For many people, a long term holiday package is simply not viable due to time constraints regarding work or family commitments. However there are many possibilities for short breaks across the UK and Europe which can easily be placed into the busiest of people’s calendars. Short weekend breaks may not allow you to dive with turtles on the West Coast of Australia or complete an Everest Base Camp adventure, however do not fear. There are many destinations with plenty of things to experience, which can all nicely fit into one weekend getaway. Here are a few short break ideas within the UK and Europe which are simple and perfect for a miniature escape.
City Break, Edinburgh – UK
Weekend breaks to Edinburgh are becoming increasingly popular for all types of tourist including families, couples and even the individual explorer looking for a unique city break experience. Edinburgh is a city with something that everyone can appreciate, due to its intricate blend of attractions, from enlightening historic tours to illustrious shopping districts and captivating nightlife. A city break to Scotland’s capital is remarkably stress free as everything is condensed into a reasonably small area, meaning that there is no need for complex travel arrangements and budgeting for inner-city transport.
With only a short time scale to cram in as much as possible it would be wise to choose a handful of the most popular things to do and see. One of the ultimate highlights of Edinburgh has to be the Edinburgh Castle which is particularly popular with families and young children. Let your imaginations run wild as you embrace the rich history of this iconic location, explore the many winding walkways and witness Mons Meg – a powerful cannon used to defend the castle throughout the ages. For those who wish to stretch their legs and escape the bustle of the city centre, a hike up extinct volcano Arthurs Seat is definitely worth doing. Experience breathtaking views from the peak by scaling up from the landmark’s many tracks and trails.
Another fantastic reason for taking a short break to Edinburgh is to visit one of its many celebrated festivals including Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Edinburgh Book Festival. These are unmissable events incorporating some of the world’s most spectacular art and cultural festivities as the streets are filled with a multiplicity of performers and attractions.
If you are looking for a weekend break to a city with tonnes to do and see then Edinburgh is a great choice. With many rail networks running from UK major cities and Edinburgh Airport only being 8 miles out from the city centre, there is no reason to avoid this essential short break.
Countryside Break, Peak District – UK
If you wish to escape urban city life, then a short break to the Peak District is a fantastic way get back to nature and embrace the beautiful English countryside. This is a weekend away which is best experienced whilst staying in one of the area’s quaint holiday cottages or camping out in one of the many acclaimed camping and caravan sites. Many hikers and adventure seekers venture here in all seasons to encounter some of the best outdoor opportunities the country has to offer.
The Peak District is one of Britain’s most cherished walking destinations, with its uncountable trekking opportunities from challenging climbs to leisurely hillside strolls. This is the ultimate way to experience the region’s beautiful landscapes and hidden gems whilst getting some well-needed English country air.
For the adrenaline junkies out there, why not take to the skies with a spot of paragliding or power through the regions waters with some adventure kayaking. There are many companies who operate in the area, providing opportunities for trying out new activities – perfect for fitting in as much as possible into your short break.
Other weekend activities include the Matlock Bath cable car trip, which is a great way to observe your surroundings by air. You can also spend the day venturing underground at Poole’s Cavern and witness the many limestone caves and rock formations forged over millions of years ago. Chatsworth House is also a family day out with much to do and see around the building and its surrounding gardens.
With so much to do and see combining outdoor activities with enthralling nature reserves, the Peak District is certainly a top contender as a UK short break for people wishing to embrace the English countryside.
Sightseeing Break, Prague - Czech Republic
For a short break in a fascinating European city, the capital of the Czech Republic has to be at the top of everybody’s list. Often referred to as one of world’s most beautiful cities, Prague is a destination which prides itself on spectacular sights and monuments as well as being home to many intriguing establishments including museums and galleries.
Those with a particular fascination for legend and myth will love a visit to the Ghost and Legends Museum. This holds some of the world’s most unique exhibitions including underground chambers of spirits as well as enthralling tours with the museum’s tour guides. An alternative choice of museum is Prague’s critically acclaimed Toy Museum, located in the vicinity of the Golden Lane. This is said to be the second largest museum of its kind in the world and contains a myriad of toys from all corners of the earth- a great day out for families with young children.
The ultimate way to view Prague during your short break is to visit the city’s renowned bridge and tower monuments. Petrin View Tower is a great place to start, with its beautiful Eiffel Tower architecture and observatory allowing you to gaze out over the entire city. On a clear day it is also possible to see Snezka, the highest peak in the Czech Republic 150km away from the tower. Another fantastic monument to visit is the Old Town Bridge Tower. This is a beautiful gothic bridge located at one end of Charles Bridge with the Lesser Town Bridge Tower at the other side. Completed in the 1300s, this monument has rich history and is also a great way to view the Vltava River and Old Town.
There are plenty of things to do and see in this extraordinary European city with shopping and dining opportunities dotted all around the city centre. Particularly sought after by couples looking for a romantic weekend away, this is a weekend break perfect for experiencing the culture of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Nightlife Entertainment Break, Barcelona – Spain
If there is one thing the Spanish do well it’s providing an evening of late night entertainment with its culture of late dining, midnight walks and reputable nightlife. Barcelona is the Spanish hub for anyone looking for a short European break in order to blow off some steam and experience the city’s many evening charms. Amalgamating attractions such as open air cinemas, rooftop DJ sets and secret underground music bars, this is definitely the European city that never sleeps.
A key location within Barcelona, which has entertainment running all evening, is the district of La Rambla. This boulevard running from Placa De Catalunya to Port Vell is littered with street entertainment including flamenco dancers, acrobats, mime artists and performers of all abilities. Port Vell also has an assortment of clubs and bars tailored particularly for the younger crowd with music spanning multiple genres.
For those looking for a more chilled evening of live music, cocktails and a friendly atmosphere, then a great place to start is within the city’s Gothic Quarter. A secret and hidden bar named El Mariachi is an absolute must-do for anyone who loves live music. This is the ideal place to spot top European musicians including the famous singer Mani Chao. There are also opportunities within the Gothic Quarter for night tours of historic cathedrals and Roman architecture.
Barcelona has thousands of things to do and see during the day however if you are looking for a short break full of nightlife entertainment with a few friends or even a romantic weekend away then this city is the place to be.
Image: Andy Roberts