Top Ten Short Breaks in the UK
8 minute read
Are you planning a short break for the half-term holidays? Or maybe you want to sneak away somewhere romantic for Valentines' Day? Here are our top ten short breaks in the UK.
This list is not in any particular order, and we have chosen places that are the best short break for different purposes. Your idea of the perfect trip away might be a city break with a good long walk on the Sunday - we'd suggest the Pentland Hills for you. You might prefer somewhere you can take your other half for a romantic weekend - then the Cotswolds might be ideal. Or your priority might be tiring the kids out over half term, or keeping the dog busy. Whatever you want, there should be something on the list here that will appeal. If we've missed your favourite then we can only apologise, we couldn't possibly list everywhere that we love in the UK!
The Lake District
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Lake District is a truly wonderful destination for all types of short break. A romantic walking weekend, an activity-filled adventure for the kids or a mountain-biking mini-break - the Lakes has got it all. Because of this it can get really busy in the Lake District so choose an area carefully - keen walker Natalie has some suggestions of quieter getaways for you to try.
- Best for everything really - adventure, kids, romance, food
Article · 4 Oct 2017
Explore these quieter Lake District alternatives
Cicerone's Natalie Simpson suggests some of her favourite hot spots of the Lake District - guaranteed to be as beautiful but less busy than the main trails.
Feature · 10 Apr 2016
Spring in the Lake District
A crook knee and a bad back didn’t stop photographer Andrew Clayborough from venturing out to the Lake District to capture a treasure trove of springtime scenery.
The Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula is a breathtakingly beautiful, and relatively quiet, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in South Wales. Escape the crowds and enjoy a walk in the peace and solitude of this unspoilt countryside - there's something for all abilities here, with walks between 2 1/2 miles and 14 miles.
- Best for views and solitude
Shropshire, in the West Midlands, is easy to get to from most parts of the UK, and has more to offer than many people realise. If your partner is into their history they will love walking around the Neolithic standing stones or visiting the ancient hilltop forts. Take the kids back to the Bronze Age with a trip to the stone circles - there's lots of easier walking here for all the family.
- Best for surprisingly good hillwalking
The Pentland Hills
A fantastic area for walking, within easy reach of Edinburgh. The highest point of the Pentland Hills is Scald Law, standing at just 579m so it might be a perfect place to gently introduce your other half, or your children, to walking. The views are certainly worth sharing.
- Best for combining with a city break
Article · 18 Nov 2016
What's so special about walking in Shropshire
Shropshire is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered county in England. We ask (slightly biased) author John Gillham about his new guidebook and why everyone should go walking...
Article · 21 Jul 2016
A few Welsh words for hillwalkers
A few Welsh words for hillwalkers from author Terry Fletcher. It's always good manners to learn a few new words when you visit a different country and your reception is usually friendlier if you make the effort, even if you don't need to.
Article · 26 Oct 2016
Try a walk in the Pentland Hills with our free sample route
Fancy a walk in the Pentland Hills? This sample route below is taken from the guidebook to Walking in the Pentland Hills by Susan Falconer.
The South Downs
The South Downs offer one of the UK's most recognisable views - that of Beachy Head, the incredible towering chalk cliffs similar to the white cliffs of Dover. The South Downs are very easy to get to, if you live in London or the South of England, and will appeal to birdwatchers, plant-spotters, walkers or mountain bikers. If you've got longer than a short break you could try the South Downs Way, a short-ish and relatively easy long-distance walk.
- Best for southerners and birdwatchers
Article · 20 Jun 2016
Three reasons to explore the South Downs National Park
The South Downs are England's newest national park and well worth a visit. The iconic landscape between Eastbourne in East Sussex and Winchester in Hampshire is ideal for walking,...
Feature · 14 Sep 2015
Unforgettable encounters on the South Downs
Here Kev Reynolds, prolific chronicler of the outdoors from the Himalaya to what he calls his own ‘Kentish Alps’, and author of two Cicerone walking guides to the South Downs,...
Article · 17 Jun 2017
An intro to... The South Downs Way
The South Downs Way is an excellent choice for a quick and easy long-distance walk within a short drive from Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton or London. Here is a quick introduction to the national trail.
Feature · 14 Apr 2015
The South Downs Way National Trail in winter
Lesley Williams shares the highs and lows of walking the South Downs Way, a national trail between Winchester and Eastbourne, in the dank and dreary depths of February and with a...
The North Wessex Downs
The name 'Wessex' brings to mind Alfred the Great, Saxon hordes and chalk downs sculpted into ancient forts. And while that is all true, the North Wessex Downs are also accessible hills that rise above the towns and rural plains of southern England and roll gently west from Reading and Basingstoke to Swindon and down past Marlborough to Andover. From chalk white horses, to Avebury hill fort, neolithic barrows and ancient villages, the North Wessex Downs holds plenty of surprises for all walkers.
- Best for history
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is also beautiful, but there are more challenges here, if you like that sort of thing. You could fit in a couple of Munros over a long weekend, enjoy an exposed scramble up the Cobbler, and relax on a loch cruise. Ronald Turnbull has a few more suggestions for you in his Cicerone Extra article below.
- Best for bagging a Munro or two
Feature · 7 Feb 2018
Five quite different ways of having fun in Lomond and Trossach
Ronald Turnbull explores various hill and valley outings in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Feature · 4 Aug 2016
An ancient landscape: the archaeology of the North Wessex Downs
England's 33 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) have been described as the ‘jewels of the English landscape’, and the North Wessex Downs, the third largest of these...
The Cotswolds is a getaway favoured by romantics everywhere. The largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, this area is home to cliche-worthy "chocolate box" villages, picturesque valleys and beautiful beech woodlands. There is a huge range of accommodation, from cosy cottages to spa hotels so you can relax after your walk up to the Edge to see the remarkable views.
- Best for romance and luxury
The Yorkshire Dales
For a real taste of seclusion try the Yorkshire Dales. A little trickier to get to, for some, so this area can offer the perfect peaceful break. It's also a real adventure playground, with loads of walking and mountain biking to do but also some of the world's best caves.
- Best for adventure and seclusion
The Speyside Way
At 66 miles the Speyside Way is a "short long-distance walk" that can be done in a week. The numerous whisky distilleries will keep you motivated if the weather is dreich and, if the weather is better, the views are superb. With luggage transfer companies and decent accommodation available this is a great first time trek.
- Best for a cheeky dram along the way
Article · 20 Jul 2016
10 things you didn't know about the Cotswolds
Damian Hall, record-breaking ultrarunner and author of Walking in the Cotswolds, suggests 10 things you didn't know about his favourite stomping ground.
Article · 21 Mar 2016
A tour of Frostrow, in the Yorkshire Dales
With fine weather, and a half day to spare, discovering some new paths in Dentdale and the surrounding hills was a great way to spend a sunny morning in the Yorkshire Dales.
Article · 10 Jul 2012
Discover the Speyside Way, Dava Way and Moray Coast Trail
The Speyside Way is a superb long-distance Scottish Great Trail. It runs for 66 miles from Aviemore to Buckie, with relatively little ascent or descent whilst passing through some...
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