Curious about the country you live in? Short on time? Keen to travel more sustainably and avoid unnecessary flights? There's many reasons to take a city break in the UK. And, fortunately, there's a plethora of interesting places here to explore.
It can be easy to overlook the rich history, cultural variety, sumptuous food scene and architectural grandeur that the U.K. has to offer, dismissing the notion of taking a holiday relatively nearby as something you can always get up to in the future. Reader, it's a great time to take a city break here. Cheaper, easier, and without any of the attendant stress of negotiating a different language.
The NationalWorld team is made up of journalists who live and work across the breadth of the U.K., so we've collaborated on a list of our favourite nearby holiday spots.
Some plumped for locales that were great for theatre, culture, museums - others for towns that offer the award-winning cuisine. Others yet opted for cities by the beach, for added surf-side fun, while some predicated their picks on where to find fabulous tipples.
There's so much to see and experience in the U.K.- from the towering spires of Oxford, the buzzing music scene of Manchester, to the historic majesty of Bath. So jump a train or hop in your car, take your family, your best friend, your lover or just yourself and a desire for fun - here are the best city breaks in the U.K. (without falling back on good ol' London).
1. Bath’s Royal Crescent
The only city in the UK that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is renowned for its stunning Georgian crescents, the Roman Baths, and indelible links to Jane Austen (which you can learn about in depth at the Jane Austen Centre). Historical enthusiasts and literature lovers alike will find much to love walking its storied streets. But beyond that, Bath has started to excel as a true foodie city. Yes, of course, you can relish the famed afternoon teas and Sally Lunn buns, but there’s a multitude of interesting restaurants to try as well - from street food, gastropubs, vegan haunts to award-winning supper clubs. Savour charcoal-fired Yakiniku at the Japanese restaurant Robun, or make a reservation at the Vietnamese Noya’s Kitchen, where the supper club is booked solid six months in advance. Photo: Alexey Fedorenko - stock.adobe.c
2. The Roman Baths in Bath
The Bird, Bath (very clever, people) is an adorable boutique hotel in the city centre, ideally located to find your way to Bath’s famed attractions. If you’re travelling en famille, Bath Holiday Rentals offers an excellent selection of short-term apartment stays. Or for a truly memorable stay, spend a night in a Narrowboat holiday stay, at Sydney wharf. You can book through Bath Narrowboats. Photo: Anthony Brown - stock.adobe.com
3. Kelvingrove, Glasgow
Glasgow has a deserved reputation for its friendly people, thriving music and theatrical scene, and cosy, well-priced watering holes. But it’s also superb for checking out art galleries: from the popular Gallery of Modern Art, to the Burrell Collection at Pollok Country Park (with gorgeous Degas’) to the unmissable Kelvingrove Art Gallery (pictured), a superlative art collection spread across 22 galleries. If you’re a keen shopper Glasgow offers an ideal mixture of high street faves, vintage stores and independent boutiques. Make a beeline for the Hidden Lane in Finnieston to check out their glorious designers and crafters. Photo: Anton Ivanov Photo - stock.adobe
4. Glasgow - where to stay
Want to the push the boat out, and stay in the lap of luxury? Book in at the Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, and make sure to save time for a treatment, time in the thermal suites or relaxation pools. Altogether cheaper, but well-situated, funky and well-appointed, Citizen M in the city centre is a great mid-price hotel. If you’ve a family with you and want to book an apartment, the Fraser Suites in Merchant City are reasonably priced and very comfy. Photo: susanne2688 - stock.adobe.com