Travel

Exploring the UK: Weekend trips from London

With flight travel being a bit uncertain for the foreseeable future, we thought we would share with you some of our favourite destinations which are within easy reach of London – perfect for a weekend getaway.

Following our recent day trip to Cambridge, we thought we would follow up with some of our other favourite weekend get-away destinations for you to explore.

COTSWOLDS

Our favourite place to visit for a weekend getaway from London is definitely the Cotswolds. Just a 2 hour train or drive from London, you find yourself deep in the English countryside – picturesque villages, rolling fields, and cosy pubs. What more could you want?

One of the best things about the Cotswolds is that there are so many villages to visit – each time we return we discover something new. There are the more famous, which can certainly be busy with tourists during the summer season: Bourton-on-the-water, Bibury, Burford, Chipping Campden. But if you like going a little off the tourist route, there are some stunning villages to discover. Some of our favourites include Lower Slaughter, Kingham, Blockley and Broadway.

A weekend in the Cotswold gives us some precious downtime from our busy life in London, so we usually keep things simple – long walks, great food and lots of just soaking up the slower pace of life. The best thing is, we find so many amazing places to eat, with fresh, local food. Im not sure if its just the fresh air, but somehow things just taste better there! If you find yourself in the Cotswolds looking for a restaurant or pub, here are a few of our recommendations.

The Wild Rabbit, Kingham: A perfect choice for a special occasion. This pub and restaurant offers refined, seasonal food – most of which is sourced locally. It gets booked up though, so definitely worth planning in advance. They also have some gorgeous accommodation, so perfect if you want a very low maintenance night away – what could beat collapsing into bed after a delicious meal?

The Churchill Arms, Paxford: This might just look like a fairly standard village pub from the outside, but the food is some of the best we’ve had anywhere. Make sure you book ahead, especially on a summer weekend! In fact, this place is so amazing, we had to go back the next time we were in the Cotswolds as Elliot had been dreaming about the pork T-bone dish for months.

Daylesford Farm & Cafe: This is so much more than just a farm shop! There is a cafe, restaurant, outdoor food stalls, as well as a fantastic farm shop complete with Bakery, Butcher, Cheese counter, wine store, fishmonger and garden shop. This is the perfect place for a breakfast, lunch or dinner, but we sometimes pop in to pick up some bread, cheese and wine for a delicious picnic.

NEW FOREST

Arguably famous for its wild ponies, the New Forest is a National Park around 2 hours drive from London, and is the perfect place for to enjoy some time back in nature. This area is perfect for long walks and cycles (bring your trainers!), but is also the perfect spot to try so many other activities. The New Forest also has a beautiful stretch of coastline, so its also the perfect place during the summer months if you fancy a dip in the ocean.

There are some lovely towns and villages to stay in when visiting the New Forest, as well as

There are some fantastic restaurants to visit in the New Forest, and for a special occasion it is worth booking The Pig Chewton Glen, or The Jetty.

Other pubs and restaurants that we like include:

  • The Haven, Lymington
  • The Drift Inn, Beaulieu
  • The Royal Oak, Fritham

Deciding which town to stay in can be difficult: its worth taking the time to think about what you really want from your holiday. A larger town will allow you to have a good choice of pubs to walk to for dinner at the end of your day, whereas a quieter village can offer a true opportunity to switch off and enjoy the countryside. Some of favourites include Brokenhurt, Lyndhurt and Beaulieu.

Fish & Chips on the beach

Its an English tradition for a reason! If you fancy a trip to the beach, and are a fan of fish & chips, definitely make a detour to Milton-on-Sea, and get some fish & chips from Mister Pinks. Just watch out for the seagulls!

BATH

If you are after a city with oodles of history (including the Roman Baths and Jane Austen connections), some beautiful architecture and some delicious food, then Bath might the place for you. It can be very popular with Tourists, so I would actually recommend visiting outside of the main summer holiday season to be able to appreciate this gorgeous city without too many other people around

While you cant actually use the Roman Baths anymore, you can bathe in the waters at the Thermae Bath Spa. Make sure you book tickets in advance, but the open air baths overlooking the city are a sight to not be missed! I recommend booking an evening session: the lights over the city are stunning.

Perhaps the second most famous sight in Bath is the Royal Crescent. Most of these homes are private residences these days, although No.1 is a museum that is open to the public. Walk through this famous street, imagining yourself in a Jane Austen novel, or better still bring a picnic and find a spot to sit to enjoy the scenery.

YORK

York always has special place in my heart, as its where I spent three years while at University. While it might be the farthest from London, the train is about 2 hours which makes it very doable for a long weekend. The beauty of York is that its just a small town, which can easily be discovered on foot.

So, if you are anything like me, a trip to York would not be complete without a stop at Betty’s tea rooms.

It gets busy (especially with tourists!), so make sure you book ahead. I can highly recommend the afternoon tea, but the food menu for lunch and dinner is also worth trying. And afterwards make sure you stop by the patisserie counter to get some treats to take away!

Once you are sufficiently full from afternoon tea, I highly recommend a walk around York Minster. You used to be able to climb up one of the towers, which gives impressive views of York, although I think they may have stopped this during Covid period. If you fancy a longer walk, it is also really nice to walk around the old city walls.

York is full of traditional pubs, old cobbled streets and historic buildings . Pretty much any way you turn and you will be spoilt for choice for things to see. However, its definitely worth making the effort to walk down the shambles, a 14th Century street where the upper storeys of the 14th-century timber houses lean out, and almost touch each other!

There are lots of museums and things to do in York, if that is something that takes your fancy, including the National Railway museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre. But for me, a day in York is best spent walking through this gorgeous city, soaking up the atmosphere and stopping for a drink in one of the many traditional pubs. A perfect relaxing weekend away!

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