Looking to check somewhere off your list of places to visit but haven’t found the right time yet? Recharge your batteries with a weekend city break! It’s the perfect chance to explore somewhere new without the fuss of having to do too much advance preparation.
With weekend city breaks, you usually won’t have to travel too far to reach your destination, which means you’ll have more time to explore. The four places below are our top recommendations for weekend city breaks in the UK for 2021.
A well-known destination for seaside holidays, Brighton is home to a vibrant local community and lots of things to do. Here, you’ll find the famous Brighton Pier. With its rides and arcade games, some might say it’s almost become a caricature of itself. But nonetheless, it’s still a must-visit if you’re in town.
The pebbled Brighton Beach tends to get crowded during the summer months, but conditions are ideal for swimming and many al fresco restaurants can be found nearby. For a unique experience, you can even ride a zip line over the beach.
For shopping, head to The Lanes, a series of narrow streets in the retail district. With loads of unique shops, a wide variety of gifts and novelty items can be found. There are also countless restaurants and cafes. Even if you’re not into shopping, visiting the Lanes is a must for getting a feel of the city.
If you’re considering a weekend city break in the UK, Brighton is a blast. At night, the city comes alive as the bars and clubs fill up with tourists and locals alike. Sip a fancy cocktail at a chilled out lounge or dance until the sun comes up at an underground night club. Visit unique attractions like the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.
For a stay right by the seafront, check out The Old Ship Hotel or the newly opened Selina Brighton.
Just a few hours away from London by train, Bangor is a charming Welsh coastal city. For your weekend city break in the UK, there’s enough to do in Bangor to ensure you have a relaxing yet fun time.
Catch the sunset from Garth Pier which extends 1,500 feet into the Menai Strait. On the pier, grab an ice cream cone or if weather permits, take a seat at one of the outdoor cafés and enjoy afternoon tea.
Bangor is also home to the world’s fastest zip line at Penrhyn Quarry. Known as “Velocity 2”, those brave enough to try it out will experience soaring over the slate quarry and nearby lake at speeds of around 100 miles per hour. Views are stunning and the experience is unforgettable. At the time of writing, adult tickets for two different zip lines cost between GBP65–GBP89 each, depending on the day of the week.
No trip to Bangor is complete without a visit to Penrhyn Castle, which happens to be filled with artifacts including multiple paintings and a slate bed made for Queen Victoria. The castle is surrounded by well-maintained gardens and greenery. If you plan to enter the castle, be sure to check the latest policies on the official website as advance reservations may be required.
For a stay in a spacious room right on the shore, we like Port Dinorwic Hotel and Apartments. The Management Centre is another option located in the heart of the city in an Edwardian building.
You can’t go far wrong with a weekend break to Plymouth, the largest city on the south coast. Known as the Ocean City, Plymouth is a place where you can wind down and relax while enjoying the breeze and the waves.
If you’d like to go for a swim, make your way to Whitsand Bay where you’ll find tall cliffs and sandy beaches. For views of the coastline, walk along part of the South West Coast Path, which extends over 600 miles across hills and through local towns.
The National Marine Aquarium is also located in Plymouth. As home to over 4,000 animals, it’s the largest aquarium in the country. Perfect for kids and adults alike, you’ll have a chance to get up close and personal with some of colourful ocean characters, as well as take in exhibits focused on education and conservation.
Plymouth is famous for its gin and a tour of the local distillery is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Several tour packages are available, and all of them include an in depth dive into the history of gin and the tasting of several varieties. Tours end with a classic gin and tonic at the bar.
When it comes to hotels in Plymouth, we like the New Continental Hotel and Copthorne Hotel Plymouth.
The smallest city in the UK, St Davids has carved out a name for itself due to its history and attractions. The town itself is located within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which means visitors are just a short distance away from the jagged coastline and clear azure waters.
St Davids Cathedral is probably the main reason the town has become so notable. One of the most important religious sites in Wales, the cathedral is home to both chapels and a library. Educational programs are also held in the cloisters. While it’s still used for regular prayer and services, the cathedral also holds tours to help visitors discover more about this place of worship, which has been in use since the sixth century.
From St Davids, trips can be made to nearby islands like Ramsey, Skomer and Grassholm. On these islands, unique wildlife including seals and puffins can be seen in their natural habitats, and some lucky visitors even sight whales on the ride to and from the island.
The St Davids Bishop’s Palace should definitely be on the itinerary of your weekend city break in the UK if you head to St Davids. Today, the remains of the Gothic structure don’t completely depict its former glory, but the grounds of the castle still show the power and wealth that the Welsh clergy once held.
If you’re spending the night in St Davids, take a look at The City Inn or Glendower, which is just a short walk from the cathedral.