Every once a while, we need an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Running in the rat race each day brings tired legs and a tired soul; the time is now to touch base with somewhere a little less teeming. So, whether you’re dreaming of rural bliss or the fresh seaside air, with the help of LateRooms.com, we’ve rounded up a bunch of U.K experiences that you can complete in less than a day; here are 10 IDEAL weekend escapes from London.
HIT THE BEACH IN SOUTHEND-ON-SEA (1 HOUR FROM LONDON)
If the forecast foretells sunshine, of course a nearby beach is where it’s at. Southend-on-Sea is just an hour away by train, leaving you plenty of time for exploring the pier, swimming in the sea, trying your hand at windsurfing and finishing up eating fish and chips whilst you bury your feet in the sand.
EXPLORE MANCHESTER’S NORTHERN QUARTER (2 HOURS FROM LONDON)
You can reach the capital of the north (nope, not Winterfell) in two hours from Euston – and yes, we’re thinking the same thing; that’s about the same time it takes to cross London! The city’s Northern Quarter has an ever-growing roster of independent bars, boutiques and eateries to explore and you’ll also find stunning street art as part of the recent Cities of Hope festival.
STROLL AROUND BRIGHTON (1 HOUR FROM LONDON)
A stroll along Brighton seafront, skimming pebbles and checking out cheesy souvenir shops, fish and chips in one hand, plastic pint of flat lager in the other. With sand between the toes and teeth, there couldn’t be a more quintessential British day out.
Be sure to check out some of city’s restaurants; a great, diverse scene on the rise. The pick of the bunch is perhaps Little Fish Kitchen in Hove, the best from the south coast’s seas, cooked with the delicate hand and graceful seasoning it deserves.
GO HIKING IN THE LAKE DISTRICT (3 HOURS FROM LONDON)
You’ll be surprised what you can squeeze in to a weekend in the Lakes. Trains to Oxenholme from Euston allow you to discover Windermere, Bowness and Kendal where there are a host of walks of varying lengths that take in awe-inspiring views. If you’re feeling less energetic, take a boat trip and admire the scenery from a beer garden.
FEAST ON OYSTERS IN WHITSTABLE (1 HOUR & 20 MINUTES FROM LONDON)
Spend a morning art gallery hopping and picking up one-off finds in independent boutiques before heading to the harbour’s fish market. Buy fresh oysters and a bottle of something bubbly for a stylish picnic on the beach in front of the town’s Instagram-worthy candy-coloured beach huts.
End your day with a hyper-seasonal, ridiculously reasonable Michelin-starred meal at The Sportsman. This place is a favourite of chefs from across the globe and relies firmly on the land and sea surrounding the pub, and the bounty available here, from the Thames estuary, salt marshes and of course, the ocean, is of pristine quality and freshness. Most of the ingredients are actually visible from the pub itself; you can’t argue with that for quality.
BOURNEMOUTH (1 HOUR & 45 MINUTES FROM LONDON)
The ping of penny machines on the pier, the squawk of seagulls, the nostalgic scent of fish and chips permeating the fresh seaside air; if you’re looking for the quintessential British seaside escape then you can’t get much better than Bournemouth.
The city’s beach was crowned the U.K’s best at this year’s TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards. Offering a seven-mile stretch of soft golden sand, combined with swimmer-friendly waters and the fact that Bournemouth gets warmer weather than most of the UK, it’s one of the top places in Britain to enjoy the sand, sea and surf.
HANG OUT IN BRISTOL (1 HOUR & 45 MINUTES FROM LONDON)
Less than 2 hours by train will have you exploring The Harbourside Market, full of amazing street-food stalls, taking in views from the top of Cabot Tower and heading to Clifton Lido for a swim outdoors before lunch at the terrace restaurant. While Clifton is quite the hike – the incline is steep and long – you’ll be rewarded with wonderful artisanal producers, independent pubs and quirky, unique restaurants. Spend the afternoon sampling local ciders and graffiti-spotting before crossing the lovely Clifton Suspension Bridge at night.
GO PADDLE BOARDING IN EASTBOURNE (1.5 HOURS FROM LONDON)
If you don’t have the patience to faff about learning to surf, but want to get acquainted with the sea from above, stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP) is a great alternative that you can master in moments, available just an hour and a half away from London in the city of Eastbourne. Finish the evening exploring the recently renovated pier and dining out on local seafood in the Mirabelle.
CATCH A PLAY AT THE RSC IN STRATFORD (2.5 HOURS FROM LONDON)
If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, get yourself to the Bard’s home town where you can catch Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream over the next couple of months. A row on the river beforehand and a stroll around thatched cottage lined streets sets the scene perfectly.
GET SCHOLARLY IN OXFORD (1 HOUR FROM LONDON)
Hop on the Oxford Tube coach service from just outside Victoria station, and for just £15 and just over an hour of your time you’ll be in the beautiful, historic city of Oxford. If libraries, academia and spires aren’t your thing, then the famous Cowley Road is home to a hip, groovy scene of independent cafes, pubs and restaurants perfect for whiling the afternoon away in.