Popular August Bank holiday getaways
If you live in London or Kent, then the Eurostar to Paris is very convenient, and you only need to check in half an hour before the train departs. Less than two and a half hours later, you're in the centre of the City of Lights. Then, with the Metro service at hand, you are a carnet purchase from arriving at your hotel, dumping the bags and heading out to a divine department store like Le Bon Marche, a world-class gallery such as the Musee d'Orsay or the Louvre, or a major tourist attraction like The Eiffel Tower. Of course, you might leave the hotel and be instantly seduced by gorgeous shops or amazing cakes and coffee, or a lively street market. That can happen even when you've been to Paris a dozen times.
This beach resort in northern France was once extremely fashionable, and in the 1920s Noël Coward and the “smart set” from England spent weekends there. Once a playground for the wealthy, Le Touquet offers great restaurants, fascinating villa architecture and an enormous beach for walking, sand sculptures and all kinds of seaside activities with a French flavour. This is a great option for a group of friends who want to take a car.Take the car on Eurotunnel, and on the other side, drive to your destination - it's just 45 miles south of Calais.
The New Forest
Heathland, open pasture, wild ponies: what's not to like about the New Forest? Organise a holiday cottage or a hotel room, and providing you have a car it's not difficult to reach. There are plenty of things to do when you get there, from walks to visiting museums, award-winning gardens and wildlife parks. As a bonus, there will be ponies wandering around, and children (including the grown-up ones) all like those. There are also plenty of family and dog-friendly pubs, and walks that include pubs too.
It means going to the airport, but it's only a short flight, and once you are in the Netherlands, nothing is very far from anything. Land at Schiphol, take a train and you will soon be in the centre of Amsterdam, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, with canals and stunning architecture. It’s famous for being bike-friendly, so cycle around, or walk or use the tram system. The cafes and bars are charming, the Dutch generally speak excellent English, and the art galleries are world-class. Immerse yourself in Van Gogh or observe the mastery of Rembrandt's Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum. You'll only wish you were staying longer.
The Norfolk Broads
A series of rivers and lakes (broads), with more than 200 square kilometres of navigable and mostly fairly shallow water, the Broads are heaven for messing about on boats with friends or family. The beauty of the waterways, combined with the fun that can be had exploring them, makes this a special destination, and one that is easy to reach by car. Accommodation options include self-catering cottages and charming bed and breakfasts. Other activities include birdwatching and fishing. In addition, there are cycling and walking routes, for those who want to enjoy the glorious wetland landscapes, but still stay dry.