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Staycation meets Vacation
Time to explore a little closer to home
Perhaps the most famous of the Scottish cities – thanks to its iconic festivals (we’re looking at you, Fringe) – Edinburgh has all the ingredients for the perfect city break. Start by hiking up Arthur’s Seat – a towering volcano that dates back 350 million years and comes with panoramic views over Edinburgh. You can also explore forts from the Iron Age in Holyrood Park, and feast on delicious food and drinks in the Grassmarket area.
Prefer to be near the water? The windswept shores of Leith serve up some of the city’s finest seafood. History buffs, meanwhile, will feel right at home at Edinburgh Castle, where you can learn about the history of kings and clansmen. And if it’s retail therapy you’re after, Princes Street is the place to be. Scotland isn’t exactly renowned for its fantastic weather, but Edinburgh looks fantastic in the sunshine and with moody skies. Plus, there are plenty of historic pubs and cosy whisky dens to duck into if you need to dodge a rain shower, or warm up on a cold day.
Once famous for being a busy port city in Scotland’s western lowlands, Glasgow has shaken off its industrial background in favour of a trendier reputation. This cultural hub is now more famous for the architecture that lines its streets – expect an eclectic mix of art nouveau and Victorian-style buildings.
Culture vultures will love modern day Glasgow. The Scottish Opera, the Scottish Ballet and the National Theatre of Scotland all call this city home. You’ll also find more museums and art galleries than you’d have time to tick off in a long weekend. Peckish? You’ll be pleased to hear that the city is stocked with plenty of award-winning restaurants serving everything from Scottish and British to Asian and Italian cuisine. And after dark, the city really comes alive. Hop between pubs and chat to the locals, or check out a band at one of Glasgow’s iconic live music venues.
Belfast city breaks bring the promise of lively nightlife, historical and cultural gems, and a thriving food scene that puts Ulster’s fantastic local produce to good use. As the Northern Irish capital, Belfast offers a huge range of things to see and do, including visiting the popular Titanic Belfast attraction, the site where the famous but ill-fated ocean liner was built. For foodies, the city has a whole host of great restaurants to try out, while connoisseurs of fine spirits will be in their element at the city’s gin and whiskey distilleries.
Thanks to Belfast’s relatively small size and stunning coastline, it’s also one of Europe’s best road-trip destinations. If you’re in Belfast long enough to fit in a day trip or two, visit the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s just over an hour’s drive north. Then there’s the Northern Irish coastline, which offers some seriously photo-worthy scenery – think rugged cliffs, wild seas and ancient castles.
This pocket-sized Channel Island is living proof that sometimes the best things come in small packages. Jersey packs more charm and character into its 46 square miles than you’d think was possible. You’ll find it just 14 miles from the Bay of Saint-Malo in France, but the island feels quintessentially British… but with better weather – it’s a win-win situation, really.
Start in the capital, St Helier, where you can visit the 300-year-old Elizabeth Castle and tick off some fantastic museums. Head outside the main town and spend time watching the animals at Jersey Zoo, or explore the underground tunnel complex that was built by the Germans during World War II. And if you’re visiting Jersey for a taste of sun, sea and sand, you’re in luck. The island’s picturesque country lanes open up to even more beautiful clifftop views. Plus, the sea is never more than a 10-minute drive away – be sure to keep an eye out for the pretty Jersey cows grazing in the fields on route.