Whether you’re looking for a countryside retreat or an exciting city escape, the UK is full of great girls’...
If you are looking for the best city breaks in the UK for 2024, we have collated 14 of the very best, all of which offer something unique and memorable.
With 74 cities in the UK, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a city break! From small cities with eye-catching architecture to bustling metropolises with exciting nightlife, there’s a UK city out there for every taste.
Which city will you fall in love with? Discover the best places for UK city breaks below…
Perfect for: Fun-filled outings on the coast
The seaside resort of Brighton sits in 14th place on our list of the best city breaks UK! The eclectic city is packed with things to do whilst also enjoying a lengthy set of sand for you to enjoy.
If you’re looking for a cultural day out here, why not head to the Royal Pavilion? A beautiful place you won’t believe is in the UK, the palace is home to a wealth of fascinating exhibitions, all of which feature royal artefacts.
Brighton is also packed with an array of shopping opportunities, from its vintage stores dotted throughout the centre to the chic setting of Brighton Marina. The latter is also a dining hot spot, hosting a range of must-try restaurants.
If you’re looking to unwind during a weekend city break, a trip to Brighton’s beach is a must. Here, you can look forward to sunbathing on the golden sands, before strolling down the vibrant pier. Why not end the day with a drink accompanied by views at Brighton i360?
Perfect for: History
The historic capital of England, Winchester is a wonderful addition to this list of the best city breaks UK. The cathedral city is home to several interesting monuments whilst also having access to the great outdoors!
A visit to Winchester Cathedral should be at the top of your itinerary. Here, you’ll be able to soak up over 900 years’ worth of history during tours of the cathedral’s towers and crypts.
Afterwards, why not enjoy more history at the National Trust gem of Winchester City Mill, a working mill resting along River Itchen? Alternatively, you can explore Wolvesey Castle, a medieval ruin resting in the heart of the city.
On sunny days, travel to the city’s outskirts where you’ll find St. Catherine’s Hill. This stunning green space not only features free parking but boasts 43 hectares of nature to while away the time in.
Perfect for: Family-friendly activities
If you’re looking for a city break in the UK with things to do for all ages, Bristol is a great choice! Thanks to its array of historic landmarks, interactive attractions and activities, the whole family will be entertained here.
A walk down harbourside is a very popular activity when in Bristol, and it’s easy to see why! Not only is it a vibrant location along the Bristol Feeder Canal but it hosts fantastic attractions, such as the M Shed and Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
Head further into the city centre to come across the historic beauty of Bristol Cathedral, where you can enjoy tours of its 12th-century interior. Another city-centre attraction the whole family will enjoy is the Bristol Aquarium, where underwater tunnels and touch pools are highlights.
Don’t forget to explore Bristol’s outskirts! Here, you can look forward to the 50-acre delight of the Wild Place Project as well as the breath-taking National Trust forest of Leigh Woods.
Perfect for: Entertainment
Are you looking for a city break in the UK where you can enjoy many attractions and entertainment? Make your way to Liverpool! From its wealth of museums to its fantastic theatres, you’ll always find something to enjoy here.
One of the city’s cultural hot spots is the Royal Albert Dock. Here, you can soak up the beauty of the River Mersey whilst having a range of things to do nearby! Tate Liverpool, the Museum of Liverpool and a variety of restaurants are just a few of the things you can enjoy here.
If you’re looking for a spot of retail therapy, wander through the sleek shopping centre of Liverpool ONE, where mini golf and a cinema also await. Alternatively, venture up Bold Street to find ample vintage shops and quirky eateries.
Want to embark on an evening out to remember? Enjoy a show at the Liverpool Empire or Everyman Theatre in the city centre. Or, escape the hustle and bustle by spending the evening at a bar along the bohemian-esque street of Lark Lane. Liverpool is a perfect destination for a weekend city breaks UK.
Perfect for: Uncovering a vast culture
If you’re looking for UK city breaks that are filled with both modern and historic cultural must-sees, we recommend venturing to Cardiff! The Welsh city offers so much to experience, you’ll never be short on things to do.
Kick off your visit with a tour of one of the several castles in and around the city, such as the Gothic delights of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch, one of the best castles in Wales. If your inner history buff still isn’t satisfied, head to the impressive National Museum Cardiff, where masterpieces, natural history and more await.
Throw yourself into more of Cardiff’s culture by enjoying a tour of the Wales Millennium Centre, a creative hub that’s packed with live shows of all genres. Afterwards, go for a walk along Cardiff Bay where ample restaurants and bars line the water’s edge.
If you’re a rugby fan, be sure to enjoy a game at the Principality Stadium! The stadium also hosts tours; perfect for super fans of the Wales Rugby Team!
