If you're looking for a family holiday destination to take the kids this summer, or planning a romantic weekend away with your partner, we have a list of quick city breaks that you should visit - and they're all just two hours away from the UK.
It is always hard to find the perfect family holiday destination for the kids that doesn’t involve hours of travelling. Spending hours on a plane with a screaming little tot after lugging around the whole families suitcases definitely isn’t the best way to start a summer holiday.
But, there are many beautiful cities all just two hours away from the UK, either by plane or train, that are worth a visit. We have put together a list of our favourite quick city breaks and included the best sights to check out on your travels.
Quick city breaks: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Canals, bikes, tulips… there’s a lot to love about Amsterdam. On arrival, head straight to the Bloemenmarkt on the canals for a view of quintessential Amsterdam, then stop off at the Kattenkabinet for something completely different (a museum entirely dedicated to cats and art involving cats).
The food highlights of Amsterdam are stroopwafels – which can be sampled in giant form at the Albert Cuyp Market – and the small, but packing a punch, Foodhallen. The latter is a towering hall featuring numerous food stalls and bars – indulge on bitterballen (a beef or veal meat-based snack), salmon tacos, vegan nachos and delectable dim sum, all topped off with a high-end G&T.
Flight time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Take the train? In 2018, a new Eurostar route launched between London and Amsterdam, with direct trains taking under four hours.
Quick city breaks: Salzburg, Austria
The hills are alive in Salzburg. If you hadn’t already guessed, this Austrian gem is also the real-life set of The Sound of Music. Here you can visit Leopoldskron Palace – where the Von Trapp family lived – dance through the beautiful Mirabell Gardens, or re-enact the famous wedding scene at the Mondsee Church.
Apart from the 1965 movie, Salzburg is also a haven for lovers of baroque architecture and also the birthplace of world-famous composer, Mozart.
Flight time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Quick city breaks: Geneva, Switzerland
Fringed by snow-dusted mountains and a stone’s throw from the best ski resorts in France and Switzerland, it can be hard to see beyond the powder in Geneva, but a little dig deeper. There’s the pretty Old Town, the European seat of the United Nations (which has a giant seat), and outdoor green spaces like Bastions Park – a stark contrast to the white snow. Feel the spray of Jet d’Eau and get clued up on particle physics at the CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider.
Flight time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Quick city breaks: Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of Europe’s cheapest and most spectacular cities. Everything, from its flat whites to its historic hotels are budget friendly, leaving you with plenty of cash to get under the skin of this arrestingly beautiful city. Not that you’ll need it. Known as the ‘City of 100 Spires’ but boasting around 500, Prague has a history stretching back 1,000 years – all discoverable without spending a penny.
Navigate the labyrinthine Jewish Quarter, stroll the Charles Bridge, admire the Church of St Nicholas, and gaze upon the Astronomical Clock. Finish your days with a coffee or wine (yes, that’s really cheap too).
Flight time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Quick city breaks: Berlin, Germany
If you’re fascinated by Berlin’s tumultuous, yet compelling wartime history, there’s plenty to see – including Brandenburg Gate, the graffiti-covered remains of the Berlin Wall and the moving Holocaust Memorial. Today, Berlin has risen like a phoenix from its ashes and, after paying homage to the past, it’s crucial that you immerse yourself in its present, too.Gaze over the city from the top of the 368m Television Tower, and observe a staggering 22,000 types of plant in the stunning Botanical Gardens. The shopping opportunities are fantastic, too.
Flight time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Quick city breaks: Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp is a brilliant Belgian mini break: think higgledy-piggledy architecture, cobbled lanes and an arts and fashion scene to rival Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities.Don’t miss The Rubenshuis, former home and studio of artist Peter Paul Rubens, and make time to explore MAS – the Museum aan de Stroom – which has amazing views from its upper floors and outdoor deck. Do a spot of shopping around Volkstraat and Nationalestraat – the city’s top designers have boutiques there – and find inspiration at the MoMu fashion museum.
Flight time: 1 hour
Take the train? (3 hours) Take the Eurostar from St Pancras or Ashford in Kent to Brussels, then change for a local train (ticket is included when you buy ‘to all Belgian stations’).