Summer in the city
You don’t need to go abroad to find a fulfilling and diverse city break, says Tristan Parker, as he selects fantastic cities around the UK that can offer the perfect summer break
For the foodies – Bath
This small, classy city punches above its weight when it comes to food and drink. Choose from Michelin-starred dining at The Olive Tree, superlative specialty coffee (and cake) at Colonna & Small’s, classic pub grub or vegan food at Oak. Visit the fascinating Roman Baths or enjoy a dip at the Thermae Spa.
DON’T MISS – AFTERNOON TEA AT THE PUMP ROOM
Overlooking the Roman Baths, this Georgian venue hosts a quintessential Bath experience.
Great for culture – Glasgow
Scotland’s biggest city is famed for its artistic pedigree, thanks to connections with innovators like Charles Rennie Mackintosh and The Glasgow Boys. Among its world-class art galleries and museums is the cutting- edge Modern Institute and the eclectic Burrell Collection. There’s a similarly thriving theatre scene, with Glasgow housing the National Theatre of Scotland and the historic King’s Theatre. And of course, live music ranging from jazz to classical to pop and rock.
DON’T MISS – KELVINGROVE ART GALLERY AND MUSEUM
Fine art, natural history, a restored Spitfire plane – this extensive venue has it all, spread across 22 galleries. And what’s more, it’s free!
Great for shopping – Salisbury
All the high-street shops are present in this medieval city, but where Salisbury excels is in its independents, where you’ll uncover anything from vintage fashion to stamps. But don’t miss the other gems: a cathedral holding an original copy of the Magna Carta (one of only four), and Stonehenge, less than ten miles away.
DON’T MISS – CHARTER MARKET
This bustling market has been running since 1227. You’ll find everything from oven-fresh bread and artisan coffee to clothes.
By the seaside – Bournemouth
If you’re after a beach break but with all the amenities of a city, look no further than Bournemouth. It’s technically a town, but its size, status and vast list of activities certainly make it feel like a city. Seven miles of sand (including five Blue Flag beaches) mean you can always find a quieter spot when you need it, and there are beach huts to hire if you want to upgrade the experience, plus all the amenities you could want – deck chairs, parasols, showers and plenty of cafes for refuelling. When you’re done with the beach, Bournemouth has plenty to keep you occupied. The clifftop Russell-Cotes House holds a global art collection and art nouveau interiors, the extensive Bournemouth Gardens are a horticultural delight and upmarket Westbourne – a short journey from central Bournemouth – is packed with independent restaurants and boutiques.
DON’T MISS – BOURNEMOUTH PIER
Whether you’re soaking up the history, admiring the views across to the Isle of Wight or enjoying afternoon tea at the pier-end restaurant, this Victorian marvel isn’t to be missed. There’s a small entry charge in season, but it’s free from October to March for all to explore.
Great for architecture – Chester
This Roman city’s most famous architectural treasure is The Rows, a series of half-timbered galleries fringed by eye-catching black-and-white building façades. Elsewhere, there are Britain’s longest and most intact city walls to walk, a Roman amphitheatre, an 11th-century castle and a splendid Gothic Revival town hall. Learn more about Chester’s early days at Grosvenor Museum, or get away from it all on a riverside walk at The Groves and vast Grosvenor Park.
DON’T MISS – SHOPPING ON THE ROWS
Though steeped in history, these storied structures are now home to numerous shops, restaurants and pubs, offering the perfect excuse to stop and linger in a unique historical spot.
For a romantic getaway – York
This historic and charming city is filled with gorgeous streets and scenery, a friendly atmosphere and plenty of ways to spoil your beloved, whether that’s via a fancy dinner or fancy treats at York’s Chocolate Story. You could hire a boat on the River Ouse; take a riverside stroll, stopping at the cafes and bars; visit York Minster cathedral; or the fascinating Jorvik Viking Centre.
DON’T MISS – THE SHAMBLES
This preserved medieval shopping thoroughfare has been voted Britain’s most picturesque street and boasts a lot of kooky shops and eateries.