Keen for a budget-friendly UK holiday before the winter weather hits?
We feel you – the summer has been a bit of a let-down, let’s be honest, but we might as well see it out in style.
But once you’ve decided on a vacation, the wealth of options can be a bit overwhelming.
Where to go? Where to stay? It’s all a bit much.
To help you out – because sorting out a relaxing holiday shouldn’t be stressful – we’ve rounded up our pick of the best budget breaks to book now.
For a girly getaway: Maryculter House, Aberdeenshire
If you fancy a proper pamper break with your girl gang, this one has it all, including an overnight stay, two cocktails, a three-course dinner with fizz and a Molton Brown gift set.
The hotel itself dates back over 800 years and is steeped in Scottish history — think tartan, coats of arms, dark wood antiques and an atmospheric great hall where they’ll even throw in a free cream tea for you.
Set on the banks of the River Dee, which is well worth getting out of bed to explore, Maryculter House is only 15 minutes from Aberdeen, so if you can tear yourself away, head to the Aberdeen Art Gallery for a bit of culture, then reward yourself with a cocktail at the very cool Orchid Cocktails.
Nearest train station: Portlethen or Aberdeen
From £129pp, maryculterhouse.com
For the last days of summer: The Lowry Hotel, Manchester
Slashing the price of a five-star trip, you can currently grab an overnight stay at Manchester’s swanky Lowry Hotel at a 25% discount — they’ll even treat you to a cocktail on the new terrace overlooking the River Irwell.
Head to the Manchester Gin distillery tour and guided tasting to see — and sample — first hand what goes into making one of the UK’s most awarded gins (manchestergin.co.uk) before checking in on the Greater Manchester Police Museum & Archives, a free and fascinating insight into the city’s most notorious crimes and criminals (gmpmuseum.co.uk).
Brilliant dinner spots are everywhere in Manchester but The Allotment is an understated, innovative vegan restaurant where you can eat like a king on a far less regal budget (allotmentvegan.co.uk).
Nearest train station: Manchester Piccadilly
From £129pn, thelowryhotel.com
For a slice of history: Vanbrugh House Hotel, Oxford
The home of Inspector Morse needs little introduction and history buffs will be in heaven with this gem of a stay that includes a two-hour tour of city highlights such as the Bodleian Library and the Sheldonian Theatre, as well as a thorough nosy around its famous university buildings.
The Headington Shark — a 25ft-long shark body and tail diving head first into the roof of an otherwise typical terraced house — is a must-see art installation (headington.org.uk) and, once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Gees restaurant for some really tasty Mediterranean food (geesrestaurant.co.uk).
More history? No problem. The Vanbrugh House Hotel was designed by none other than Sir John Vanbrugh, the brains behind Blenheim Palace, and each room is named after a slice of Oxford history with the backstory displayed on the bedroom wall.
Nearest train station: Oxford
£235 for two, virginexperiencedays.co.uk
For a golf break: De Vere Wokefield Estate Hotel, Reading
Designed to US PGA standards, the Wokefield Estate Golf Club is a 6,996-yard, par-72 championship course and is a stone’s throw from this grand hotel set in 250 acres of Berkshire parkland.
Opt for the golfing package and you’ll get an overnight stay with breakfast, two rounds of golf and a two-course dinner included, as well as complimentary yoga and pilates sessions if you need a good stretch.
It’s well worth the challenging 856ft climb up to Beacon Hill Iron Age Hill Fort for breathtaking views across the North Wessex Downs, and if you’re after something a bit quirkier, head to The White Lion Antiques Emporium (thewhitelionantiques.co.uk), a walk-in treasure chest of antiques, vintage clothing and all things retro.
Nearest train station: Mortimer
From £79pp, devere.co.uk
For a coastal trip: St Bridget’s Farmhouse, St Brides Major
Although the reclaimed materials and spiral stone staircases in this farmhouse smack of local history, it was actually built in 2018, so it feels cosy but is sprinkled with modern touches like contemporary art on the walls and a cool, glass-ceilinged outside space.
Right on the doorstep, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast has the second highest tidal range in the world and is 14 miles of towering Blue Lias cliffs, secluded coves and seascapes that reach as far as the eye can see.
Don’t miss the amazing stepping stones across the River Ewenny at nearby Ogmore Castle, and treat yourself to a traditional Welsh dinner at village favourite, The Fox (thefox-stbridesmajor.co.uk).
Nearest train station: Bridgend
From £120pn, stbridgetsfarmhouse.co.uk
For glamping on a vineyard: Wolds Wine Estate, Nottinghamshire
Non-campers, do not turn up your noses — these glamping pods have private bedrooms, living spaces and sundecks with vineyard views, and are far more luxury lodge than flimsy tent.
Way more like a boutique experience, you can book relaxed wine tastings with an on-site wine expert, work on your Zen with a private yoga session in the estate’s tranquil grounds or make a party of it with a group cocktail-making session.
Further afield, jump on your bike and cycle around the Vale of Belvoir before stopping off at Plumtree’s pubs — The Griffin is great for a pint (griffinplumtree.co.uk) while Perkins Bar and Bistro is an excellent family-run restaurant with its own smokehouse (perkinsbarbistro.co.uk).
Nearest train station: Bingham
Two night stay for two £230, woldswineestate.com
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