With most flights taking less than three hours from UK airports, Helsinki is a great winter destination, especially if you fancy a bit of festive retail therapy. The Christmas market located in Senate Square has around 120 stalls selling beautifully crafted gifts, decorative ornaments & locally-grown produce, fish, meats & prepared foods. It's an easy city to get around & if you want something really special to take home a tram ride can take you to Arabia, an old ceramics factory and outlet for Iittala glass.
If you're feeling adventurous, try the Ravintola Kynsilaukka Garlic restaurant on Fredrikinkatu 22. It's one of the older restaurants in the city & has a really cosy feel. Dishes include lamb stew, chicken breast, bouillabaisse with crab & reindeer skewers. Drinks include a garlic martini & garlic beer, which is surprisingly tasty, and even the ice cream contains garlic! Well worth the experience with very friendly staff & delicious food.
We were lucky on our trip & stayed with a friend, but the best hotel has to be the Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa which overlooks the sea & is just a ten minute drive from the city centre. However, there are plenty of cheaper options & flights are available from all major UK airports, just remember to wrap up warm!