Beautiful UK Destinations For A Bank Holiday Break

Anyone down for a UK road trip? We adventure from the mystical Cumbrian fells to the art-filled hangouts of Sussex to bring you five brilliant destinations for a culture-rich bank holiday break

Brits have been rewarded with nine bank holidays this year. While that number may not seem large, the trick is to maximise your leave around public holidays. That long weekend in April? You can bag yourself 10 days away from your desk by booking just four days off. Whether it's a day trip with your gang or a long, lazy staycation with your main squeeze, we've found the UK destinations worth making a road trip for. Buckle up for a bank holiday adventure to remember.

Five UK destinations for a brilliant bank holiday break

West Sands Beach, Scotland

St Andrews


That hour-long train journey from Edinburgh to St Andrews has a hypnotic sort of charm - all heather-blanketed hills, seagulls swooping over traditional seaside towns and mile upon mile of rugged coastline. The real magic, however, begins once you reach the storied university town. Located on Scotland's east coast, in the heart of the county of Fife, St Andrews often comes up in conversation through association with its royal alumni, but it's the white-sand bays, historic landmarks and foodie startups that make it a great choice for a go-slow escape. Take a stroll along the blustery shores of West Sands beach (or a splash if you're feeling daring), followed by a Med-leaning lunch at local institution Bibi's Café. Tour the grounds of the 13th-century St Andrews Castle and the cathedral ruins, browse the low-intervention wines at independent Luvians bottle shop, explore the stunning craft collection at J&G Innes (which also has its own top-floor gallery), and feast on fresh scallops, oysters and monkfish at sea-facing The Seafood Ristorante.

Where to stay: Rusacks St Andrews

Port Hotel, Eastbourne Bar
Photo credit: Port Hotel / Emma Croman


East Sussex

In case you hadn't already heard, the once sleepy Sussex town of Eastbourne - host of the Turner Prize 2023 - has become something of a cultural powerhouse, thanks to the arrival of hip rooftop bars, edgy eateries, independent boutiques and more art hangouts than Bansky could chuck a stencil at. Inhale lungfuls of fresh, salty air on a wander along the weather-beaten boardwalks between Sovereign Harbour and Birling Gap; stop for a panini refuel at Hyde Corner; check out local legend Stuart Broad's old-school Camilla's Bookshop, where you'll find floor-to-ceiling piles of second-hand titles; and enjoy sundowners on the water-facing rooftop at Garden Bar. Make your base the boutique Port Hotel, whose minimalist bedrooms are decked out with cork flooring, walnut wood and matte-black detailing, and whose restaurant menu features the likes of crab patties, homemade pasta, and a catch-of-the-day special that never disappoints.

Where to stay: Port Hotel

Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire

Hebden Bridge


There's nothing more bittersweet than getting to the end of a gripping series - cough, cough, Happy Valley. Thankfully, we can visit the very location that had us hooked: Hebden Bridge. Located in West Yorkshire's Upper Calder Valley, this chocolate-box village has a bohemian spirit strong enough to rival some of the globe's coolest hippie enclaves. Ramble along the banks of the Rochdale canal, then check out the open-air Hebden Bridge Market, where pin-striped kiosks are laden with handcrafted goods and fresh local produce. Literary types should make a beeline for St Thomas' churchyard - the resting place of poet and author Sylvia Plath. For a Saturday-night drink, try The Trades Club. Hungry? Head to Vocation & Co bar for gourmet burgers and loaded fries, or Rostini's Indonesian Kitchen for spicy noodles. Old-school watering hole The Albert has Sunday lunch covered - think golden roasties and Yorkshire puds on tap.

Where to stay: White Lion



Forget crowd-surfing in St Ives and Padstow this bank holiday and instead make tracks to the tiny town of Mousehole. Our favourite accommodation choice? The Crafters' Hut, a former carpentry workshop that comes complete with sweeping coastal vistas and a sun-kissed pergola armed with a wood-fired tub. Mornings are best spent paddling at Mousehole beach, where weathered fishermen's cottages frame a dinky white-sand bay. Later, wander to bistro-style restaurant 2 Fore Street for crab salads and cream teas, check out The Tyler Gallery for an impressive collection of contemporary artworks, and make your evening plans a trip to the nearby Minack Theatre, whose dramatic, open-air stage is carved into a granite cliff at Porthcurno.

Where to stay: The Crafters' Hut

Grasmere, Cumbria



If it's an off-grid escape that tickles your bank holiday fancy, then a trip to the Lake District is in order. And it's the handsome village of Grasmere that we think you'll want to call home. Drink in the beauty of the mystical fells, then explore the charming streetscape. Start with a visit to the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, a no-frills bakery known for its rum butter, biscuit cake, gingerbread popcorn and melt-in-your-mouth fudge - you'll want to swap your tote bag for a hamper. Stomp along the daffodil-flanked banks of the lake, or join adventurers on the water for a paddle-boarding session. Unwind with a craft ale at Tweedies Bar, before hopping back to camp at The Yan - a 17th-century sheep shed-turned-luxury inn - for a freshly foraged supper in its cosy bistro.

Where to stay: The Yan

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