A great way to make a celebration extra special is by rounding up your extended family and friends, and renting a large house for a big gathering. Whether it’s a manor house, a shooting lodge or a castle, a property sleeping lots of adults and children can be a good solution if you are planning a major gathering over the festive season. At first glance, prices may appear high – often running into thousands of pounds – but once you’ve divided the cost by the amount of people accommodated, the per head rate can be good value. Plenty of self-catering companies have big-group holiday homes on their books – we’ve rounded up seven of the best. Which will you and your family pile into this festive season?
1/7 Best for festive feasting
Relax, and let the team at House Party Solutions find you the perfect big-group venue among its portfolio of luxurious properties around the UK. Moors Lodge in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park is a fully catered private venue which is offering a two-night Christmas celebration starting at £700 per couple, based on 22 sharing. The programme kicks off with a cream tea and fizz on 24 December, before a traditional Christmas Day lunch and full Yorkshire breakfast on Boxing Day.
2/7 Best for silent nights
Pick one of the historic houses in remote locations offered by National Trust Holiday Cottages. Facilities can be on the basic side, but the atmosphere is always second to none. Egryn is a Grade II-listed Welsh Medieval Hall House sleeping up to nine people in the Snowdonia region, close to Barmouth and Harlech. Eat Christmas dinner in the restored hall dating from 1510 and open presents in the grand sitting room. A seven-night stay from 22 December costs £1,667.
3/7 Best for a castaway Christmas
Search through the fabulous houses offered by The Landmark Trust, including a selection located on far-flung promontories and islands around the UK coastline. Fort Clonque, on Alderney in the Channel Islands, is a romantic 19th-century fortress sleeping up to 13 people, accessible along a spectacular causeway (covered at high tide) and drawbridge. The views are superb and the interiors are cosily warmed by a central heating system and open fire. A seven-night stay from 23 December costs £2,286.
4/7 Best for an atmospheric advent
Look forward to a pampered celebration by booking a property through The Wow House Company, which specialises in elegant big-group houses throughout the country. New for 2016 is a recently renovated Queen Anne Manor house, New Forest House, near Lyndhurst in the New Forest, which sleeps up to 24 adults plus two children. A chef can be organised on request to provide lavish meals in the showpiece dining room, and it comes with a state-of-the-art cinema and a games room with pool table. A seven-night stay from 20 December costs from £11,500 (excluding chef).
5/7 Best for a cool Yule
Take all your friends and relations to celebrate in the West Country, where self-catering specialist Helpful Holidays has plenty of large properties, some with indoor pools. Holsworth (property reference M273) is a farmhouse (on a working farm) that sleeps up to 11 people, in the village of Holsworthy, in North Devon. Guests have use of an indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, plus a games barn with table tennis and table football – handy if the weather turns cold and wet. A five-night stay from 23 December costs £2,429.
6/7 Best for seaside Santas
Snap up one of the 54 properties offered by Suffolk Secrets that accommodate eight people or more. Many are ideal for children of all ages and most are dog-friendly, too. Seacroft, sleeping up to 15, is well-equipped for large family groups and lies close to the beach in the buzzing Georgian town of Southwold. The grand dining room has full length windows overlooking the garden and sea. A seven-night stay from 21 December costs £2,403.
7/7 Best for fairytale fun
Celebrate in style by booking through Scotts Castle Holidays, which features a selection of mansion houses, shooting lodges and castles in Scotland. The largest of its 25 castles to rent is Monumental Castle in Dunbartonshire, within an hour’s drive of Glasgow airport. Built in Victorian baronial-style, it sleeps up to 22 adults and five children, and has a central tower and battlements built into a rock on a high promontory overlooking Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde. A four-night stay from 23 December costs £7,172.
Looking for something cosy for a smaller crowd? Don’t miss the UK’s best cottages.