08:29 21 April 2014
According to a recent poll on MoneySupermarket, 73% of you planned to stay at home on your days off – whether you were getting stuck into some DIY (34%), staying in with friends and family (32%) or had no special plans (7%).
And if you returned to the office after Easter feeling a little flat as a result, why not make your next Bank Holiday weekend different? There are two more Bank Holidays on the horizon – May 5 and 27 – and now is the perfect time to start planning a short break to make the most of your time off.
Here are our top ideas for the May Bank Holidays so you can return to work with a spring in your step.
Take in some culture on a city break
A long weekend is an ideal amount of time to sneak in a European city break whether you fancy wandering around museums, sampling local delicacies or just exploring a new city. You may even be lucky enough to soak up some sun while you are away.
Due to the cold weather, southern European cities such as Barcelona, Athens, Rome and Istanbul have seen a boost in searches in recent weeks on TravelSupermarket, while classics such as Paris, Venice and Amsterdam remain as popular as ever.
Barcelona is a brilliant destination to visit in May as the Spanish city is just a two-hour flight away from the UK. It has a beach to nip to should the sun shine and there are plenty of things to do whether you want to admire the fantastical works of Gaudi, sample platefuls of tasty tapas or shop for everything from designer outfits to gourmet treats. Plus, while you are more than likely to get sun, temperatures will still be pleasant enough to explore before the humidity of the summer months hits.
Or, if you can add a day or two on to your long weekend, New York is another firm favourite with British holidaymakers. You could wander around Central Park taking in the spring flowers and basking in temperatures that can reach the early 20s in May, hit world-famous shops such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks and Macy’s, or admire the Big Apple’s iconic sights such as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.
If you’ve already visited many of the classic city break destinations or are looking for somewhere a little different, there are some great alternatives.
Budapest, for example, recently came top in a list of good value city break destinations as part of the Post Office’s City Costs Barometer 2013. This annual report ranks cities based on the cost of a typical basket of tourist essentials containing 12 items such as a cup of coffee, a three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of wine, and entrance to a top museum, art gallery and heritage attraction.
As well as being a bargain, Budapest has plenty up its sleeve for visitors, including a huge range of spas from impressive thermal baths such as the Szechenyi complex to those in luxury hotels; beautiful buildings such as Mathias Church in the Buda Castle District; a fascinating history which is clear from the varied buildings and can be learnt about in the city’s museums; and a lively nightlife.
Lisbon was the best performer in the Eurozone in the Post Office’s list with its shopping basket coming in at less than half the price of Amsterdam or Rome. And, if you want to combine sunshine with sightseeing, this could be the place for you – temperatures creep into the 20s in May. There’s a lot to see and do in the city from marvelling at gothic cathedrals and exploring on 100-year-old trams, to looking out over Lisbon while exploring the Moorish Castle of St George.
Explore the UK
On a UK city break
You don’t have to jet off overseas to have fun on a city break as there’s plenty happening on our own doorstep from the buzzing city of London to historic cities such as York.
For example, if you head to the south west beauty Bath for a long weekend, you’ll be able to soak your troubles away in the thermal waters of Thermae Bath Spa, explore the Roman Baths, admire the magnificent Royal Crescent and even learn more about the much-loved author Jane Austen.
And, if you visit over the spring Bank Holiday weekend (May 27), there’s plenty going on to keep even the fussiest visitor entertained. The Bath International Music Festival – with folk, classical jazz, cabaret and world musical performances – is on from May 22 to June 2, while if performing arts are more your cup of tea, the Bath Fringe runs in the city from May 24 until June 9.
Cosy up in a countryside cottage
Or, if you want to really get away from it all, why not escape to the great British countryside and hire your own cottage for the weekend? You’ll find properties to rent all around the UK on TravelSupermarket’scottages channel whether you’re looking for a cosy bolt-hole for two or a larger house for a family or group of friends.
By May – fingers crossed – the weather should have brightened up and it’s a lovely time to stroll around beautiful areas such as the Lake District, Cornwall, Northumberland and the Cotswolds. And, even if it rains, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy such as stately homes to explore, pubs serving classic British food, and museums, castles and natural attractions to admire.
Have some fun by the sea
Whether you’ve got kids or not, there’s something quite magical about a weekend having fun by the sea. And by May, Britain’s big seaside towns such as Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth will be in full swing.
So, whether you fancy all the fun of the fair at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, want to strike a pose in cool Brighton or stroll down the seven miles of golden sand in Bournemouth, May is a great time to visit. And there will be events on to entertain the whole family too during the long Bank Holiday weekends. For example, in Brighton you can have a nosy around some of the homes of the city’s creative residents during Artists’ Open Houses in May, witness re-enactments or even join a Saxons and Vikings academy during events at Corfe Castle just outside Bournemouth, while in Blackpool there’s a family-friendly festival of music and live arts on May 26 called Alfresco.
How to find the best Bank Holiday deal
If you’ve been inspired to plan a trip this Bank Holiday, here are our tips to find the best deal…