40th birthday holiday ideas
A lot of us celebrate the big 4-0 with a holiday. That could mean a house party with friends and family, a weekend break with your partner, or a truly memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here’s my pick of how to celebrate your 40th birthday in style, either in the UK or abroad.
Birthday trips with friends and family
Hiring a country house or villa for an extended family gathering or group of friends is a great way to celebrate your 40th. Since the pandemic, there’s been a high demand for UK rental properties in high season, so it’s a good idea to book well ahead. Take a look at these luxury cottages in the Lake District, ideal if you want wonderful walking routes, cycling trails and rock climbing on your doorstep. Also see our tips for the best cottage rentals in the Peak District, Devon and Cornwall.
For a unique celebration, you could book a historic house – perhaps an Elizabethan banqueting tower or a medieval thatched cottage. The Cotswolds is a beautiful destination – and easy to reach from many parts of the UK. Check out these luxury rental properties.
It’s worth noting that house parties no longer mean having to do your own cooking and cleaning; many companies can arrange a private chef, food deliveries and a full concierge service. Check out Oliver’s Travels.
Looking for a romantic break? See our pick of the best villas for two. Many of these also have private pools.
And there’s no reason why the house party idea only works in summer; book a catered ski chalet and you can be whizzing down the pistes by day and sitting down to gourmet, champagne-fuelled suppers in the evening – all prepared by the chalet staff. Check out these catered chalets in Austria and the latest offers across the Alps.
Whether you want roof-terrace cocktails, shopping sprees or late-night clubbing, a city break is a great option for a memorable get-together with friends. Few cities offer a more eclectic, eccentric nightlife than Berlin – from the sleek cocktail bars in West Berlin to the hip clubs in the former communist East.
Art-lovers could head to Madrid, where the golden triangle of world-class galleries – the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza – make a peaceful counterpart to evening tapas-crawls and late-night cocktails. The intimate Hotel Orfila is a former 14th-century palace.
For a city with character, charm, great food and nightlife, take the short flight to Lisbon. It’s great value and there are many gorgeous places to stay including this stylish adults-only hotel with rooftop pool, and these vintage-inspired apartments for up to seven people.
New York is the perfect choice – mix strolls in Central Park with bar hops around the East Village, cocktails on the Upper West Side and dinner in one of Soho’s hip eateries. Or dress up for a night at The Met on one of these opera holidays in New York.
If you prefer to stay in the UK, this Georgian hotel in Bristol is a great base for a party weekend.
Once in a lifetime experiences
If you want your 40th birthday marked by a moment you’ll never forget, there are few more spectacular sights on the planet than the ethereal Northern Lights. You can take a spectacular winter break in Iceland. Alternatively, stay in one of these Glass Igloos in Finnish Lapland.
If you want to be somewhere truly unique, head to Jordan, and visit the spellbinding ancient site of Petra for your very own Lawrence of Arabia experience. And if there was ever a reason to climb on board the iconic Orient-Express to Venice, a 40th birthday is the perfect time to do it.
For something more exotic, you could take its sister train, the Eastern & Oriental Express as it travels between Bangkok and Singapore. Combine it with a stay in a private pool villa on Koh Yao Yai in this Thai Island Getaway.
If you’ve been thinking about a road trip across the USA, now’s the time. This collection of self-drive adventures from Tropical Sky includes New England, Route 66, the coastline of California and a dazzling journey taking in five National Parks.
Alternatively, base yourself at gorgeous Scottsdale, Arizona set in the vast Sonora desert. You’ll find year-round sunshine, hiking, biking, golfing and hot-air ballooning, along with upscale resorts, bars and restaurants. Fly direct to Phoenix, just 15 minutes from downtown Scottsdale.
40th birthday holiday ideas for couples
If you’re up for being pampered, rather than partying, then escaping to a luxury retreat or country house hotel can be a lovely way to celebrate in a more relaxed style.
In the UK, you could head to Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District for indulgently lazy spa days and wonderful seafood dinners.
Also check out this guide to the best UK hotels for foodies and restaurants with rooms which includes some modern classics such as The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor, Cornwall, and Monachyle Mhor in Perthshire.
How about a short break to Paris? Let the experts at Kirker Travel select the perfect hotel for you, whether it’s the Pavillon de la Reine, a boutique address in the Marais, or the grandeur of the George V.
If you’re after guaranteed sunshine, Sorrento – the gateway to the Amalfi Coast – makes a great base for a few days. Or indulge in some luxury at one of Italy’s finest resort hotels – both Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily and Forte Village Resort in Sardinia offer beach, activities and spa treats.
Last updated: 7 June 2022
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