May 9, 2014

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that weekends are just too short, and before you know it, it's Monday again. That's why bank holidays are such a blessing and the perfect excuse to make the most of that extra day by getting away from it all. So why not take the opportunity of the spring bank holiday at the end of May to go away for the weekend and spend some quality time with your loved ones? There is no faster way across the Channel than with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's speedy 35-minute service, which means you will be on your way to blissful relaxation before you know it!

Where better to stay for a romantic getaway than the capital of the Champagne region? Reims is a treasure trove of fascinating history, charming French culture and delectable dining experiences. Whether you'd prefer to while away the hours in art deco cafes, or splash out on extravagant Michelin-starred meals, there is something to sate every appetite in Reims.

Reims, France

For 2014, the The magnificent Notre Dame cathedral in Reims, France will run from the 14th to the 25th May, with plenty of glamorous events packed into those 12 days. Around 2,000 films are promoted at the film festival each year, attracting more than 30,000 directors, producers, actors, publicists, distributors and general hangers-on, so be prepared to queue!

The magnificent Notre Dame cathedral in Reims, France
The magnificent Notre Dame cathedral in Reims, France

At around 2 and a half hours' drive from Calais, Reims is within easy reach for a short break, and once you've arrived there is plenty to occupy your time! Wander the tangle of ancient streets that will lead you to the imposing cathedral, where for over a thousand years France's monarchs were crowned. And no visit to Reims would be complete without a tour of one of the prestigious champagne caves (cellars); all of which, of course, end with a delicious champagne tasting!

Antwerp, Belgium

If you're not much of a drinker, then perhaps the glittering diamonds of Antwerp will catch your eye. If you're looking to pop the question, or simply want to spoil someone with an indulgent gift, there are few better places than Antwerp to shop for diamonds, with around 80% of the world's uncut diamonds being traded in Antwerp.

Antwerp cathedral at dusk, Belgium
Antwerp cathedral at dusk, Belgium

If your budget doesn't stretch quite that far, however, there is still plenty on offer to pique your interest, all of which is a short 2 hour drive from Calais. Soak up some culture with a tour of the Museum Plantin-Moretus and its beautiful courtyard garden dating back to 1622. Alternatively, you can visit the remarkable MAS museum-come-gallery, featuring an eclectic collection of masterpieces, tribal artefacts and video installations. Why not end the day by exploring Antwerp's hedonistic nightclub scene, and dancing the night away?

Ile de Ré, France

Sometimes it’s nice to just completely get away from city life altogether, and you’d be hard pushed to find a better place to forget about the rat race than Ile de Ré. Located just off the west coast of France, this idyllic little island has become a firm favourite with the residents of stylish cities such as Paris and Nice, when they’re looking to escape the madding crowds. It’s a little further away, taking just less than 7 hours to drive to from Calais.

Boats in the harbour on the Ile de Ré, France
Boats in the harbour on the Ile de Ré, France

Charming fishing port St-Martin-de-Ré is the island’s main town, which is surrounded by some impressive 17th century fortifications. Spend a leisurely morning exploring the warren of criss-crossing streets, with arts and crafts shops round every corner, before heading to the golden Le Bois Plage beach after lunch. The best way to make the most of the island is by bicycle, so remember to look out the bike rack!

Getting away with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Wherever you decide to escape to this bank holiday, make sure you get your weekend off to the best start by travelling with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Not only is it the fastest way across the Channel, taking just 35 minutes to transport you from Folkestone to Calais, but it is also the most convenient! Eurotunnel Le Shuttle operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which means that you are guaranteed to be able to travel at a time that suits you. All that’s left to do now is to pick a destination and start planning your weekend getaway!

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