The final bank holiday weekend of the summer is almost upon us, and it looks like the gods of British weather might actually be on our side for once. If you haven’t yet made plans to get out of town for the long, hot weekend, you’re cutting it fine – but don’t panic. Whether you’re after an exhilarating city break or a tranquil country retreat, there are still plenty of hotels and cottages across the UK just waiting to be booked for a last-minute jaunt.
But you’ll have to act fast. According to Visit England, almost five million Brits are planning a UK “staycation” this weekend, after the post-Brexit drop in the pound made European mini-breaks prohibitively expensive for many. So get booking – and let the good times roll…
Described as “a gloriously grand Manor quite without stuffiness where you can awake to Sunday church bells and proper English breakfasts”, this grand Airbnb is available over the bank holiday and sleeps up to four guests (in four-poster beds, no less). The décor is gloriously shabby-English-aristo-country-chic, and the surrounding countryside is gorgeous.
From £332 for two people for two nights, airbnb.co.uk
OK, so an Aparthotel isn’t a particularly underground choice, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Liverpool is a fantastic place for a weekend away, particularly if you’re up for a big night out (or two), and this sleek chain hotel is right in the thick of things. A 15-minute walk takes you to the historic Albert Dock, where you’ll find the Tate Liverpool and the obligatory Beatles Story attraction, and you’re a stone’s throw from all of Liverpool’s uber-glam bars and clubs. Sound.
From £310 for two people for two nights, booking.com
One Hope Cottage
The Cotswolds are known for their picturesque villages: think rustic cottages made from honey-coloured stone and cobbled lanes, surrounded by rolling fields and hills. This traditional cottage in the North Cotswolds village of Moreton-in-Marsh has been restored in a contemporary, romantic style: perfect for a last-minute lovers’ retreat.
£847 for two people for two nights, holidaycottages.co.uk
St Austell, Cornwall
The Cornwall Hotel & Estate
Set in 43 acres of parkland, this gorgeous 19th century manor house still has rooms free over the bank holiday weekend. As well as being Poldark country – the BBC period drama was filmed nearby – St Austell is just a few miles from the must-visit Eden Project, the world’s largest indoor rainforest. Guests can enjoy a spa, tennis courts, and locally-sourced food from the hotel restaurant.
From £575 for two people for two nights, thecornwall.com
The Lake Country House Hotel & Spa
Situated in the heart of Wales, this 19th century retreat in the small village of Llangammarch Wells has an elegant, old-school vibe and a spa where you can unwind with a range of beauty treatments. Clyro and Cefnylls Castles are a short drive away, and you can get to the awe-inspiring Brecon Beacons in just under an hour.
From £540 for two people for two nights, booking.com
If you’re into British history, you could do worse than a weekend away in Canterbury. The pretty Kent city served as the setting to Chaucher’s famous Canterbury Tales (check out the Canterbury Tales Museum, which aims to bring the 14th century stories to life), and is home to the oldest cathedral in Britain. Take a riverboat cruise on one of the canals winding through the city, or – if you fancy a trip to the seaside – the ever-trendier beach town of Margate is just half an hour’s train journey away.
From £468 for two nights for two people, abodecanterbury.co.uk
The Kings Hotel
Brighton is a classic choice for a bank holiday getaway, and for good reason: whether you want a traditional bucket-and-spade British seaside jaunt or a cosmpolitan weekend away, there's something for everyone. The Regency-era Kings' Hotel, right on the seafront, is a great base for exploring the city.
From £430 for two people for two nights, laterooms.com
This Warwickshire town is, famously, where Britain’s most celebrated playwright was born, lived and died. The four-star Shakespeare Hotel isn’t shy about maximising the connection: guests can even have dinner in Othello’s Bar Brasserie. The ivy-covered sun terrace more than makes up for the hotel’s rumoured resident ghost, and Stratford itself is lovely to wander around.
From £355 for two people for two nights, booking.com
The Willow Hotel
If you’ve never considered a mini-break in Glasgow, think again. Scotland’s second city has a thriving arts scene, amazing (and affordable) bars, restaurants and clubs, and some of the UK’s most beautiful city parks: make sure to check out the Botanic Gardens, overlooking the River Kelvin. This family-owned bed and breakfast doesn’t offer anything too fancy, but its location – right next to Sauchiehall Street, one of Glasgow’s main strips – makes up for the lack of bells and whistles.
From £330 for two people for two nights, booking.com
A Walkers' Haven
This traditional cottage (with tennis courts!) sits in the grounds of an old manor house once owned by the Bishop of Hereford as a summer retreat. It’s a great spot if you fancy stretching your legs this bank holiday: the cottage is set in acres of woodland, with easy access to the Wye Valley and Malvern Hills.
£451 for two people for two nights, holidaycottages.co.uk