Long Weekend Destinations Less Than Two Hours Away
What a joy that the stretch of bank holidays is now in the very near future being on 1st May, 8th May and 29th May. And if you’re craving some sun and warmth these extra days of holiday provide the perfect opportunity to jet away for a quick break – the question is: where to?
If you’re thinking of a last-minute trip, you’ll be better off staying relatively close to avail yourself of more reasonable fares, given the premium on bank holiday flight costs. It also means you can do more in a three-day trip, leaving your annual leave for times when we don’t have an abundance of public holidays. Luckily for us, there’s plenty to explore even two hours away.
From the hip city of Leipzig to the foodie haven of Copenhagen, here’s our pick of nearby places for a long weekend.
While the name will put love hearts in the eyes of wine drinkers, Bordeaux isn’t only a destination du vin. It’s also the home of more listed buildings than any French city except for Paris, from the Grecian Grand Théâtre to the imposing Cathédrale St-André, a gothic cathedral building dating from the 11th century. Outside the Place de la Bourse, you’ll also find Miroir d’Eau, the world’s largest reflecting pool that offers a unique visual. And it’s all just 1 hour 40 minutes away from London.
Certainly, there’s wine-drinking on offer. It’s prevalent in its cafes, bars and restaurants, many of which hold a Michelin star, such is the gastronomic delights of the region. And if you don’t want to do a daytrip to its vineyards, you can learn all about wines across the world at La Cité du Vin: a contemporary, interactive museum dedicated to all things wine. Be sure to opt for hold luggage to carefully bring back a bottle of the good stuff.
While the Danish capital is always a thrill to visit, thanks to its cutting-edge culture that embraces cycling, sustainability and world-class design, it’s even better to visit over a May bank holiday weekend. At this time, temps are rising nicely to around 16C, and there’s a vibrancy in the city as the dark days of winter are left behind. It will also be one of the last opportunities to visit Noma, renowned as the world’s best restaurant. The famed eaterie will be shutting its doors at the end of 2024, so get yourself on the waiting list, book a flight, and pray to the gods of fine dining that a reservation comes through. If not, Noma alumni have restaurants all over the city, from the Mexican diner of Hija de Sanchez, to Korean-inspired dining at Koan or Juju. It’s only 1 hour 50 minutes away from London, allowing for a speedy transit.
Just 1 hour 35 minutes away from London is one of Germany’s most underrated cities, Leipzig. The hip city has a large student population, and with its East German past giving it a strong aesthetic (even after all this time), there’s plenty of depth to Leipzig’s cool status. It’s known as an intellectual hub, and a spiritual home of classical music – Bach directed the choir at St Thomas Church, Wagner was baptised there, and Mozart played there too. Elsewhere in the walkable city, you’ll see St Nicholas Church, where The Peaceful Revolution of 1989 began and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. With a fascinating Stasi museum too, it’s a city break with plenty to discover.
Shannon Airport is just 1 hour 30 minutes away from the UK, and there are plenty of flights to pick from. From there, it’s a quick trip into Limerick: a glorious riverfront city with its medieval, Georgian and contemporary sides out in full force. It’s also a bastion of sports in Ireland, with rugby, football and Gaelic football deciding the mood of the town. If you don’t want to kick back in a sports bar, there’s plenty of other things to do: go kayaking along the River Shannon to see the city a different way, or grab a bite to eat at any of its buzzing, contemporary restaurants. After hours a pint of the black stuff will be in order – perhaps at Dolan’s, the city’s main gig venue where there’s always something on to entertain the crowd.
The Netherlands’ second city is, in many ways a world away from Amsterdam let alone the UK – even though it’s under an hour away from us on a plane, and four hours away if you prefer to go by train. One of the more heavily bombed cities in the second world war, it’s recovered to become a thriving contemporary place with a buzzing warehouse district (Wilhelminapier), creative architecture (like the Cubic Houses in the Blaak district) and innovative foodie scene. Best of all, a long weekend is the perfect amount of time to leisurely discover the highlights of the city.
Wherever you plan to head this year make sure to protect your trip with Switched On Travel Insurance for total peace of mind. It’s feature packed policies include a 24/7 medical helpline, we consider all medical conditions and gadget cover is included automatically in Single Trip and Annual Multi Trip policies. Find out more here.