For those of us in the UK, Bank Holiday weekends are usually what keep us going. Because, for many people, this means up to eight extra days off work every year (hurrah!).
Of these, the August Bank holiday traditionally provides us with the best opportunity for a quick getaway while the sun is (hopefully) still shining in the UK.
Last year I used my August bank holiday to enjoy a three-day trip to Amsterdam (which, although pretty much a disaster from start to finish, was just about the right time to get a feel of the city). However when the lovely people at thinkmoney challenged me to plan my perfect long-weekend in the UK, it got me thinking about just how much there is to see around our own fair country.
I’ve been thinking now for several weeks what my ideal bank holiday weekend would be. There are so many places I want to visit – the Lake District, Cornwall, the Cotswolds – that it was so difficult to pick just one. However, when I started to think logically about it, it was pretty easy to come to a decision.
A few things to consider when planning your Bank Holiday weekend…
(Just remember: BTTLC. OK, that’s not at all catchy. Forget that.)
- Budget: The Bank Holiday weekend can be a pricey one because, well, pretty much everyone has the same idea of going away on those same few days, and hotels like to take advantage of this. For this reason, plan well in advance and decide on a budget early on so you know just what your options are.
- Travel time: You don’t want to be travelling for hours on end, or else it’ll eat into your holiday time. For this reason, I would recommend keeping travelling time down to a maximum of 3 hours each way.
- Transport: How will you get there? By car, train, boat, coach, bus? This often impacts on your budget, so consider other ways of getting to your destination.
- Location: Probably the most important thing. If you’re staying in the UK, do you want a city, country or coastal break?
- Companion: As it’s just for 2 nights, this could be the perfect time to try a spot of solo travel without having to worry about loneliness/homesickness/the cat missing you. Alternatively, it can be a great way to gauge how well you and a friend/family member travel together.
My ideal staycation
Bearing these five points in mind, here’s what my ideal staycation would be:
I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a city break or a beach location, so I went with somewhere that would give me a bit of both. Plus, it’s been around 10 years since I last visited Brighton, and I’ve recently been craving a return visit. The last time I went it was pretty disastrous (we almost missed our coach home after waiting in the wrong place…) so it’ll be a good opportunity to hopefully have a less-hectic weekend.
Who with: My mum.
Probably the most hard-working person I know, my mum works 12 days out of every 14, and it just so happens that her days off fall on the bank holiday weekend! It’ll be fabulous to spend a bit of time with her, with neither of us having to worry about getting up stupidly early for work.
Transport: 2.5 hours by train.
After a train up to London and the tube round to Paddington, it’s just a one-hour train journey down to Brighton.
What we’d do: Too much.
The last time I went to Brighton, I pretty much only saw the pier and the Doctor Who exhibition. So, with three days to work with, I’d like to finally see the Royal Pavilion and The Lanes. Plus, hopefully the sun will make an appearance so we can spend a bit of time walking along the beach.
The Royal Pavilion: Believe it or not, it’s found in Brighton! (Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons)
Thanks to my 16-25 train railcard, the journey will cost around £84 for the two of us. A lot of Brighton hotels are already booked up, but we could get a room from around £176+ for 2 nights, depending on how close we wanted to be to the beach.