101 Short Breaks

Click on the images to discover 101 short breaks personally selected by leading travel writer Annabelle Thorpe.

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  • Rent a log cabin in Cornwall

    Rent a log cabin in Cornwall

    Our editors say...

    Who doesn’t love Cornwall? Gorgeous sandy beaches, picturesque villages and all the pasties you can eat. Make your trip really memorable by booking one of Stay in Cornwall’s cosy log cabins – complete with barbecue area – in favourite spots such as Polperro, Bude and Fowey. The website also has loads of information on all aspects of holidaying in Cornwall.

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  • Luxury Cotswolds

    Luxury Cotswolds

    Our editors say...

    Whatley Manor is a place in which to escape daily life in country house style. With traditional architecture and gorgeous gardens, with lots of secluded corners, you’ll want to own it, not just stay in it. But if a short break is your only option, there are 23 rooms, a Michelin two star restaurant, an amazing spa, a spread of lounges and even a cinema.

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  • Reykjavik city breaks

    Reykjavik city breaks

    Our editors say...

    Reykjavik is a youthful, compact, friendly city set in dramatic countryside and less than three hours’ flying time from the UK. Wander around art galleries and museums, linger in stylish restaurants and cosy coffee bars then take a healing dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon. If you have the energy, party the night away at the city’s legendary bars.

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  • Luxury London apartments

    Luxury London apartments

    Our editors say...

    A weekend in London makes a fabulous short-break – book an apartment and you can shop for goodies in Borough Market or enjoy picnics in Hyde Park, while enjoying a sense of freedom and space that hotel rooms rarely offer. Marlin Apartments have six locations, all close to Tube stations, with apartments to suit everyone from couples to families and group get-togethers.

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  • Cookery courses in France

    Cookery courses in France

    Our editors say...

    What’s the greater pleasure – cooking or eating? The joy of these short-breaks to some of France’s top foodie hotspots is that they offer an abundance of both; cookery classes in a professional kitchen, paired with visits to local food markets, wine tastings and plenty of opportunity to dine at the bistros and brasseries in such gourmet destinations as La Rochelle, Carcassonne and Bergerac.

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  • Inntravel Cycling

    Cycling breaks

    Our editors say...

    The ideal way to get to know the richly diverse landscapes of Catalonia is on two wheels. Travelling from the mountains to the sea, you’ll pass through medieval hill towns, vineyards, forests and fishing villages. Each evening your luggage will be waiting at your hotel, so you can unwind over a delicious meal featuring regional food and wine.

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  • Cairo

    Cairo

    Our editors say...

    Cairo is home to one of the world’s finest museums, a collection of ancient treasures that includes King Tut’s gold death mask. Must-sees include the Pyramids and the Sphinx, but lesser known sights are equally memorable, including the amazing warren of traders in the Khan el Khalili market and Mohammed Ali’s castle-like mosque.

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  • Palma, Mallorca

    Palma, Mallorca

    Our editors say...

    Palma is the perfect weekend break destination. The main boulevards offer great shopping potential, while quarters like La Lonja seethe with atmospheric tapas bars and bodegas. There’s history at the spectacular Gothic cathedral and 10th-century Arab Baths, world-class art at the Palau March or the Fundacion Joan Miro, and an impressive collection of chic boutique hotels.

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  • Cottages in Cornwall

    Cottages in Cornwall

    Our editors say...

    Spend a day walking the coastal paths of Cornwall and you might wonder why Brits ever bother to travel abroad. The undulating hills, secret sandy coves and soaring cliffs are as fine as you’ll see anywhere. With great local restaurants and superb self-catering cottages, this is paradise on your doorstep.

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  • The Red Sea

    The Red Sea

    Our editors say...

    Egypt’s Red Sea coast is around five hours flying time from the UK, and offers the promise of sunshine and warm temperatures at any time of year – at great value prices. There is plenty to do both above and below the water: grab a snorkel and mask and you’ll enter an underwater world of coral reefs and colourful fish, or take a safari into the adjoining desert.

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  • Ultimate family weekend break

    Ultimate family weekend break

    Our editors say...

    There are few trickier customers than sulky teenagers, but hand them a surfboard and a wetsuit and they invariably brighten up. Surfing is just one of the activities offered to families at Penha Longa in Portugal, along with tennis, golf, cycling and horse-riding. Younger children can join others for a host of activities while weary Mums retreat to the Six Senses spa.

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  • Cottages in East Anglia

    Cottages in East Anglia

    Our editors say...

    East Anglia houses a trilogy of pleasures: seaside, countryside and Broads-side. Its long coastline offers fine sandy beaches and birdwatching. The interior has market towns and flinty rural churches built on the proceeds of the medieval wool trade. And the huge patchwork of the Broads is a boater’s paradise. Explore from a cosy cottage or stately manor house, yours for the weekend.

