Best city breaks in the UK

Endless snaking lanes of traffic, a choked underground and a city full of people so busy they barely have time to notice what little fresh air there is. Let's face it, a busy life in the city will inevitably get to you, turning you into a reluctant drone. However, just before you sign on that dotted line, remember there will always be a way out. A weekend away! Two days where you can forget your day job and indulge in a mini-holiday to rest and recharge for the week ahead. You don't need to be a millionaire to be able to afford a weekend getaway – the UK is choc-a-bloc with counties, towns and cities that offer unlimited entertainment, just a stone's throw or, at worst, a train ride away. Pack your bags and book a cosy bed and breakfast Manchester, Oxford, Edinburgh, Bath or London has to offer – weekend away here we come!

Best for theatre – Edinburgh
The capital of Scotland combines the modern with the old seamlessly, giving birth to a cultural epicentre in England. The city hosts some of England's most popular cultural festivals, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe Festival being the most well known among them. There's also a jazz festival, as well as an international book and film festival. Some of the best theatre and comedy acts have sprung from these events, and tickets are always very much in demand throughout the year. The city welcomes tourists from around the world, and there are more than enough places to stay, whether high end or budget.

Best for history – Oxford and Cambridge
These are two of the most famous seats of learning in the world, as well as breathtaking towns in terms of their architecture. The two university cities are full of awe-inspiring Gothic buildings. Oxford is especially known for Christ Church college, where the Harry Potter films were shot. Both are steeped in history, and armed with a good book, you're sure to unravel many ancient stories as you walk through their cobbled streets.

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Best for food – London
It's not a surprise that the cosmopolitan nature of the city should make it a food capital. British cuisine isn't particularly well known around the world, but London has embraced what the world has to offer and as a result street corners spring many delicious surprises. There's Chinatown, with delicately flavoured Oriental dishes, Edgware Road for Arabian street food, Wembley and Brick Lane for Indian and, of course, Michelin-starred restaurants all across the city for haute cuisine. If you'd like to splurge, we'd recommend Heston Blumenthal's 3-Michelin-star restaurant The Fat Duck, where science and art bring you one-of-a-kind dishes – egg and bacon ice-cream anyone?

Best for nightlife – Manchester
A night out in Manchester will be one to remember. The city is brimming with clubs catering for all moods and tastes. It's also host to more than 30 live music venues, so there's always a chance to catch a great gig. It's a great destination for hen nights and stag parties – no one seems to ever sleep in this city. A relaxing Manchester bed and breakfast is a must to sleep off and recover from the inevitable hangover before you head back to reality.

Best for a luxury getaway – Bath
Sometimes all you need is a good lie-in. Throw in some massage oils and some soothing tunes, and that stressful last week at the office will drift into insignificance. A spa weekend is a must for those poor overworked souls in the city. Bath has traditionally been the mecca for replenishing weekends thanks to the Roman baths, and today, the city is home to the country's only natural thermal spa.

Photo source Karen Roe | Photo source ChodHound