Farm Hill House, Armsworth, Hampshire, UK
It’s a scene from a traditional Christmas card: rolling countryside covered in white, frost-glazed woodland and glowing windows. There’s no guarantee of snow, but this lovely country house looks out over a Hampshire landscape that Jane Austen would have recognised. The house has been lovingly renovated and upgraded by its previous owners. It has its own land – both arable and wooded – with pear trees and wildflower meadow, a barn, and a tennis court and pool for warmer weather. The period interiors are the sort you want to return to after a bracing walk across the hills, with a large kitchen for cooking seasonal recipes, and drawing rooms for pulling up a chair close to the fire and toasting the season with a winter warmer or two.
Holland Park Villas, 6 Campden Hill, London
With its silver-birch colour palette, warm glow and high-ceilinged rooms, this elegant London residence is tailor-made for festive occasions. Completed in 2018, there are three double bedrooms finished to the highest standards, with brass inlays, hardwood floors and Italian marble. The building has 24-hour security, and residents have full use of the gym, Bodyism yoga studio and spa. There is also an 18-seat cinema – ideal for a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life. Situated at the top of Campden Hill, the second-floor apartment has a balcony and views over the landscaped gardens. It is well located for frosty walks to the water features of Kyoto Garden, or New Year’s shopping along Kensington Church Street.
Fitzhardinge House, Portman Square, Marylebone, London
The Georgian squares and streets around Marylebone are among the most atmospheric in festive London, with Christmas lights on the High Street, carols at the Wallace Collection, and winter feasts served up at restaurants such as Chiltern Fire House and Orrery. This one-bedroom apartment overlooks the garden square and is just around the corner from Selfridges, for last-minute Christmas gifts. Designed by the award-winning BASE Interiors, it comes with a private balcony, built-in wardrobe space and shower room. A handy West End base for all seasons.
Whitechapel Manor, Whitechapel, Devon, UK
Near Exmoor, this Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor house has retained many of its period features, such as chimneys, wood panelling, fireplaces and a Great Hall divided by a mighty oak screen. So, plenty of space to build up your own antiques collection and a sizeable guest list. It’s situated in 13.5 acres of formal and mossy walled gardens, with stables, a kitchen garden, and an optional cottage. The Tudor Christmas was a time for mummeries, wassailing and roast swan – those may be off the menu these days, but this is a home that remains perfect for seasonal games of hide-and-seek and ghost stories read aloud in four-poster beds.
8 Pitt Street, Kensington, London
Just off Kensington Church Street, this cream-fronted period home was built around the same time as Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. A Victorian streetlamp still stands outside – all it needs is a cluster of carol singers at the door. Inside, the design is a Deco-edged hymn to contemporary classic, with an open-plan entertaining space, and a drawing room that opens to a terrace with a living wall. The four-bedroom, top-floor apartment sits in a West London sweet spot between Kensington, Notting Hill and Holland Park, perfect for a visit to the Luna winter cinema in Kensington Gardens, or the palace itself for Christmas concerts and wintertide Victoriana.
38-40 Aubrey Walk, Kensington, London
As the address suggests, this property is the happy marriage of two terraced houses, and the blue plaque on the wall tells you that singer Dusty Son of a Preacher Man Springfield lived here from the late 1960s. The original Art Deco architecture has been kept intact, and inspiring contemporary design flows through the seven-bedroom space. The top-floor bedroom has access to a roof terrace, while the lower floor opens into a subterranean world comprising pool, sauna, gym and party room. Pop out to The Mitre pub nearby for mulled wine and festive cocktails, then return to pen your own Christmas hit.
88 Portland Place, Marylebone, London
A snug, cosy bolthole in central London, not far from the Langham hotel and a few minutes’ walk from Regent’s Park. Watch the world go by from the bay window in the reception/dining room – the square is right outside – and there’s plenty of space at the table for festive entertaining. It includes two bedrooms, a study and guest cloakroom. The pretty, independent shops of Marylebone are just a short walk away – pick up some Christmas reading at Daunt Books, and provisions from La Fromagerie and The Ginger Pig.
25 Bryanston Square, Marylebone, London
Facing the classic plane trees of one of London’s prettiest squares – once the abode of Wallis Simpson – this freshly refurbished third-floor apartment is only minutes from crisp winter walks through Hyde Park, iceskating and big-wheel views at Winter Wonderland. The apartment is south-facing, so enjoys plenty of light all year round. There is a double reception – room for a large Christmas tree – and two bedrooms, as well as a long leasehold over many, many festive periods.