From the cobbled seaside charm of Tenby to stargazing in Breacon Beacons, we've compiled the most idyllic places to stay this Bank Holiday...
If you’re looking to make the most of a forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend, then let us inspire you with our line-up of classy destinations around the UK. Choose an elegant, stylish hotel with Michelin-starred restaurant, cosy bar, and plenty of attention from staff who want you to have an excellent time.
Or go for a Bank Holiday break where you can be a little more independent. We have found several beautiful self-catering properties in stunning coastal and rural locations. Relax on your terrace and gaze down to a bustling marina, or lose yourself in the depths of the countryside where all the gazing can be upwards towards a perfect starry night sky.
There’s culture lined up for you if you’re excited by art, artists, authors, musicians and galleries. In fact, we have unearthed one or two landmark anniversaries that provide the perfect excuse for an escape and some exploration. If you want private and exclusive, we have just the place. If you want to be at one with nature, then we can point you to some fantastic locations.
A quick word about getting away for the Bank Holiday. After all, you’re likely to be on the move at the same time as loads of others – and no one wants to spend more than the bare minimum amount of time stuck in motorway gridlock.
So wherever you’re heading, plan your journey. If you’re taking the car, try to travel when the roads will be a little less busy. Even setting off an hour early can make all the difference to your total travel time.
Make the most of your Bank Holiday. We can’t guarantee the sunshine, but we think our ideas will take some beating.
Why go? You'll find big skies, wide beaches and charming cottages, as well as artists, galleries and concert halls.
Aldeburgh has also been a magnet for musicians, artists and writers over the years. Take a stroll along the beach and seethe Scallop by sculptor Maggi Hambling and discover the town's past in the timber framed Moot Hall museum. Take a walk along the Sailor's Path smuggling route up to Snape Maltings, which is home to a concert hall, galleries, artist workshops, several eateries and shops. Follow the Britten trail, created to celebrate the life of composer Benjamin Britten, who lived in the town.
Checkin to the four star Brudenell Hotel (01728 452071, brudenellhotel.co.uk), a stone's throw from the beach and enjoy the fresh local catch in their Seafood& Grill restaurant. Prices over the Easter bank holiday weekend are from£180 B&B for two sharing per room per night.
Why go? An out-of-term visit is a great value and exciting way to get celebrate Alice's 150th birthday in the city of dreaming spires.
See behind the scenes of a great academic city, eat in the Harry Potter dining hall where the movie was shot at Christ Church. In the year that we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, what better time to visit Oxford? After all, its author Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) was a member of Christ Church. The city is also famous for many film and book connections including Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as well as the Chamber of Secrets, both filmed at Christ Church. You can even eat your evening meal in the Hogwarts Dining Hall, subject to availability.
Stay in comfortable college rooms (universityrooms.com), with prices starting at £50 per night. universityrooms.com. A full English breakfast is provided each morning.
Why go? Crofftau is one of several Brecon Beacons properties ideal for gazing at the heavens ? and you can book stargazing equipment to make the whole experience even more amazing.
Old Crofftau is justly one of the region's most popular rental properties and is located some 1,000ft above sea level, with 360 degree views of the surrounding Beacons and Black Mountains it's the perfect place to surround yourself with wilderness and peace. A mountain stream tumbles down the valley behind the house, sheep graze on the hillside and walking trails lead off into the wilderness on all sides.
A week in May costs £959 with Brecon Cottages (01874 767446, breconcottages.com).
Why go? The picturesque coastal town of Dartmouth is one of the West Country's most sought after locations with its pretty, narrow streets, art galleries, tea rooms and individual shops.
The town has a reputation for its great choice of places to eat, with well-known chefs owning several restaurants. Just outside the town there are stunning unspoilt beaches and coastal paths to explore, with many nearby pubs serving locally sourced food and offering cosy open fires.
Check in to 10 Dart Marina, a luxury second floor apartment, superbly furnished and presented, boasting stunning views of the River Dart from the wonderful picture window in the living area it's the perfect spot for enjoying morning coffee with views. It's available Easter Bank Holiday week from £1479 for a 7 night break. http://www.coastandcountry.co.uk/cottage-details/10DART/
Why go? This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, sealed by King John on the banks of the river Thames at Runnymede.
