If you want to get out of London for a day or two and explore the English countryside, here are some of the most accessible London weekend breaks you should explore.
For seaside lovers, the best weekend getaway from London is Brighton. Hop on a train in London Bridge to arrive at the hippest city of the UK in only an hour.
Check into the Ibis Brighton City Centre right near the train station if you want to stay at a conveniently located hotel with a great breakfast. One of the best things to do in Brighton is taking a flight on British Airways i360 on the beach. It will take you up to 48 meters high (150 feet), and you will see the entire city from above. What a spectacular view! Get a glass of champagne at the bar, and enjoy your flight!
After the flight, take a stroll down the beach, check out the Brighton Palace Pier. Here you have a chance to gamble a bit if you are into that. Near the pier, you can find SeaLife, the aquarium, where you can see 3500 sea creatures and 100 different species. It s a great place to visit if you are visiting Brighton with kids.
Take a stroll to the Royal Pavilion and Museum. The beautiful building was built in Indian and Chinese styles. After sightseeing, have lunch at one of the many fabulous restaurants in Brighton. I loved the following places: Cote, Polpo, Constantinopole.
Windsor is a charming town about an hour away from London. Hop on a train in Waterloo Station and get off at the last stop to visit Windsor. Ticket cost £12.40. Windsor is home to the largest and the oldest occupied castle that dates back to 1075. When the royal standard flies from the keep of the Castle, the Queen is at home.
Windsor is a small ancient town, with a giant Castle. Make sure to leave London early, because if you get there late; you will have to queue up for an hour or two to get inside the Castle. There are lots of tourists visiting the site when the weather is nice. In the lobby, you can see some beautiful photos of the royal family, taken by World famous photographer, Annie Leibowitz.
Inside the Castle, you can visit the St-George Chapel, where many royal weddings took place in the past. Make sure to visit the state apartments to see how beautiful the castle is from inside. It is beautifully decorated with huge paintings and red silk walls. If you visit the castle in August, you can also see the Moat Garden surrounding the castle for an extra £2 entry fee. It has many beautiful flowers.
After visiting the castle, walk around the town. It has great pubs and some excellent restaurants for lunch. Also, walk down the main street to do some shopping or walk along the river to see the swans. You can also hop on a boat for a short boat ride.
Hop on a train at Paddington Station to visit the beautiful city of Bath an hour and a half away from London. Bath is a historic spa city that dates back to the Roman times. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town is famous for its Roman period Baths, medieval heritage, and Georgian architecture.
The city is the oldest tourist destination, and it has been welcoming visitors for centuries. The three hot springs of Bath were established during the Roman times. In the 18th century, Bath revived as a luxury resort destination. Visiting the Roman bath is one of the main tourist attractions here. For £16.50, you can walk around the bath and see the building inside. However, you cannot jump into the water, like you would do in most European baths. So I m not sure, if it s worth paying £16.50.
Next, to the Roman Bath, you can visit the Bath Abbey, which was the last Gothic church in England. For £6 you can walk all the way to the top and see the entire city from above.
Pulteney Bridge was built in the 18th century, and it is one of the most exciting attractions of the city. It is one of the four bridges in the world with shops on both sides of the bridge.
The Royal Crescent is a vast semi-elliptical crescent of houses. It is a beautiful place and a good representation of the Gregorian style architecture of Bath.
Longleat Safari Park
Have you ever dreamed about visiting Africa to explore the wildlife? The good news is that you don’t have to travel as far as Africa to experience a safari. Only about 2,5 hours away from London, you can visit the Longleat estate, which was the first safari outside of Africa. The place is nearby Bath.
You will need a car to reach the place and to drive around the safari. Public transportation will not take you there. The entrance fee costs £35 per person, if you buy it on the premises and £30 if you buy it online.
After entering the park, you will soon notice the beautiful Longleat House, which was built in the 16th century. It is a beautiful mansion, with all the traditional luxury you can imagine. Make sure you see the World map that was published in the 17th century. It is located upstairs. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside. The hedge maze just outside of the house is considered to be the longest in the World. Try to find your way out if you are adventurous enough.
Kent is only an hour away from London by car or by train. The best way to see Kent is by car because there are many places to see and they are usually far from each other. Rent a car and explore the castles and beautiful towns of Kent.
The Hop Shop
This place has the largest lavender field in the UK. It can be visited in June and July when the lavenders are blooming. As you are approaching the place by car, you will see a purple carpet in the distance. When you get closer, you will start smelling the lavender. It is such a visually beautiful place, and it just smells incredible.
