliant buys are totally lost on me.

Therefore, I’ve decided to collate the best deals I’ve seen in the hope that it may tickle the fancy of one of you lot instead.

Here’s today’s batch of fresh holiday talent:

UK to Orlando, USA for £219

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Many UK cities to Orlando, Florida for only £219 roundtrip via Secret Flying
Departing: London/Manchester/Birmingham/Newcastle
Airline:
TUI
Dates:
 Availability in June 2018

UK to Dublin, Ireland for £19

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Fly to Dublin for £19 return from 10 UK airports via HolidayPirates
Departing: Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Newcastle
Airline: Ryanair
Dates: Availability in June 2018

Europe to Dubai for £55 

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Fly from European cities to Dubai for £55 if you’re a Wizz Air member via Secret Flying
Departing: Cluj, Bucharest, Sofia, Katowice and Budapest
Airline: Wizz Air
Dates: Availability from June to August 2018

Wizz Air membership is €29.99 for a member + one companion and €59.99 for a member + five companions.

Without the discount of being a member, you can still find return flights for around £82.

Dubai will be hottttt in summer but remember, it’s a great place to fly to Thailand, Sri Lanka and beyond from!


This is pretty UK centric at the moment but leave a comment if you’re interested in flights from elsewhere.

And lastly, share the deals you’ve spotted with me on either @howmanyholidays or @chchchchelsea and I’ll make sure to give you a shout out on here!