Perfect for: Having everything at your fingertips
When it comes to city breaks in the UK where attractions and landmarks are easily accessible, the university city of Cambridge should be your first choice. Here, you can simply cycle or walk to wherever you need to be!
One of the city’s main attractions is Cambridge University itself. During a visit to the university, you can look forward to tours of the campus alongside the beautiful green space of Cambridge University Botanic Garden. After touring the university, why not enjoy more beautiful vistas during a punt along the River Cam?
For more fascinating sights, be sure to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum, home to an abundance of artefacts, and Kettle’s Yard, a contemporary art gallery. If you have an interest in technology, The Centre for Computing History is another superb attraction to add to the agenda.
If you’re feeling peckish or simply in the mood for some retail therapy, Cambridge’s city centre has you covered. The Grand Arcade is bursting with shops of all kinds whilst also being near Cambridge Market Square, where there are a plethora of food stalls.
Perfect for: Vibrant nightlife
Is a fantastic night scene something you prioritise when planning a city break in the UK? Come to Newcastle! This city is home to a wealth of party districts that are bound to keep you entertained all night long.
The contemporary strip of Dean Street is the place to go if you want to enjoy tasty beer, thanks to its range of microbreweries. If a trendy night out is more to your fancy, we recommend a visit to the Diamond Strip, where cocktail bars are aplenty. After a chic affair? Make your way to Quayside for a selection of stylish bars and eateries.
Vibrant nightlife isn’t all that Newcastle is great for, though, as there are plenty of things to do during the day here. If beautiful sights are on the agenda, enjoy a day exploring St. James’ Park or the iconic Tyne Bridge.
There are many museums peppered throughout the city centre too, such as the science hub of the Discovery Museum, and the Great North Museum, where you can soak up the sights of the Planetarium. After admiring the intriguing exhibitions, tuck into a tasty treat at Grainger Market.
Perfect for: Museums and galleries
For the next stop on this list of best city breaks in the UK, we’re going to Scotland! Glasgow is a city that features tonnes of history, all of which can be uncovered during a getaway.
First on your list of historic attractions and landmarks should be the renowned museum and art gallery of Kelvingrove. The grand building lies in the heart of the city and hosts 22 galleries as well as exhibits featuring artefacts from the Renaissance and ancient Egyptian periods.
The Hunterian Art Gallery rests nearby and is the oldest public museum in Scotland. You can uncover a wealth of masterpieces steeped in history here, before heading to the Gallery of Modern Art to admire contemporary artwork.
For more unique outings, be sure to venture to the social history hub of the People’s Palace or the hands-on museum of the Glasgow Science Centre! Or, if you want a break from the museums, spend some time in the gorgeous spaces of Kelvingrove Park and Pollock Country Park.
Perfect for: Fun for all ages
The capital of Northern Ireland enjoys sixth place on this ranking of the best UK city breaks. There is simply so much to do here, and much like Cambridge, it can all be accessed by bike or on foot!
An absolute must-see during a Belfast getaway is the show-stopping museum of Titanic Belfast. During an exploration of the museum, you’ll learn all about the RMS Titanic and its shipyard via interactive exhibits. For even more culture, make Ulster Museum your next stop; here, you can not only enjoy the stunning Botanic Gardens but you can unlock 9,000 years of Irish history.
Feeling peckish? Make your way to the Cathedral Quarter, where bustling streets house several welcoming pubs and eateries for you to sample. Alternatively, make your way to St George’s Market, a Victorian marketplace boasting a large range of food stalls, live music and more.
A visit to the city’s fringe is also a must, with Belfast Castle and Belfast Zoo being points of interest and offering lots of fun for all the family.
Perfect for: A mixture of beauty and history
Resting on the edges of the Cotswolds AONB and enjoying stunning sights, it’s little wonder why Bath has made this ranking of best UK city breaks.
No visit to the city is complete without an exploration of its Roman roots! Be sure to book a tour around the impressive Roman Baths, where the Pump Room Restaurant and the baths themselves are bound to impress.
More historic discoveries await at the National Trust’s Bath Assembly Rooms and The Jane Austen Centre; the latter even offers a charming tea room for you to savour tasty cakes in.
An equally rewarding time can be had by just walking around the city and taking in the wonderful sights. A trail to try is the Bath Skyline Walk, which can be accessed via the Prior Park Landscape Garden. A short break in Bath is definitely not one to be missed and is highlighted as one of the best city breaks in England.
Perfect for: Delightful architecture
A way to experience the city’s marvellous architecture first-hand is by embarking on a walk along the city walls, where you can catch glimpses of the Chester Rows, Chester Canal and Eastgate Clock. There are several exits along the walls too, including one by Chester Cathedral, with its eye-catching gardens making for a lovely picnic spot.
