Seven weekend getaways for any budget
Is it just us or can January really drag? We all need something to look forward to and sometimes a change of scenery can be just what the doctor ordered. We asked a few people around the office at Swinton HQ where their top UK getaway destinations are to suit all budgets and they came up with some real gems!
Lake District – Rachael, Brand Communications Manager
One of my favourite things to do when I need a weekend away is jump in my car and head over to the Lake District. As the name suggests, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the water – whether that be hiring a boat on Coniston Water, canoeing on Lake Windermere or even relaxing in a hot tub overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake!
For fellow foodies like myself, the Lake District is home to some amazing restaurants, including the Michelin star restaurant, L’Enclume. If fine dining isn’t your thing, there are some lovely, cosy gastro-pub options, too. The Drunken Duck is one of my favourites, but make sure you book a table in advance!
Best for: Exploring the great outdoors.
Top tip: Cycling is a great way to explore the Lake District. If you don’t have a bike or don’t fancy bringing yours along, you can hire one in Windermere for as little as £20!
Cornwall – Hope, Digital Account Manager
As long as you don’t mind the long drive (depending on where you’re based), Cornwall is always a winner for me and my family, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors. Cornwall is the perfect place to explore - you can cycle along the Camel Trail, walk along the many beaches (Sennen Beach is a must-visit), dive into the rock pools and go surfing (weather dependant, of course).
Even during the colder months, Cornwall is beautiful and tranquil, so you can get all the rest and relaxation you need. If you get a chance to visit the picturesque sea town of St Ives, you should definitely check out the iconic Tate St Ives – it’s not only an impressive art gallery, but also offers great seaside views!
Best for: Food! Of course, the famous Cornish pasties are not to be missed, but Cornwall is also home to Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant - the food is incredible, perfect for a special occasion or nice treat.
Top tip: I would recommend going to see the Seal Sanctuary as it’s not something you can easily experience anywhere else in the UK!
Southport – Matt, Artwork Designer
When someone asks where I like to go for a weekend away and I say ‘Southport’, people always laugh at my response as it’s so far from what they thought I’d say! But honestly, I love Southport. There’s something to offer for everyone in my little family and, as a bonus, it’s really easy to get to. If the weather is kind to us, we like to go for walks along the beach and stop for a picnic. My little boy loves trains and it’s great to see the joy on his face when we visit the model railway village.
Sometimes if my parents have joined us for the weekend, my wife and I get chance to have a date night, so we often hop on the train to Liverpool for dinner and a couple of drinks in the Cavern. However, if funds don’t permit a night out in Liverpool, we’ll head to the local theatre or bowling alley for some light-hearted fun.
Best for: Family fun.
Top tip: Don’t be put off – give Southport a go and I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we do!
Llandudno – Lauren, Head of Content
My family are situated all over Wales so whenever I need a break, I always head over to visit them. Llandudno has always been one of my favourite places – I could gaze at the view from the sea front with an ice cream in hand for hours! The best thing about Llandudno (and Wales in general) is that you’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from other towns, with Conwy and Colwyn Bay being close by.
If you’re outdoorsy and feeling brave, there are magnificent views from the top of Snowdonia and climbing it means you’ll definitely earn yourself a nice pub lunch or a big portion of fish and chips afterwards!
Best for: Punch and Judy, of course!
Top tip: If you like afternoon tea and cake, Characters is a must-visit, with high tea costing around £10.
Manchester – Andy, Designer
It wasn’t too long ago that I was a student, so I know exactly what it’s like to need a weekend getaway but struggle to justify the spend. When I’m low on cash, I actually enjoy having my very own ‘staycation’ and take some time to explore my hometown, Manchester! There are so many things to do that don’t involve needing to dig deep into your pockets – museums, libraries, gigs, parks, art galleries and exhibitions, there’s something for everyone!
The Museum of Science and Industry and the National Football Museum always make a fun afternoon out and both offer free admission. Once I’ve exhausted the city, I like to treat myself to some food and a pint in Wetherspoons – you can’t beat it!
Best for: Museums. There are so many to choose from and you could easily explore them all in a weekend.
Top Tip: If you’re into music like me, keep an eye out on websites such as Skiddle, as they always have events advertised for the city.
Blackpool – Karey, Head of Talent
Blackpool will always have a special place in my heart, as I’ve been visiting since I was a little girl with my Mum and Dad. I still get excited when I see the Blackpool Tower from the car! Blackpool is a great place to visit, especially when you have the grandkids to keep entertained.
There are the obvious attractions such as the Tower, Pleasure Beach and the Illuminations to name a few. However, I find a long walk along the pier also very enjoyable – being by the sea is always a perfect way to relax after a long working week.
Best for: Fish and chips on the sea front (make sure you watch out for those seagulls!) closely followed by some delicious doughnuts.
Top tip: Keep an eye out for offers to get discounted tickets for the Blackpool Tower and Pleasure Beach, especially around the school holidays.
Oxford – Kieran, Operations Director
I lived in Oxford a few years ago and try to go back as much as I can. Of course, if you’re in Oxford, you have to try your hand at punting – hire a punt from Cherwell Boathouse and take in the city from the River Cherwell. Or, if you find sightseeing on foot more appealing, I love exploring Oxford University’s many buildings, visiting Oxford Castle and climbing the Saxon Tower.
If all of that isn’t enough - the city is just on the outskirts of the Cotswolds, which is definitely worth a visit with its traditional thatched cottages, tea rooms and beautiful scenery.
Best for: Culture. There are so many museums to visit in Oxford, as well as plenty of famous film and TV locations!
Top tip: Oxford is great for a bit of retail therapy – there’s a great mix of different shops and boutiques.