10 charming weekend getaway destinations near London
London is a vibrant and exciting place, all of us long termers know that! it's what got us hooked isn't it? London has it's own thing going on though... when you begin exploring a little on the outskirts you realise how remarkably beautiful England actually is. And the best part? this isn't America or Australia, you dont have to travel far at all to explore England outside of London. There are ALOT of places to go though so one might find it quite daunting choosing which spots in particular to visit, especially if you have zero clue of what's out there. You don't want to give up an epic weekend in London for nothing right? so here are ten places just outside of London (nine out of ten of them are no more than a 2.5 hour drive away) that are definately worth giving up one of those cherished weekends for, because sometimes we just need a break from big city life!
The Cotswolds is an area in southern/central England named so due to the rolling cotswold hills that it owes it's beauty. it's made up of small towns and villages, each one as extraordinarily exquisite as the last with their tiny limestone houses and pint sized doors, greenery and flora sends the senses into overdrive as you try desperately to take it all in at once. The cotswolds is the type of place where you feel a strong urge to take a picture constantly, if you aren't careful here you'll forget to put the camera down and drink the scenery in through unfiltered eyes rather than through a lense. The Cotswolds is a short two hour drive from central London, a drive which is likely to rate as one of the most picturesque you will have ever taken. By train it's 2.5 hours, however i strongly suggest driving so you've got the freedom to drive to all the different villiages in your own time at at your own leisure. When planning what to see while you are there be sure to include these areas; Bibury, Burton on the water, Stow on the wold and Burford. Lower slaughter is quite nice too, they are all small villages nestled amongst the Cotswold hills each only a short drive from the next. You can very easily spend two or three nights in the Cotswolds and not miss anything although once you're there you're sure to never want to leave!
Dubbed the 'prettiest villiage in England' and rightly so, Castle combe is an idylic township where time seems to stand still. Situated in southern/central England, it's still technically part of the cotswolds. It's only a short two hour drive from London and is also only an hours drive from the cotswolds villiages that i've mentioned above so you could easily combine the two making it one trip, but I think you'd need more than a weekend for that. Castle combe is such an enchanting place, you can very easily spend a whole weekend relaxing and strolling lazily around in the serenity of this sweet fairytale like town. Again you'll be tempted to capture everything through your camera lense as it's eye oglingly beautiful here. A place where you would be forgiven for expecting to see Jane Eyre strolling down the road as you're swept away in an atmosphere that begs you to question wether or not this is in fact reality.
Brighton is a fun, alternative seaside town in southern England. It has a very lazy summer holiday vibe whilst at the same time being quite vibrant and upbeat too, the best of both! so if you're after a relaxed beachy kind of weekend away, Brighton won't dissapoint. If you're after a fun, fast paced and big nights out kind of weekend, it won't dissapoint then either. My partner and i enjoyed both aspects of Brighton during our weekend stay, we relaxed by the sea during the day and partied our nights away and let me tell you they know how to party in Brighton! it's only two hours drive from central London, or 1.5 hours by train, take my word for it - you'll love it.
To be quite honest i wasn't all that excited about going to Oxford, friends had organised a weekend away there so along we went becayse of course although i wasnt entirely convinced i would like it, i would never refuse the opportunity to visit somehwere new. Well, wasnt i surprised to find that Oxford is nothing at all like i envisioned it to be! i'm not even sure what i had imagined... i think i'd pictured a very straight and narrow kind of place... you know, tall business like buildings all standing neatly in rows, bustling streets and an overall drab vibe. It was the opposite! Oxford is a quaint and very pretty little place, of course it's best known for it's prestigious university which is definately worth a walk around (i had harry potter flashbacks as i strolled through the grounds) but it has much more to offer than just that. Not only is it a peaceful and charming city but the nightlife is good too! so if you're feeling like a party, Oxford wont let you down - it is packed with students after all and we all know how they roll. Oxford is a short 1 hour and 40 minute drive from central London, the scenery on the drive is quite spectacualr too! it's the same amount of time to take the train there too.
Bath is one of my favourite places in England (so far) the unusual bath stone which is used to build most of the buildings in Bath is strikingly unique, the effect of bath stone houses all lined together is simple, neat, tidy, and quite remarkable. The streets of Bath are very easy on the eye! it satisfied me more than a street of houses probably should. The town is dripping in history too making it much more than simply a 'pretty' place to visit. Bath is only a 2.5 hour drive from Central London, and the English countryside that you'll see on the way is so breathtaking you'll be stopping every few miles for photos! the train journey will be slightly shorter at 2 hours.
best known for its impressive Castle, Windsor is a lovely place to visit. Even besides the castle (which is worth the trip in itself) the small town and area of Windsor is also very quaint and charming. Even better, it's only a 30 minute drive from London! or a 1 hour and 20 minute train journey.
Devon is a county in southern/western England, it's made up of ten districts so you're spoiled for choice. Devon as a whole is pretty spectacular, wether you choose to stay by the sea and mouth watering coastline or inland amongst the rolling hills and pastures you're in for a treat. My top pick for seaside is Salcombe and for more of a country break, Dartmoor (Dartmoor national park is exquisite) Devon is a little further to travel though, it's a four hour drive from London but definitely worth it, plus road trips are the new black! or you can opt to get the train there, which will take around 4.5 hours.
Dartmoor national park.
Richmond is actually still in London... but if you're living in the city, Richmond will make you feel like you've travelled hours to the most picturesque small country village. Richmond is a short 45 minute drive from central London or half an hour on the tube, and if you haven't already been you're going to find yourself gobsmacked at the difference in scenery and vibe compared to the city. The quaint little village is super cute with its cobbled paths, boutique stores and stylish houses, but the park is even more beautiful. Richmond Park is home to a bountiful herd of red deer, and besides that it's a simply captivating place. I always get the sense that i'm walking through an enchanted woodland/forest when I'm there... you expect to see Jemima puddle duck waddling past at any given moment. The riverbank along Richmond is gorgeous too so don't miss checking it out! They often have live music along there and you can buy a jug of pimms from one of the pubs, sit on the grassy hill and watch the world go by - bliss!
Surrey is super close to London, it's only an hours drive from the city! or an hour on the train. It's quite unbelievable actually as you drive out there, the landscape changes dramatically from grey, skyscraping London to smooth green pastures and rolling hills. i defiantely suggest staying among the magnificent surrey hills rather than in the main town of surrey, you can glamp, or shack up at a quaint bed and breakfast, or even stay on a farm! it's perfect for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city without having to venture too far.
Nottingham must be one of my favourite cities in England, not only does it boast the stunning nottingham castle but it's also home to England's oldest pub the 'ye olde trip to jerusalem' which is an ancient pub built into stone caves that dates back to 1189AD, awesome! oh and have i forgotten to mention that Robin hood's residence 'sherwood forest' is on nottinghams doorstep? errrm get me there now right?! it's also a lovely city to stroll around and it has great nightlife too. Nottingham is a 2 hr 40 min drive from central London, a little futher than some of the other places i've mentined but it's well worth a visit so i just had to include it! it's also just over 2 hours on the train. Make sure you check out the 'secret' bar that's hidden behind an unassuming laundromat, you enter the bar through what appears to be a washing maching! super cool. It's called the boilermaker and it has a cracking cocktail menu, seriously don't miss it.
Well there you go peeps, you can get planning now! I hope you get a chance to visit some or all of the weekend getaways i've mentioned, they're all worth a visit!
Over & out x