It’s getting closer to festive family time, so how about an adults-only getaway.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, there are cheap getaways for everyone – from sunbathing to hiking or biking in the mountains, shopping at a Christmas market or relaxing at a spa.
Trisha Harbord picks ten bargains from home and abroad. . .
parties on weekends
LET THE RIDE RUN at a Butlin’s Big Weekend for couples and friends.
After a night at one of three resorts in Skegness, Lincs, Minehead, Somerset and Bognor Regis, you won’t need a cab home.
DJ Fatboy Slim, the bands Five, Atomic Kitten and Scouting For Girls as well as singer Chesney Hawkes are among the headliners of the concerts.
Big Weekenders include accommodation for all budgets and access to pool parties, live performances, silent discos, comedy clubs and more.
During the day, whiz down the water slides at the splash pool complex, visit the fairgrounds or try your hand at go-karting.
WALK: Three nights self catering accommodation, including in Minehead from 2nd December, costs from £65 per person.
Includes breakfast for £8.95 or breakfast and dinner for £29.95 per day. See bigweekends.com.
Hop on your mountain bike for a self-guided ride through the Welsh hills.
MTB Trail Thrillogy offers routes across North Carmarthenshire, including fast descents, forest trails and cross-country routes. Along the way you will find pubs and cafes.
A two day break begins in Crychan Forest near Llandovery. After a 12-mile loop, you can ride another eight miles — and that’s just morning.
Head to Cwm Rhaeadr for a rock ‘n roll ride that promises spectacular views.
The next day we go to the Gorlechtal. Finally, tackle the Raven – an 11-mile trail in Brechfa Forest. Celebrate with a Raven Burger and pint at the Forest Arms.
WALK: See discovercarmarthenshire.com. B&B for two at the Castle Hotel, Llandovery, from £60 per night. Visit castle-hotel-llandovery.co.uk for more information.
city by bus
SEE one of the world’s leading attractions in Belfast on a short bus tour.
The £97m Titanic Belfast Experience features nine interactive galleries that tell the story of the doomed ship from her construction to her tragic end.
Admission is included with the three-night tour, which also includes a visit to Stormont Castle, the Peace Wall and murals along Shankhill and Falls Streets.
There is an optional excursion to the Antrim Coast, home of the Giant’s Causeway – 40,000 basalt columns on the seashore.
WALK: Three nights B&B accommodation at a four-star Holiday Inn hotel, including flights from Manchester on 27th November and coach travel, costs from £345 pps. P. (saving £114).
Other departure airports available. See newmarketholidays.co.uk.
SKI in Andorra for an affordable holiday on the slopes.
Grandvalira, in the heart of the Pyrenees, has 130 km of slopes, three snow parks and freestyle courses.
There are trails for beginners and experienced skiers, as well as fun activities like snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
The newly renovated Hotel Austria is 800 m away and there is a bus to the ski area.
Shopaholics should visit the nearby Pas de la Casa, where every street is packed with tax-free shops and local restaurants.
WALK: Room only for seven nights in a three star hotel from £272pp. See pierreetvacances.com.
Flights from Gatwick to Toulouse cost from £53 return. See easyjet.com.
Car hire costs from £52 per week. See travelsupermarket.com.
COMBINE a cozy cottage stay in stunning countryside with a visit to a glittering Christmas market.
Exeter Cathedral Market is the largest in Devon, with more than 100 traders attracting 600,000 visitors. The chalets are packed with gifts ranging from homeware to jewellery.
There is no shortage of celebratory food and drink – including vodka made from Dartmoor spring water, hot cocktails and craft beers.
After stopping by the local Lamb Inn, head back to your cottage in the village of Sandford and light the log burner.
You are also close to the Jurassic Coast and Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks.
WALK: Three nights self catering in 2 Gosses Cottage for two people and up to two dogs from 25th November or 2nd December is £316. See ferienwohnungen.de.
SOAK up in the winter sun at a beachfront hotel in Tunisia, where temperatures are in the 70s.
The 4-star all-inclusive Occidental Marco Polo Hotel is perfect for rest and relaxation with heated pools, a hammam and a sauna.
There is a range of sporting activities including football, table tennis and volleyball.
The town of Hammamet has a mix of old and new – traditional architecture including the 15th-century Great Mosque, cobbled streets and a vibrant nightlife of shisha bars, restaurants and clubs.
Visit the bazaars for local goods at bargain prices. Excursions include boat trips and guided tours.
WALK: All Inclusive for seven nights, including flights from Gatwick on 10th December, costs from £305 per person. See easyjet.com/holidays. Visit experience.easyjet.com for tours.
IF your boots are made for hiking, there’s no better place than the Lake District.
And The Yan at Broadrayne is a great place to relax after a long hike.
It’s also known for healthy food, including shepherd’s pie and sticky toffee pudding.
From its door you can climb Helvellyn and the less strenuous Helm Crag.
Grasmere, which William Wordsworth described as ‘the loveliest place man has ever found’, is a short walk away and is full of cafes and boutiques.
There you can visit Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and Museum.
WALK: A B&B in a night for two this month and December, including a three course meal, in a glamping pod is from £125 per person. Or in a chic bedroom from £140pp. See theyan.co.uk.
Thrills in the amusement park
Buckle up because popular Blackpool Pleasure Beach is extending its season until the end of this month.
The theme park is open today and for the next two weekends, so thrill-seekers can ride Icon, Britain’s first double-launch coaster – and The Big One, the tallest.
Nickelodeon Land and the Ghost Train are also open, and attractions like Adventure Golf have a Christmas theme through the 26th.
Blackpool’s famous Illuminations, a six-mile display along the promenade, has also been extended until January 2nd. If you’re staying next door at the 4-star Big Blue Hotel, don’t waste time on the rides.
WALK: Parking ticket costs from £30. See blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.
Double room at the Big Blue Hotel on 20th November from £80. See bigbluehotel.com.
Escape to a spa is just the pick-me-up before the holiday shopping begins.
Take a loved one or friend for a Bubbles & Bliss break at the award-winning Stoke-by-Nayland Resort near Colchester. It includes B&B, one day use of the spa facilities, a reserved lounger, treatment, towels, flip flops and a bottle of cava for your room.
The Peake Spa has a pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, and a range of treatments including signature mud therapy.
The 4-star resort with two championship golf courses features a fitness center and restaurants. Enjoy afternoon tea overlooking Constable Country, from £19.95.
GO: Spa Break including B&B late November/early December from £115 per person based on two people sharing. Visit stokebynayland.com for details.
Treat yourself to an early Christmas present and fly to the Canary Islands for a touch of luxury.
Lanzarote has temperatures of 75°F in December, with at least six hours of sunshine to top up your tan.
The 4-star Seaside Los Jameos Hotel features fabulous lagoons and pools, a palm tree garden and lobby balconies.
The food is made from locally sourced produce and the buffets are sumptuous, so choosing half-board is a good option and good value.
Burn off some calories in the fitness center or relax in the spa.
Play golf at the nearby courses or go hiking to explore the island’s unique volcanic landscape.
WALK: Seven nights B&B accommodation including flights from Stansted on 10th December from £615 per person, half board from £672. See jet2holidays.com.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/20406649/travel-ten-bargain-bumper-breaks-festive-season/ From soaking up to sun to biking in the hills – get away before the festive season with these 10 bargain breaks