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FIVE OF THE BEST CHRISTMAS HOTEL BREAKS

Kate Simon

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Christmas shouldn't be a slog. Why slave over a hot stove when you could be indulging yourself with a long lie-in and a bit of gift unwrapping before taking your seat at a well-dressed table for a slap up gourmet Christmas lunch? Plenty of hotels will wrap up the whole package for you, from carols around the tree on Christmas Eve to an afternoon of board-game battles on Boxing Day. So leave the turkey in the freezer and head for one of these hotels instead. The only effort required will be to pick up your knife and fork and tuck in.
Linthwaite House

Head to this hotel in the Lake District for Christmas lunch and taste for yourself the modern British cuisine that is gaining Linthwaite House a formidable reputation for culinary excellence. Book the four-night “Luxury Christmas Break” - the celebrations get going here from 23 December - and enjoy some rather more imaginative festive fun, including a casino evening and a winter cruise on the lake.

Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa

Loosen your belt, Christmas lunch at this Elizabethan manor house in Sussex is a six-course affair. And if you check in for the full three days of “Christmas Celebrations”, from 24 December, they'll be back with afternoon tea and cake and a buffet supper before you've had time to digest the Queen's speech in front of a crackling log fire.

The Headland Hotel & Spa

The Christmas lunch at this hotel by the seashore in Newquay may be traditional but its menu is a cut above, rolling out the (Cornish) turkey with cranberry and pancetta stuffing, venison and boar chipolatas and Kahlua gravy. Check in for the four-night “Christmas” break, from 23 December, and you can discover the curious tradition of Headland Horse-racing in the ballroom on Boxing Day.

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