With so many people trying to stick to a tight budget these days, it can often be difficult to justify taking an expensive holiday. Yet the stresses of modern life mean that we need an occasional break more than ever, with many studies showing the importance of taking time out to unwind. Sometimes we really do just need to get away – it’s the most effective way to break out of your everyday routine and stimulate your mind with a new environment.
Luckily, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune to enjoy some time away. A short break to a new city can be a wonderfully refreshing experience, and there are many economical choices within the British Isles that offer loads of things to do for those on a budget. Pick a destination you’ve never visited before, look into inexpensive hotels or hostels, then book a seat on a cheap bus network to get you there without breaking the bank.
Here are our top 5 cities within the British Isles for an inexpensive city break:
If you’re craving the excitement of a massive metropolis but find London has grown far too expensive in recent years, Britain’s second largest city may be a good choice. Once a prime industrial city and the hub of the British motor industry, it is now a buzzing, forward-looking place with interesting architecture and plenty of green space and canals that are perfect for a wander. The excellent Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is free to visit, and the city puts on a number of free arts festivals throughout the year, including September’s ArtsFest, the International Dance Festival in April and Birmingham Pride in May. Famous for its Balti cuisine, Birmingham offers plenty of good food at a reasonable price, as well as some of the lowest average hotel prices in Britain.
The Welsh capital is a vibrant and young-spirited city with a wealth of free attractions, making it an exciting place to visit for those on a budget. The National Museum Cardiff offers extensive displays for those interested in art, archaeology and natural history, while St Fagan’s National History Museum is one of the best open-air museums in Europe and will certainly appeal to those interested in experiencing life in times past. Learn about Cardiff’s fascinating maritime heritage at the Cardiff Bay Visitors Centre, or browse one of the many free art galleries in the city. If you’re visiting during the summer, try to catch some events staged as part of the Cardiff Summer Festival, one of the largest free festivals in the country.
Another bustling urban centre with a thriving cultural scene and nightlife, Glasgow has undergone a massive regeneration in recent decades that have made it a popular destination for visitors. The city boasts an outstanding assortment of museums, many of which are free to visit. Check out the brand new Riverside Museum for a glimpse of Glasgow life in the last century, examine the fascinating objects in the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, or browse the fabulous collection on view in the stylish Gallery of Modern Art.
Dublin sometimes has a reputation for being an expensive city to visit, but there is actually plenty to do here for those on a strict budget. The city offers a good selection of inexpensive hotels, and getting there can be cheap and efficient if you book a bus to Ireland with a combined ferry ticket. Once there, check out some of the excellent national galleries and museums, including the National Museum of Ireland, the National Botanic Gardens and Ireland’s National Gallery, all of which are free to visit. If that doesn’t occupy all of your time, download one of the free iWalks podcasts from Visit Dublin to go on your own personal walking tour of the city.
This fun-loving northern city is fast gaining a reputation as a great place for inexpensive getaways. With a good selection of cheap hotels and eateries, you’ll have enough cash left to take part in the city’s famous nightlife and explore the wealth of cultural and heritage attractions on offer. Some of these, such as the brilliant BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, are free to visit, while others, such as the imposing Norman Castle Keep and the atmospheric Victoria Tunnel, which runs under the city, only charge a small admission.
What are your favourite destinations for an inexpensive break?