Londoners over lockdown have no doubt seen a lot of the city. With many having stayed put over more than a year of COVID restrictions, it’s unsurprising that a lot of people are itching to get out. Even with the potential for London staycations at the best spa hotels in London, it’s still very difficult to truly feel like you’ve taken a break, especially with the increasingly frenetic pace of post-lockdown life.
One way to change up the surroundings with minimal commitment is through the broad array of day trips one can take from a starting point of the UK capital. London is incredibly well-connected when it comes to train services, and this means that you could be halfway across the country within just 2 hours. Remember that although the UK is incredibly diverse in its terrain and character, the British Isles themselves are still very small. This means that it’s very easy for London locals and guests at Paddington Hotels to transport themselves to entirely new regions with relative ease.
Whether by train, car or even from one of the five airports that orbit London, these are the best day trips you can take to catch a breather from city life.
The summer solstice is drawing closer, and there’s nothing quite like a trip to Bath and an evening at Stonehenge to really embrace the high sun season. Bath and Stonehenge are both uniquely historic in their own rights, but paired together you have a druid monolith and an ancient Roman city and ruins. Spend the day exploring Bath and then head to Stonehenge for sunset before your drive back to London.
Birmingham is easily reachable by train and takes just under an hour and a half when travelling on the fast train from Euston. Whilst the outskirts are mainly made up of ring roads and suburbs, the city centre is a unique mix of industrial-era architecture and cultural institutions such as the Birmingham Rep Theatre, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter Museum.
For guests of London hotel deals, Brighton is an easy day trip on a budget, in part because of its proximity to London. This southeast coastal city is one of the most popular tourist seaside attractions in part because of its memorable pier and gaudy pavilion. Whilst these will no doubt draw the tourists down south, Brighton also boasts an unmissable shopping district teeming with independent boutiques and second-hand clothes stores. Take a walk along the promenade at night and you’ll see the beaches light up with bars clubs and restaurants, making it a surefire hit for nightlife post-COVID restrictions.
Bristol is one of the msot popular cities in the wets of England due to its thriving student culture and nightlife, as well as its rich history of new world seafarers and scenic riverside views. If you plan to visit for the day, make sure not to miss the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the Bristol Industrial Museum, before heading down to its theatre and live music districts, of which Stokes Croft stands out as a bar and live music mainstay.
Broxbourne Lea River Walks
For a real slice of serenity within the outer limits of London, Broxbourne and the Lea Valley area offer weary city dwellers a chance to reconnect with nature – and moreover – it’s still on the Overground line from London Liverpool Street Station! Walk around the nature reserves and reservoirs of Waltham Abbey and Cheshunt before following the canal paths to the small town of Broxbourne all of which is best enjoyed with a simple picnic to reflect the simple pleasures this area of greater East London brings.
Cambridge is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, and the faculty offer tours around its stunning colleges and campuses. Of note are Kings and Trinity College, and the nearby Fitzwilliam Museum and Botanical Garden promise even more summertime fun for English garden enthusiasts. One of Cambridge’s most popular tourist activities is river punt hires, small boats that you row with a punting pole, and which allow you to explore the medieval era town from a completely new angle. Cambridge is only a 50-minute train journey from Kings Cross St Pancras, which makes it very easy to reach for students, and perfect for day visits from tourists as well.
This hidden gem of a Sussex town is located in the scenic Ouse Valley and encapsulates the much-sought tweeness of London’s surrounding counties. Its rustic charm has a bloody undercurrent, however, the town became the historic execution site for 17 Protestant martyrs back in the mid-16th century, and this is commemorated every bonfire night (5th of November) with the UK’s biggest bonfire night procession and fireworks display. Visiting in the summer is also well worth it for the cobbled lanes and castle ruins, providing atmospheric and picturesque walks.
Just an hour and a half outside of London, Margate is a Kentish haven and has often become the home of ex-Londoners who are looking for a quieter day to day life. The exodus of Londoners to Margate speaks volumes about its quiet charm and understated style. The gradual gentrification of the area has led to bars and independent boutiques popping up across its seafront, whilst it’s a central and outer area that have a rusting, old seaside tow charm to them. Make sure not to miss the beachside Turner Gallery, which showcases some of the most cutting edge art in the world alongside its namesake’s works as well.
Norwich is an hour and a half train journey from London Liverpool Street Station and provides insight into the character of East Anglia, an often forgotten area of the country. Norwich Castle, as well as its market square and cobbled lanes echo an innocence and isolation from the rest of England, one that has helped the city nurture its unique identity.