Another day, another scroll through Instagram. And, amidst the memes, brunch plates and engagement announcements are the single most envy-inducing type of post: the wanderlust travel snap. Now, if like us, your bank balance is looking a little depleted now that you’ve forked out for your friend’s stag party and a new pair of smart sneakers, you’re probably thinking that your chance to take a budget-friendly holiday has passed you by this summer.
Happily, there are a handful of destinations you could be heading to this weekend which promise not to break the bank and require no more preparation than a well-packed cabin bag. The best part? They’re all within a two hour flight from London, so you needn’t to lose any time (or annual leave days) in order to really get away from it all.
Paris (Flight time: 54 minutes)
Audrey Hepburn put it best when she declared, “Paris is always a good idea”. And, at just under an hour by flight or just over two hours by Eurostar, the City of Light is well within your reach, any day of the week.
We’re assuming that you’ve already paid this romantic capital a couple of visits before, but if you’re feeling inspired to head back to the city our cover star Lenny Kravitz’ calls home, and want to enjoy an incredible Michelin-starred meal, then be sure to pay a visit to the remarkable La Clarence restaurant.
Dublin (Flight time: 1 hour, 5 minutes)
Home to some of the world’s most stylish men, and with a history which spans Vikings, rebellion, civil war and plenty more besides, Dublin might be small but it packs a serious punch. Alongside a host of urban attractions, one of the city’s biggest selling points is its proximity to nature, with mountains on one side, and sea on the other — making it a perfect getaway for the gentleman looking to channel his inner explorer.
As a lively, dynamic city brimming with history, culture, great restaurants and an unrivalled nightlife scene —there’s plenty to do in Dublin whether you’re visiting for two days or two weeks.
Amsterdam (Flight time: 55 minutes)
Considering it sits so close to British shores, there has always been something of a stigma attached to Amsterdam. On paper, it’s the perfect city break: a similar climate to ours; easy to travel to; a mere one hour’s time difference. But the moment you mention a plan to jet, fly or ferry yourself off to the Dutch capital for a weekend, you’ll be met with more raised eyebrows and knowing looks than you can shake a stroopwafel at.
We want to change that narrative — we even took a trip to The Netherlands to prove our point — and we can confirm that if you steer clear of the Singelgebied, swap brothelling for brunching, and ensure the most exotic thing you order in a coffee shop is a whipped caramel macchiato, the city still offers one of the best weekends away in Europe.
Florence (Flight time: 1 hour, 55 minutes)
Ah, Italy. Drink it in — and we’re not just talking about the chianti. We’re talking about the traditions, the artworks, the architecture. And Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance and one-time capital of the country, is the perfect place to start. Across this ancient city, you’ll find monuments and masterpieces on every corner. You’ll see fashion sashay down the streets and you’ll be followed into countless cafés by the lilting, lyrical language. It’s as cultured as Italy comes.
And, if you count yourself as an art aficionado as well as a jet-setter, it pays to check into one of the Lungarno Collection’s four hotels. The well-appointed properties owned by the Ferragamo family — and found close to the Salvatore Ferragamo design museum — prize art above all else.
Barcelona (Flight time: 1 hour, 45 minutes)
Running from Passeig de Gracia down to Platja de la Barceloneta, a trip to Barcelona can take you from a private tour of Gaudi’s La Pedrera to a luxury yacht cruising the coastline in a heartbeat. A stunning ocean-side city that pulsates with energy and bursts with rich colours and jaw-dropping design, each corner in the city belies something different.
Within equal walking distance, you can choose between quaint hole-in-the-wall tapas bars in El Bron or Michelin-starred Catalan gastronomy at La Mesa. By day, enjoy world famous art and architecture — or head to the beach and spend your afternoons surfing.
Confident and full of character, here is a city with an immediate answer to every possible craving.
Edinburgh (Flight time: 1 hour, 11 minutes)
If you consider yourself something of a comedy or theatre fanatic, then there can be no better place on earth to spend the month of August than Edinburgh. Running this year from the 2-26th August, the Edinburgh Fringe has so much going on that to try and properly sum it up quickly is virtually impossible – there’s theatre, dance, cabaret, comedy, exhibitions, events, musicals, opera, children’s shows, music and more! Put it this way – the brochure is over 400 pages long, is printed on A4 paper, and has fairly small and closely packed type.
If you’d prefer to visit when the Royal Mile is a little less packed, then Edinburgh still has plenty to offer all year round. Packed with medieval tenements, narrow wynds of the Old Town and the sweeping elegance of the Georgian New Town, there’s no question that Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most stunning and enthralling cities in the world.
What to pack for a weekend away...
Now you’ve booked your flights and dusted off your weekend bag, it’s imperative that you pack a trusty capsule collection to ensure that you catch your next plane in style. Over at the Gentleman’s Journal Store, we’ve got everything from the summer wardrobe staples which promise to keep you feeling cool in the summer sun, to the travel grooming essentials you can rely on.
Don’t leave for your next trip without investing in these key pieces…
Czech & Speake Air-Safe Manicure Set
Emma Willis Linen Shirt
North 89 No-2 – Breathable
Sir Plus Oxford Grandad Shirt
Bennett Winch The Weekender
Ettinger Sterling Money Clip Wallet
Looking for more incredible destinations? These are the hotels with the world’s most amazing art collections…