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Sun Cities

Finally, after what seemed like three months of relentless rain, we seem be having some kind of summer. Granted, it’s not up there with the finest of yesteryear, but at least we’ve all been able to dust off our summer wardrobes and head for the coast and countryside.

With all this sudden beach-going, it’s easy to forget that summer is a great time for a city break, as long as there’s water or green space to be found. What’s more, plenty of hoteliers know that everyone is headed out of town, so there are bargains to be had right now.

For a start, what about a break to a city on the coast? Culture, nightlife and shopping collide in Barcelona where you’ll also find a beach within 10 minutes of the city centre. This deal, sniffed out by the folks in our Spanish office, is a great way to experience this extraordinary place: three nights in a 5-star hotel, with 120€ credit, for £211. That's a saving of 30% on the usual rate, for stays from 4-10 August.    

Not to be hampered by mere geography, the French have taken matters into their own hands -- seeing as their capital isn’t on the coast, they brought the coast to the capital. Each summer, the banks of the Seine are transformed into three temporary beaches, where volleyball, deck chairs, ice-cream sellers and even an aqua-aerobics pool are regular fixtures. Now in its 11th year, Paris Plages runs for around four weeks from 20 July at Louvre/Pont de Sully, Pont de la Gare and Bassin de la Villette. We recently found return flights from Manchester to Paris in August, for £93.

You may have noticed there’s a minor sporting event happening in London right now. Well, when the party is over, hotels in London will be battling for your business. The Corus Hotel Hyde Park, for example, is slashing rates from 13 August until the end of the year. Having already cut prices to £129, they’ve now dropped them even further, to £79 per room, per night. That’s a 69% discount, with an upgrade to an Executive Room on booking, full English breakfast for two, a bottle of house wine in the room and a 20% discount on food.

There’s so much going on in London this summer aside from the sport. We love The Luna Cinema, which is showing a selection of classic films at open-air venues across the capital. Or you could cool off with an outdoor dip in Hampstead Heath ponds or take a boat ride along the Regent’s Canal in Camden.

And if none of those deals work for you, click here to see our complete round-up of the best city deals available this summer -- from UK and European short breaks to discounted New York stays.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Thursday, 2 August 2012
See more Tips from
Christina Bracewell