Five UK Destinations for a Blissful Bank Holiday Weekend

Five UK Destinations for a Blissful Bank Holiday Weekend

From the rugged and romantic Orkney Islands to the independent boutique-lined streets of Oxford, these are our five favourite destinations for this August bank holiday

August bank holiday is bittersweet. Sure, an extra day away
from the desk is delightful, but there’s no avoiding the fact that
this long weekend marks the end of summer for us Brits – fellow
summer babies, we cry with you. For that reason, we’re swapping our
usual trip abroad for a UK adventure; one where we
can soak up the last of the warm hazy days closer to home – even if
it does require forfeiting our tan.

Travelling from the rocky Orkney Islands to the twinkling spires and cobbled
streets of Oxford, we’ve rounded up our five favourite
destinations to visit. Whether you’re a city dweller on the hunt
for an action-packed day trip or the outdoor type seeking a lazy
staycation in glorious surrounds, our shortlist is set to satisfy
everyone’s vibe.

So long, summer: five destinations to visit this August bank

Orkney Islands, Scotland


Orkney Islands, Scotland

Wild, dramatic and remote, the Orkney archipelago is home to
some 70 islands, only 20 of which are permanently inhabited. It’s
the main island, known as the Mainland, that we recommend making
tracks for. Still untouched by big-name chains and hedonistic
hipsters, this is the sort of place that offers a proper recharge –
the kind where weekends are best spent getting lost on blustery
beach walks and ploughing through a stack of books. Who said bank
holidays have to look like booze-fuelled antics, anyway? Lace up
your hiking boots, rope in that friend who enjoys the great
outdoors and set off for a stomp along the moody sandstone cliffs
of Yesnaby.

Where to stay: Standing Stones Hotel

Oxford buildings at sunrise


Oxfordshire, England

One of the UK’s most culture-rich cities, Oxford might be best
known for its academia-steeped buildings, medieval lanes and
gardens, but step past the candlelit libraries and you’ll discover
vibrant foodie start-ups, smart hotels and a thriving creative
community. Spend an afternoon gliding along the Cherwell, floating
past the Botanic Garden, St Hilda’s College and Christ Church
Meadow, then carve out some time to visit The
Oxford Artisan Distillery
, where a “grain-to-glass” process
promises an organic take on vodka, gin and whisky. Insider tip: gin
lovers won’t want to miss taking part in one of the immersive
tasting tours.

Where to stay: The Randolph Hotel

Norfolk, East Anglia


East Anglia, England

The sweeping skies, vast sandy beaches, marshlands and historic
windmills of Norfolk make for a soothingly comforting adventure. A
thriving independent retail scene sees high streets shaped by
artisanal delis and family-run fish and chip shops – Gurneys Fish
and Picnic Fayre are our favourites. Come with your main
squeeze and make a beeline for the quintessentially English village
of Langham, where you can bed down at The Harper. The 33-key stay
comes complete with a Jacuzzi, sauna and indoor pool, and that’s
not to mention the cosy and ridiculously chic rooms – think
bare-brick walls, original oak beams and stained-glass windows.

Where to stay: The Harper

Rye, East Sussex


East Sussex, England

An hour’s train ride from the capital, the chocolate-box town of
Rye is set on a hill that rises 3km from the briny
coast. A beautiful blend of old meets new, this is a destination
where cobblestone lanes, half-timbered houses and storied inns slot
seamlessly alongside artisan coffee houses, well-curated
second-hand bookshops and craft boutiques. Start by taking a stroll
along the picturesque Mermaid Street, before slipping into The Fig for brunch –
the smoked-haddock fishcakes are sensational. Jazz fans will no
doubt be familiar with the renowned Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival,
which conveniently takes place across the bank holiday weekend.
Snag a ticket to watch big-name artists such as Liane Carroll and
Emeli Sandé take to the mic.

Where to stay: The Gallivant

Richmond, Greater London


Greater London, England

Richmond is a go-to for Londoners seeking a dose of country life
– one look at Richmond Park on a balmy weekend and you’ll know
exactly what we’re talking about. Stroll along the riverside,
before popping into The Retreat Kitchen for planet-friendly plates
– the smoothies are spectacular, too. Not your vibe? Make a beeline
for the Roebuck. The traditional watering hole serves
up top-notch nibbles, flavoursome cocktails and panoramic views
across Richmond Hill and the Thames. Kew Gardens should be on any
Richmond itinerary: one of London’s four Unesco World Heritage
sites, the 200-hectare green space is home to an indoor rainforest
and 50,000 different plants.

Where to stay: Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa

A suite at One Hundred Shoreditch, London

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