With the second lockdown now behind us, it’s unsurprising to find that many people are beginning to consider what to do with their Christmas break. Whilst the tier system that replaced the national lockdown still imposes regulations on how and where we can visit, tier 1 and tier 2 sanctioned areas are still on the cards for day trips or private core bubble-oriented overnight stays. Whether you live in the UK capital or you’re visiting for the 2 night London hotel deals, 32 borough city isn’t your only option for getting a taste of British life.
With much of the south of England well connected through London, and many other parts of the country easily reachable within a 2-hour train journey, you can travel quite far in just a day. Day trips from London have never been easier then, and there’s a lot to see.
With the tiered regulations in tow for the foreseeable, train travel is undertaken at the discretion of the passenger and so if you’re worried about the risk of coronavirus during your visit, this guide to your day trip options starting from London also lays out information on the areas you might visit and their infection rate status. Whilst these tier sanctions change every week, knowing where these towns, areas of natural beauty and historic attractions stand in regards to safety measures will help you decide what the best day trip option is for you and your core bubble.
Just an hour from London Victoria, Brighton is often referred to as the “London of the South.” this is for good reason too, the city’s dedication to London’s progressive values and unique culture make it a fascinating small city to explore. Currently, under tier 2 restrictions, Brighton is also home to a famous seaside promenade, restaurants bars and plenty of independent shopping high streets in the guise of the North and South Laines.
Another Sussex gem for travel thirsting guests at the Chilworth Paddington London Hotel guests, Lewes has its roots in Medieval England and even has a castle to prove it. With beautiful views over the south downs, plenty of ale brewing pubs and River Ouse bound nature trails, Lewes promises quaint and quintessentially southern hospitality, all visitable from London due to Sussex’s tier 2 designation.
This south coast seaside resort was an early 20th-century haven for London holidaymakers. With a quieter vibe than Brighton, Eastbourne is primed for seaside strolls and south downs river walks.
Hastings is just an hour and a half outside of London and is yet another Sussex beach resort that is well worth a visit over the Christmas holidays. Made famous by it’s being a staging ground for the country-forming Battle of Hastings, the Norman era castle ruins and stunning hilltop English Channel views are matched only by the quaintness of the Old Town shopping districts, cobbled together from artisan coffee shops, spoken word poetry venues and vintage clothes shops.
Located between Eastbourne and Seaford, the Seven Sisters is an area of the South Downs which is famous for its beautiful tributary laden walks and stunning clifftop views. Located in the Seven Sisters area is Cuckmere Haven, well known for its winding floodplains and river trails that lead out into the chalky cliff faces. The area is made even more iconic by the fact that the cliffs have been left to erode naturally, with no buildings atop the green – white chalk faces. The cliffs are free of manmade structures, making for a clear and breathtaking view, and is as close to nature as you’ll get on the south coast.
Moving from Sussex to Kent, Margate is another popular seaside resort that is less than an hour and half from London. Famed for its beautiful pier and Turner inspired art gallery, Margate might currently be under tier 3 restrictions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get researching for a trip in the new year.
Resting like cushion under London, the Surrey Hills is an area of outstanding natural beauty that can be reachable from London in just an hour from London Victoria. Made up of a collection of beautiful rolling hilltops, the Surrey Hills spans 153 square miles and is the perfect nature spot for Londoners looking for some peace and quiet.
The New Forest is made up of 219 square miles of unenclosed heath and forestland and has a history that dates back to the 11th century. Located a few miles outside of Southampton, the New Forest is easy to reach from London Victoria and the surrounding area is currently designated under tier 2. This makes it a viable option for hiking under the current COVID schemes.
The Cotswolds are located across several boroughs including Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire and encompasses a large swathe of land preserved as a nature reserve. With beautiful limestone built villages scattered throughout and the easy to reach central hub of Oxford nearby, the Cotswolds are a perfect city escape for getaways from London.
If you’re visiting the Cotswolds, then why not spend a day in the beautiful University city of Oxford. Home to one of the most famous and oldest western universities in the world, Oxford is full of quaint cafes, book shops and Oxford University funded museums. Make sure not to miss the wide-sweeping Ashmolean Museum, as well as the in-depth tours of Oxford University’s striking ancient colleges.
From Oxfordshire to East Anglia, Cambridge is the counterpart to England’s famed University duo. Just an hour outside of London and currently designated in tier 2, Cambridge is home to the Rover Cam and it’s adjoining canal system, all navigable by canal boat. Again, the museums, book shops and college tours of Cambridge make for an absorbing day out in this crowning jewel of England’s East.