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Quickest European Trips UK
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The Quickest European Trips From the UK

After a prolonged period of restricted travel, people are now mostly free to travel where they wish once again. However, with the busy day-to-day life most people live, a lot of us don’t often have time to go abroad for a whole week. For this reason, a quick city break might be the best option for those looking to escape their routines.

Thankfully, Europe is made for the quick city break, with plenty of options available when travelling from London. Europe has a diverse array of beautiful cities to visit, with relatively fast flight times from the UK, and the choice can be overwhelming.

At Slingo, we think there’s not much else more thrilling than online bingo, but a European city break comes very close. As such, we have looked at the best cities that you can travel to within two hours of London, looking at flight length, distance and cost of travel. From this, you should be able to make an informed decision for your European city break.

The Quickest Flights to European Cities From London

Quickest Flights From London

1. Rotterdam, Netherlands

Length of a Flight from Heathrow: 55 Minutes

Rotterdam is the city with the shortest flight time from London. You can fly to this major port city in just 55 minutes, giving you plenty of time to experience all it has to offer. 

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Length of a Flight from Heathrow: 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Next up, we have Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. It is also colloquially referred to as “The Venice of the North”, due to the numerous large canals, which are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From London, you can fly to Amsterdam in just 1 hour and 5 minutes.  

3. Dusseldorf, Germany & Rennes, France

Length of a Flight from Heathrow: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

Dusseldorf is one of the largest cities in Germany and is located on the confluence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Dussel. There are a vast array of historical and cultural sites for you to explore in the city too. Rennes, located in Northwestern France is a city with a rich history, dating back some 2,000 years when it was just a small village named Condate. The main attractions are the cathedral, opera house and half-timbered houses in the same district.

The Quickest Flights to European Cities From Manchester

Quickest Flights From Manchester

1. Dublin, Ireland

Length of a flight from Manchester: 1 Hour

The capital of Ireland, Dublin is just a short flight away from the UK, taking only 1 hour to get there from Manchester airport. Dublin has been an important city in Ireland for well over a thousand years, both as the Irish capital and as the stronghold of Viking invaders who called it home for three centuries.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Length of a flight from Manchester: 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Amsterdam is a city with endless cultural sites and attractions, from the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum to the National Maritime Museum and Anne Frank House. From Manchester airport, you can arrive in Amsterdam after a short flight of just 1 hour and 5 minutes.

3. Rotterdam, Netherlands & Rennes, France

Length of a flight from Manchester: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

Rotterdam is an alternative Dutch destination for anyone wanting to experience the national culture without facing the crowds of tourists in Amsterdam, while Rennes is an excellent French destination far from the busy sprawl of Paris. Flights to either city only take 1 hour and 10 minutes from Manchester airport.

The Quickest Flights to European Cities From Birmingham

Quickest Flights From Birmingham

1. Dublin, Ireland

Length of a flight from Birmingham: 1 Hour, 5 Minutes

Dublin is also a quick city to fly to from Birmingham, with flight times of just 1 hour and 5 minutes. One of the most popular attractions in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse tour, exploring the history of one of the world’s most recognisable drinks. Flights to Dublin from Birmingham are relatively short, taking 1 hour and 5 minutes.

2. Rennes, France & Brussels, Belgium

Length of a flight from Birmingham: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

Rennes is also one of the quickest destinations to reach from Birmingham, with flights only taking 1 hour and 10 minutes. You can also reach Brussels in the same amount of time and enjoy the city’s gastronomic specialities that include waffles, chocolate, French fries and numerous types of beers.

The Quickest Flights to European Cities From Edinburgh

Quickest Flights From Edinburgh

1. Rennes, France & Dublin, Ireland

Length of a flight from Edinburgh: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes

From Edinburgh, the two cities with the shortest flight time are Rennes and Dublin, both of which take 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach by plane. With such short travel times and plenty to see at the other end, either city would make for an excellent weekend getaway.

3. Nantes, France & Amsterdam, Netherlands

Length of a flight from Edinburgh: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes

In joint third place, taking 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach from Edinburgh, are Amsterdam and the city of Nantes, in France. Nantes is often overlooked by tourists in favour of larger cities, but between the botanical gardens, Jules Verne Museum and the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, the former home of the Dukes of Brittany, there is plenty for the curious traveller to explore.

The Cheapest European Cities To Fly To From London

Cheapest Flights From London

1. Dublin, Ireland

Flight Cost From Heathrow, Economy Cabin, per Person: £65

Dublin is the capital city of Ireland, located in the bay of the River Liffey, and it is the cheapest European city to fly to from Heathrow. There’s also plenty to do in the city, such as a tour of the Kilmainham Gaol and the Irish Museum of Modern Art nearby. Costing just £65 for an economy cabin flight, it appears a total bargain. 

2. Barcelona, Spain

Flight Cost From Heathrow, Economy Cabin, per Person: £83

Barcelona is located on the Northeastern coast of Spain and is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia. Whilst here, you can check out the Sagrada Família, or stroll down the famous La Rambla. The city also has the Nou Camp football stadium, home of the city’s iconic football team. At just £83 per person, it is the second-cheapest European city to fly to, from London. 

3. Lisbon, Portugal

Flight Cost From Heathrow, Economy Cabin, per Person: £85

Lisbon is the hilly, coastal capital of Portugal, and it is our third-cheapest city to travel to from London, at just £85, per person. Lisbon has a booming coffee and food scene, as well as the National Museum of Contemporary Art and Museu do Oriente, so there’s plenty to do during your short trip.

