Christmas with a difference…

It’s a stormy October night as I sit here, hot chocolate in hand at my kitchen table, mulling over the months ahead. Your thoughts too may already be turning to Christmas and what this year’s festivities will look like as we continue to live in the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many of us there’ll still be…

The obligatory Christmas tree – check
Advent calendars (the boozier the better) – check
Nights spent in front of the fire – check
Wintry walks – check
Christmas food coma – check

At first glance, Christmas doesn’t seem to be that different from the norm. Except, this year might be the strangest Christmas of all if we can’t spend it with those we love most. For families and friends scattered across the world, living in various tiers of lockdown, there’s a chance our most beloved of Christmas traditions can’t legally go ahead this year.

What to do?

It’s easy (and feels weirdly well-deserved) to sit and complain about the state of the world and all that is wrong within it right now. Or, we could try and take a more curious outlook to Christmas 2020. A very different year, why not mix things up and do something different?

You would do well to book a Christmas, New Year or “twixmas” (the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve) break at Ninebanks. Five star reviews are standard for this independent family run hostel, which is part of the YHA network. Officially 4-star rated, Ninebanks has been recently renovated and extended to create a series of self-contained, covid friendly accommodation.

What could be more festive than staying in a snow-topped 18th century cottage in a stunning rural location?

If, like us, you’re sick of the same 4 walls but COVID has had a real impact on your income then a short break somewhere like Ninebanks (where a 3 night stay for two is under £200) could be the answer.

Pack your walking boots or wellies, fill the fridge with the trimmings for your own Christmas dinner and settle in front of the fire with a good book or favourite film. Pauline and Ian, the family team behind Ninebanks have been working hard behind the scenes with local tradesmen to create two new self-contained ‘wings’ within Ninebanks. They can now safely accommodate groups of 6 (in line with ‘Rule of Six’ restrictions) as well as provide ample space for different households to enjoy Ninebanks without ever sharing the same space.

The beauty of the new wings means they can segment the hostel safely during lockdown, and open it back up to larger groups when restrictions allow. Guests can also book a self contained room in the chalet next door.

Close to the North Pennines and Hadrian’s Wall, we have little doubt Ninebanks will capture your heart whether you’re based here in the North or coming from further afield for the first time…. and think of those magical dark skies!

To find out more about Ninebanks and Christmas (or 2021 availability) head to and let’s support local businesses this festive season. 🎄

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