Everyone needs a break from their hometown now and again. It’s natural to want to travel and see something new when the things around you become boring and normal.

Thankfully, you live in a country that’s full of interesting and entertaining towns, cities, villages, and countryside escapes just hours away. They offer visitors exciting and unusual things to do along with pubs, restaurants, museums, outdoor activities and more.

Looking around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we’ve compiled the five best of the best for UK weekend getaways. Get inspired, get packing and get out of town for a few nights to clear your head and relax somewhere new.

#1. Manchester

Manchester has recently transformed into a modern city that is chock-full of independently owned and operated boutiques and top-notch shops. There are cool bars and cozy pubs, amazing music venues, and their cultural history isn’t something to be missed. Head to their museums (try the Manchester Art Gallery and the Museum of Science and Industry to start!) to get a taste of some of the UK’s finest collections and then back into the lively and exciting city that almost guarantees a weekend full of memories and entertaining nights out.

#2. Edinburgh

If you are looking for a place to go for the weekend that isn’t London but still has the big city vibe, head up to Edinburgh for a weekend of history, nature, and good-spirited fun. Try hiking Arthur’s Seat in the morning for a spectacular view of the highlands, and then head to the Edinburgh Castle to see all the ins and outs of the majestic building. There’s a fee associated with getting into the castle, but for what you get to see and do—it is absolutely worth the cost. Take your pick of delicious restaurants to dine at before heading to any number of nightlife hot spots. There are music halls, traditional pubs, and energetic clubs so everyone can find a spot they love.

#3. Suffolk

There is a very strong sense of community in the Beccles and Bungay part of Suffolk, where small businesses beat out chain stores and family operated restaurants draw a familiar and local crowd most nights. While locals love the strongly independent nature of this part of Suffolk, visitors will be welcomed into their traditions openly. For a larger city experience head to Ipswich where you’ll find plenty of medieval buildings that are walkable. Ipswich is also developing its waterfront to become more appealing for visitors there for a long weekend. Small town Suffolk is the best place to go for a weekend if you want to hike, bike and enjoy the pretty stretch of countryside it offers. There are plenty of family butchers and local supermarkets which ensure the high-quality of food around town.

#4. Brighton

Brighton in England started out as a humble fishing village. Then, in 1783, the Prince Regent visited Brighton for his first season and from then on out, the town was known as a fashionable seaside resort. Nowadays, tourists can wander the Brighton Pier for old school amusement games and great views of the beach. To tour one of the most unusual and eye-catching buildings in all of England, head to the Prince Regent’s home, called the Brighton Royal Pavilion where farmhouse influences meet mock-Mughal furnishings. For a more modern way to spend your day head to North Laine where there are endless numbers of cosy pubs, perusable shop fronts and other street vendors selling on-trend goods.

#5. Harlech

Harlech in Wales is the perfect spot for a lazy and carefree weekend getaway. Nestled between the sea and ragged rocks, there are plenty of small walking trails to take advantage of—and you’ll never have to worry about crowds. This seaside town is never overcrowded and many of the locals will leave you on your own to enjoy the quiet calm of Harlech. Visit the Harlech Castle for a touch of history, or eat out at any of their great restaurants for delicious meals that are cooked to perfection.

A weekend getaway can be exactly what you need to clear your head, relax a little and get back to the things you love to do. Think about all the places there are to explore right in your backyard that are completely different from your home town.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Beverley Goodwin