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101 Short Breaks

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Annabelle Thorpe
The Times travel writer Annabelle Thorpe.

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Best short breaks in summer

MykinesBest city breaks in summer

By Annabelle Thorpe, Editor of 101 Short Breaks

A summer break doesn’t have to mean an expensive fortnight in the Med. Short breaks are a great, affordable way to grab a couple of days away without breaking the bank.  It’s the best time of the year to explore the UK, while camping – or glamping – can be a great way to escape for some European sunshine.

Cornwall is at its best in the summer, when the spectacular beaches are filled with surfers and the long evenings are perfect for suppers in pretty pub gardens or barbecues by the sea.  Padstow is one of the county’s most picturesque villages – made famous by chef Rick Stein – but it’s also close to some spectacular beaches. You can rent a log-cabin in Cornwall, stay in a seaside lodge or at a stylish small hotel. Find more holiday ideas in Cornwall.

If the south-west feels a little too crowded, the neat, classically English coastline in Suffolk is delightfully peaceful.  The pretty town of Aldeburgh, famous as the home of Benjamin Britten and the annual Aldeburgh Music Festival, has a wonderfully unspoilt feel and a long stretch of beach.  Stay at the Wentworth Hotel for a truly relaxing break.

In Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire you can rent a luxury lodge with woodland views, plenty of outdoor activities and your own outdoor hot tub. Choose between a 3-night weekend break and a 4-night mid-week break. See the latest special offers.

From London it is easy to reach Maison Talbooth in a part of Essex painted by John Constable. For a touch of the wild, there are the Faroe Islands, hidden away 200 miles north-west of Scotland.  The ideal summer escape if you want long walks, dramatic scenery and the kind of history you can touch and feel.

Or you could take a short hop to the gorgeous island of Guernsey where you’ll find sandy beaches such as Cobo Bay, lots of activities, gourmet food and walking trails, all with the hint of a French accent.

Head north to Edinburgh’s Old Town where we love the home-from-home apartments at Old Town Chambers.

Summer is a great time for an active break too; strike out along the lanes and byways with a cycling holiday from Saddle Skedaddle. Discover the Cotswolds, the Lakes or even Scotland, with itineraries to suit all levels from beginners to Chris Hoy wannabes.

Camping is huge on the continent, and it’s an easy hop across the channel to Brittany, Normandy or Picardy – all of which offer wonderful beaches, fantastic food and a traditional French feel.  Or, for something a little different, try a few days under canvas in Holland.

For guaranteed heat and some of the best food in Europe – along with beautiful beaches, towns crammed full of beautiful Baroque architecture and an innate sense of style – Sicily is a fantastic choice.  Mingle with the jet-set in Taormina, take a guided walk up Mount Etna, or simply laze on the beach with a gelato and watch the world go by.

You could totally get away from it all for a few days at DDG Retreat, a stylish hideaway set in a national park in Andalucia only an hour’s drive from Malaga airport.

For more ideas, see my guide to the best short breaks in the Mediterranean.

Or head north to stylish Copenhagen for contemporary design, long days of sunshine hip award-winning restaurants. Sweden’s capital Stockholm is also majestic in summer, with al fresco dining, long evenings and a summer party atmosphere.

And if all that airport hassle feels too much stress for a short-break, then don’t forget you can always take the train.  Hop the Eurostar to Avignon, for a few days in sun-drenched Provence, a town steeped in history, dotted with excellent restaurants and defined by a pleasingly slow pace of life.

Check out my recommendations for city breaks in springautumn and winter.

Last updated: 8 March 2017

Drinks on the terracePB Surf Academy

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