London’s Thames cuts through the heart of the city, dividing the British capital into north and south and creating some of the most iconic riverside landmarks in the world. From the Houses of Parliament to the Thames Barrier, the unique sites of London’s waterways is what makes the city such an alluring holiday option for guests at spas near Paddington.
The river also holds a more practical history, having been used as a transport route for goods from the North Sea for millennia, exactly the reason London was built where it is today by the Romans back in 4AD. Water, then, flows through the blood of London, and it’s also another reason that the island nation has such a thriving tourist industry. If you’ve spent your holiday ticking off that London bucket list and enjoying the city’s culture and restaurants near Paddington, then perhaps it’s time to set your sights further afield towards the country’s coastline. London’s nearest coastal towns are easy to reach and full of surprises, many even offering insights into the history and nature of London.
One of the best known towns on the South Coast, Brighton’s Regency era history of eccentric princes and wonder cure wellness retreats have become something of a legend. Guests from the Chilworth Hotel Paddington can easily reach Brighton via Thameslink services through London Bridge or Southeastern services from London Victoria in less than an hour.
The redevelopment of Margate’s oceanfront has seen it reinvigorated with tourism in recent decades, leading to many Londoners actually upping sticks and moving there permanently. It’s easy to see why, the town’s mix of classic British seaside amusements and arty cafes and shops makes this a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of London. One notable London resident who upped sticks to Margate was JMW Turner, the famous Romantic painter. You can visit the Turner Gallery on Margate seafront free of admission.
Another Kentish town just an hour and a half outside of London, Whitstable is a cobbled street harbourside gem with bustling local fish markets and quaint shingle beaches. For those looking for a slice of refined rustic, Whitstable is perfect for a weekend away from the city noise.
More tourist oriented than Whitstable’s more refined and laid back atmosphere, Ramsgate is a town that prides itself on its bustling seafront and attractions. Try the shoreside walk towards Broadstairs for a pleasant coastal ramble along chalky cliffs and through the King George VI Memorial Park.
Teeming with historic intrigue, the smuggling history of Deal adds a marked edge to this now pleasant seaside town. After its use as a fishing and shipping town during the 16th and 17th centuries, Deal became a more popular tourist resort during the Victorian era, which still characterises the architecture of the area. Nowadays, Deal is teeming with traditional British pubs and microbreweries as well as brilliant seafood. Quaint and manageable, Deal is the perfect weekend getaway for couples looking for a taste of beachside life.
Heading back to Sussex again, this Kent-bordering town is just an hour and a half outside of London and comes fully equipped for tourists thanks to its hilltop castle ruins and long Saxon history. This was the town closest to where the eponymous Battle of Hastings took place but instead of bloodshed, today’s town has a thriving culture and independent cafe scene and promises pleasant walks through the Hastings sands and sandstone clad wealds.