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  • Istanbul

    Istanbul

    Our editors say...

    Even with only a few days in Istanbul, you can gaze in wonder at the Topkapi Palace and harem, the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, The Grand Bazaar and the spice market. The big decision is whether to stay on the banks of the Bosphorous for a tranquil retreat, or pick a hotel in the thick of it.

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  • Golfing breaks in France

    Golfing breaks in France

    Our editors say...

    Trying to plan the annual golfing break with the boys, but budget proving a problem? Stay at one of these holiday villages for great golf on your doorstep, with comfortable accommodation that won’t break the bank. Some villages – such as Port Bourgenay in the Vendee and Moliets on the Cote d’Argent – have on-site courses.

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  • Florence

    Florence

    Our editors say...

    The crucible of the Renaissance, Florence is packed with art and architectural treasures. You can avoid the inevitable crowds by travelling out of season, but if you are tied to busy times at least lower your stress levels by pre-booking timed entry to the Uffizi. Best time to see David is when the doors of the Galleria dell’Accademia open.

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  • Ireland fly drive

    Tailor-made Ireland

    Our editors say...

    Ireland has reinvented itself in recent years; the iconic new Titanic Experience is just one of the big draws in Belfast, while beyond the city there are wonderfully diverse landscapes to discover, from the spectacular Mountains of Morne to the Cork and Kerry coastlines. Take a road trip in style in a classic Mercedes or MGB Roadster.

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  • Porto and the Douro Valley

    Porto and the Douro Valley

    Our editors say...

    Portugal’s River Douro winds through one of Europe’s most spectacular landscapes before emptying into the Atlantic at the charming World Heritage city of Porto. Stay in atmospheric quintas and visit centuries-old terraced vineyards to sample the Port that made this region famous, and some delicious local cuisine.

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  • Ice Hotel

    Ice Hotel

    Our editors say...

    Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel might not sound the cosiest place to spend a night, but once you’re wrapped up in a sleeping bag and swathed in reindeer skin your ice-bed will feel deliciously toasty (honestly!). Most guests spend one night in this amazing frozen palace, followed by a night or two in a more conventional hotel room – but it’s a night to always remember.

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  • Gourmet Channel hops

    Gourmet Channel hops

    Our editors say...

    It may be just a hop across the Channel but in pockets of the Pas de Calais you’ll feel as immersed in the “real” France as if you’d driven half way across the country. Authentic, simple and great value, auberges such as de l’Abbeye and Auberge d’Inxent tick every box, not least for their excellent cooking and low-key charm.

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  • Rome

    Rome

    Our editors say...

    It wasn’t built in a day, nor can Rome be seen in a weekend – unless you want to charge around like a headless gladiator. Limit your choices by focussing on an area of the city such as the Centro Storico around Piazza Navona with its Renaissance palaces and Baroque fountains. For a retail fix, the stylish Via Condotti is nearby.

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  • Lighthouses to rent

    Rent a lighthouse

    Our editors say...

    Britain’s coastline is dotted with lighthouses. Whilst technology may have rendered many of them obsolete, you can stay in the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages for a coastal break with a real sense of history plus a guarantee of great sea views and bracing walks. From North Yorkshire to Alderney, there’s a superb choice of locations.

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  • Cottages in Scotland

    Cottages in Scotland

    Our editors say...

    Time, space, peace. If you’re craving one – or all of these – (and frankly who isn’t) then sneak a look at the clutch of gorgeous Scottish cottages offered by the Little Domain. Choose from a seaside billet or an urban apartment in the heart of Edinburgh; a range of perfect spaces for two, all with a delicious feeling of escape.

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  • Battlefield Tours

    Battlefield Tours

    Our editors say...

    You don’t have to be a military history buff to be interested in visiting historic battlefield sites. As we commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War, join a small-group tour of memorials and cemeteries, as well as battle sites, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. It’s a truly moving experience.

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  • Touring off the beaten track

    Touring off the beaten track

    Our editors say...

    ‘The road less travelled’ always has a romantic ring to it. If you book a tour with Back-Roads Touring that’s exactly what you get – a chance to discover the UK, or further afield, at a delightfully slow pace, off the main tourist trail. Accommodation is in small charming hotels, with restaurants chosen for their local dishes and individual style.

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  • Aldeburgh

    Aldeburgh

    Our editors say...

    On the Suffolk Heritage Coast, Aldeburgh is one of Britain’s prettiest seaside towns. The Wentworth Hotel gazes across the shingle beach with an air of solid reassurance. Brightly furnished with antiques, log fires and Russell Flint prints, special touches include binoculars in its sea-facing rooms and a bar menu that occasionally lapses into Swahili.

