10 best summer short breaks in the UK

A summer short break away hopefully means good weather and a welcome respite from the daily grind. The UK is bursting with beaches, cities, castles and wildlife; you just have to know where to go.

Here’s our pick of 10 places to take a short break in the warm weather.

1. Bath

Bath short breaks

Treat yourself to an indulgent regal getaway with a short break in Bath. Go for a long stroll or picnic in the park, marvel at the Georgian architecture, take a dip in the Roman Bath or look across the River Avon from the impressive and iconic Pulteney Bridge. 

With a trip to Bath, you’ll also be walking in the footsteps of some of the UK’s most renowned authors and famous faces including Charles Dickens and Jane Austen who were inspired by the city and included it in their works. There’s even a museum dedicated to Jane Austen in the city centre. The Netflix hit, Bridgerton was also filmed across the city and you can promenade past some of the popular scenes yourself.

Stay: Hotels in Bath

2. Guildford

Guildford short breaks

Get active and enjoy the great outdoors with some wild swimming in the River Wey, just a short distance outside Guildford, Surrey. The waters are calm and there’s even a small beach area where you can catch some rays. Take a picnic to make it a full day out for all ages.

As well as taking a refreshing dip, Guildford is a city with its own historic character. Guildford Castle was the residence of royalty way back in the 13th Century and is still worth a visit today, while the vast Newlands Corner is a popular beauty spot that looks out over the Surrey Hills.

Stay: Hotels in Guildford

3. Plan a fun-filled time in London

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Start your short break with a pump of adrenaline at the ArcelorMittal Orbit – the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. Situated in the Olympic Park, the slide was created by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond and guarantees a hair-raising experience with a difference.

For some free culture, check out one of the capital’s many museums. The Tate Modern has plenty of intriguing exhibitions to see with a viewing platform, restaurant and three new floors of galleries. Meanwhile, the south Kensington area boasts 3 of London’s top museums all free to enter; The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and The V&A Museum.
If it’s a real scorcher, why not cool off in the Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead Heath? For a low price you can take a dip in the refreshing water or take full advantage of its open air surroundings and chill in the sun. It’s open all year round (even on Christmas Day!) and all ages are welcome.

Stay: Hotels in London

4. Norfolk

Little boy and mother on climb to treehouse

© kzenon

Idyllic coastlines, vast picturesque beaches and fun family attractions all await you on a short break in Norfolk. 

Norfolk has over 90 miles of coastline and a beach to please just about anyone. Take an energising hike, enjoy a fun-filled traditional seaside resort experience or let out your adventurous side by going crabbing or rockpooling, the choice is yours.

Get a boost of creative entertainment in the fascinating BeWILDerwood. Making the natural world a natural playground, BeWILDerwood is packed full of imaginative tree houses, zip wires and jungle bridges. There are also regular storytelling events and boat rides. Learn more about Britain’s beautiful forests with a touch of magic and wonder.

Stay: Hotels in Norfolk

5. Yorkshire

Yorkshire short breaks

With its characteristic stone houses with backdrops of the iconic Yorkshire Dales, Yorkshire is the perfect place to take a relaxing short break. The area is home to 3 national parks with beautiful wide open vistas, coastal paths, castles and rolling hills perfect for rambling and exploring with the family.

Set in 500 acres of rolling Yorkshire countryside, the UK’s leading open-air sculpture gallery features modern and contemporary sculpture by some of the best artists of the 20th century.  A great day out with family and friends, the ever-changing exhibitions means there’s something for every season and if it starts mizzling, you can always head to the exhibits inside!  Admission is free and there is a small charge for parking..

“Probably the finest exhibition site for sculpture in the world.” William Packer, Art critic, Financial Times

Stay: Hotels in Yorkshire

6. Edinburgh

edinburgh short breaks

A short break in Edinburgh is the perfect choice for those wanting to enjoy a staycation of discovery. Whether it’s climbing up to the panoramic views from Arthur’s seat, braving a frighteningly fascinating ghost tour around the city, exploring one of the many museums or just marvelling at the architecture, Edinburgh is the perfect destination for heritage and rugged natural beauty.

One of the stand out icons of the city is Edinburgh Castle that stands proud over the bustling city below. It’s said that the author J.K Rowling sat at the nearby coffee shop, The Elephant House, to pen her famous Potter novels with a view of the castle.

As well as holding a world-renowned literary legacy, the city has one of the most popular zoos in the UK. Edinburgh Zoo is home to some of the best and rarest animals in the world including the UK’s only 2 Giant Pandas, and the UK’s only colony of Queensland Koalas. This summer, see the zoo from a different perspective at the Edinburgh Zoo After Dark event.

Stay: Hotels in Edinburgh

7. Portsmouth

portsmouth short breaks

Portsmouth is known as The Great Waterfront City which blends its huge historical naval presence with modern seaside resort feel. There’s plenty to explore in the city on a break away with many world-class attractions and idyllic sights to keep you busy.

The Historic Dockyard is one of the most visited areas in the city and it’s easy to see why when you realise how much there is to see. Marvel at some of the most significant naval ships in the world; HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and Mary Rose and discover their amazing seafaring stories. 

Another top spot in the city is Gunwharf Quays, a harbourside designer outlet with popular designer names, restaurants and bars. The Gunwharf Quays area is also home to the iconic Spinnaker Tower which stands 170 metres tall. When you reach the peak of the tower, on a clear day you’ll be able to see out for 23 miles.

8. Cambridge

The UK’s second university city, Cambridge is great for a traditional short break of learning and discovery. Whether it’s a tour of the university colleges, or a punt down the river, there’s something for everyone on a Cambridge staycation.

A short break in Cambridge wouldn’t be complete without going for a punt down the river Cam. Punting tours are one of the most popular things to do here and with scenery on offer, it’s easy to see why. Sit back and enjoy the iconic sights of Cambridge as you drift by on the river. Highlights include King’s College Chapel, the Bridge of Sighs and the Wren Library.

If you want to add a bit of culture to your short break, take a walking tour led by one of Cambridge University’s alumni and discover some real behind the scenes secrets, or head over to the Fitzwilliam Museum where you’ll find some of the world’s most unique and fascinating art and antiquities.

9. Bristol

Bristol short breaks

Discover a city packed with plenty of personality. Whether it’s art, maritime history, culture, food or shopping, there’s a lot to explore on a short break in Bristol.

Street art has become part of Bristol’s identity. The street art icon Banksy grew up and started his illustrious career here and you can see all of his famous Bristolian pieces- including his first ever piece, Mild Mild West- on a Banksy walking tour.

To see the newest up and coming area of the city, head over to Wapping Wharf. The new neighbourhood in town boasts trendy shops, bars and restaurants all in an effortlessly cool waterfront setting. Head to Cargo for some first class eateries, or bag yourself a great deal from one of the Wharf’s independent shops.

10. Salisbury

Salisbury short breaks

Step back in time with a short break to the 13th Century city of Salisbury in Wiltshire. Whether you’re wandering along the river Avon or marvelling at the iconic landmarks there’s plenty to see and do in this picturesque part of the UK.

Stonehenge is one of Salisbury’s most visited attractions and is one of the most famous ancient monuments in the world. Hundreds of thousands journey to the iconic stones every year to simply marvel at the mysterious circle formation and to take a wander along the neighbouring countryside walking routes.

For more inspiration on your next city staycation, check out our city guides

Stay at one of our Travelodge hotels – the perfect base for a short break away.