Autumn is the perfect time of year to take a weekend break in the UK, with the crisp cool air, early morning sunshine, clear blue skies and the beautiful autumnal colours coating the landscape. Here we take a look at five great British mini-breaks to help you escape for a few days at least.
Ullswater, The Lake District
Best for – Pubs/Outdoor
Where to stay – ‘Another Place’, The Lake (Ullswater)
This brand new for 2017 Georgian hotel can be found nestled on the shores of Ullswater lake. Offering something vastly different to more traditional accommodation found in the Lakes, the contemporary interiors and relaxed feel make it the perfect place to take in the stunning views of the surrounding fells. With 40 rooms mixing both modern and antique features it’s the best of both worlds here. There’s also a swimming pool with stunning views of the lake through the floor to ceiling glass windows, a sauna and spa all open to guests are the cherry on top of a very nice cake.
What to do – It’s all about getting out in the great outdoors, and what better time to enjoy a weekend break in the Lakes than Autumn as the rich colours pepper the hills. There’s no shortage of great walks in this neck of the woods and most can be tailored to lead to one of the vast array of pubs in the area, serving some of the finest real ale around. If you fancy something a bit more challenging there are some great hikes, with the third highest peak in England, Helvellyn, right on your doorstep. If you’re feeling brave a bit cold water swimming in the Lake could be the perfect pick me up, or hire a kayak and explore the breath-taking views.
Where to eat – The hotel itself offers a wide range of options including ‘The Living Space’ which offers a seasonal menu of British & European cuisine while sister restaurant ‘The Rampsbeck’ offers a more traditional dining experience. However if you fancy venturing a little further afield, in the picturesque village of Grasmere, once home to esteemed poet William Wordsworth, you’ll find ‘The Jumble Room’ offering an Asian inspired menu using only the very best local ingredients.
Best for – Shopping/Nightlife
Where to stay – ‘Malmaison’
The Malmaison hotel in Glasgow city centre is perfectly located for those wanting a lively weekend break, right in the heart of the action it’s close to shops, bars and clubs making it a great base for your weekend break pursuits. Offering modern, stylish rooms, with all the mod cons – the hotel also harbours a brasserie and the aptly named ‘Chez Mal Bar’ where the in-house mixologists will knock up some tantalising cocktails.
What to do – Where do you begin? With wonderful architecture round every corner, Glasgow is a cultural melting pot. Home to some fantastic museums and galleries including, The Kelvingrove in the West End or the Gallery of Modern Art. If you’d rather keep on the move then why not take in the Mural Trail, an easy walking route taking in the incredible street art adorning Glasgow’s brickwork. For shopping look no further than the 200 retailers in Glasgow’s Style Mile and for something a bit more alternative and independent there’s the West End. Once darkness kicks in, Glasgow comes alive, jam-packed with traditional pubs, there’s also tons of trendy bars – check out Merchant Square and then head over to The Finnleston, an area named the UK’s hippest strip, where you’ll find food and booze aplenty.
Where to eat – Finding a suitable place to chow down in the hustling bustling metropolis of Glasgow is a walk in the park, with it’s vast array of restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world. However it’s vegan eating that’s making the headlines north of the border. There’s the ‘Hug & Pint’ offering fresh Asian inspired cuisine, or ‘Mono’ where they serve battered tofu and chips and there are a great range of craft beers at ‘The 78’ offering a retro vegan dining experience.
Best for – History/Architecture
Where to stay – ‘The Old Mill Hotel’
Situated on the River Nadder just a stone’s throw from the ancient city, ‘The Old Mill Hotel’ is a great base for your weekend excursion. Of the many rooms in this ancient building, you’ll always have access to some stunning views. There’s a restaurant on site and a fantastic old Pub complete with low ceiling, wooden beams, a stone floor and open fireplace, creating the ultimate ambience for an autumnal pint or two.
What to do – This medieval city has some stunning architecture most notably the imposing cathedral with its huge spire, and inside it houses one of the original copies of the Magna Carta.