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  • Christmas markets in Europe

    Christmas markets in Europe

    Our editors say...

    A real Christmas market – the air thick with the scents of mulled wine, spiced gingerbread and hot sausages – is a classic festive experience. Forget the sad clutch of tinsel-clad huts that we have in the UK, and head to atmospheric cities such as Cologne, Prague and Munich – proof that Christmas shopping really can be about pleasure rather than pain.

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  • Luxury health, fitness and detox retreats

    Luxury health, fitness and detox retreats

    Our editors say...

    If you feel overworked and unfit, give yourself a full service and MOT at a luxury health and fitness retreat. Head to a stunning location from Andalucia to Morocco with an expert team of yoga teachers, personal trainers, nutritionists and massage therapists to tone your body and cleanse your mind.

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  • Europe by rail

    Europe by rail

    Our editors say...

    It’s official – trains are the new planes, and with high-speed rail links cutting journey times across Europe, there’s never been a better time to take a break by train. Alongside perennial favourites such as Paris and Bruges, quirky cities such as Ghent, Rotterdam and Antwerp are all easy to reach – or if you’re celebrating, book a weekend in Rheims – champagne capital of France.

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  • Pen-y-Dyffryn

    Pen-y-Dyffryn

    Our editors say...

    Hitting the sweet spot between old-fashioned style and a contemporary feel can be a tall order, but Pen y Dyffryn, on the Shropshire-Wales border, gets it bang on. Cosy without being chintzy, it is set amidst lush rolling hills and wooded glades. A walk across the hills is the best way to work up an appetite for the spectacular dinners.

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  • Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

    Dorset’s Jurassic Coast

    Our editors say...

    If Dorset is a county you merely drive through to reach Devon or Cornwall, you’re missing a trick. Its Jurassic Coast offers long sweeping beaches, quaint Lyme Regis, arty Bridport, sleepy rural villages and great foodie pubs. Stay in a cosy cottage, converted barn or cool apartment and join a local expert for a fossil hunt on the beaches of Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

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  • Go on location

    Go on location

    Our editors say...

    Never quite got over your Sex and the City addiction? Still glued to box sets of Boston Legal? Then book an On Location tour and get the insider skinny on bars, cafes, parks and diners in New York or Boston that have featured in both series, along with movies such as When Harry Met Sally, Spiderman and The Town.

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  • Venice

    Venice

    Our editors say...

    Described by Truman Capote as “like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go”, Venice is a city built for show, its sights global icons of art and architecture. Its canals and bridges make it ideal for wandering – and getting lost. Let the magic rather than a map take over. If you’ve never been, you’re in for one of travel’s most romantic treats.

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  • Special events in Italy

    Special events in Italy

    Our editors say...

    Planning a short-break to Italy? Pick your date with care, as there are dozens of unique events and festivals taking place throughout the year that can make a break truly memorable. Join the party at the iconic Venice Carnival in February, watch the spectacular Il Palio horse race in Siena in June or July, or listen to world-class music at the Verona Opera Festival or the Ravello Music Festival.

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  • Wellness weekend in Italy

    Wellness weekend in Italy

    Our editors say...

    Keen to lose a few pounds, or shift into a more healthy way of eating but don’t have the time for a week of bootcamp? Essential Escapes has a great range of short-break wellbeing trips, including a four-day break at the gorgeous L’Albereta hotel in Lombardy that combines spa treatments, nutritional advice, exercise and a wonderful location deep in the Italian countryside.

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  • Copenhagen

    Copenhagen

    Our editors say...

    If you’re looking for a city break with serious style, Copenhagen is a brilliant choice; picture-perfect cobbled streets mix with contemporary architecture and a bustling waterfront to create a really diverse feel. A wonderfully alfresco city, long seafood-filled lunches can be had by the water or in pavement cafes, before exploring the galleries, boutiques and historic palaces.

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  • Wine tours worldwide

    Wine tours worldwide

    Our editors say...

    Can’t tell a Sancerre from a Sauvignon? Book a wine-themed break with A&C and you’ll be sipping, comparing and learning, while staying in luxurious, authentic hotels and discovering some of the world’s most beautiful wine regions. Foodies are catered for, with fabulous gourmet breaks in France and Italy, and river-cruises and city breaks are also on offer.

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  • Marrakech

    Exotic Marrakech

    Our editors say...

    The big decision in magical Marrakech is whether to stay in town in a traditional riad, or outside the city walls. We favour the tranquility, sense of space and incandescent night skies of the latter, in a hotel like Tigmi, a 30-minute drive from the souks, snake charmers, acrobats and fortune-tellers of Djemaa el Fna.

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  • Dubrovnik city breaks

    Dubrovnik city breaks

    Our editors say...

