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The Great Olympic Escape

If there’s one thing we know about Travelzoo subscribers it’s that (apart from being charming, witty and generally very clever), they’re a pretty positive bunch.

How do we know this? Well, after months of negative predictions, doom-mongering and all-round mean-spiritedness, one of our recent surveys revealed that the London Olympics hasn’t prompted the mass exodus that many were predicting. In fact, 70% of subscribers told us they’re planning to stay in the UK this summer, with over half of respondents in the Southeast saying they still felt excited about the Games.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean London will be the easiest place to live between 27 July and 12 August. So, if you’re less than enthused by the prospect of spending 16 days cooped up in the capital, sweating it out on the Tube with all the people who snagged the tickets you wanted, why not plan ahead and organize yourself a little escape from the city?

Fortunately there are lots of great deals out there that coincide nicely with the Games, many of them within easy reach of the capital. Here’s a selection of our favourites:

There can be few finer remedies for the rigours of city life than a country manor escape. Head off to Hawkwell House Hotel (in the village of Iffley, just two miles from the centre of Oxford), and you’ll be presented with a glass of fizz on arrival, a £50 voucher for the on-site restaurant, full English breakfast (with free room service) and a late checkout until 12pm – all for £89 for two people. (Valid until 31 August.)

If you need to get just that little bit further away, how about beating a retreat to the South Coast? Not far enough? OK, how about just beyond it, to the Isle of Wight? Grand Isle Hotels has a range of 2-night escapes available – at properties in Shanklin and Sandown – from £138 per person. They’ll even help you get there by throwing in free car-ferry travel. (Valid on select dates until 24 August.)

Alternatively, you could push on just that little bit further, across the Channel, to Paris. This deal from Railbookers should make it a little easier: for £225, get return Eurostar travel from London to Paris, three nights in a hotel of your choice (with daily breakfast) and the third night included for free. (Valid on select dates until 29 December.)

Of course, all of this might just feel a little too metropolitan for you, in which case, we’ve got one last roll of the dice. The bad news is it’s a little pricier than our other options; the good news is it lasts two weeks, so you could conceivably vacate the capital for almost the entire Olympic stretch. Iceland Complete, a self-drive package around the land of fire and ice, packs in car hire, 13 nights’ accommodation, tickets to the Blue Lagoon and a free whale-watching trip – all for £1005. It might seem like a lot, but if you’re determined to miss the Games, there’s no better place to be; Iceland has won a total of four Olympic medals in its entire history, so it’s safe to say they won’t be too bothered by the whole thing. (Valid on select dates until 30 September.)

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Tips by

Deal Expert, London
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
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Rory Batho