In need of a weekend away? Look no further!
If a little bit of romance is just what you’re looking for, there’s just no beating an Autumn break in Paris. Wrap up warm for a stroll along the seine, admire the views from the Eiffel Tower, or start your Christmas shopping in the city’s chic boutiques. Tres bon!
GORGEOUS A-LIST ESCAPES
For fans of the city break, beautiful Bath is the perfect place for a romantic autumn getaway. It’s less than two hours outside London and there are plenty of historic sights and luxury hotels, with some super shops thrown into the bargain. If youre feeling flush, treat your other half to a trip to the seriously steamy Roman Baths, tea at the famous Pump Rooms, or take a walk around Bath Abby. For somewhere to stay, visit the beautiful Royal Crescent, MacDonald Bath Spa, complete with blissful outdoor heated spa, or Bath Priory. It took home a prize at the Enjoy England awards, and with the tranquil settings and beautiful spa, its not hard to see why.
The perfect weekend break, Edinburgh is small enough to see all the highlights in just a couple of days, but diverse enough to ensure, no matter how many times you visit, there’s always something new to see. For its fabulous views across the city alone, a trip to Edinburgh Castle shouldn’t be missed. Afterwards, wander down the Royal Mile, stop off at Hollyrood Palace, the Queen’s official Scottish residence and location of Zara Philips and Mike Tindall’s wedding, and visit a plethora of shops, cafes and museums along the way. If you’re feeling flush, a stay at the Balmoral or the Sheraton ensures five-star luxuries. For those on a budget, www.visitscotland.com offers details on a wide variety of affordable B&Bs.
For a cultural weekend getaway, it’s hard to beat Copenhagen. Stylish, scenic and packed with things to see and do, it’s easy to get to – you can fly direct from London City Airport – plus it’s a great place to start feeling festive. For bars and cafes, Nørrebro is a must, Vesterbro and the artificial island of Christianshavn are definitely worth a visit. Choose one of the many plush places to stay, or check out Hotel Fox, full of boutique boudoirs with with a graphic design difference.
Dublin may be the most popular Irish destination for those seeking an Autumn break, but for those happy to stray father afield, beautiful County Wicklow – dubbed the Garden of Ireland – makes an ideal relaxing retreat. Walk the lush green hills, visit picture-postcard villages, or gaze lovingly at the sprawling Suger Loaf Mountain. If weary heads deserve an extra-special treat, check into the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt – quite simply one of the best hotels in Ireland. Take tea in the beautiful lounge, relax in the spa, or dine in the Gordon Ramsay restaurant. And keep your eyes open for A-listers – Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis were spied here earlier last year!
If blustery country breaks aren’t really your thing, super-size your life and your weekend by heading to Dubai for a fast-paced weekend of flashy hotels, sizzling sun and posing by the poolside. A mere six hours plane ride from London, there are world-class restaurants and shops galore. What more could a girl want?
Arguably one of the prettiest areas in the UK, the Cotswolds are packed with charm, beautiful views, lovely pubs and luxury hotels. The best bit? They’re just a two-hour drive from London. Walk the beautiful Broadway, cosy up in Chipping Campden, admire the Autumn leaves on a Winchcombe walk, or visit Huffkins tea room in Burford for the best cakes and pastries around. When it all gets too much – or you want to curl up by the fire – seek refuge in one of the many beautiful hotels. Lower Slaughter Manor is our personal favourite, for it’s oh-so-cosy interiors and five-star charm – just perfect for a romantic weekend away.
A pretty, bustling UK city, York offers plenty of sights to see. And with a host of hotels located right in the city centre, its easy to get stuck straight in. The historic shambles and towering York Minster should be first on any visitor’s, before a quick stop at historic Betty’s tearooms in the city. If that’s not enough, push on to the Jorvick Centre and super-scary Dungeons armed with handy York city passes, which get you in to many of the attractions for free. To eat, the Blue Bicycle comes highly recommended, as does the super-swanky, five star Cedar Court Grand. Blissful.
For sheer romance, there are few European cities that can live up to Venice. For an unforgettable time, take a boat trip around the outskirts of the city to appreciate the beautiful architecture from afar. Otherwise the best and only way to get around is on foot. Why not leave the guidebook in your hotel one day and simply explore the streets ‘off piste’. Around every corner there’s another bridge crossing the canal, another breathtaking view to take in and another cafe just begging to be visited. If you venture in December, Venice is prone to flooding – but don’t despair! Just pack a pair of Wellies and winter warmers for an unforgettable Italian experience.
For those who like their UK breaks green, hilly and full of rambling countryside, beautiful Windermere in Cumbria is definitely the place to be. Walk off those hearty pub meals around the lovely lakes, or visit Victorian Gothic Wray castle set on its banks. When its time to rest weary legs, check into a garden suite at the Gilpin Lodge Country House. The private outdoor hot tub is a perfect antidote to a days walking.