    The millennium-old walled city, Byron’s ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ with its honey-stoned buildings, terracotta roofs and cobbled streets has been fully restored to pearly perfection after its wartime pounding. Built by the Venetians, Dubrovnik gives easy access to a choice of islands just a short ferry hop away.

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  • Stylish boltholes in Cornwall

    Stylish boltholes in Cornwall

    Our editors say...

    A cottage in Cornwall, what could be more relaxing? Until you have to shop and cook, or find a good place for dinner. Book a luxury bolthole with Boutique Retreats and they do the hard work, from booking restaurants to arranging a private chef or deliveries of local Cornish produce. All of which leaves little to do but put your feet up and enjoy the peace. Perfect.

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  • Hop over to Montréal

    Hop over to Montréal

    Our editors say...

    A short-break across the Atlantic doesn’t have to mean New York – Montréal is closer, oozes style and combines the atmosphere of a chic French city with the traditional laid-back Canadian feel. Pair serious shopping with outdoor activities; try white-water rafting or jet boating and reward yourself with fabulous French food and lazy afternoons enjoying the cafe culture.

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  • Nice and the Côte d’Azur

    Nice and the Côte d’Azur

    Our editors say...

    Nice, the city that inspired the French impressionists, basks in year-round sunshine. It combines the style and flair of Paris with lazy afternoons on the beach and sunset cocktails on the Promenade des Anglais. The elegant streets are dotted with art galleries and boutiques while the picturesque old town is the perfect place for a romantic supper.

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  • Hiša Franko, The Soca Valley

    Hiša Franko, The Soca Valley

    Our editors say...

    In the pristine setting of Slovenia’s Soca Valley – perfect for walking breaks – is one of our favourite small hotels in Europe. Hiša Franko has stylish modern rooms flooded with natural light above a world-class restaurant. Owners Valter and Ana are delightful and the eight-course tasting menu is sensational, as well as being great value.

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  • Breaks in St Petersburg

    Breaks in St Petersburg

    Our editors say...

    St Petersburg is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Its art collections, palaces and grand architectural set pieces are matched only by its magnificent hotels. Whether you go in winter when the snow is thick under foot, or in summer when the “white nights” offer dazzling evening skies, you’ll be beguiled.

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  • Jerusalem

    Jerusalem

    Our editors say...

    Keen to try somewhere different for a short-break? Jerusalem is a melting pot of cultures, religions and nationalities that combine to create a truly unique city. Wander through the souks, browse in the markets and visit iconic sites such as the Wailing Wall. The city is becoming increasingly renowned for its food too – a wonderful mix of Middle Eastern flavours.

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  • Visit Santa in Lapland

    Visit Santa in Lapland

    Our editors say...

    Take a pre-Christmas trip to Finnish Lapland and see the real Santa on his home turf. Children get a private audience with the bearded one, and there is plenty of time for fun in the snow, with husky sled rides, snowmobile jaunts, tobogganing and ice fishing all included.

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  • Paris

    Paris

    Our editors say...

    Planning a trip to Paris should be easy – book the train, find a hotel and hey presto, you’re en vacances. Only it’s rarely that simple – trawling though endless websites to find the lowest prices can feel like hard work. That’s where trivago comes in. It scans over 200 websites to find the best deals – from five-star luxe to a budget Left Bank B&B, with prices from £40 per night.

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  • Cycling in Gozo

    Cycling in Gozo

    Our editors say...

    Outside of the peak summer months, the Maltese island of Gozo makes for a tranquil escape with its excellent winter sun. Cycle through sleepy hamlets and lush valleys past Baroque churches and honeyed stone farmhouses. Stop for a dip at Ramla beach and try the surprisingly good Gozitan wines and the freshest fish.

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  • Lundy Island

    Lundy Island

    Our editors say...

    Lundy, or ‘Puffin Island’, sits in the middle of the Bristol Channel. It’s an escape from the rest of the world with just one pub, a farm, two lighthouses and a year-round population of around 20. You can stay in a cottage, campsite or castle, exclusively available through the Landmark Trust, whose work in restoring and sustaining historic buildings is fantastic.

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  • Three Choirs Vineyards

    Wine tasting in Gloucestershire

    Our editors say...

    English wine is alive, well and very much in the ascendancy according to discerning quaffers, both at home and abroad. In Gloucestershire you can not only visit one of the largest vineyards in the country, the 100 acre Three Choirs, but you can also sleep and dine on site – so there’s no need to limit your testing of their fine pinot noirs and other produce.

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  • Seville

    Seville

    Our editors say...

    The city of Seville is a work of art. Even the most well-travelled would be hard pushed to name a more finely-crafted inner city than the Barrio Santa Cruz, a romantic quarter of flower-decked houses and squares cooled by dancing fountains. It’s a scene crying out for the burst of flamenco guitars and castanets.