Another stunning spot is Grosvenor Park, where you can enjoy a gentle stroll on a sunny day. From here, venture down to the banks of the River Dee where a handful of Chester’s restaurants can be accessed, including Hickory’s Smokehouse.
Chester isn’t just a charming spot for daytime excursions, however, it also offers plenty of evening things to do. From eclectic bars to live shows at the Storyhouse, a night out here is guaranteed to be a memorable one!
Perfect for: Budget-friendly breaks
Sitting in third place on our list of UK city breaks is Edinburgh. If you’re after a city getaway where you can stay entertained without burning a hole in your pocket, Edinburgh’s a great choice and offers lots of things to do.
You’ll be amazed by the sheer amount of museums and landmarks that are free to visit, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Scottish National Gallery. Both attractions feature impressive sights, with the latter featuring artwork by Rembrandt and Van Gogh!
You’ll be amazed when wandering down the Royal Mile, where stunning architecture and access to the free landmark of St Giles’ Cathedral await. You can also enjoy access to the stunning spaces of Calton Hill and Holyrood Park from here.
Other free activities include walks through the picturesque Dean Village and the Princes Street Gardens. Alternatively, travel to Portobello, a coastal suburb of the city, where you can have an idyllic day at the beach.
Perfect for: Fantastic dining
Want to treat your loved one to a UK city break where you can wander through idyllic streets and enjoy good food? Then York is the ideal getaway for you!
The attractive city is home to a variety of restaurants that will suit all tastes, from the fine dining establishment of The Ivy in St Helen’s Square to the delicious, Asian cuisine of The Orchid Vegan Restaurant. Arguably the best spot for food, however, has to be Shambles Market. Here, you’ll be drawn in by the mouth-watering smells coming from the food stalls!
After making the most of the city’s superb dining options, spend some time wandering through the Shambles or along the city walls. Alternatively, get lost in history with a memorable tour of York Minster and the National Railway Museum York.
If you’re coming with family, the JORVIK Viking Centre and York’s Chocolate Story will be a hit with the kids! There is so much to see and explore in York, making it one of the best city breaks in the UK.
Before we unveil the top spot on our guide to the best city breaks in the UK, we had to feature a couple of honourable mentions:
Successful in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee City Status competition, Wrexham was announced as Wales’ newest city in 2022. Steeped in history, you’ll be in awe of the largest medieval church in Wales, St Giles Parish Church during this UK city break.
Of course, Wrexham will now be best known for its football team, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, thanks to the documentary series ‘Welcome to Wrexham’. Why not visit the Racecourse Ground and keep an eye out for any celebrities that maybe visiting?
The city centre of Manchester is full of bars, shops, galleries, museums and restaurants making it a hugely popular city break! A couple of must-visit attractions include the National Football Museum as well as the Science and Industry Museum. Experience it all by making Manchester your UK city break for 2024.
Another UK city break that deserves an honourable mention is Lincoln. Lincoln Cathedral once held the accolade of the tallest building in the world and is a must-visit during a trip here. The city of Lincoln is full of history and you can look forward to spectacular views from the Medieval Wall Walk. Be sure to stop at Lincoln Castle to visit the Magna Carta Vault, with a viewable copy of the Magna Carta Libertatum!
Now onto our guide’s top spot! Read on to see which city has topped the list of the best city breaks in the UK for 2024…
Perfect for: A bit of everything
Taking first place in our guide to the best city breaks in the UK is London! If you want to embark on a city break in the UK where you can enjoy all the aspects of the aforementioned cities in one place, London is the destination for you.
In terms of unveiling the city’s history, the most iconic landmarks that are worth visiting include the Tower of London, one of the best castles in England, as well as Tower Bridge. The Natural History Museum is another great option, offering hands-on exhibits and something for all ages to enjoy.
There’s no shortage of art in the city, and some of the best locations for it include the Tate galleries alongside The National Gallery! After admiring the thought-provoking artwork, board the tube to one of the city’s food markets, such as Borough Market and Maltby Street Market.
For more delicious food options, venture to Camden and Islington; both areas are home to a great choice of restaurants. If you’re looking to savour an extra special treat, head to Covent Garden, home to several high-end restaurants.
Highlighted as number one for city breaks in England, when it comes to shopping, London is full of retail spots! Oxford Street is the city’s major high street and is the perfect location for a shopping spree. If vintage clothing is more to your taste, make your way to Brick Lane, where retro stores and a vintage market can be enjoyed.
Are you ready to visit any of these amazing cities? Browse this range of city breaks in the UK to find the ideal accommodation. If you’ve already booked your urban getaway, check out our UK travel guide for more itinerary inspiration.
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