THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: A sunny day out in Brighton

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Brighton gets really busy on sunny weekends, when half of London seems to get on the train to enjoy the sunshine. And it’s really worth it!

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There are lots of nice shops, bars and, of course, the beach!

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Trains from London are frequent and cheap, so there’s no need to book in advance.
  • Do: Walk around the Lanes, a pedestrianised shopping area full of quirky and cool shops.
  • Eat: Terre a Terre is a famous veggie restaurant that is on the top of my wishlist – it’s highly recommended and everything on the menu looks amazing!

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.

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THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: Vilnius, Lithuania

I’m going to Vilnius in June. We were looking for a weekend trip, checked the map, and decided on Lithuania.

I don’t know much about the place, but it’s always good to go somewhere different!

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Photo by Mantas Volungevicius

HOW TO DO IT:

  • GoWizzair has a convenient flight from London to Vilnius, with return flights from only £80 per person.
  • Stay: We chose our accommodation through TripAdvisor. Hotels are quite cheap at around £60 per night for a double room.
  • Do: Wander around the Old Town, which is a Unesco Heritage site. It just looks so pretty!

The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.

THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: Day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon could as well be renamed Shakespeareland. Not only is it Shakespeare’s birthplace, but also this is referenced all over the place – the Mayflower Chinese takeaway being a particularly memorable take on it.

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It’s a very nice place for a day trip, with a pretty city centre full of nice shops.

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HOW TO DO IT:

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.

THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: Day trip to Liverpool

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Liverpool is a great place for a day trip from London.

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The city is easily accessible and small enough that you can cover a lot of ground in one day.

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It’s a great place for art – as well as for bars!

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Trains from London take as little as 2h20, and prices start from £29 each way.
  • Do: Wander around the city centre, then spend some hours around Tate Liverpool – they always have great exhibitions on!
  • Drink: It’s impossible to go to Liverpool and not to think about the Beatles. Stop for a drink at the venue where it all started: The Cavern Club.

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.

THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: A weekend in Berlin

Berlin is a great city. At some point I should really stay there for a couple of weeks, but so far I’ve only been for short breaks.

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Aside from the main highlights, it’s a great place to wander around and explore all the different neighbourhoods.

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I really want to go back!

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: The flight from London only takes two hours, so go after work to make the most of the weekend.
  • Stay: Schoenhouse Aparments is great – large flats in a great location, highly recommended!
  • Eat: Brunch is massive in Berlin. You’ll be completely spoilt for choice around Prenzlauer Berg, a lovely neighbourhood to explore on a lazy Sunday morning.
  • Do: Don’t miss highlights like the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, as seeing these up close gives you great insight on recent German history. But also make sure to spend some time just wandering around – Berlin is full of hidden gems and you don’t want to miss that!

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time

THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: Lisbon

Portugal is mostly popular with the British because of its beaches, but Lisbon is a great place for a city break.

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There is a lot to see and do, from cultural attractions to a vibrant nightlife.

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And because of the mild weather, it’s a good place to visit for most of the year.

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Easyjet normally offers the best prices, and you can go after work on a Friday to make the most of the weekend.
  • Stay: Lisbon has good options for accommodation at better prices than most European capitals. My recommendation is Artbeat rooms, an artsy hostel where each room is dedicated to an artist. They have the best recommendations of places to go, and it’s centrally located.
  • Do: Visit the Monument to the Discoveries and follow it by Jeronimos Monastery – it’s a great overview of the age of exploration and Portuguese history. Then recharge with a cup of coffee and a couple of custard tarts at the place where they were first made.
  • Drink: Stop at one (or a few) of the many bars and restaurants around Chiado and Bairro Alto. There are always new places to go for a glass of local green wine!

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.

THE 5-MINUTE TRIP PLANNER: A weekend in Paris

I love Paris! I’ve been many times and will go back again in February.

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There are lots of things to see and do, and you can easily spend a month getting lost in the many different areas of the city.

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But Paris is also perfect for a long weekend, as it’s so close to London.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: Hop on the Eurostar after work and arrive right at the centre of Paris. The journey takes only a little over 2 hours, and if you book in advance it’s also the cheapest way to go.
  • Sleep: Staying in Paris can be really expensive, but if you do your research there are good budget options around. I’m staying at Le Rocroy, but there are lots of good options around Montmartre as well.
  • Do: Spend a whole day in the Louvre or catch the latest exhibition at the Grand Palais; get lost in Montmartre; go for a meal and drinks around le Marais; discover a little cafe around the corner… there’s really no way to get it wrong in Paris!

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The 5-minute trip planner: Planning a short trip in no time.