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  • UK party houses

    UK party houses

    Our editors say...

    If you’re planning a family gathering to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary, or want to get together with friends for the weekend, consider renting a large house. Some of the grander mansions give you the option of a private chef, so you can ensure everyone is fed and watered without having to fret about shopping, cooking or washing up.

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  • Yoga short break

    Yoga short break

    Our editors say...

    Have you ever returned from a holiday feeling you need another one to recover? That won’t happen with a yoga break. Spend a few days in a stylish retreat enjoying yoga classes with world-class teachers and healthy food and you’re guaranteed to arrive home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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  • Northern Lights short breaks

    Tromso and the Northern Lights

    Our editors say...

    Elusive, unpredictable and utterly unique – the Aurora Borealis illuminates the northern skies in winter with impromptu displays of vivid colours rolling across the sky. For the best chance of catching the show, head to Tromso in the north of Norway – surprisingly easy to reach from the UK, and a fascinating place to visit.

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  • St Ives

    St Ives

    Our editors say...

    Bathed in sunlight and fringed by sandy beaches, St Ives draws a diverse mix of working artists, holidaying families, surfers and sun seekers. Mix blustery coastal walks with visits to the Tate gallery and Barbara Hepworth’s studio. With its commanding views and choice of accommodation, Tregenna Castle is a great place to stay.

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  • Seaside lodges in Cornwall

    Seaside lodges in Cornwall

    Our editors say...

    There’s something unique about Cornwall’s Atlantic coast – perhaps it’s the drama, huge waves rolling onto wide sandy beaches. Stay in one of the five-star lodges at Gwel an Mor and you’re just ten minutes from the beautiful beach at Portreath, surrounded by lush countryside. Alongside the lodges there’s a heated pool, restaurant and a full programme of kids’ activities.

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  • Tunis

    Tunis

    Our editors say...

    Flying time from the UK is less than three hours, making Tunis an ideal exotic weekend break, not least when you’re based in the luxurious The Residence hotel. The food is superb, there’s a medieval souk barely touched by tourists, Roman ruins and the Bardo, one of Europe’s top museums. Don’t miss the treasures of Carthage and the stylish seafront village of Sidi Bou Said.

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  • Sorrento

    Sorrento

    Our editors say...

    Sorrento has been putting out the welcome mat for British travellers since the 18th century. As well as the stunning clifftop location, it’s ideal for hopping across the Bay of Naples to Capri by boat, taking a spectacular drive along the hairpins of the Amalfi coast, jumping on the train to Pompeii or strolling to the crater summit of Vesuvius.

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  • Vienna

    Vienna

    Our editors say...

    Brimming with tradition and oozing with culture, Vienna is the place to hear Strauss, see countless works of art and be overwhelmed by pompous, imperial architecture. Even a break for coffee and cake involves stepping back in time. Ride the famous ferris wheel in the Prater and you’ll be in the heart of the Hapsburgs’ hunting ground.

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  • Perfect Prague

    Perfect Prague

    Our editors say...

    If there’s a city to beat Prague for romance, even in winter, I’ve yet to find it. Cobbled streets lined with medieval mansions converted into firelit cafes and restaurants, soaring churches that host concerts and recitals and gorgeous hotels such as The Augustine, a 13th century monastery, or the luxy Four Seasons, right on the river. Pray for snow, take your woollies and prepare to be loved-up.

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  • Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands

    Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands

    Our editors say...

    In the Faroe Islands you’ll feel you’ve totally escaped the rest of the world. This dramatic archipelago is undiscovered and untouched – making it the ideal place to view the Solar Eclipse in March 2015. It’s also a wonderland for wildlife lovers, twitchers and walkers, a place to rediscover a sense of blissful peace.

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  • Madeira

    Madeira

    Our editors say...

    The sub-tropical island of Madeira is a perfect winter sun destination for those that want to do more than fly and flop. Set against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs, mountains and lush valleys, Madeira offers an outstanding choice of hotels, including some beautifully-restored quintas, great local restaurants and 600 miles of marked walking trails.

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  • Pentre Mawr Country House

    Pentre Mawr Country House

    Our editors say...

    One of our favourite family-run country hotels is Sychnant Pass in North Wales. Now the couple behind it – Graham and Bre Carrington-Sykes – have gone one better and opened Pentre Mawr, a luxurious guest house with pool and fine dining in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Best of all are the safari-style tented lodges with private hot tubs.

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  • UK cycling breaks

    UK cycling breaks

    Our editors say...

