Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK – Part 1

Travel Snapshot – Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

Whether you live in, or plan on visiting Ireland or the United Kingdom (aka the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) in the coming year – once you’re on the road you won’t have too far to go to discover stunning sights, and to appreciate the history and culture of this often damp yet luscious part of the world.

Your plans for a weekend break in Ireland and the UK could be a quick staycation or the start of something a bit more extensive!

This article is a travel snapshot of cities to visit – to get you thinking about all that adventure you’re more than ready for.

Read – Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK – Part 2

Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

Choose Limerick, Ireland for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

Of course you can’t visit Ireland without exploring its wonderful capital city of Dublin – that goes without saying. However one of the most versatile cities to visit outside of Dublin has to be Limerick  – there’s something for every kind of traveller from solo to family.

Did you know that Limerick is one of Ireland’s oldest towns. In fact:

Limerick is one of Ireland’s oldest cities, with a Charter of Incorporation older than that of London’s, dating back to 1197!


When to Visit: The warmest months in Limerick are June to September with the average highest temperature reaching 18ºC. However these better weather months do not automatically mean less rain so be prepared, and when it comes to knowing what to wear – layering is always the best bet.

Limerick City loves festivals – visit in March for their ‘Hip-Hop and Dance Festival’, visit in June for the ‘Live at the Docklands’ festival, and visit in October for the ‘Limerick Jazz Festival’ … just to name a few!

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What to See & Do: If architecture and history tickle your cultural fancy, then you’re sure to enjoy King John’s Castle, an iconic medieval castle that has been transformed into an interactive museum. You can also explore the city of Limerick itself, including the old town and its wonderful georgian buildings.

If adventure travel makes you happy then you have the majestic River Shannon to explore, either along its boardwalks on foot or by kayak on its waters. (If you’re happy to travel further afield you can even go dolphin watching where the Shannon and the Atlantic sea meet in Carrigaholt, Co. Clare).

If you have small children they’ll love The People’s Park, or a visit to the beautiful Lough Gur, a 30 minute drive outside of the city. And if you love to cycle then The Limerick Greenway is where you’ll want to be – bring your own bikes or hire for the day!

Further Reading: A Romantic Night Away at Limerick Strand Hotel

Choose Derry City, Northern Ireland for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

When visiting Northern Ireland, there is no doubt you should visit the wonderful city of Belfast – to reassure you here’s Five Fabulous Reasons to Visit Belfast City

However a trip to Northern Ireland’s second largest city, Derry (or Londonderry) really is well worth your time. Steeped in history and culture with the only remaining and completely intact city wall on the island of Ireland, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy – from a tour of the City Wall to a visit to the Wall City Brewery.

Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK - Derry CityThe Guildhall and The Peace Bridge by K. Mitch Hodge

When to Visit: The warmest months to visit are the months of June through to September when the average high is 16ºC. This temperature might not be as high as the cities mentioned in this guide however you’ll be happy to read that these months in Derry City aren’t as wet! Visit in October and enjoy ‘Derry Halloween’, visit in July and celebrate the ‘Foyle Maritime Festival’.

What to See & Do: A guided tour is the best advice when visiting Derry City for the first time. Choose a walking tour or opt for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that allows you to explore more of what interests you – whether it’s the City Wall or the Free Derry Corner.

From the Bogside to the Bogside Artists and the The People’s Gallery of Murals, along the River Foyle and the history of the Peace Bridge to the modern day culture of the Craft Village – you’re sure to find your favourite attraction.

Further Reading: Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, Magherafelt, Northern Ireland

Choose Yorkshire, England for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

As the largest country in the UK, England has so much to see. London is always an option, but you could enjoy all that the North of England has to offer! Yorkshire, for example, has a great mix of dramatic North York moors, exciting historical cities such as York and Leeds, and long stretches of beaches to explore including towns such as Scarborough with its dramatic cliffs and traditional seaside town charm.

Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK - KnaresboroughKnaresborough by Illiya Vjestica

When to Visit: The best time to visit North Yorkshire is during the months of June to September. This is when you’ll get both the warmest weather with average highs of 19ºC, and the least amount of rain.

What to See & Do: Visit York and imagine yourself there in the 14th Century – it won’t be hard with cobbled streets under foot and the ancient city walls to meander. If you’re a hiker, the Cleveland Way provides a great opportunity to explore the east coast, as well as some of the seaside cities like Whitby. But there’s nothing wrong with having a more relaxing break and just enjoying the sights and sounds of the area. Be sure to try the fish and chips while you’re here.

Consider taking a trip along the North York Moors Railway, or explore castles like Howard Castle. You can find accommodation here and take in all the diverse scenery Yorkshire has to offer – from big bustling cities to quaint market towns such as Knaresborough.

Further Reading: A Short Guide to The Best Picnic Destinations in the UK

Choose Edinburgh, Scotland for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

Scotland features some amazing dramatic views, but city-lovers shouldn’t neglect Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a hotbed of beautiful architecture and fascinating history and culture.

Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK - Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle by K. Mitch Hodge

When to Visit: The best time to visit Edinburgh, weather-wise is during the months of June through to September when the average highs are 17ºC in July and August. However these months of July and August are also the wettest months of the year too – so the same advice for when you visit Ireland applies to Scotland – it’s best to layer up clothes-wise and be prepared for summer showers.

If you visit in August, you have the opportunity to experience the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world.

What to See & Do: All year round you can experience the beautiful Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock – then you can dine at ‘The Witchery by the Castle’. And if frights are your thing then perhaps a ghost tour is in order – Edinburgh loves them.

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Princes Street Gardens are a must visit within the city and if you’re looking for a more vigorous walk then Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano at the end of the Royal Mile offers fantastic 360º views of Edinburgh City. After that you can savour the ‘Scotch Whisky Experience’ – a treat after you’ve walked the Royal Mile and sat in Arthur’s Seat!

Choose Snowdonia, Wales for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK

Wales has some truly stunning views, particularly along its coastline. You could visit Cardiff and enjoy the splendor of its gothic Cardiff Castle by day, then appreciate the great nightlife scene after dark.

Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK - Snowdonia WalesSnowdon by Patrick Gillespie

However, if you go northwest, then you can visit the Snowdonia National Park, where you can explore beautiful lakes, mountains, and even glacial landforms. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy the great outdoors through walking, hiking and sightseeing – you can even travel along the Snowdon Mountain Railway to reach the peak of Snowdon! Immerse yourself in Welsh history and culture – from abbeys and castles to roman remains!

When to Visit: Before every visit to Snowdonia National Park, you must check the weather forecast first thing in the morning. Weather can change like the wind and so by checking the weather predictions in the morning you’ll be able to plan your day according to the forecast. If you are climbing Snowdon then the months of April to October are best.

Before you go: Visit the Snowdonia National Park website and read the safety guidelines alongside all the wonderful sights you can see.

Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK Feature Image by K. Mitch Hodge

PIN: Where to Go for a Weekend Break in Ireland and the UK Part 1

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