Less than an hour from London, the Runnymede-on-Thames offers a perfect taste of history, river boat rides, picnics and countryside walks. Situated literally opposite the Magna Carta meadows, the hotel is the perfect riverside retreat, with its comfortable bedrooms, two relaxed riverside restaurants, an award-winning spa with indoor and outdoor pool and beautiful landscaped gardens. Windsor is just a short car journey away.
Weekend stays cost from £169 per room per night including breakfast (01784 220600, therunnymede.co.uk), based on two sharing a standard double.
Why go? This year there are more activities than ever before, but there's no shame if you'd prefer to kick your shoes off, lie back and chill out to the sound of sweet birdsong.
Discover heather laden heaths and woods speckled with ponds adorned by the acrobatic displays of kaleidoscopic dragonflies. Feeling energetic? Hire a bike and stop off for a tipple of local brew then stock up at a farm shop whose shelves groan under the weight of delicious artisan goodies. Laughs and fun are on hand paddling to the pub in a kayak, and this year you can join a guided walk to take a really close look at New Forest snakes.
Book a luxury self catering cottage with New Forest Living (01590 427887, newforestliving.co.uk). A cottage for Bank Holiday costs from £420 for 4 nights.
Why go? You can be one of the first guests to stay in Sopwell House's brand new luxury Mews Apartments, launching in May. Offering country glamour at its finest, these traditional farmhouse cottages are being transformed into an exclusive range of premium accommodation.
Situated in a peaceful corner of Hertfordshire, Sopwell House is within easy reach of St Albans, an ancient Roman town with a skyline dominated for 900 years by its Abbey. Surrounding streets act as the gateway to many local attractions steeped in history.
Sopwell House (01727 864477, sopwellhouse.co.uk) also has its own story to tell, with previous owners including a Master Mason known to have worked on the construction of St. Paul's Cathedral and the famous British statesman and last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten. Apartment rates haven't been set, but a one night hotel Spa Break costs from £139pp and includes three-course dinner and two 25-minute treatments.
Eriska is a haven of tranquillity and the perfect place to escape the stresses of everyday life. Indulge in long walks on the beautiful untouched beaches, do some otter spotting and enjoy a heavenly treatment in the newly opened spa that's complete with a state-of-the-art thermal suite with sauna, steam room and Rasul room. The restaurant on the island was awarded its first Michelin star in September 2014.
The Hilltop Spa Getaway (01631 720 371, eriska-hotel.co.uk) costs £499 per person (based on two sharing) and includes three nights' accommodation in a luxury Hilltop Reserve on a self-catering basis, as well as spa treatments and one dinner in the restaurant. The Hilltop Reserves come complete with their own private hot tubs and stunning views over the loch towards the Isle of Lismore. Or stay in the main hotel for 3 night's dinner, bed and breakfast costing £615pp.
Why go? There's far more than just golf along this fabulous stretch of Scottish coastline.
Less than an hour from Edinburgh, the Archerfield Estate will satisfy the most demanding golfer, but there's also the Fletchers Cottage Spa which boasts the ultimate in rustic luxury, with private bath huts, an invigorating spa thermal area and personal trainers on hand to motivate and inspire.
Stay at Archerfield (01620 897050, archerfieldgolfclub.com), where a three-bedroom luxury self-catering lodge costs from £550 a night. If you don't fancy cooking, the Club will send a chef over to prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Why go? Tenby is an unspoilt harbour town, boasting the cleanest beaches in the UK.
There are cobbled streets, abundant restaurants, cafés and pubs, three beaches in town and 12 others within an easy drive. A few ideas include boat trips, surfing, horse riding on the beach, visits to Pembroke and Carew Castles, Adventure Trails, climbing, golf, and foraging.
Stay at High House (01386 701177, ruralretreats.co.uk), a recently refurbished house sleeps up to 10 in 5 bedrooms. There's a TV chill-out room on the top floor, two smart TVs, an xbox 360, Bose soundbox, and lots of board games. Best of all, it's just minutes from the sea . A four-night stay over the August bank Holiday costs £1561.