Five of the Best Bank Holiday Escapes

Five of the Best Bank Holiday Escapes

Spring is one of our favourite times to travel: it’s the start
of summer in southern Europe, cities are sunny again, snow-sure

are still skiable and
is blooming. So with a slew of
bank holidays
coming up on the horizon, now is the perfect time
to float some getaway plans with your friends – as this year you’ve
promised not to spend all the long weekends in a pub,

Five alternative destinations for a long weekend

Isles of Scilly

Cornwall, UK

With a sub-tropical microclimate, uncrowded beaches and water
the same shade as the Caribbean‘s,
the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast deliver island vibes in
spadefuls, making them the perfect alternative to crowded
. Freewheel past honesty stalls selling fudge and eggs,
scoff (proper) fish and chips on empty beaches and snorkel with
seals. There are plenty of stone-walled, sea-view cottages strewn
across the main isles of St Mary’s, Tresco and St Martin’s, meaning
you can pick one according to your budget and group size – the
views from Rosmarinus are particularly dreamy.


Puglia, Italy

Scoot along from Bari – which often resembles Bournemouth during

and has about as much allure – to the sun-faded palazzi
of Otranto. Sweeps of (empty) sandy beaches sit alongside
whitewashed houses sporting Capri-blue shutters and an Old Town
stacked with family-run delis, which are the place to pick up
steaming hot panzerottis. Mix
beach days
with hikes to the Cava di Bauxite, an otherworldly
landscape of fiery red rocks and lagoon-like lakes, and sate
cultural appetites with tours of Otranto Castle. The whole brigade
can bed down at Janela
, a spacious two-bedroom townhouse in the centre of the Old

Check out our other favourite hotels in Puglia here.

Val Thorens

The Alps, France

Time to squeeze in one last ski
for the squad. Vast and fast with runs to suit everyone
from the Bambi-on-ice to the black-diamond bonafides in the group,
Val Thorens’ high-altitude pistes are snow-sure until late April.
For après-ski, eschew slamming Jägerbombs at La Folie Douce in
favour of Rhum Box, a dinky dive bar that serves 30 types of rum.
Check in to
Le Val Thorens
; it’s ski-in/ski-out, the fondue is exceptional
and the
will suit those who only came for the après.


Morocco, Africa

With its cappuccino-coloured, windswept beaches, fishermen’s
shacks and mellow, manageably sized medina,
is Marrakech‘s
blissed-out, beachy sibling. Musicians flocked here in the 60s –
the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa and Cat Stevens – and you’ll
still find an infectious artistic spirit winding through the
rampart walls, the smart boutiques stocked with up-and-coming
African designers
, the galleries on every corner and the
vintage stores full of eclectic finds. Spread over two
18th-century, vine-covered merchant houses,
Villa Maroc
is an easy ramble from the port, harbour and beach,
and makes an ideal base. Surrounded by desert scrub and decorated
with traditional archways, courtyards and mosaic tiles,
sleeps 12 and is our pick for total seclusion.



After two years of frantically changing at Brussels Midi to make
the 20.22 train back to London,
Eurostar has finally launched its direct return train from Amsterdam.
Once there, paddle the canals, shop at clean-lined concept stores –
eco-conscious beauty buys
at newbie CODA – and sample and sink
Japanese whiskeys in Taiko Bar, before hitting the sack at
Boat & Co
, a darling aparthotel that has racked up a trophy
cabinet of accolades for its pioneering sustainability

Discover More
Seven Affordable Spring Holiday Destinations