Northern France: 5 places to visit for a short break from the UK

The French coast is just a short journey through the Channel Tunnel

The French coast is just a short journey through the Channel Tunnel - Credit: Archant

Want a short break across the Channel? Here are five must-see places in Northern France that are within easy reach of the UK.

Take in the sea views of northern France

Take in the sea views of northern France - Credit: Archant

From the UK, less than a two-hour journey through the Channel Tunnel can take you to a whole new environment where you can enjoy French food and incredible landscapes. If you fancy a short break across the Channel, we have for you five wonderful holiday spots within a three-hour trip from the UK.

If you decide to go to France only for a weekend or just a few days, you will want to make the most of your time by staying in the north of the country and experiencing life in the region of beautiful belfries and long sandy beaches. You may be surprised by just how much there is to do here and how many great restaurants there are to try. If you are also wondering where to stay, you can find lovely holiday parks for your holiday in northern France. You’ll be welcomed in fully equipped accommodation close to the most beautiful places and tourist attractions of the Opal Coast (Côte d’Opale).

The 4-star Trésors d'Opale hotel residence in Sainte Cécile near Le Touquet

The 4-star Trésors d'Opale hotel residence in Sainte Cécile near Le Touquet - Credit: Archant

1. Cap Blanc-Nez and Calais: Your gateway to France

Calais will probably be your first stop on your arrival in France and this is a lovely city you should definitely stop and explore! A few kilometres away, you can discover the natural site of the Cap Blanc Nez where you will find exceptional cliffs. When the weather is good enough you can even see back across the Channel to the cliffs of England reminding you just how close the two countries are. After a walk on the heights of the cape, go down to discover two pretty beaches at Wissant and Escalles – considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in France but is only fully revealed at low tides.

2. Boulogne-sur-Mer: Discover the maritime life

In Boulogne-sur-Mer life revolves around the sea. You can stroll in the morning to the fish market, walk through the old town and then decide to chill on the small beach near the port. If you want to discover the marine world in even greater depth, you can visit Nausicaa which is the largest aquarium in Europe. Young and old alike will love visiting Boulogne-sur-Mer!

Relax on the beach in northern France

Relax on the beach in northern France - Credit: Archant

3. Le Touquet: Charming seaside resorts

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage is a popular seaside resort in northern France with pretty, chic houses and a host of activities on offer. Make a stop at the town’s casino or take advantage of the restaurants and beach bars.

There are also a number of small seaside resorts in the surrounding area of Le Touquet which each have their own unique charm and can be great places to visit. Amongst them, the towns of Sainte-Cécile and Hardelot are particularly noteworthy. Whichever resort (or resorts!) you choose to stop in, you won’t be bored. Between horse riding, watersports and gastronomic discoveries, your stay around Le Touquet will be unforgettable.

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4. Baie de Somme: Get closer to nature

The Baie de Somme is a natural jewel only 1h30 from Calais. To take full advantage of this place, you can discover the Marquenterre National Park which allows you to go for beautiful walks in the 250 hectares shared between marshes, forests and dunes. There are also many activities to do such as hiking, land sailing/sand yachting, or horse riding through the bay.

5. Lille: Experience the city

Lille is the big city to discover in northern France. Only an hour’s drive from Calais, Lille is a surprising city where you have fun discovering the French way of life. It is the ideal place to enjoy a drink on the terrace and to discover the architectural wonders of northern France. We recommend you take a walk in the old town and eat in an estaminet on the Rue de Gand.

And good news! If you want to enjoy some fresh sea air, the seaside resort of Bray-Dunes is only one hour away from Lille, making it the ideal stopover after the city break and before returning to the UK.