From city breaks to romantic countryside escapes, options for weekend breaks in the UK abound. Whether you're looking to get active, overindulge or just chill out, we've got you covered. Here's our pick of the best weekend breaks in the UK. Need more inspiration? We've also rounded up 20 of the most memorable places to stay in the UK.
This article is inspired by our Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for travelling the world.
Lake District, England: best weekend break for romance
It’s easy to see why the Lake District National Park inspired William Wordsworth’s Romantic poetry. With its rolling green hills peering over clear expanses of water and quintessentially English towns and villages, the national park makes the perfect romantic getaway. Stay in a stone-clad cottage, light a roaring fire and enjoy the peace and quiet of this stunning region after a day admiring awesome views from the top of the fells.
Explore the beauty of one of England's most picturesque locations with our guide to the most beautiful places in the Lake District.
Scottish Highlands, Scotland: perfect for cycling
Scotland’s northwest Highlands boast some of the best cycling roads in Britain. Weekend breaks in the UK don't come much better than this on two wheels. Wild swathes of largely deserted mountainous terrain give way to clear, well maintained roads perfect for a bike ride, with few cars joining you along the way.
The scenery around is astoundingly beautiful, and you’ll find yourself cruising through deep valleys and past inky-blue lochs. Visit in summer, when the weather is most reliable.
This tailor-made trip to Scotland's Wildest Natural Scenery is a breath of fresh air and a perfect way to explore the most enchanting landscapes of the Highlands. It will allow you to get to know the wildest landscapes of Scotland, its fast-paced history and its amazing traditions.
Liverpool, England: best UK short break for music
The home of The Beatles, Liverpool has been dubbed the World Capital of Pop. For your fix of the Fab Four, head to the Albert Dock for The Beatles Story, or check out a Beatles tribute band at the Cavern Club.
More recently, the city’s award-winning festivals: Sound City, Creamfields and Liverpool Music Week, have consolidated its status as a go-to destination for music lovers. In the evening, there are open mic nights and live venues across the city.
- Best for stylish stays: Titanic Hotel Liverpool
- Best for location: The Resident Liverpool
Where to stay in Liverpool:
Belfast, Northern Ireland: best for booze
Join a pub crawl around the city’s traditional bars for cold Guinness and live music. You can even try pouring your own pint at Lavery’s. If the black stuff isn’t for you, northern Ireland’s recent craft beer revolution means there are plenty of beers to try too.
Take the weekend to discover Ireland’s most spectacular corners such as Antrim Coast, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. This tailor-made trip to Belfast will also give you the chance to see this amazing city. It will also take you to Dublin and the Boyne Valley.
London, England: ideal for entertainment
World-class museums, West End theatres and leading art galleries; when it comes to weekend breaks in the UK, England’s capital has it all. With a packed calendar of exhibitions and events throughout the year, London draws the biggest names in music, sport and the arts.
It doesn’t need to be expensive, either, as many of the capital’s museums are free, and cheap events are held year-round. Rough Guides readers even recently voted it the world’s coolest city. You’ll never be struggling for something to do here. There is also an awesome Legoland park not far away from the city, which makes London also a great place for a family day trip.
- Best for couples: Rubens At The Palace
- Best for a dreamlike stay: The Londoner
Where to stay in London:
Also explore our guide to where to stay in London and find more attractive accommodation options.
Llandudno, Wales: a perfect weekend getaway for scenery
The sweeping curve of Llandudno’s bay draws in visitor after visitor every year, and it’s no wonder why. The seaside town offers stunning coastal scenery. Take the tramway to the top of Great Orme for wonderful panoramic views across the bay.
Or, take in the scene from above on one of the town’s cable cars. Nearby Conwy Castle is a must-see. Climb the battlements to admire the snow-peaked mountains of Snowdonia and the placid Conwy estuary while you're here.
- Best for the sea views: Lauriston & Lawton Court Hotel
- Best for location: Carmel House
Where to stay in Llandudno:
Bath, England: best for relaxation
Bath has been a popular spa destination since the Roman era, and its natural hot springs still steam today. With boutique hotels offering luxury spa weekend breaks in the UK, Bath is well worth a visit.
Of course, the town’s focal point is the wonderfully preserved Roman Baths. In July and August, the Baths stay open until 10 pm. Torches light up the ruins, making an evening summer stroll through the Georgian streets even more enticing.
Cornwall, England: best for surfing
The Cornish coast attracts thousands of surfers every year, with some of the best waves in the UK. In the summer, Rip Curl Boardmasters festival brings together music and surfing, pulling in big names from both.
Fistral Beach, where the festival’s surf competitions are held, is the most popular year-round. However, the many bays will leave you with plenty of choices. There’s no end of surf schools to try, and when you’re tired of the waves, treat yourself to a Cornish cream tea.
Edinburgh, Scotland: perfect for architecture lovers
Edinburgh Castle’s fairytale towers are a reminder of the city’s ancient roots. While sleek, urban design in the city centre gives the city a decidedly cool edge. Take an architectural tour to explore the Old Town's winding Reformation-era streets and the elegant Neoclassical buildings of the New Town.
Modern highlights include the controversial Scottish Parliament building and the swirling Edinburgh Landform. When you've had your fill of the city from the ground, head to the top of Calton Hill to take in the skyline from above.
- Best for comfort: Native Edinburgh
- Best for families: The Knight Residence by Mansley
Where to stay in Edinburgh:
New Forest, England: ideal weekend break for nature
A trip to the New Forest is truly magical. Designated a royal hunting preserve 1,000 years ago, the enchanting working forest is wonderfully unspoilt. Here there is plenty of unenclosed pasture land allowing animals to roam free.
The area is a wildlife haven, where you can find many indigenous species in their natural surroundings. The most iconic are the New Forest ponies which rule the land. You’ll find yourself giving way to horses rather than people on a drive through the forest.
North Cornwall, England: for the best pet-friendly weekend breaks in the UK
North Cornwall is known for its beaches. Bleaker and with more cliffs than the country's southern seaboard, North Cornwall's Atlantic coast is home to some of the finest beaches and resorts in England. The dramatic scenery attracts beach connoisseurs of all ages and is especially popular with surfers.
North Cornwall is also one of the most dog-friendly parts of the UK. Many local attractions, including the beaches, welcome well-behaved four-legged friends. In particular, Harlyn beach is dog-friendly all year round. The low waves of the beach are perfect for playing with your pet.
Northern Cornwall is a hiker's paradise and this tailor-made hiking trip includes the most scenic parts. You will start your journey in London with some unique activities to get to know the city, before setting off on a 5-day walk across Cornwall. End your trip in Bath and explore the backdrop of Bridgerton.
If you are planning your winter holiday in the UK - use our guide to the most interesting winter UK destinations. And if you're looking for somewhere to spend your spring break, check out our guide to the best places to visit in the UK in spring.
This list could truly go on. There are countless fantastic options for weekend breaks in the UK. Ready to start planning your trip? Check our Rough Guides guidebooks — your guide to travelling the world.
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