    One of the best things about a Saddle Skedaddle cycling break is that you don’t have to be Chris Hoy to enjoy it. All levels of cyclists are catered for, from gentle weekends in the Cotswolds to full-on mountain-bike marathons through the Welsh mountains. Accommodation is all pre-booked, with the accent on cosy B&Bs with splendiferous breakfasts to get you ready for the off.

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  • Stay in a restored building

    Stay in a restored building

    Our editors say...

    The best holiday houses have a story to tell, and few come with more history than the properties offered by the Vivat Trust. Historic buildings that have fallen into disrepair are rescued by the Trust and painstakingly restored, offering all types of accommodation from picturesque boltholes for two, to spectacular rural halls that are perfect for an unforgettable houseparty.

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  • Hong Kong

    Hong Kong

    Our editors say...

    Jet lag, it seems, holds little fear for the new breed of short breakers, especially those willing to splash out on a flat bed in business class. Hong Kong, set on a dramatic neon-lit harbour, is Asia’s most thrilling city, a culture shock of night markets and dim sum, songbirds and sampans, backstreet temples and bargain shopping.

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  • Barcelona

    Barcelona

    Our editors say...

    Barcelona might just be the perfect city break – fabulous shopping, tapas bars on every corner, Antoni Gaudi’s unique architecture and a buzzy beachfront for sunny days. Travel with Kirker and their Concierge Service can organise everything from tables at the city’s hippest restaurants, to a private guide who will introduce you to some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

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  • Isle of Wight

    Isle of Wight

    Our editors say...

    Deeply etched into the history of English summer holidays, the Isle of Wight still delivers traditional seaside pleasures along with a host of other activities. Enjoy a walk on the rolling chalk downs, take to the Solent in a sailboat, sample the mouthwatering local produce or set up camp at the isle’s famed music festival.

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  • Hvar – the new Ibiza

    Hvar – the new Ibiza

    Our editors say...

    Pack your slinkiest sundresses and a pair of Jackie O shades and prepare for a weekend-long cocktail hour on the island of Hvar, the St Tropez of New Europe. Suncani Hvar have refurbished a clutch of hotels around picturesque Hvar Town, with a vibe that is Ibiza via Miami – slouchy cream sofas, contemporary art and sleek bedrooms with wonderful views.

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  • National Trust working holidays

    National Trust working holidays

    Our editors say...

    Looking for something more meaningful from your next break? The National Trust runs hundreds of working holidays where you can chip in with tasks such as herding goats and repairing drystone walls. Starting at just £60, these breaks allow you to meet like-minded people while helping to conserve the countryside.

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  • City breaks in Germany

    City breaks in Germany

    Our editors say...

    Feel like somewhere different for a city break? Germany has some of the most fascinating cities in Europe – there are the flamboyant streets of Berlin, the architectural beauty of Dresden and the art collections of Cologne for starters. From grand palaces to medieval streets, each city its own distinctive character, cuisine and appeal.

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  • Glamping in Cornwall

    Glamping in Cornwall

    Our editors say...

    Yet to be convinced about glamping? Book into Trevella Park, near to the glorious beach at Crantock, and the comfy beds, fluffy duvets and fridges that come with the safari tents should help to convince you. The site itself is pleasingly free of ‘entertainment’ and instead offers nature trails, fishing lakes and a heated outdoor pool.

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  • The Lake District

    The Lake District

    Our editors say...

    Walking is bound to be the prime focus for anyone wanting to enjoy the Lake District, the region that put the great in England’s Great Outdoors. But guests at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House can also indulge in other activities including fishing with a ghillie or golfing with a pro at Windermere Golf Club. Back at base, a spa and superb three AA Rosettes food await.

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  • Petra

    Petra

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    One of the classic ‘see before you die’ destinations, the rose red city of Petra, carved straight out of the sandstone escarpment, ranks alongside the Pyramids as a triumph of ancient architecture. With its scores of temples, palaces, theatre, tombs and a museum, it’s a rewarding destination, even if only for a short stay.

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  • Sicily

    Sicily

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    History, architecture and long, sandy beaches combine to make Sicily the perfect choice for an Italian short break. Choose from a city weekend among the faded grandeur of Palermo, or a chilled-out foodie few days among the trattorias and locandas of Syracuse. Drive up Mount Etna, eat gelati on the promenade in Cefalu and sip cocktails at sunset in pretty Taormina. Bellissima.

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  • Lucknam Park Hotel

    Lucknam Park Hotel

    Our editors say...

    Even the approach to this grand Palladian mansion, along a mile-long drive arching through 500 acres of parkland, is outstanding. Just six miles from Bath, Lucknam Park offers an array of activities including walking trails, horse riding, swimming and tennis, plus fine dining and a superb new spa.

