Hands up – who’s started thinking about their summer holidays? Us too. With it finally looking like the cold weather is gone and the nights getting lighter in the UK, we’re all a bit more keen to get outside and start planning our next big trip away.
But there’s nothing worse than spending a fortnight in a destination that’s not turned out exactly like you hoped. So if you want something that’s guaranteed to be perfect for you this year – look no further.
We’ve put together some ideas so you can enjoy something a bit different, or even just a totally new destination that isn’t just your average ‘cheap and cheerful’ package location.
The Game of Thrones Experience
The smash-hit TV series is now one of the most successful of all time, with fans of all ages and walks of life happy to get stuck into some good old-fashioned swashbuckling action. Naturally, the world of Westeros is the kind of destination that Game of Thrones fans can only dream of visiting, but in reality it’s totally possible to set foot in some of the filming locations that were used to bring the show to life.
If you fancy visiting King’s Landing – the sprawling capital of Westeros – then you’ll only need to book a short flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia. This historic city and its famous walls and fortifications have been Game of Thrones backdrops since the first season, so there are plenty of filming spots you’ll recognise, as well as guided tours by locals who worked on the show as extras.
Dubrovnik also has near-perfect weather during the summer and some stunning views along the Dalmatian coast. Prices start at as little as £40 return if you’re flying with a budget airline, and accommodation costs won’t set you back a great deal – particularly if you take advantage of the many Airbnb options that have sprung up in recent years.
If a trip to Croatia feels a bit too far away, there are plenty of Game of Thrones in the UK. Northern Ireland provided the scenery for Winterfell, and there are plenty of tours throughout Northern Ireland that’ll introduce you to more memorable locations like the village of Ballintoy, aka Pyke, capital of The Iron Islands. And in England and you can see the original inspiration for The Wall – Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, which is truly breath-taking.
If you go on holiday a lot, then you’ll understand the stresses and strains that flying can cause for everyone. From rushing to the airport to dealing with turbulence, some journeys can spoil an entire holiday, especially if it’s a long-haul trip. Instead of piling onto a tin can for several hours this summer, why not look at going somewhere that doesn’t involve a flight?
France and Belgium are both reachable by Eurostar train, with comfortable seats and a relatively stress-free check-in process making it easy to reach Belgium, Northern France’s seaside resorts and even Disneyland Paris. Eurostar fares from London to Brussels or Paris start at around £60 for a second-class return if you book in advance, while first class will set you back around £170.
If you’ve got your sea legs, then a trip to Amsterdam or Ireland may be a more exciting prospect. A daily overnight cruise ship-style ferry operates between Tyneside and the Dutch capital on a daily basis, and it’s possible to get from Holyhead and Stranraer if you want to visit the Emerald Isle, with scheduled trips to Dublin and Belfast respectively. Prices vary dramatically, but you know that you’re combining your transport and accommodation in one single cost – making it an attractive budget option.
Instead of picking a destination and then figuring out activities that are available there, why not pick the activity first and then let the destination follow? A trip to the casino in the UK may be fun, but trust us, it’s nothing compared to some casinos around the world.
If Las Vegas is within budget, then there’s nowhere better in the world to plenty of world-class entertainment and gaming. What Las Vegas has plenty of that you won’t find anywhere else is intuitively designed casinos, with great themes that add to the whole experience. Our favourite is definitely Caesar’s Palace, which has a great mixture of the old Las Vegas feel mixed with the quality you’ll find in other casinos like the Wynn.
If you want the Vegas casino experience without actually paying hundreds for the flight and an extortionate amount for a hotel, there’s another way you can enjoy it – and from the comfort of your own home. So rather than rush to buy your tickets to Vegas, why not give a nice online casino such as 777 Casino a try instead?
Explore Good ol’ Blighty
Who says you need to go to some glamorous, sun-soaked destination to have a good time? The UK is actually one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and when you think about it, there’s actually loads to see and do.
If you’re feeling like taking in some beautiful vistas or enjoying some hiking, then Dartmoor, the Peak District or Lake District are perfect for getting lost in the green countryside, with loads of activities like exciting castles and even theme parks dotted between the hills and forests.
You can even spend some time lying on golden sands and sunbathing, with some of the world’s best beaches to be found on the South Coast and of course in Northumberland (make sure you check out Bamburgh Castle and the beach on your Game of Thrones holiday!).
If you were thinking a city break to Barcelona would be a good holiday this year, try London instead. It’s packed with some of the highest-rated tourist attractions not just in Europe, but in the world. From a day spent exploring the Natural History Museum to a world-class dining experience at the top of the Shard, visitors really don’t need to travel far and wide to experience something totally different.
If the thought of London doesn’t sound like a holiday to you, then go smaller! Cities like Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield all have rich histories and plenty of things to do nearby that won’t cost the earth.
So get the suitcase packed, switch off those boring cheap package holiday sites and try something different. By opening your mind to these very different options, you could end up finding yo