Whether you’re planning a long weekend or simply fancy a change of scene, make the most of it with our pick of the top bank holiday weekend city breaks at home and abroad.
Paris, the romantic capital of Europe and the world. Given the array of attractions, cuisine and nightlife the city has to offer and the fact it is so accessible from the UK it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t want to spend your long weekend watching the world go by, sitting in an authentic French café with a loved one and the aroma of freshly baked croissants lining the streets. Aimlessly wandering its labyrinth of cobbled streets on a heart-warming summer’s eve then stumbling across the shadow of the Eiffel tower, watching the sun set in the background then the iconic tower lighting up as its silhouette stands out in the dark.
The culture and history of this once powerful epicentre of the Roman Empire would normally be too much to sample on a typical weekend, but the Bank Holiday or a long weekend presents the opportunity to take in all the sights, sounds and smells of the city and appreciate them. Make sure you visit the Coliseum, once the arena of Gladiators, or throw a coin into the magnificent water feature that is the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to the city in the future. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it cannot be explored in two. With nightlife a plenty and a cheap city underground system, make the most of your Roman holiday from day to night.
This beautiful Spanish city on the Mediterranean coast offers a great variety of things to do. Barcelona is one of the few cities that sit on the coast but is not beach focused. The city offers an assortment of other attractions that bring in tourists for culture, history and sport. Famous for its footballing triumphs the Nou Camp situated in the heart of the. The stadia tour gives a real insight into the Catalonian giants’ history and shows how much the culture of the football club has shaped the Catalan culture. Getting from the stadia to other parts of the city is like other major European cities, Barcelona has an underground metro system that is easy for tourists to understand but if you don’t fancy being in the dark the city has a network of cycle lanes that interlink all the major attractions of the city and renting a bike is simple.
For those wanting a more cultural experience take a tour of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral or head to the Park Guell-Mosaic Park in the suburbs of the city, with a wonderful panoramic view over Barcelona. In the evening the place to go and see something a little different, would be the magic fountain, of Montjuic this relatively unheard of attraction has a water fountain display that is an amazing piece of choreography and is a must see after an evening meal down La Rambla (the most exciting street in the city).
Known as ‘Venice of the north’, the Dutch capital is the smallest of our chosen destinations but still packs a punch when it comes to city culture. It’s very laid back and has a lot of history tied with it, including Anne Frank’s House, or you could head to the world-famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum. Getting away from the museums of the city there’s a vast grid of canals that are used for an alternative transport method, there is even a hop-on, hop-off canal cruise taking you around the most popular attractions, but if you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground there’s busses that offer the same tours. Either way the canals are a lovely place to take a slow walk around this peaceful city.
The laid back theme continues with the most famous park in Amsterdam, Vondelpark, built in 1850; the perfect place to wind down on a bank holiday.
For those who don’t want to travel out of the country, London is the best place to visit. In its own right it is different to the rest of the UK; its diverse culture, history, broad range of places to shop and general things to do make it feel like its own little country, and the Bank Holiday is perfect to explore it.
The way of life for Londoners is non-stop, which hits you as soon as you get there. The vibrand and varied environment will drive you to see, do and explore your bucket list of landmarks, museums and attractions. The must-see list is as long as your arm, so pick and choose the most important to you before you go – you never know you might like to go again to do the rest?
Getting around the city is fairly straightforward; the London underground is pretty reasonably price and is the quickest way between places. But if you fancy a guided tour of the city the Hop-on, Hop-off busses are usually the best place to start and they’ll give you a map to guide you when you venture off the bus to explore.