It’s not too late to sort out your Christmas and New Year vacations. Words: Louisa Pearson hatcver your reasons for wanting to escape for (‘hristmas or New Year. you‘re going to need help. The most common cry is ‘why don‘t we all get a cottage

and go tip north‘. as you and your gang of

hright-eyed hut naive mates try to hook somewhere four weeks hefore the event. Tragically for you. anyone with experience in such matters hooked their accommodation months ago. But do not he downheaited. as there are a few routes you can take to find success.

liirst up. Scotland. Self-catering is the most popular option. and quite often the most expensive unless there‘s a big group of you to spread the cost. Most cottages and chalets will require you to hook for a week. even if you're only staying for a couple of nights (though it‘s always worth asking if they'll give you a discount for shorter stays). Thankfully the nice people at VisitScotland.com have dedicated a whole section of their website to festive hreaks. Their search engine means you can look for a holiday hy accommodation type and area. although not by price or numher of people. which would he even more helpful.


Last minute festive brea

Our search turned up three-star chalets in (ilen Affric. Inverness-shire. sleeping six which worked out at £75 a night. We also came across an agency. Mackays. which has cottages and houses ‘with open fires’ availahle for ('hristmas and New Year from £250. Options are definitely limited so you‘ll have to move fast.

The other option is to go for a hotel. hut often you‘ll he paying fora three- or four-day package with entertainment which means prices can he high. A sample of what‘s on offer is the Loch Kinord Hotel in Royal l)eeside where New Year hreaks are £220 for three nights including champagne. dinner and live music. The rcntahostelxom scheme is another fah idea: sadly. the only youth hostel that hasn't been hired out for New Year is the one in Kirkwall.

Perhaps you’d rather go a little further afield. Important points to remember about flying over the festive period are that its popular. so it‘s expensive and had weather could mean delays and cancellations. Why not try the low-cost airlines. I'Iasyjet flies direct from (ilasgow and lidinhurgh to Belfast and Amsterdam; we looked at travelling to Amsterdam on 30 l)ecemher. returning 2 January and prices were coming in at £135 return. hut dropped to £05 return coming hack on I January.

If you don't mind going via l.uton. you could continue on to slightly warmer clinics including


Athens or Nice. Belfast and l)uhlin are among the destinations Go has direct flights to from Scotland: a return to l)uhlin on the previously mentioned dates was coming in at £85. Again you could go on to various destinations via Stanstead. including Rome or Prague. Ryanair flies direct from (ilasgow l’i‘estwick to Paris. l)uhlin. Brussels and lirankfurt. If you fancy going to the lirench capital for new year. the price we found was £91.98.

Still hungry for more options‘.’ Students and under-26s can find good last—minute deals on www.usitcampus.co.uk and wwwstatravcl .co.uk. STA has specific deals on ‘lies‘tive lilings’ in Scotland and Ireland. including two nights in l)uhlin then two in (ialway for £149. www.trailfinders. com similarly always has last-minute offers advertised.

The internet is one of the hest places to find cheap flights and accomniodation. We checked out www.cxpedia.com. www.cl)m)kers.com and www.lastminutc.com but didn’t have huge success finding cheap deals flying direct from Scotland. There are still options out there so go get 'em. But next year. try hooking in July. ()K'.’

The List searched for festive breaks and flights ten days before going to press. Quoted prices may have changed and properties may no longer be available.

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