The 40 greatest British weekend breaks for 2022

Ah, the “mini break”. That must mean a headscarf and 1950s sunglasses. An overpriced and impractical holdall. A picnic basket in the trunk. And a drive to a country house, where you’ll float around in flowing fabrics and bathe in champagne, candlelight, sunsets and smugness.

Or maybe not.

It’s been 25 years since Bridget Jones’ Diary hit shelves, the mid-1990s heyday of the cliched long weekend when the imagination ran no further than romance and room service at a fancy hotel. Thankfully, the British short break has evolved somewhat since then. Now all kinds of escapades can be packed into a few days whether you are traveling with your significant other, friends, family or alone. Why just “float” when you could walk the length of a National Trail, take a speedy wildlife-spotting cruise, canoe down an entire river, let the kids romp in the semi-wilderness and tick off a ton of castle sightseeing, recalibrate your well-being , learning to write a novel, or finding out if you can get through the weekend using your wits alone?

Even the indulgent end of the market has gotten a lot more original – a quick jaunt in a supercar with a famous racer, anyone? Move over old-school mini-holidays, action-packed micro-adventures and chic seaside stays are in. And with ongoing airport chaos and ongoing Covid rules abroad, now may be the time to harness the potential of this evolved type of long weekend.

Alternatively, if you top up that annual leave for a longer trip later in the year, these short breaks can tide you over until your next big trip. They offer plenty of bang for just a day or two off – refreshing, adventurous, unusual, varied and enjoyable short breaks across the UK that will make you feel like you’ve had a much longer, more exotic holiday than you actually have. No headscarf required.

Coastal Quickies

Gorge by the Sea, Devon

The Salcombe Food & Drink Trail makes for a delicious short break: follow it for artisanal chocolate and ice cream tastings, crab shacks and lobster shacks, cooking demonstrations and chili farms, plus a lesson at Salcombe Gin School (to make your own drink). Stay at Salcombe Shepherd Huts for its cozy hideaways overlooking the estuary and close to South Devon’s fine sandy beaches. A 3-day stay in a shepherd’s hut (sleeps up to 4 people) costs from £200 (01548 843635; The 40 greatest British weekend breaks for 2022

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