Looking to take a short break in the UK this year? Here are some of the most attractive destinations across the British Isles for quaint town breaks during 2020.
Location: South West
Best for: Independent shops
The historic market town of Totnes is home to a fascinating selection of independent shops. In fact, the community has gained national fame for its promotion of ethical products and fair-trade goods. Find sustainable street food at the Sunday Market – the biggest in Devon.
Visitors love to stroll through the pretty streets, take a walk along the beautiful River Dart tow path and settle down in a cosy cafe for a delicious afternoon tea. The beautiful Totnes motte and bailey castle stands proudly atop a large hill overlooking the town.
Best for: Pubs along the river
Bradford-on-Avon is the perfect destination for a weekend break. This quaint Wiltshire town along the River Avon is home to lots of traditional pubs and a number of interesting historic buildings. The ‘lockup’, for example, is a small stone dome located above the iconic 13th century Town Bridge. This is where the town’s troublemakers were locked up for the night!
Popular attractions include canal trips, Wiltshire Music Centre, farmers’ markets and Bradford-on-Avon Museum. The Roman baths and rooftop pool of Thermae Bath Spa can also be reached by a scenic 25-min drive.
Location: South East
Best for: Wild swimming
The atmospheric East Sussex town of Lewes is a popular spot for a short break. The town’s quaint cobbled streets play host to an eclectic mix of quirky independent shops and modern bar and restaurants. In the summer, picnickers love to take a dip in the clean waters of the River Ouse.
As an added bonus, you can easily take a day trip to Brighton city centre for fish and chips and a visit to the famous Royal Pavilion.
Best for: Seaside fun
The delightful coastal town of Tenby in Pembrokeshire boasts gorgeous sandy beaches, a welcoming atmosphere and a number of attractive pastel-coloured Victorian townhouses. Boat trips, art galleries and water sports are also popular activities.
Tuck into some fish and chips on the sand, dip your feet in the ocean and indulge in a delicious ice cream as the sun sets over the harbour. That’s what a weekend break in Tenby is all about!
Location: West Midlands
Best for: Historic sites
Offering a fascinating mix of the old and new, Warwick is a lovely destination for a short break in the West Midlands. Taste the future at fine restaurants dotted throughout the town and experience the past at historic sites, such as the grand Warwick Castle and the Warwickshire Museum at the 17th century Market Hall.
Bursting with grand Regency architecture and broad boulevards, the nearby town of Royal Leamington Spa is famous for its Roman baths. Take a day trip if you’re in need of pampering.
Location: East Anglia
Best for: Romantic boat ride
Home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Cambridge is choc-a-bloc with famous monuments and impressive architecture. The Gothic King’s College Chapel is probably the most famous building, while the delightful University Botanic Gardens hold over 8,000 plant species.
Cross the Mathematical Bridge with a picnic basket and a bottle of bubbly to enjoy a romantic punt along the scenic River Cam.
Best for: Discovering local art
Visit the Victorian spa town of Harrogate for a quaint weekend in an idyllic location with access to the celebrated Yorkshire Dales National Park. The Turkish Baths are still popular to this day.
Take a short walk through the pretty high street or embark on a day of exploration in the Dales. Art lovers will appreciate the opportunity to discuss inspiration with painters while visiting a network of art galleries and studio workshops dotted around the nearby villages.
Location: North West
Best for: Ambling beside the lake
Blessed with an enviable location beside Lake Windemere, Ambleside is a small town that is very popular for those looking to take a walking holiday in the Lake District. The local pubs deliver hearty dishes of regional specialities among a warming atmosphere. Just what you need after a long walk in the wilderness.
For a less strenuous way to appreciate the splendour of nature, motorboats can be rented out from Waterhead Pier. During the summer months, you can even take a horse-drawn carriage from the town centre to the water’s edge.
Location: North East
Best for: Fish and chips
Take a short break in Whitby to taste the award-winning fish and chips on offer at Trencher’s, which is officially recognised as the best fish and chip restaurant in the UK. In addition to this accolade, the harbour town of Whitby is also seen as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Stroll across the windswept headland and you’ll find the dramatic ruins of Whitby Abbey among other eerie castles, convents and caves.
Best for: Whisky lovers
With a centuries-old tradition of world-class whisky making, the pleasant town of Elgin is an ideal destination for those in search of a wee dram of single malt. Glen Moray, Gordon & MacPhail and Glen Elgin are three of the most popular Speyside distilleries on the whisky trail.
Other attractions in this handsome Scottish town include the ruins of the 13th century Elgin Cathedral, Duffus Castle and Moray Motor Museum.
Location: Northern Ireland
Best for: Golfers
Portstewart is a charming little town on the northern coast of Northern Ireland with spectacular sandy beaches and championship golf courses. The three links courses at Portstewart Golf Club offer some of the best golfing in the UK, while the Victorian promenade and pretty harbourside provide the backdrop for relaxing evening strolls.
Soak in the sea air and taste some of the region’s freshly caught seafood at lively local eateries such as Harry’s Shack.