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Alternative UK city breaksWith our summer holidays now just a distant memory, the post-holiday blues have officially set in. Christmas seems like a long way off before we’re next away from our desks, so why not consider an alternative escape?
City breaks are a great option, as they allow you to explore a new area in just a few days. If you’ve loved London, enjoyed Edinburgh and conquered Cardiff, you may be wondering where to visit next — so what if we told you about some of Britain’s often overlooked city break destinations?
There are 69 cities in total in the UK, so instead of visiting your old haunts, why not try somewhere new? Together with designer menswear brand Ralph Lauren, we discuss some perfect breaks in Britain’s lesser-known cities, as well as how to dress for each.
St Davids, Wales
Small but perfectly formed, St Davids offers the best of both worlds — all of the facilities of a city with a small-town feel. Perhaps one of the most obvious attractions is St. David’s Cathedral. It’s a must-visit for keen photographers due to its picture-perfect beauty. With the outstanding Pembrokeshire coastline on the city’s doorstep, this city is a real beauty spot.
For refuelling, grab a coffee at cafe-gallery Pebbles Gallery or visit St Davids Kitchen for a succulent meal created using only the freshest regional produce. With a whole host of fantastic reviews, the restaurant is a short walk away from St David’s Cathedral and is a must-visit during your time in the city.
What to wear: A visit to St Davids demands a rugged yet practical wardrobe. By day, wear mid-wash jeans, layer a polo under a half-zip jumper and finish with a pair of leather boots. Change into a classic checked shirt once evening arrives.
When you only have a weekend to explore Scotland, Stirling is the perfect option. Unlike the sprawling centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Stirling offers all of the charm of Scotland in one perfectly manageable city — so you can tick everything off your list in one go.
Whatever you’re interested in, whether it’s history or shopping, Stirling accommodates. Pay a visit to the grand Stirling Castle, with its prominent location and rich history, or spend a day at The Thistles shopping centre.
If you enjoy a tipple, head to the Curly Coo bar. Located near to the city centre, it’s Stirling’s only whisky bar and offers an impressive selection of whisky, gins, craft beers and more, including a range of Scotland’s finest brews.
What to wear: Scotland is notorious for its cooler weather, especially later in the year. Outerwear is essential, so invest in a warm woollen jacket or waterproof for style that will withstand any weather.
Located in the North East of England, Durham is a great all-rounder, offering the perfect mix of history and culture.
The city itself is dominated by Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle. Part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site, they’re perfect for exploring Durham’s interesting history. For more active pursuits from your city centre break, take to the River Wear that runs through the city for a spot of rowing.
As you explore the city’s many winding streets, you’ll discover everything from boutiques to bars and restaurants — perfect for leisurely strolls and refuelling after a long day exploring the city.
What to wear: With so much to see and do, Durham demands a look that is perfectly versatile. Strike a smart-casual look with a crisp shirt and tailoring for a look that will take you effortlessly from day to night.
Providing all of the drama of the small-screen in equally dramatic surroundings, Belfast is an entertainment-lovers paradise. Game of Thrones shoots many scenes close to Belfast, so if you’re a big fan it’s well-worth booking a tour.
Titanic Belfast is another popular tourist attraction near to the city centre, providing an immersive visitor experience exploring the interesting history of the iconic doomed ship. With a plethora of shops, bars and restaurants, and the iconic Giant’s Causeway on your doorstep, you’ll wonder why you never visited Belfast sooner.
What to wear: Like most UK cities, Belfast can experience multiple weathers in one day. Layer up to dress for all possibilities and don’t forget a chic waterproof jacket to shelter from the showers.