Nearby you’ll find Salisbury Museum and significant 18th century townhouses to mooch around. There’s a vast array of shops including many independents and a host of antique ones. For something a little different, Halloween is around the corner after all – why not take on a Ghost Tour of this unique and historical city. If you fancy a road trip, a short drive away you’ll find the iconic megalithic site of Stonehenge, a must visit for all.
Where to eat – Aside from the plethora of oldy-worldy drinking establishments on offer in Salisbury, there’s plenty in the dining department to. The Yew Tree Inn is a standout option for pub grub, this quintessential English village boozer offers top quality homemade food with a smile and a warm atmosphere to boot.
Best for – Quaint old England charm
Where to stay – ‘The Royal Hotel‘
Ross-on-Wye is a pretty 17th century market town situated close to the River Wye. It’s hailed as the birthplace of modern tourism and from first setting your eyes on the stunning landscape around here you’ll realise why. This 42 bedroom hotel is perfectly situated for a short break here. Close to the high street, yet boasting great views overlooking the river and the picturesque countryside. Charles Dickens stayed there in September 1867, and if it’s good enough for Charlie, it’s good enough for us.
What to do – Take a trip to Goodrich Castle one of the most intact, surviving Norman medieval fortifications. You can feel the history and see all the battle scars from the Civil War besieging in 1646. The castle even inspired one of the aforementioned William Wordsworth’s poems, so surely that alone makes it worth a visit. The nearby Forest of Dean is a magical place to take an Autumnal stroll, the perfect location to gather some chestnuts for some seasonal roasting round an open fire (open fire not necessarily provided).
Where to eat – A rustic European menu greets visitors to the splendid No3 Restaurant. An intimate dining establishment where attentive, friendly staff and delicious food make for an altogether extremely pleasant experience. We’re not telling you what to order or anything, but the sea bream washed down with a gin fizz won’t disappoint.
St Ives, Cornwall
Best for – Seascapes & seafood
Where to stay – The Gannet Inn
St Ives is one of the sparkling gems in the Cornish crown. Synonymous with artists and creativity it’s been a hub of British painting since the 1920s. Charming boutique style hotel The Gannet Inn sits a short distance away from St Ives’ harbour in Carbis Bay. A valley walk takes you down to it’s award-winning blue flag beach. The hotel is as quirky as St Ives itself with the rooms all having signature interiors and some boasting gorgeous views over the vast expanse of blue sea. it has friendly staff, a spacious bar and a British menu at it’s restaurant bringing you many locally sourced ingredients, The Gannet is the perfect place to unwind after long walks along the stunning Cornish coastline.
What to do – Whether a bright sunny day or in the midst of a storm the town never disappoints in terms of beauty. Take a stroll round the headland and pay a visit to the tiny chapel of St Nicholas on it’s summit. Then have a look at an exhibition at Tate St Ives. The stunning gallery has just finished it’s expansion project so leave plenty of time for a look round this vast treasure trove of art. It houses permanent works by many of the famed St Ives artists such as Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis. If art is your thing, no trip to the area would be complete without heading to the immersive experience that is Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden. Set on the site of her studio, gardens and living space, it offers a unique window into the world of one of Britain’s greatest ever sculptors. If you don’t fancy soaking in the culture that surrounds you here you can hit the charming St Ives shops, not forgetting to indulge in some freshly cut fudge, before stepping back in time by walking the cobbled streets to the ancient (1312) Sloop Inn pub for a local ale or more fittingly a nice pint of Cornish cider.
Where to eat – A sharp left turn on the walk down the steep slope leading to Porthgwidden beach finds the Porthgwidden Beach Cafe, a consistently brilliant dining spot in the town. Apart from it’s enticing seaside decor and effortlessly friendly staff, there’s a menu to suit all palettes here, but if you’re not vegetarian it would be amiss not to sample at least one of the seafood options like their tasty fish pie. If you can book the window seat you’ll be treated to picture perfect sea views as you dine on some of the delicacies that were probably fished out of those waters just hours ago.