It’s that time of year again, and as August bank holiday creeps up on us; full of crowds, traffic queues and crushingly disappointing weather systems, why not get ahead of the pack and skip town?
Who wouldn’t want to take in the sights and sounds of Venice?
Packed full of low cost carriers; Gatwick Airport offers some of the best deals for bank holiday escapes this summer, so why not treat yourself to a well-deserved break and head for bluer skies and an oversees adventure?
At APH we’ve done our research and come up with the best value Gatwick city breaks on offer this bank holiday. With all the hard work out the way; all that’s left is the impossible task of choosing just one exciting destination to visit…
Canals & coffee: Amsterdam
Think: art, history, nightlife
Can anything be more soothing for the soul than biking along a picturesque canal on a summer’s day, before heading to a cosy café to eat, drink and laugh; as the candles burn long into the night?
Amsterdam seamlessly melds history with the modern; a lively bar scene, canals begging to be explored and world famous art that will fix anyone’s culture cravings are all on offer; in fact you can’t go a meter in this exciting city without taking in a masterpiece or finding a vibrant bar to while away a few hours.
Explore the epic beauty of Holland’s troubled son at the Van Gogh Museum, before heading to Anne Frank’s house for a serving of perspective that’s like a poignant punch in the stomach. Take a boat trip on the beautiful canals to get that wind in your hair feeling or hit the Negen Straatjes for some much needed retail therapy before enjoying a dinner that’s worth lingering over!
Best for: Cruising canals and catching some culture
Deal: Flight and 4 nights from £274 per person, departing on 22nd August
Contact: Travel Republic
Tan lines & tapas: Seville
Think: history, sunshine, food & drink
A meandering maze of narrow medieval alleyways, ancient palaces and breath-taking Moorish architecture; this gorgeous city is heady with the scent of orange blossom, and littered with private piazzas and shady courtyards that are ideal for escaping the mid-day heat. And there’s no point sugar-coating it; Seville in the summer is hot. Street meltingly, siesta inducingly, two-showers-a-day hot!
Take in the Alcazar; a Moorish palace complete with decorated courtyards and state rooms or head straight to the immense Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Sea. The largest in the world by volume, this huge and impressive building was once the site of a 12th century mosque, and the mosque’s Minaret still towers over the cathedral today.
After an exhausting day of sightseeing, get yourself to the west bank of the winding river Guadalquivir, where the tapas bars and cafes come alive in the summer months; as the lively atmosphere continues through to the early hours; while away a perfect evening accompanied by some delicious baby squid and a refreshingly ice-cold beer!
Best for: Romantic strolls under the orange blossom
Deal: Flight and 4 nights from £364 per person, departing on 22nd August
Contact: Travel Republic
Gelato & gondolas: Venice
Think: art, food & drink, culture
Boasting the world’s most artistic masterpieces per square kilometre and delicious food around every corner; Venice is a haven for art lovers and foodies alike. Forever teetering inexplicably on the brink of flood; this ancient city is all piazzas, sights and seafood; perfectly topped off with a scoop of dreamy Gelato!
Start in the piazza San Marco where you will find not one but three of Venice’s must-see sights. The Basilica di San Marco took 800 years to build and is best viewed at sunset from the western end of the piazza; when the glow of the fading sunlight really brings it to life. Step inside for a glimpse at the treasure trove it holds or head to the once political centre of Venice; Doge’s Palace, or the beautiful St Mark’s Clock Tower built in the 15th century; both well worth a look.
No trip to Venice would be complete without the obligatory gondola ride; so book yourself a trip, settle back and enjoy the best view of the city; a boat trip on the Grand Canal is also a great way to see the sights.
After a heady day’s exploration, refresh your senses with a drink at the Hilton’s Skyline Bar, which as you’d expect, offers stunning views of this spectacular city.
Best for: Piazza-side people watching
Deal: Flight and 4 nights from £327 per person, departing on 22nd August
Contact: Low Cost Holidays
Castles & cakes: Budapest
The views in Budapest are breath-taking
Think: history; food & drink; architecture
There’s no getting away from Budapest’s complex history; bullet holes and scorch marks are sharp reminders of the past and wait around every corner of this stunning city. One of the most beautiful cities in Europe; Budapest suffered under the weight of World War II and then faced conflict again in 1956; this time with the Soviet Union, following the cities uprising against the communist regime.
Today the Danube Embankment and Buda Castle are World Heritage sites, and it’s not hard to see why. Standing on a bridge and taking in the breath-taking views of the city before losing yourself in the ancient town’s baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau architecture is the perfect way to start your weekend.
Food in Budapest is diverse and sophisticated, even if they do say so themselves; wine fiends should make it their business to try the honey and gold coloured Tokaj. For a really indulgent afternoon, put your feet up in one of Budapest’s many pastry shops and delight in a Dobos; a delicious cake or curl up with a kréme; a crisp pastry with a cream filling; divine!
Best for: Awe-inspiring architectural wonders
Deal: Flight and 4 nights from £357 per person, departing on 22nd August
Contact: Low Cost Holidays
Pastries & parties: Copenhagen
Nyhavn is the perfect place to unwind after a hectic day image credit
Think: culture, food & drink, nightlife
There’s no doubt about it; Copenhagen is booming! Packed full of café’s, culture and some of the hottest bars in Europe; this once forgotten city is blossoming into one of the most exciting capitals on the continent.
From infamous attractions like The Little Mermaid, found on the Langelinje Pier, to simple pleasures like the abundant patisseries and bakeries where you can indulge your sweet tooth; Copenhagen’s charms are apparent as soon as you step off the plane.
Take a trip to Kronburg Castle, made famous by Shakespeare’s Hamlet and built in the 16th century or stay in town and get your fun park on at Tivoli Gardens; packed full of amusements, rides and tasty treats, this is Demarks most popular attraction. Shopaholics should make their way to Strøget; Copenhagen’s largest shopping area, before flopping into a cosy café for a reviving coffee.
As the sun makes it way down the sky, head to picturesque Nyhavn; once a busy port this is a great place to unwind after a hectic day. Grab some dinner in one of the many restaurants or dangle your feet in the cooling water of the quay with a beer, as the sounds of laughter and jazz fill the air.
Best for: Getting to know the super friendly locals
Deal: Flight and 4 nights from £299 per person, departing on 22nd August
Contact: Travel Republic
Start as you mean to go on…
Pre-booking your Gatwick Airport parking is a great way to start your holiday; sail into a guaranteed space and get whisked to the airport in a matter of minutes. For a real treat why not choose a meet and greet parking service at Gatwick; ditch the transfers as you’re met at the terminal by a valet, saving you so much hassle!
Crawling out of bed at the crack of dawn to catch that low cost carrier flight? Save yourself a stressful morning and wake up just moments from the check-in desk with a stay at a Gatwick Airport hotel.