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August 15, 2006 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Travelfilter: I am looking for some suggestions and ideas as to where I can take my girlfriend on the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend in the UK (1-3 September). We both live in London and are on a budget but not hugely so(~£300). I would very much like to go somewhere interesting and exciting but not too far away given the limited time. I had an idea about going to Melilla (Spanish enclave on the North African coast) but flights to Malaga (where we could get a ferry across) are booked up or expensive. Do any of you creative metafilter types have some idea that will blow her away? Plus points, lots of culture, somewhere 'different' and somewhere we can escape from the world in our own bubble (ie not a big city).
posted by numberstation to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, what does your girl like? Museums? Old ruins to walk around in? Beautiful scenic vistas? What?
posted by canine epigram at 7:03 AM on August 15, 2006

No way you can push it back a week, I suppose? Kids will be back to school by then.

Within range of a cheap flight from London it's mostly European cities, which you don't seem to want... how about Lativia, Sweden or Finland? Maybe a cheap flight to Copenhagen, then a ferry trip across the Baltic Sea?
posted by Leon at 7:12 AM on August 15, 2006

If you still want to go somewhere hot the whole east coast of Spain is very accessible via either Murcia, Alicante or Barcelona airport both of which are served by several low cost airlines.
posted by fire&wings at 7:14 AM on August 15, 2006

damn grammar.
posted by fire&wings at 7:15 AM on August 15, 2006

The UK bank holiday is on Monday August 28th. Have you got your dates wrong or do you want the dates you state?
posted by biffa at 7:29 AM on August 15, 2006

Florence - Uffizi gallery (book in advance), Statue of David, Duomo Cathedral, Gilli's Coffee shop, great shopping. Loads of places make their own paper, which if you're a 'journaler' is wonderful.

Went there on my honeymoon and it was magnificent.
posted by mooders at 7:41 AM on August 15, 2006

Take here to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel. It is a beautiful, tranquil place - with a great pub. Accommodation may be a problem for that weekend - but you could call on 01628 825 925 to enquire. An added bonus is that nobody will want to take your shampoo or xray your trainers.

Alternatively you might catch the Fort William sleeper. Go to sleep as you leave London and step off the train in somewhere like Bridge of Orchy or Rannoch. You will notice difference. Possibilities range from hotel accom to camping.
posted by rongorongo at 7:44 AM on August 15, 2006

Croatia. Fly in to Dubrovnik, walk the famous walls that have protected the old city for centuries, swim in startling blue water of the the Adriatic. The city is incredibly beautiful, the country in quite affordable, the food is fresh and delicious, Dubrovnik has a fascinating history. You could take a day trip to Mljet, an island close to Dubrovnik that's mostly national forest, you could scuba dive a 3rd century roman wreck while you're there.
posted by Amizu at 8:07 AM on August 15, 2006

Some obvious choices:

Budapest. Take a swimming costume and jump from spa pool to spa pool. A big city but one that doesn't overwhelm.

Prague. Nuff said.

Bruges. Sounds just the size and character of place you're looking for.

A little less well-trodden:

Krakow. The jewel of Poland.

Tallinn in Estonia - a perfectly preserved medieval town.

Munich. There's a lot to see and do in Munich, although few go to find out.

Finally, for a do-it-yourself experience. Get a cheap flight to Nice (Easyjet etc.) and hire a car. Drive west into Italy and try and spend some time in Alassio on the "Coast of Flowers". Driving or taking the train along the coast is immensely rewarding, you can explore Genoa and end up at the Cinque Terra - Recommended. If you don't fancy driving, fly to Genoa and do the rest by train.
posted by grahamwell at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2006

Lots of culture, escape from the world, not a big city, interesting and exciting.

I would say one of the Baltic states or perhaps south eastern Europe - I've been recommended Split in Croatia by friends who've had similar objectives to yours. By all accounts it's a fun and interesting city and you can nip off to the islands just off the coast as well.

On preview, or you go further down the coast...
posted by patricio at 8:09 AM on August 15, 2006

Thank you very much for your suggestions. Lots of food for thought. Biffa, I had the dates wrong and as such you can understand why it is all a bit hectic trying to organise something. The only thing my gf has said was she wants to go away somewhere we can escape from the world. Culture is a big plus too. So many ideas, thankyou all.
posted by numberstation at 8:44 AM on August 15, 2006

interesting and exciting but not too far away

lots of culture, somewhere 'different' and somewhere we can escape from the world in our own bubble

I think you can swing a great time if you compromise on the fact that this close to leaving, you're not going to grab one of those 1p flight deals. Go somewhere less expensive on the hotel/food/out-and-about front and it'll even out.

If you're game for a night-before or very-early morning departure and a late-night flight home (as you should be on a weekend getaway with your girlfriend...), then you can certainly push the three-hour barrier on the flights frontier:

Marrakesh: easyJet and Atlas Blue from Gatwick, BA from Heathrow and Gatwick

Istanbul: BA and Turkish from Heathrow, easyJet from Gatwick (though to a further-out "budget" airport)

Bucharest: BA and TAROM from Heathrow

Wroclaw: Ryanair from Stansted

L'viv: Ukraine International Airlines, from Heathrow, via Kiev; Ryanair flies to Rzeszow in Poland, which is a few hours west by train

Krakow is my favorite city in the world - but save it for a long, snowy weekend in December and nibble on the delights in the Christmas Market in the Rynek Glowny (the main square).

I think Sarajevo or Belgrade would be amazing given the recent past.

Maybe some of the less urban Ryanair destinations as a gateway to countryside access with a rental car? Deauville, Rodez, Tampere, Kaunas, Valladolid, Santiago de Compostela, Vitoria, and Bydgoszcz all seem rather isolated from larger cities. ("What's in Bydgoszcz?," you ask. Who knows? Go explore and report back!)

Or skip the flying and take the train to Lille or Brussels or Bruges or Antwerp or Ghent or some lovely city in the Netherlands other than Amsterdam.
posted by mdonley at 9:19 AM on August 15, 2006

Grahamwell and mdonley have come up with some great suggestions already - and ones for which you can generally get remarkably cheap priced flights... Croatia, as Amizu suggests, is awesome- although I was unaware that you can get cheap flights (certainly not as cheap as somewhere like Prague, anyway).

Nobody has mentioned Ireland (Eire or NI) - lots of culture, fun, places to see and relax.
Also, Scotland is good - get a cheap flight up there, hire a car and drive around the highlands ogling the scenery. Stay in remote B&Bs, etc.

[local propaganda time]How about the Isle of Man? Nice weather this time of year, lots to see and do, very relaxing and laid back...

The only reason I make these suggestions is that (a) with the advent of cheap international flights, people forget to look on their own doorstep, and (b) with all the hoo-ha at the UK airports (that I suspect still won't be fully resolved by the bank holiday weekend) it may be easier to stay relatively local...
posted by Chunder at 3:53 AM on August 16, 2006

If you do find yourselves stuck in London in the end then one interesting option would be to take the Thames Path from the Thames barrier to - say - Kew. This is about 30 miles and requires 2 days of walking but is facinating with all the culture you could want and more "get away from it all" than you might imagine. Alternatively you could go a little further upstream and hire a boat (rowing or power). From about £40 per day. This could be your inspiration.
posted by rongorongo at 6:56 AM on August 16, 2006

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