By Dan Browne on 08 April 2013

Head Outside UK BreaksRumour has it, Spring is here…Time to head in to the sunshine for a UK break, before the inevitable Summer wash out arrives.  Here are our top picks for a great weekend staycation:

Whether you’re a budding Masterchef or simply have a hankering for home baking, there are plenty of food festivals springing up all over the UK this Summer. Head off for the weekend to the Ludlow Food Festival (7th-9th September), or if you prefer not to wait, Britain’s oldest food festival now has a naughty little brother in the Ludlow Spring Festival in the grounds of the medieval castle, with an emphasis on beer, bangers and vintage cars. If you’re after something with a bit more spice, head to West Dean Chilli Fiesta - held on the Upton Cheyney Chilli Company's farm near Chichester.  It offers a party atmosphere with Mariachi bands alongside chilli infused offerings including chocolate and beer.

Mountainbiking SmlThe Scottish Highlands are probably as warm as they’re going to get during the month of May, and midge-free to boot – so it’s a great time to head to the hills for some outdoor activities. As home to the Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William is probably the best place to head to if you’re handy on two wheels. The Witch's Trails in Leanachan Forest offer grades of cross country biking to suit all ages and levels. You’ll whizz through some spectacular highland scenery, and if you’re travelling light, or just want to dip your toes in to the waters of the biking world, bike hire is available locally.

Heading outdoors needn’t mean getting mucky – open air theatre is a great way to get some fresh air and sunshine whilst soaking up some culture (and possibly a Pimms or two). Regent’s Park’s Open Air Theatre in London has a season including The Sound of Music and  To Kill a Mockingbird, along side comedy including Jimmy Carr. But if you want to avoid the city, why not head to the Cornish coast where the Minack Theatre, set on a dramatic rocky crag, with the sea as its backdrop. Check out their website here for the summer programme of drama and music including Wuthering Heights, The Taming of the Shrew and Babe, the Sheep Pig.

Giants Causeway Sml1Stand in the footsteps of giants - the columnar basalt of the Giant’s Causeway is one of the must-see features of the breath taking Antrim coast. Start your journey in Belfast and you can follow this fantastic Game of Thrones themed itinerary – taking in the highlights of the coastline as well as some of the shooting locations of the series. Things to do in Belfast – don’t forget to make a stop at the Merchant Hotel for cocktails and Maggie Mays for a restorative full Irish breakfast.

Find out what the Romans did for us – and the Georgians, the Vikings, and the odd feudal lord or two.  There’s dizzying number of things to do in the UK if you’re after a historic break.  Wales is a great place to start – known as the ‘capital of castles’ with over 400 to its name. Cardiff Castle is ideally placed for a city break and dates from 1106. If you get the castle bug, Visit Britain has a great itinerary for you to follow here.


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