We had high hopes for summer -- two months chock-full of picnics in the park, BBQs on balmy evenings and strawberries at Wimbledon. Unfortunately (and we really should have known better), it looks set to be a washout.
But fear not, travel fiends. If you’re staying in Blighty this summer we’ve got a whole host of ideas for what to do when you’re not jumping over puddles or deciding what to wear in the morning (layers, by the way, are the answer to this brolly-and-sunblock weather).
Top of the list is a stay in London. The whole country is awash with Olympic pageantry but London is where the action is this summer -- and we all know how expensive the capital can be in peak season.
Fortunately we’ve found an offer for super-luxe The Westbury Mayfair, which counts the Duchess of York, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Vivienne Westwood and Bob Geldof among its fans. Stays at this celebrity hideaway are now a mere £119 throughout August, and you’ll be right in the heart of the city (close to Hyde Park and Knightsbridge). Plus, if it rains you could always while away the afternoon in the hotel's award-winning Polo Bar, which holds the record for the most valuable bottle of champagne ever sold in a British bar (a £35,000 bottle of Dom Perignon, in case you’re wondering).
For those wanting to get out of London, we recommend Bristol. Summer is the best time to visit this maritime city, when various festivals hit the harbour and surrounding country estates. Plus, there’s lots to do on rainy afternoons, from interactive museums to the aquarium’s underwater gardens. Try this boutique harbourside stay (£89 with a room upgrade and glass of Pimm’s), and then get your culinary fill at the Foodies Festival on Bristol’s Floating Harbour -- for £9 you get two all-day passes to the event.
On drizzly days, what's better than a luxury spa package, with lunch at a Grade-II listed Gothic mansion? Take a trip to south Gloucestershire and get a facial or Indian head massage, lunch and a rather intriguing-sounding dry floatation treatment (that's when you experience complete weightlessness in warm water, supported by soft, waterproof layers, by the way). If the sun does make an appearance, Bristol, Cheltenham and Bath are nearby -- all perfect for a summertime wander.
And if you’re not sure where to go but certain you want to stay in the UK, try these coach deals on for size. There’s a whole load of choice, with fares starting at £2 to top summer cities, including Bournemouth and Edinburgh. Inspiration comes from the strangest places, we always find.