One of the best compact cameras currently available is the Sony RX100. The reason why it is so good is because for its size, it has a very large digital sensor. It also has a very bright lens (at wide angle). The downside is that it is very expensive at £460.

I think you might enjoy the Sony WX100. It has a 10x lens. While it does not have a larger sensor or brighter lens, it uses fancy in-camera processing to create some rather amazing photos...as long as you do not look at them too closely. It would allow you to take photos in dark places for instance, although it only works on stationary subjects (not moving processions!) Amazon UK has it for £130.