Five of the Best Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday Ideas

It's really only just properly dawned on us that if we take three days off after the Diamond Jubilee then we get a full 10 days off. Which means, we might just ditch our patriotism and jet off on one of the below Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday ideas. What a way to start the summer...


Short Break in Iceland

Here on the ELLE travel desk not many things have come close to visiting Reykjavik in the summer and catching a glimpse of the incredible midnight sun. From mid-May to mid-August, the sun only sets for a few hours a day, effectively seeing the country bathed in 24-hour sunlight and setting off an incredible party atmosphere along the Laugavegur. If that’s not your scene and you fancy something a little more laid-back, then you can head to the blue lagoon, or off on one of the seriously romantic whale-watching trips. (Wildlife is at its peak at this time of year, and they'll turn off the engines of the boat and you can listen to the orca whales in the midnight sun.) Plus, reaching the capital can be cheaper than you think, as new airline WOW Air ( are launching a Stanstead-Keflavik service three times a week from June 3rd, with some great launch deals in its first week. Easyjet ( also launched a new route earlier this year and Iceland Express ( has some huge savings on. So what are you waiting for?


Hay Festival

This summer the fabulous Hay Festival ( is going to be celebrating its 25th anniversary and has another outstanding line-up of poets, writers, musicians, comedians, novelists and historians confirmed. As well as talks and interviews throughout the day from everyone from Salman Rushdie to Stephen Fry, there’ll be plenty of nighttime events in new venue, the Sound Castle. Here you’ll be able to kick back to the sounds of comedian Tim Minchin’s piano playing, Cerys Matthews performing a special Woody Guthrie concert and Mercury prize winner Speech Debelle. Set on the edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, the festival runs from Thursday 31st May-Sunday 10th June; entrance is free, and you just buy tickets for the people you want to watch. It’s the perfect place for a laid-back (but cultural) Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday break.


Primavera – Porto

If you want in on the festival fever this summer, but feel a bit overwhelmed by the choice, why not try a brand new one? After a decade of brilliant festivals in Barcelona, Primavera are branching out and putting on an extra festival in the ancient Portuguese city of Porto. The line-up includes the Flaming Lips, the XX, Bjork, the Drums and Suede. The festival takes places in the gorgeous Parque da Cidade over three days (from June 7th-June 10th), which means if you’ve taken off the 10 days then there’s plenty of time for exploring the city, topping up your tan on the beach and making the most of the fabulous surfing in the area. Tickets start from £80 for both days and there are plenty still available on the official Primavera website (

Fal River Festival, Cornwall

If you want to get involved in the Diamond Jubilee pageant on June 3rd but don’t really fancy joining the estimated one million people who are expected to head to the banks of the Thames, you could always head for a river festival of a more intimate kind down in Cornwall. From the 1st-10th June the Fal River Festival will be hosting boat races and plenty of beach barbecues and live music as well as a jubilee cream tea garden party, if you’re in the mood for celebrating. Much more our kind of thing, in other words. Plus, if you've got a little time to play with, then you can turn it into the perfect excuse to try out one of our favourite romantic hotels in Cornwall by the sea.

Beach Break in Nice

With the combination of bare limbs and pastels striding down the Spring/Summer 2012 catwalks, we’re thinking we’re going to need a bit of a head start in the tanning stakes. Which is why we’ve been looking around for some reasonably priced flights to help our quest. After racking our brains for destinations all over Europe, we’ve found that Easyjet ( are offering some great deals from London to Nice. We can picture it now, French cheese and wine in the old town, pottering around the early morning flea markets of Cours Saleya and the boutiques, before heading off for a long day on the beach. 10 days in the South of France on a diamond jubilee getaway? We really don’t need any convincing.

Like our pick of Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday ideas, but fancy heading to London to celebrate with friends instead? Check out our pick of the best things to do in London in the sunshine.

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