There's a reason why summer travel is historically so popular and that's the weather. As an island nation with no guarantee of sun, it's fantastic we have so many destinations to choose from that ensure we get our fill of vitamin D. Whether you stay close to home or get your kicks from far-flung destinations, we've got your back when it comes to planning your next summer holiday.
Summer is a wonderful time to go on a European river cruise. Choose from picturesque waterways, such as the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro and the Rhône, and prepare to see the sights with a local guide during the day before returning to the peace and tranquillity of your floating hotel. With all your excursions and meals already included in the price, river cruising is a stress-free way to explore while avoiding the usual summer crowds.
On the Isle of Man, things move at a slower pace. The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway has been serving tourists since 1876, offering rides along a two-mile stretch of the town's promenade. It doesn't get more 'traditional Victorian seaside' than this. For maximum pleasure, board the trams at one end of the boardwalk with an ice cream (or a stick of rock, if you want a real 19th-century experience) and admire the views out over the sea. At this time of year, you might even catch a glimpse of a migrating basking shark which love the algae-rich waters of the Irish sea in summer.
A country filled with history, beautiful scenery and tonnes of culture; the emerald isle is a real gem of a destination during June. Northern Ireland is home to the natural geometry of the Giant's Causeway, and if there's a rainy day, the Titanic Museum in Belfast really can't be beaten. To the east, you'll find Blarney Castle (and maybe the gift of the gab), while on the wild Atlantic Coast, the Ring of Kerry offers a route through some of Ireland's most scenic countryside.
Following the peaceful 'Velvet Revolution' which saw the Czech Republic gain independence from Slovakia in 1993, this tiny landlocked nation in Central Europe has masterfully re-invented itself as a compelling destination. The country's vibrant capital of Prague is endowed with a stunning array of ancient architecture, such as the iconic Charles Bridge. Amidst the historic finery of its buildings and public squares, there's also a wealth of museums, art galleries, public parks, open-air markets, excellent restaurants and, of course, countless bars in which to sample Czech beer, widely regarded as the world's finest.
Sunny, vibrant, colourful - Portugal is the relaxed family member of the Iberian coast. With its glorious stretches of flawless beaches and its verdant valley regions, Portugal has long been a travellers' favourite. In the last few years though, the country has really developed into a classy destination; Lonely Planet reports that just last year, seven new Michelin stars were awarded across the country, honouring the time-honoured traditions of Portuguese cooking and baking.
14th July in France marks Bastille Day, the anniversary of the storming of Paris' most notorious prison. And the French capital is actually a top place to go in summer as most of its citizens have upped sticks to their summer holiday homes. Whether it's your first time visiting or your 100th, there's always something new to see or do in the city of love. Bookworms will feel right at home at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop and art buffs can answer the call of the Louvre while foodies happily flit from café to restaurant to bakery.
Scotland the brave comes into its own in the summer. With more daylight hours than anywhere else in mainland Britain, start in Edinburgh (maybe taking in one or two fringe shows) before taking a train into the heart of the Highlands. Here you'll be greeted by swathes of purple heather, crystal clear lochs and enchanting glens. If the temperature dips a bit come nightfall, then enjoy a wee dram of whisky under the stars while keeping one ear out for the call of the elusive Scottish wild cat.
August is Russia's warmest month, yet the mercury usually stays around a comfortable 25 degrees. After the FIFA World Cup, the country stepped up its tourism game, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe. With new hotels, restaurants and attractions, there has never been a better time to visit its splendid cities. Discover St Petersburg's golden palaces and diverse treasure troves as well as Moscow's superb metro system with its Art Nouveau interiors.
Affectionately referred to as 'the Paris of the east', Budapest offers culture and charm to rival even the most well-loved romantic European cities. The Hungarian capital began as two distinctively separate cities, Buda and Pest, separated by the mighty Danube River. Finally uniting in 1873, take a step back in time as you look around its elevated castle, enjoy a traditional spa experience in one of the city's public (yet elegant) baths and enjoy a unique night on the town at one of Budapest's evocative ruin bars.