The Cheapest European Cities To Fly To From Manchester

Cheapest Flights From Manchester

1. Dublin, Ireland

Flight Cost From Manchester, Economy Cabin, per Person: £30

Dublin is the cheapest destination to fly to from Manchester airport, costing just £30 per person. While the city is a fantastic destination for a short trip abroad, it also acts as an excellent springboard for a trip to other parts of Ireland.

2. Milan, Italy

Flight Cost From Manchester, Economy Cabin, per Person: £32

Milan is the second most affordable city to fly to from Manchester with flights costing £32 per head. This bustling Italian city is home to the country’s fashion and finance industries, making it one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Milan is also brimming with culture and history, with the Gothic Duomo cathedral being one of the main attractions.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Flight Cost From Manchester, Economy Cabin, per Person: £39

Copenhagen is the third most affordable city to fly to from Manchester, costing just £39 per person. The Danish capital has all the cultural attractions you might expect from a major European city but has a particularly strong culinary offering with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other Scandinavian city.

The Cheapest European Cities To Fly To From Birmingham

Cheapest Flights From Birmingham

1. Dublin, Ireland

Flight Cost From Birmingham, Economy Cabin, per Person: £30

Dublin is also the cheapest destination to fly to from Birmingham, with flights starting from as little as £30. Unusually, Dublin is a city that’s home to two cathedrals, St Patrick's and Christ Church, both of which are well worth a visit for their impressive architecture and cultural significance.

2. Barcelona, Spain

Flight Cost From Birmingham, Economy Cabin, per Person: £42

Barcelona is the second most affordable city to fly to from Birmingham, costing just £42 per ticket. Barcelona is home to some of the most striking architecture in the world both in the towering spectacle of the Sagrada Familia and the unconventional appearance of Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, both of which were designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí .

3. Geneva, Switzerland

Flight Cost From Birmingham, Economy Cabin, per Person: £86

Geneva is the most affordable destination from Birmingham, with flights costing £86 per person. Set against a backdrop of exquisite mountain scenery and the picturesque Lake Geneva, this alpine city has a lot to offer tourists. Geneva is also a great palace for cheese lovers, with raclette and fondue counting among the local culinary specialities.

The Cheapest European Cities To Fly To From Edinburgh

Cheapest Flights From Edinburgh

1. Dublin, Ireland

Flight Cost From Edinburgh, Economy Cabin, per Person: £35

Dublin is the cheapest destination to fly to from Edinburgh as plane tickets cost just £35. With excellent nightlife including all manner of pubs and clubs, Dublin has a lot to offer when it comes to a night on the town. However, there may be no bigger night in Dublin than St Patrick’s Day, when the city comes alive to celebrate Ireland’s national saint.

2. Milan, Italy

Flight Cost From Edinburgh, Economy Cabin, per Person: £68

Milan is the second most affordable city to fly to from Edinburgh, with a flight costing £68 per person. Milan is known for offering luxury shopping experiences and exquisite regional delicacies like Ossobuco and Risotto alla Milanese but is also home to the impressive Sforzesco Castle and museums, as well as the peaceful and picturesque Parco Sempione.

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Flight Cost From Edinburgh, Economy Cabin, per Person: £94

Copenhagen is the third most affordable city to travel to, with flights costing £94 each. Tourists in the city should make sure to visit Amalienborg, the palace and home of the Danish royal family. Guided tours are available inside the museum and Christian VII's Palace, as well as small guided walks in the royal quarter of the city.

The Cheapest European Cities To Travel To By Train

Cheapest European Cities To Travel By Train

1. Brussels, Belgium

Train Cost From London (Standard Ticket) per Person: £29.00

From being one of the shortest distances from Heathrow to the cheapest trip from London by train, we again have Brussels. For the price of just £29 for a standard train ticket, you could be in Brussels, viewing the city's street comic murals or the quirky Atomium, designed in the form of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. 

1. Paris, France

Train Cost From London (Standard Ticket) per Person: £29.00

Again, Paris was one of the cities with the shortest distance from London and is joint-first as the cheapest to travel to by train, from the English capital. And, of course, there is plenty to do with iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or the Louvre to visit. For just £29 for a train ticket to travel to one of the most iconic cities in the world, who could refuse? 

3. Cologne, Germany

Train Cost From London (Standard Ticket) per Person: £59.63

Cologne is the largest city in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth most populous city in Germany. The city is home to plenty of must-see sights, such as the Cologne Cathedral, now a UNESCO site, with its gilded shrine of the Three Kings. And not far from the cathedral is Ludwig Museum, displaying works of art from 1900 onwards. Train tickets from London to Cologne can cost around £59.63 on a return standard ticket, making it the third-cheapest city. 

4. Lyon, France

Train Cost From London (Standard Ticket) per Person: £66.04

Lyon is the third-largest city in France and it’s located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône. You can see one of the oldest renaissance old quarters in the city, the Vieux Lyon, as well as the Traboules, which are passageways running beneath buildings to the riverbanks, used by silk traders in the renaissance. And, how could one say no to just £66.04 for a standard train ticket from London?

Methodology

To begin with, we researched which European cities could be travelled to within two hours, using a variety of sources, such as this list from Alternative Airlines.

Using Google Flights, we looked at the ticket price for each city, for an economy cabin return ticket in January 2023, taking the most recurring price point for the month. We did this for each airport we looked at.

Using Air Trek’s trip planner, we were able to get the flight duration for each city and then ranked each city on that number.

Finally, using The Trainline, we were able to get train ticket prices from London to each of these European cities (in £). We looked specifically at January 7th-8th 2023, for standard return tickets. Where results were blank, trains from London to that destination were not available. We then ranked each city on the cost to travel there from London by train.

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