10 of the best destinations for long-haul short city breaks

If you love a city break but have already visited your fair share of European hotspots, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Why not make those precious annual leave days worthwhile by ticking a trip off your long-haul travel bucket list over a long weekend?

We Brits usually stick to short-haul destinations when we’re after a quick and easy getaway. Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Barcelona are some of the cities that usually come to mind when we’re planning a four-day trip – but that’s all changed this year. As the travel experts at Trailfinders say: ‘Travellers are becoming ever more experience hungry and are increasingly looking further afield for their fix, even with city breaks. Instead of sightseeing in Europe, they might be dune bashing in Dubai or even shark cage diving in Cape Town.

In its annual holiday report for 2019, Thomas Cook even revealed that almost half of its bookings this summer are to non-Euro destinations, showing that we’re keen to explore beyond our doorstep, even if it means a jam-packed trip.

Worried about jet lag? Don’t be. There are plenty of long-haul destinations with as little as three hours’ time difference, from Africa to the Middle East. To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve listed ten of the best destinations in the world for a long-haul city break. Enjoy…

New York

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Flight time: 8 hours
Time difference: 5 hours ahead

The big apple is an obvious choice when it comes to long-haul city breaks. A mere 8 hours across the Atlantic, it’s easy to pop over for a long weekend of fast city living, and you can score some real bargains when it comes to flights. Plus, there are plenty of tourist destinations to tick off, from the MET to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck – all of which can easily be done with a New York CityPASS (prices start from $132 and $108 for children ages 6-17). Alternatively, Brooklyn is a great place to have as your base to experience an alternative New York City. Pop into Cafe Colette for a leisurely brunch, before spending an afternoon at East River State Park to get some amazing views of the city skyline.

Dubai

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Flight time: 7 hours

Time difference: 3 hours ahead

Dubai has quickly become one of the hottest spots for a long-haul weekend trip, with the destination offering everything from glamorous city life – we’re talking skyscrapers (hello, Burj Khalifa) and rooftop bars to camel rides in the desert and of course, endless pool parties and beaches to enjoy the scorching sunshine. Take your pick from the plethora of luxurious accommodation options, including the famous Burj Al Arab (or Jumeirah‘s slightly more affordable portfolio of other properties). Plus, you won’t have any jet-lag as there is only a three hour time difference – what more would you want?

Abu Dhabi

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Flight time: 7 hours
Time difference: 3 hours ahead

Just like Dubai, Abu Dhadi is a fairly swift 7 hour flight away, with only a three hour time difference to the UK. Aside from its bustling city life, Abu Dhabi – which is made up of 250 miles of coastline – is the perfect place for a relaxing mini break which is also rich in culture. Spend a day lazing around on the beautiful Corniche or Saadiyat beach, before visiting the breath-taking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Kenya

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Flight time: 8 hours
Time difference: 2 hours ahead

Fall asleep in London and wake up in Nairobi with zero jet lag repercussions. After a night in the city, take a quick 45-minute plane ride to Masai Mara National Park to experience a weekend like no other at the Offbeat Mara. Wake up to lions within a walking distance at the Offbeat’s lion pride and enjoy regular sightings of cheetah and leopard. Sound incredible? Well it is. Especially as The Luxury Safari Company offers bespoke safaris’ for travellers to enjoy.

Cape Town

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Flight time: 10 hours
Time difference: 1 hour ahead

Just one overnight flight away, Cape Town is an absolute must for anyone looking for a happy medium between adventurous and relaxing when booking their mini break. With incredible views of white beaches and gorgeous landscape, not to mention its jaw-dropping mountains, Cape Town is a city with endless offerings – from swanky dinners to memorable days by the sea, to incredible mountain hikes.

Miami

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Flight time: 8.5 hours
Time difference: 5 hours behind

If a trip to bustling New York isn’t your idea of fun, opt for Miami, which is the same distance away on the plane. The modern, eclectic city is full of bold colours and characters, and combines the fun of a city with the laid back nature of the beach. Chill on the beach and meet the locals, browse the markets and museums, and hit the bar scene when the sun goes down for a handful of nights you’ll never forget.

Muscat

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Flight time: 
7.5 hours
Time difference: 3 hours ahead

Oman is surprisingly close, and is a highly culturally rich place to visit, with many cities to take in. Take a trip to capital city Muscat to get a real feel for the country. Located on the Gulf of Oman, this city offers a perfect blend of mountainous backdrop, water-side charm and interesting activities and places to visit, including the visually impressive mosques and areas to hike in. It also has numerous luxury accommodation offerings such as the five star Shangri La or Al Bustan Palace.

Toronto

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Flight time: 8 hours
Time difference: 5 hours behind

Canada is a brilliant option for a short city break, as long as you stick to places such as Toronto which are far closer to the UK then its Western counterparts like Vancouver. There’s plenty to do and see in Toronto, and you’ll experience Canadian hospitality here just as much as anywhere in the vast, beautiful country. Visit the iconic CN tower, the Harbour front and of course the many leafy green areas of the city.

Washington D.C

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Flight time: 8 hours
Time difference: 5 hours behind

If you’ve ticked off the likes of New York and Miami, Washington D.C is a brilliant alternative option that offers American history and political buzz like no other American destination. Begin at the Lincoln memorial and make your way down towards Capitol Hill, passing by the beautiful Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and the World War II memorial. On your way you’ll pass numerous museums, but the Smithsonian National Museum Of American History is worth dedicating an entire day to alone. With exhibitions exploring the nature of the American presidency, the role of the First Lady, and every cultural or pivotal moment in American history you can think of, it’s a great choice to learn about everything.

New Delhi

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Flight time: 9 hours
Time difference: 4.5 hours

Visiting India for a shorter break may seem a little unrealistic, but the time difference there in New Delhi is less than it is from here to New York, and the flight is still under 10 hours. After arriving, you may not have long to see everything you want to see, so get picky and stick to the must-dos, such as the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb, which is said to have inspired and influenced the design of the Taj Mahal.