If the chance to immerse yourself in an enchanting world of castles and palaces sounds right up your street, then Prague is the perfect Autumn playground. Steeped in history and rich in culture, lose yourself in the winding cobbled streets, explore the many historical landmarks or simply relax in the many cafés and restaurants which surround the town squares and the Vltava river. And don’t miss the world-famous Czech beers or sample the local Berchovka liquer! If you’re after a little luxury, Pachtuv Palace is the place to be – a stunning Rocco building on the riverside, yet away from the hustle and bustle of the old town. Alternatively, Riverside hotel, boasts breathtaking views of the city, castle and bridge. Bliss.
For crisp winter walks, cosy pubs and chic, home-from-home hotels, there’s simply no beating the New Forest. Wrap up warm for a stroll through some of the oh-so-pretty villages, take in a historic house, or make friends with the area’s furry residents – the ponies, that is. For car enthusiasts, the Beauleiu Car Museum is a must, while spa seekers will love the beautiful pool and impressive array of treatments at chic hotel Chewton Glen. We. Love.
A beautiful and vibrant place, bustling Stockholm makes an excellent winter getaway. This easily explored city sits on 14 ice-shrouded islands where, in winter every house and restaurant sparkles with tasteful decorations and candles, because the sun sets around 3pm. What could be more romantic? To stay, the 80-room Hotel Hellsten, with an artful blend of old and new with antique porcelain stoves, offers colourful rooms and central location. Or try Hotel Birger Jarl, the Nordic Light Hotel or Rival Hotel, which is owned by Benny from Abba!
Country lovers will just adore Derbyshire and the Peak District. Think lush green hills, beautiful countryside and stately homes aplenty – as well as an array of fabulous boutique hotels. Bakewell, the home of the tarts, of course, is an ideal place to make your base. It’s close to the must-see Chatsworth House – home to Mr Darcy in Keira Knightley’s Pride & Prejudice – and the equally impressive Haddon Hall.
Emma Watson recently made Oxford her home as she embarks on a year at University, and hit show Inspector Morse was filmed here – and it’s certainly see why. Easy to become absorbed in the Oxford’s history – not to mention fabulous shops! – it’s the perfect place to while away the hours, walk the pretty streets and enjoy the perks of a city that isn’t London.
Rome’s walkable mix of glittery shops, welcoming restaurants and cultural treasures guarantees a stylish, cultural and rewarding break. History is everywhere, so just pack a good guide book, then go wandering the streets
If youre desperate for an autumn sunshine break but fancy staying closer to home, Devon is unbeatable for its beautiful beaches and gentle climate. Head to the South for historic market towns and spectacular coastal walks, go horse riding over moody Dartmoor, or walk in the waves on one of the golden-sanded beaches. To stay, check in to Thurlestone Hotel in Kingsbridge for some serious four-star luxury, or for ultimate country chic, try beautiful Bovey Castle on the sprawling Dartmoore estate.
Dubrovnik first appeared on our radar when Beyonce and Jay-Z holidayed there two years ago – and it’s been increasing in popularity ever since. Set on the Adriatic Sea, the small Croatian town is bustling, lively, and populated by a host of lovely restaurants, bars and shops, which have all sprung up in recent years. And that’s not all. A swathe of luxury hotels – the Excelsior Hotel & Spa has beautiful rooms and stunning views! – have also arrived, making it the perfect place for a luxury weekend break.
If you fancy sampling some Arabian delights while seeking out your winter sun, look no further than Morocco. Cosmopolitan and vibrant, with bustling bazaars and souks, there is certainly plenty to see. If youre feeling adventurous, stray off the beaten track to Tangier, or alternatively, head to Marrakech and stay in a beautiful riad. With the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in Africa (Djema El Fna), it’s jam-packed with acrobats, storytellers, dancers and musicians, which sit happily alongside superlative shopping and modern, sleek bars and cuisine. Hot and sunny for most of the year, its a great place to visit from September to November, with temperatures generally in the high 20s. It is possible to do on a budget, and flights take around four hours.
If you like to intersperse days on the beach with hours in the spa, Gran Canaria should be top of your list. With a raft of new luxury hotels (including the island’s first Sheraton, in the shape of the Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa, home-from-home for Jennifer Lopez and family on many occasions), this sunny spot is fast gaining a reputation as the best place in the Canaries for a little (or a lot, if you’re so inclined) of R’n’R. Thalassotherapy treatments are the island’s speciality (our favourite courtesy of the Lopesan Villa del Conde Resort & Corallium Thalasso in Meloneras), but look out for aloe vera wraps and the like for soothing sun-toasted skin.