Weekend Away: The 10 Best City Breaks in England

England has lots of beautiful cities you can escape to and explore over a weekend. Find out about ten of them with Avanti West Coast.

Becky blog author avanti social team

Avanti West Coast web team

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5 min read

Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic hideaway, a travel-lover seeking out some culture or a family that wants to explore somewhere new, having a weekend away in England is a great way to spend your Saturday and Sunday. Yet with so many cities offering history, culture, fun and plenty of activities, it can be difficult to choose a destination to visit.

So, to help figure out which England city breaks will be best for you, here are ten of the most exciting to make a two-day getaway to.

1. London

As you might expect from one of the world’s most well-known capital cities, a London city break has something for everyone to enjoy. In fact, there is so much for sightseers to enjoy, that it’s impossible to cover it all in just a weekend. If you’re new to the city, the main attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the Shard as well as the many museums and galleries should be on your must-visit list.

Alternatively, if you’re returning to London and want to see a different side of the capital, taking a trip to Brick Lane or Borough Market is recommended for food lovers, Camden and Carnaby Street for shopaholics and Hampstead Heath or Richmond Park for outdoor explorers.

2. Manchester

Manchester city breaks are sure to be full of music, food and fun. A vibrant and exciting city, Manchester also has plenty of history and is a cultural destination packed full of entertainment venues such as the Royal Exchange Theatre, Victoria Warehouse and Albert Hall. With sports events, gigs, exhibitions and festivals running every weekend, you’ll be sure to have a great day or night out whenever you travel.

Alternatively, planning your trip to catch the International Festival, Warehouse Project nights or Christmas Markets will mean you get to see the best Manchester has to offer. Plus, if you’re a football fan, then this destination has everything you could ask for. Book to see a match or take a tour around the iconic Old Trafford Stadium or head to the National Football Museum to see some of the UK’s iconic sporting artefacts.

3. Liverpool

Previously a City of Culture, a Liverpool city break promises plenty of attractions and things to do. A historic port city, a sightseeing boat trip up the River Mersey is recommended to those who are new to Liverpool, as are the World, Maritime and Beatles Museums. Plus, once you dock at the Waterfront, there is no shortage of bars, cafes and restaurants to enjoy, with the buzzing city centre just a few minutes’ walks away.

Those who love shopping won’t be disappointed either, with iconic destination Liverpool One offering 42 acres of city centre retails therapy. There’s also, of course, plenty for football lovers to enjoy, with the historic Anfield stadium open to tourists and visitors outside of match days.

4. Birmingham

The capital of the Midlands, there’s nothing like a Birmingham city break for those that love diverse and eclectic destinations. A relatively compact city compared to others, it’s easy to walk around and check out all the main sights, such as the Grand Union Canal, Victoria Square and Museum and Art Gallery in a day.

If you’re looking for an alternative night out, Digbeth is an area packed full of quirky bars and food destinations, with a weekly dining club and plenty of entertainment venues to get stuck into. Birmingham is also a diverse community, meaning it's one of the best places to experience different cuisines and cultures, with the Balti Triangle area and Caribbean Festival being particular highlights.

5. Chester

For a more relaxed weekend away, Chester’s historical architecture and variety of attractions mean you can pack your two days with as many or as few activities as you like. Established in Roman times, the Medieval buildings and City Wall walks are essential for history lovers. Or, if you love a touch of retail therapy, The Rows and nearby Cheshire Oaks shopping parks should be on your list.

For families, Chester Zoo is just a short journey away from the city centre by public transport and is a great place to spend a full day admiring and learning about some of the world’s rarest species. Then, return to the city centre to take your pick from a range of historical pubs, family-friendly restaurants and quirky bars to sit back and relax for the evening.

6. Coventry

City of Culture 2021, Coventry has plenty to offer visitors and a great base to explore the wider surrounding areas. Attractions include the Herbert Art Gallery and Transport Museum and visiting the Cathedral Ruins and St Mary’s Guildhall are ideal places to start if you want to find out more about Coventry’s history and culture.

A university city, there are also plenty of entertainment venues, alternative restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy such as the quirky and independent Fargo Village, sports and music stadium Coventry Arena and the Lower Precinct Shopping Centre.

7. Newcastle

As friendly and fun as the Geordies that call it home, Newcastle is a great place to spend two days and nights out and an ideal base to explore the beauty of Northern England. Set on the banks of the River Tyne, a self-guided walking tour takes in all the major sights, including the Tyne Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Cathedral and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

If you’re looking for events, there’s also plenty to enjoy here. From a football match at St James’ Park to a gig at City Hall and a show at the Theatre Royal, you won’t be short of entertainment here. If you’re hungry, head to Quayside for plenty of quality bars and restaurants or the famous Sunday market to try the best the city offers.

8. Bristol

Alternative, quirky and casual. Bristol is a must-go destination for those who love a laid-back weekend with plenty to explore. A great mix of modern edginess and diverse history, there’s a neighbourhood of the city to suit everyone’s preferences. From the hipster studenty Stokes Croft to the beautiful Waterside and the quieter, trendy area of Clifton, there’s somewhere for any type of traveller to stay and enjoy.

Attractions include the SS Great Britain, Bristol Museum and the Cathedral, with plenty of independent and quirky places to stop for refreshments around King’s Street and the Harbourside. Plus, Brandon Hill, Ashton Court and the Clifton Suspension Bridge are the perfect places for walkers to visit.

9. Brighton

Vibrant and energetic, the seaside city of Brighton guarantees festival feels every weekend. If you love enjoying all the fun of the fair, then Brighton and Bright Palace Piers has plenty of attractions and rides for you to enjoy. Once you’ve had your fill of cotton candy, walk down the Promenade to take in the classic English seaside holiday vibes before stopping off for Fish and Chips or an afternoon tea.

To see the trendier side of Brighton, head into The Lanes and get lost in its independent shop and quirky wall art. At the exit of The Lanes you can also take in the beautiful Royal Pavillion or continue down to North Laines to pick up a unique souvenir or enjoy a pint at the famous Prince Albert Pub.

10. Cambridge

For a quintessentially English getaway, Cambridge is top of the list. Famous for its University, the colleges are open to visitors on certain days and are a great place to start your visit to the city. To explore the city further, there are two main ways to travel, by punt or by bike. Rent either and head out to check out some attractions including the Bridge of Sighs and the Round Church.

Then, head back into the centre for a meal or drink at Cambridge's iconic or independent bars, restaurants or cafes. The city’s oldest restaurant Varsity, cocktail bar 2648 and afternoon tea destination Fitzbillies (famous for its Chelsea Buns) are must-stop destinations.

Take a relaxing weekend getaway

To get your weekend city break off to the best start, make sure you travel to your destination with Avanti West Coast trains. Book your tickets in advance and get the best rates, including discounts for groups or families, before climbing aboard and sitting back to enjoy our free WiFi, entertainment and delicious selection of refreshments. With routes to all major English cities available, you can get right to the heart of your destination easily with Avanti.

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