I’m going to come clean and admit, that I used to hate big cities. I’m a country boy through and through. I love my green fields, cows, tractors and having to slow down for horses as a pastime.
London, for example, has a million-and-one people in a small space and everyone seems to be in a hurry to get everywhere. I’m not used to this, and I think this is what influenced my loathing of our nation’s capital. But lately, it’s been occurring to me, that perhaps London isn’t so bad after all? I discovered that London holds something deeper than the superficial tourist hotspots and, as someone who loves to travel to new places, no longer do I feel I should shy away from wandering round places that, as a non-native, I previously thought that I shouldn’t.
I recently spent my birthday wandering around parts of London, that I had never visited before. In particular, Canary Wharf. I was overwhelmed by the whole concept… An entire locality made of glass? And it was so big! To me, London was always a dirty place with rude people and tacky tourist attractions. I don’t like that. It never seemed like somewhere that you could just go and explore, without the constant fear of being pick pocketed or, even worse, stabbed. But more recently, it seems that as long as you’re sensible, careful and have a backup plan there is nowhere that is out of limits.
It must have been a catastrophic visit to Edinburgh nearly four years ago that instigated this change. I was thrust into a city that I had never visited before in my life, and knew very little about. And yet, in three days, this strange, mish-mash of history that is the Scottish capital managed to change my life. That sounds somewhat melodramatic, but I firmly believe that Edinburgh made me the person I am now. And that’s why I’ve grown to love city breaks.
Cities can be such vibrant places with so much to offer. If I had stayed stuck in my ways, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn as much as I have about the wider world. There’s only so much you can learn from sitting in a field of cows all day. They’re not the most intellectual of beings. Places like London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Manchester have a whole host of things to offer and hold a huge variety of art, entertainment and nightlife that’s totally different (and often more classy) than Weston-super-Mare or Bristol.
Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live. But if any readers have ever doubted exploring anywhere outside of their native homeland, I strongly encourage a weekend in one of Britain’s cities. People always talk about going abroad, but why bother when there’s so much right on our doorstep? We like to talk about Paris as the city of love and Rome as the city of history and romance, but I believe that the British equivalents can hold just as much splendour as are just as worthy of a visit.
For those looking for a cheap getaway, with a place to crash after a hard day’s exploring and sightseeing, you can travel, stay and dine in one of our nation’s metropolises for between £150 and £200 pp for three nights. Alternatively, of course, there is the boutique hotel option for when Valentine’s day comes around, for which you’re looking at around £70 – £150 pppn, including breakfast.
The great thing about city breaks is that they give you the opportunity to see the arts, entertainment and culture not a hop, skip and a jump away from anywhere. It’s also a fantastic way to let your hair down and be the person you always wanted to be.
Who knew there was so much choice, right on our doorstep? So why not give it a go, and see what the nations metropolitan hotspots have to offer. You might be pleasantly surprised.