Seattle's Space Needle provides stunning views

July is a perfect time of year to escape as summer gets into full swing and the kids remain in school for most of the month. From outdoor breaks in temperate forests to sun-kissed exotic beach getaways, we reveal our top tips for trips in July.

Best July holidays for…cities

Short Haul: Stockholm, Sweden

200 StockholmGet the best views of the city on a boat trip around the archipelago.
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Stockholm is perfect for a mid-summer city break with its array of shopping and culinary options. The Swedish capital really comes alive at this time of the year with its shimmering turquoise waters, picturesque islands and fairytale towers.

July is the holiday season in Sweden, but don’t let that put you off a visit to Scandinavia’s most populated urban area, as the locals will be looking to escape the city, leaving visitors to experience Stockholm’s cultural delights without having to dodge hurried business types and crowded buses.

Take advantage of the long summer days by strolling through Gamla Stan, a medieval old town that is a veritable maze of orange and cream-hued stucco walls. The city is scattered with museums and galleries packed with extensive collections of vivid Swedish and international art. Surrounding the bustling metropolis is the stunning Stockholm archipelago, where visitors can take in panoramic views with a boat trip or spend a night on one of the 24,000 islands.

The Swedish lifestyle is famously laid-back so do as the locals do and take a coffee break (commonly referred to as fika) at a local café, or grab a good-value set lunch at one of the city’s many restaurants. At night, dress to impress and dance the night away in some of Sweden’s glitziest nightclubs.

Long Haul: Seattle, United States

200 Seattle seafoodFind fresh lobster at Pike Place Market
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A green gem surrounded by a wealth of evergreen trees, the Cascade Mountains to the east, and the Olympic Mountains to the west, Seattle certainly lives up to its ‘Emerald City’ nickname. Although the city is infamous for perpetual cloudy skies and frequent showers, the sun emerges to bathe the city in a glorious light during the mid-summer months.

Start the day early at Pike Place Market, where boisterous employees throw fish at each other in the celebrated fish hall. Then head to the iconic Space Needle to scan the best views on a sunny summer morning. A balmy afternoon in Seattle, meanwhile, would not be complete without a wander around Pioneer Square, the city’s oldest and most historic district.

There is plenty of choice when the sun goes down, from Belltown’s posh lounges and the University District’s college bars to Capitol Hill’s gay-friendly atmosphere. Eccentric eateries, funky bars and cosy cinemas can be found in each of these fashionable areas. Seattle has something for all tastes at day or night.

Best July holidays for…beaches

Short Haul: Rye, England

200 Camber SandsFind thriving flora and fauna in the dunes
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Immersed in maritime history, Rye, with its beaches and narrow lanes could easily be labelled the ‘new Brighton’, but it has a unique character all of its own. Sitting prettily atop a rocky outcrop, this beautiful English medieval town is a great escape from the pressures of modern-day city life.

Bubbling with old-world charm, the East Sussex town is within easy reach of unspoilt coastline and fantastic beaches that are perfect for swimming, strolling or sunbathing.

Winchelsea beach, fondly referred to as “The Beach” by locals, offers peace and a sense of freedom in a relatively quiet environment. Go at low tide when expansive areas of sand are revealed at this largely shingle beach, perfect for beach games or long, thought-provoking walks.

For visitors looking for a more traditional golden-sand beach, head to Camber Sands, which is blessed with miles of dunes fringed by clumps of bright-green marram grass. Flora and fauna thrive in the dunes. Look out for skylarks and sea spurge plants encircled by vivid yellow flowers.

Away from the beach, discover the salt marsh and sand dune habitats in the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, explore the 16th-century Camber-Castle, built by Henry VII, or mingle with locals at summer events.

Long Haul: Zanzibar, Tanzania

200 ZanzibarBeaches are fringed with banana palms and coconut trees
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Zanzibar and the surrounding islands of striking Zanzibar Archipelago are scattered like shells thrown into the Indian Ocean. The East African island is often overlooked by holiday goers but has a fascinating mix of history, coastline and great cuisine.

Zanzibar boasts more than 25 brilliant white-sand beaches lapped by warm, turquoise waters – each interspersed with quaint fishing villages, banana palms, and coconut trees. Mangapwani beach on the west coast has secluded coves, while east coast options include the pristine Matemwe, Uroa, and Jambiani beaches.

If you can bear to drag yourself away from the beach, the island’s capital Zanzibar Town offers plentiful opportunities. Stone Town, a UESCO World Heritage Site and the island’s cultural heart, is home to winding alleys laced with bustling bazaars and mosques. The area’s majestic Arab houses are fronted by brass-studded, wooden doors that hint at the extravagance within.

Best July holidays for…the outdoors

Short Haul: Snowdonia, Wales

200 Snowdon MtFar-reaching views make the climb worthwhile
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Looking to get away from the crowds and to find some pristine beaches without travelling too far? Then the rugged Snowdonia National Park is a great base. Visitors can cycle, hike, swim, or climb in any of the park’s 1000 lakes, 90 mountain peaks, and 60km (37 miles) of unspoiled coastline. Strap on your boots and trek to the highest point of Snowdon Mountain - Wales’s tallest mountain at 1,085m (3,560 ft) – along designated tracks, or alternatively, take the mountain train towards the summit.

This coast has some great, sandy beaches with loads of room to spread out, and dip your toe in the sea, or discover rock pools teeming with fish. Barmouth has a pretty harbour and Black Rock Sands has great caves for the family to explore.

Finish the day with a big pot of tea and a plateful of Welsh cakes, perfect with a sliver of butter. They’re guaranteed to give you back some energy after a day in the surf or on the sands.

Long Haul: Prince Edward Island, Canada

200 Confederation TrailCycle, walk, or jog the Confederation Trail
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This maritime province, off the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, was named after one royal prince and is now attracting another, as one of the hosts for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their current Canadian tour.

Bordered by stretches of sand dunes, striking red-earth cliffs, and deserted beaches, the island is a perfect location to reconnect with Mother Nature in true outdoor Canadian fashion.

Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the Confederation Trail, which takes cyclists and joggers through wetlands, hardwood forests and along shimmering rivers. For those who want to make the most of the fresh, deep blue waters, try seal watching, kayaking, sailing or fishing.

Prince Edward Island is speckled with rolling potato fields, gabled farmhouses, and coastal villages and its capital Charlottetown, a small historical town, has stylish eateries and a bustling cultural scene.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.