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  • Avignon

    Avignon

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    With direct Eurostar services from London’s St Pancras, you can zip down to the Provencal sun in less then six hours. As well as intrinsic interest – including its 14th century ramparts, medieval Palais des Papes and Le Pont of all ponts – Avignon is also home to some outstanding hotels and superb cuisine.

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  • Paris with young kids

    Paris with young kids

    Our editors say...

    A city break with kids? If it sounds like a recipe for a high-stress weekend, try Family Twist, which aims to make cities such as Paris as accessible and enjoyable for families as loved-up couples. Every aspect, from child-friendly accommodation to activities such as treasure trails and cookery classes, can be pre-organised, helping to create a family jaunt to remember.

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  • We’re mad about Madrid

    We’re mad about Madrid

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    What do you want from your city break? A shopping spree? The chance to see world-class art? Or maybe nothing more than long, lazy lunches in pavement cafes watching the world go by. The great thing about Madrid is that you can do them all, and whatever your budget there’s a hotel to suit – whether boutique chic or five-star luxury.

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  • fitscape

    Fitness breaks

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    Work on your fitness against a stunningly scenic European backdrop. You’ll stay in considerable comfort whilst a team of personal trainers will design a programme to suit your aims and fitness level. Choose from running, hiking, mountain biking, boxercise, core training and cardio. Relax in the pool and enjoy superb meals on the sun terrace.

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  • Private jet holidays

    Private jet holidays

    Our editors say...

    Private jet travel is not the sole preserve of the mega rich. Get together with a few friends and a trip to Paris and lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant can cost less than £1,000 each. It’s not just the onboard luxury you’ll love. You can fly from a hassle-free local airfield and even if you’re late, the aircraft will wait for you.

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  • Weekend breaks for singles

    Weekends for singles

    Our editors say...

    If you’re single, by choice or circumstance, there’s no need to holiday on your own. Travel in company with a singles specialist such as Solos which has a wide choice of fun-packed breaks at home and abroad, all hosted by a tour leader who will ensure everyone mixes and gets the most from their trip.

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  • Holiday villages in France

    Holiday villages in France

    Our editors say...

    Head for the golden beaches of northern France where Pierre & Vacances has a selection of holiday villages in Normandy, Picardy and Brittany. They offer comfortable self-catering accommodation in villas, cottages and apartments, while the on-site restaurant, shop and swimming pools make life easy for everyone.

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  • Farm and pub stays in Devon

    Farm and pub stays in Devon

    Our editors say...

    Few counties offer such a wide choice of holidays as Devon; traditional beach breaks, walking weekends on Dartmoor, surfing on the north coast or just a peaceful week in a farmhouse, surrounded by gorgeous countryside. Stay in Devon has a wonderful choice of accommodation options, and plenty of suggestions for how to get the most from your visit.

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  • Belfast

    Belfast

    Our editors say...

    Belfast is a city reborn with a bold new self confidence. Northern Ireland’s capital has long been famed for its historic and atmospheric pubs. Now these are joined by new foodie haunts, a vibrant arts scene, cool boutiques and buzzing bars, making it ideal for a stylish city break.

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  • Tailor made Scotland

    Tailor made Scotland

    Our editors say...

    Who doesn’t love a road trip? Spend a few days driving along the spectacular coastal roads and mountain highways that link Scotland’s seaside resorts and inland villages, stopping for slap-up seafood lunches, whisky-tastings and bracing walks on gorgeous beaches. Or take a trip by rail on the West Highland Line to the beautiful Isle of Skye.

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  • Leeds city breaks

    Leeds city breaks

    Our editors say...

    Once written off as somewhere ‘industrial’ up north, Leeds has leisure and pleasure writ large. There’s Harvey Nichols and designer boutiques spearheading the shopping scene, cultural offerings ranging from opera to contemporary British art, major outdoor events and reincarnated heritage buildings.

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  • Martin Randall UK tours

    Cultural tours in Britain

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    It’s easy to overlook the sheer beauty on our own doorstep. Britain’s rich artistic, architectural and musical heritage lends itself perfectly to the style of holiday offered by Martin Randall Travel: small groups of likeminded people led by expert guides. You could tour the seascapes that inspired Turner, visit grand country houses or walk Hadrian’s Wall.

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  • Athens and the Acropolis Museum

    Athens and the Acropolis Museum

    Our editors say...

    Away from the peak months of summer, Athens is perfect for a weekend break, particularly since the opening in 2009 of the New Acropolis Museum, £100m worth of dazzling modern architecture crammed with Classical treasures. When it comes to hotels, Athens excels at the contemporary as well as some more traditional grandes dames.

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  • Cyprus

    Cyprus

    Our editors say...