You can visit the shop, where you can buy all sorts of amazing products made of lavender. You can taste jellies made of lavender or buy some freshly cut lavender flowers.
We joined an hour-long tour to visit the lavender fields. The tour guide explained how the flowers are grown and harvested and the difference between lavender and lavendin. We took some photos, and then we headed over to the lavender distillery, where they showed us how oil is made of the flowers. After the tour, they showed the different products they produce from the flowers. It was amazing to see how many cosmetics as well as natural remedies are made of the flower.
Only about half an hour drive away from the Hop Shop, you can visit one of the most beautiful castles in England, the Hever Castle. The castle was built in the 13th century, and it was the place, where Anne Boleyn grew up. A small castle is surrounded by a magnificent garden.
It has mazes, lakes, statues. You can even try archery in the garden. You can visit the castle inside and then you can spend a whole day exploring its beautiful garden. It has an Italianate garden, a rose garden, a herb garden and a topiary. Kids can have lots of fun exploring the water maze or playing with the swans by the lake.
Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Kent is also known as the loveliest castle in the World. It is an enormous castle that dates back to 1086. In the 16th century, it was the home of Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The castle has a beautiful moat. It is surrounded by water. The great thing about the castle is that you can also visit the interiors. It is beautifully furnished.
Once you exit the castle, head to the maze and try to find the grotto in the middle. We got so lost, we couldn’t find the way to the grotto, so we gave up, and while we were looking for the exit, we ended up finding the grotto. You can also watch the falconry show at 2 pm. It is something kids may enjoy. You can also go on a segway tour or go punting on the water, when the weather is nice. Battle for the Skies is a show that tells the story of the battle of Britain in World World II. Leeds Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in England, and I highly recommend you to visit it.
Oxford is one of my favorite cities in England after living and studying here for a year. You can either take a train from Paddington Station or take the Oxford Tube or the X90 buses from Victoria Station. The train takes one hour, while the bus takes about an hour and a half.
The city is more than 1000 years old, and it has many beautiful buildings, impressive parks, and great restaurants. Oxford University is the oldest educational institution in the country, and it certainly has some impressive buildings that you should visit on your first trip to Oxford. Christ Church College is the largest, most beautiful one of the colleges. You can take a guided tour every hour in the chapel for free. You can also see the dining room, where Harry Potter was filmed.
Magdalene College is also very beautiful especially its garden with deer. I m a big fan of Trinity College on the main square as well. Its garden and chapel are beautiful.
Tourists can also visit the Bodleian Library, which might be familiar to Harry Potter fans, as this was the library where Harry, Hermione, and Ron spent their hours studying. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History has lots of cool things to see, especially for children, who love animals.
Make sure to check out the oldest pub in Oxford, The Bear. It’s not easy to find, but worth looking for it. For those who prefer teas and pastries, The Grand Café is the oldest café in England.
The palace is only about half an hour away from Oxford. Hop on the bus number 7 by the large Tesco near St Giles and get off by Blenheim Palace. It is actually inhabited by commons and it is one of England’s largest houses and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also famous, because Churchill spent his childhood years here. Today it is the residence of the Duke of Marlborough.
You will discover an opulent palace with a magnificent garden. The palace is enormous and beautifully decorated. It is surrounded by beautiful parks. It is certainly the largest, most elegant palace I have seen in England. You can have an afternoon tea or dinner at the Orangery restaurant.
During the festive season, they set up a Christmas market in the palace, and you can also experience the festive fairy tale experience of Cinderella. Summer is a wonderful time to visit the palace, because you can enjoy the park and during the Winter, you can enjoy the festive activities.
Oxford might be the most significant and oldest university town in England, but Cambridge is undoubtedly the most beautiful one. Take the train from Liverpool Street station to Cambridge. It will only take about an hour to get there. It is much smaller than Oxford, and everything is within a short walk.
King’s College is the largest, most beautiful college. It is guarded, so you cannot just walk in to see the college inside, but you can walk around it and see its beautiful garden from the back. Trinity College is another architectural beauty. You can easily access the college and walk around its inner courtyard. Its library holds the original manuscript of Winnie-the-Pooh. After visiting a few colleges, take a walk along the backs from Kings College to Kings Parade. Punting is another adventurous thing to try out in Cambridge. It is fun to cruise down the Cam River and enjoy the calmness of the nature.
Disclosure: I received free admission to Windsor Castle, The Hop Shop and Hever Castle in order to share my experiences in this article.
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