The best short trips for the bank holiday weekend

By Emily Waddell

We don’t want to bum you out, but after the August Bank Holiday, the next one isn’t until Christmas

We know, sorry, but this is even more reason to seize the day with your free day off. Grab a friend or a partner, and either fly, train or drive your way to somewhere new for the next three days. We’ve found the best short trips that won’t leave you tired but raring to go to discover the best food, culture and adventures. What are you waiting for? Carpe Diem!

Express Yourself at Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival
Let your hair down at Notting Hill Carnival © Jonathan Harrison/

Trains to LondonAccommodation from £10

One of the UK’s most beloved institutions is happening over this bank holiday weekend. So much more than a free party, Notting Hill Carnival transforms west London into a Caribbean carnival with excellent food, good tunes and colourful parades. Saturday is the official party day with Sunday being the family day and Monday is when the Grand Parade takes place for the closure of the festival, so there’s something for everyone.

Discover a Welsh Giant in Pen y Fan

Pen Y Fan
Get a spectacular view at the top of Pen Y Fan © Harry Blythe-Allen/

Trains to WalesAccommodation from £18

A three day trip to the countryside is just the cure for hectic city life, and hiking gets you into the country air. One of the Wales’ most popular walking routes also happens to be its highest peak at around 873 metres. Used by Special Forces to train troops, it’s something you can claim bragging rights to for at least a year or two. The view is spectacular, and if you catch it on a day when it’s not raining (albeit rare, it is Wales), then it’s fascinating to see where it is and isn’t raining because of how immensely high up you are. The National Trust has an excellent and concise route map.

KAYAK Tip: There are lots of quaint inns and B&B’s surrounded the Brecon Beacons, sleep well, climb a mountain and then celebrate with a traditional Welsh ale.

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Canoeing on Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland

Lough Neagh
Get out onto Lough Neagh for an escape from modern life © David Milligan/

Northern Ireland is only a hop away if you’re in the north of England, and only a hop, skip and a jump from everywhere else. If you don’t want the hustle and bustle of a city, why not explore the largely unexplored-by-tourists Lough Neagh. Perfectly situated to enjoy some water sports while the last rays of Summer glimmer on the water before resigning for the evening in one the areas lively Irish pubs.

Catch the Stars Before They Disappear in Northumberland

Kielder Observatory
Dark sky at night, travellers delight ©

Trains to NorthumberlandAccommodation from £25

The Kielder Observatory in the Northumberland estimates that 85% of the UK population has never seen a truly dark sky, meaning that most of us have never really seen the stars. For 580sq miles the Northumberland Dark Sky Park is pitch black and is the largest area of protected night sky in Europe – so truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Visitors will need to hire a car to get to the remote area.

Island Hopping in Scotland

Isle of Mull waterfall
Ah, breathe in the Isle of Mull © Sue Burton PhotographyLtd/

There is an astounding number of beautiful places to visit in Scotland, so try and see as much of it as possible with a Three Isle Tour which takes you around the Hebridean isles of Mull, Iona and Staffa. All islands have original delights, but they all share amazing landscapes for envy-inducing pictures, vivid history and quaint villages filled with charming pubs, restaurants and people. The tour kicks off at Oban, so catch a flight to Glasgow, then drive to the pick-up spot.

KAYAK Tip: If you fancy staying on one of the islands then bring your hiking stuff, Scotland is a wonderland for hikers and people who want to make their friends jelly on Instagram.

Watch Knights Joust in Old Sarum

Old Sarum
Old Sarum is straight out of a fantasy novel © Jonathan Harrison/

Trains to SalisburyAccommodation from £21

No, you read that right, you can watch Knights in full costume joust in a place that sounds like it’s sprung from the pages of a global best selling fantasy novel. English Heritage is celebrating the summer in the most English way it knows how, but having a Medieval Knights Season. And there’s no better place than watching a Medieval display than the site of the earliest settlement in England, Old Sarum.

Note: These rates are based on search queries made on on August 15th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.