    Guaranteed sunshine, sandy beaches and some of Europe’s best spas – there are few places better than Cyprus for a restorative break. Luxury hotels dot the coastline. Be pampered at the Columbia Beach or bliss out on the beach at the Anassa, and combine lazy days by the sea with time exploring the beautiful landscapes and unspoilt villages of the Troodos mountains.

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  • Activity breaks in the Cotswolds

    Activity breaks in the Cotswolds

    Our editors say...

    Combine a visit to the most classic of English landscapes with a choice of water-based activities on a network of 140 lakes that cover an area the size of Jersey. Using the Cotswold Water Park Hotel and Spa as your base, you can sail, waterski, wake-board, canoe, go fishing and learn to dive.

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  • Constable country

    Constable country

    Our editors say...

    The Stour and Dedham Valleys in Essex-Suffolk border country are where you’ll find the landscapes immortalised by John Constable. Inspect scenes little changed since they were first canvassed, including Flatford Mill and the parish church at Dedham. Our choice of hotel is the stylish but informal family-run Maison Talbooth.

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  • Luxury ski weekend

    Luxury ski weekend

    Our editors say...

    Short ski breaks can involve more time faffing around than actually on the piste. Book with Powder Byrne and they’ll do everything for you; pick the best resort, arrange transfers and guides, book fabulous lunch spots and private shuttles to the best runs. All you need to do is slip on your ski boots and hit the slopes.

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  • The Cary Arms, Devon

    The Cary Arms, Devon

    Our editors say...

    Artfully masquerading as ‘The Inn on the Beach’, this is one of the most sophisticated hotels in Devon and the latest project from Peter de Savary and his wife Lana. Teetering over Babbacombe Bay, rooms are the best of British seaside chic, there’s a bijou spa room and a space-age pod for funky dining with breathtaking sea views.

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  • Rent a historic house

    Rent a historic house

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    Downton Abbey may be over for another season, but that’s no reason to let standards slip! Book a break with Oliver’s Travels to stay at some of Britain’s most elegant properties – from Georgian townhouses that sleep six, to grand country estates that sleep sixty. All can be rented for exclusive use, with properties in Scotland, England and Wales.

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  • Wales activities breaks

    Wales activities breaks

    Our editors say...

    “Don’t just sit there, be here” is the motto of Black Mountain Activities whose menu of pursuits covers rock climbing, abseiling, kayaking, orienteering, caving, high ropes, raft building and hill walking – more than enough to fill a few weeks let alone a weekend. Accommodation is in their own three-star lodge in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

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  • Holiday villages in Belgium

    Holiday villages in Belgium

    Our editors say...

    Looking for a cheap, easy-reach break, but don’t fancy France? Belgium is just as easily accessible and offers quirky cities, great food and a wealth of art and architecture. Stay at one of four Sunparks sites and you can be within easy reach of Bruges or the wooded hills of the Ardennes, with a comfortable villa as a base.

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  • Luxury breaks in Jersey

    Luxury breaks in Jersey

    Our editors say...

    Jersey was once known for cream teas and coach tours. Now a new generation of visitors is discovering its wild unspoilt beaches which are ideal for thrilling activities such as blokarting and sea kayaking. The island also offers excellent seafront hotels and fine dining – not least the stylish Atlantic, with Michelin-starred cuisine, swimming pools and golf.

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  • New York

    New York

    Our editors say...

    If you’re looking for the ultimate short-break, it’s got to be New York. Sip cocktails in the shadow of the Empire State Building, take a stroll through Central Park, soak up the art at MoMA and shop till your credit card drops on the streets of Soho. Western & Oriental have cherrypicked eight of the best hotels, so all you have to do is pack those cocktail frocks and prepare to party.

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  • Budapest

    Budapest

    Our editors say...

    We all love a buy one, get one free deal. Sadly, it doesn’t often work with city breaks, but book a trip to beautiful Budapest and you get two cities for the price of one. The older part, Buda, boasts stunning Gothic architecture and pretty cobbled streets, while across the river Pest has wide boulevards, tranquil parks and buzzy cafe culture.

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  • Northern Spain

    Northern Spain

    Our editors say...

    To discover the real Spain, head to the beautiful northern regions where the beaches are unspoilt, cities such as Bilbao and Santander have the best tapas in the country and there are dozens of wineries to visit. On a short-break driving trip, you can discover all northern Spain has to offer, while staying in charming, small hotels.

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And finally...

  • Norfolk Broads short breaks

    Boating on the Norfolk Broads

    Our editors say...

    Boating on the Norfolk Broads has to be one of the most relaxing ways to spend a long weekend, or more. Pottering along at just 5mph is the perfect speed to wind down, relax and take in the National Park scenery, with long stretches of reed marsh and woodland, the banks dotted with picturesque thatched cottages plus the occasional pub for vital victuals.

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