Last updated: October 18th, 2023
One of the best things about living in London is that the weekends don’t ever have to be boring. While you might be busy discovering all the most photogenic places in town, there are also countless places to visit near London that you can easily hop over to by car or train. And when I say countless, I mean it — when it comes to London weekend trips, you’re literally spoilt for choice.
This detailed guide will not only help you find ideas and inspirations for an incredible weekend getaway from London; it also provides you with valuable insider tips, such as the coolest places to have a meal in these destinations and the best time to visit. Many of the places in this guide are also considered some of Europe’s best hidden gems.
So without further ado, here are the best weekend trips from London by category: areas of natural beauty, small towns & villages, coastal getaways, city breaks, and last but not least, places outside the UK that you can easily get to from London by train.
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🇬🇧 About These Places to Visit Near London
With the exception of a few exceptional destinations, all the places featured in this article are no longer than 3.5 hours away from London by either car or train. The aim of this article is to help you find weekend breaks near London, not ones where you’d have to take a flight in order to reach.
With that said, you’ll find a section at the end with some of the top weekend getaways from London outside the UK — but all of those places can be reached by train in around 2 to 4 hours.
🌿 Top London Weekend Trips for Nature Lovers
There are numerous national parks and landscapes designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) just a couple of hours by car or train from London. So if you’re eager to escape the city life for a few days, here are the best weekend getaways near London for nature and hiking.
1. Malvern Hills AONB
🌿 Why you should visit: The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a fantastic escape from the busy crowds of the city and offers numerous walking trails with spectacular views. You can also easily find trails there that are devoid of people and enjoy nature in peace and quiet.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: There are plenty of amazing Malvern Hills walking routes, from circular to end-to-end walks. While the popular Worcestershire Beacon (the hill with the highest summit) is definitely worth a visit, some of the more remote hills offer the emptiest and most serene paths. The best views of the area can be seen from the summit of Herefordshire Beacon.
🛁 Relax with a spa: The charming spa town of Great Malvern is situated at the foot of the hills and is home to The Malvern (⭐ 8.5), a fantastic countryside hotel that offers an extensive range of relaxing spa treatments. It also has a sauna, steam room, and hydrotherapy pool.
🔥 Insider Tip: Pack a windproof jacket! Many parts of the walks are extremely windy, so be sure to bring some warm layers and perhaps even a scarf. I recommend the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket as it’s very well-insulated and so lightweight that you’ll barely feel it inside your backpack.
Visiting the Malvern Hills From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 25 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Great Malvern. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: 2 hr 54 min (139 mi / 223 km) to Great Malvern (at the foot of the hills).
🏡 Where to stay: The Malvern (⭐ 8.5) | Cottage In The Wood (⭐ 8.7) | Cotford Hotel (⭐ 9.3)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the summer, from June through August, as you’ll get really nice and warm weather. Alternatively, April, May, and September still offer pleasant and mild weather as well as fewer crowds.
2. Peak District National Park
Explored by Rachel of Average Lives
🌿 Why you should visit: The Peak District is the oldest national park in the UK and the perfect spot for those who love hiking, the outdoors, quaint villages, and being in the English countryside. It is 555 square miles, which means you’ll also be able to find an isolated spot away from the crowds.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: The Peaks are divided into the Dark Peaks (north) and the White Peaks (south), and both are worth visiting because they offer unique experiences. The Dark Peaks are exposed wild, with open moorland. It is where you’ll find the highest point of the Peaks at Kinder Scout, which is a very popular hike. The White Peaks are full of charming villages, green forests, and popular attractions to visit, such as the grand Chatsworth House and Ladybower Reservoir.
⛰ The best hikes in the Peak District: Some of the best hikes include a woodland walk through Padley Gorge, climbing the mighty Mam Tor, and searching for the God of Thunder at Thor’s Cave. You can also visit Peveril Castle in Castleton and Blue John Cavern nearby.
🔥 Insider Tips: Pack layers of clothing and a waterproof coat — you can experience all weather conditions in a few hours in the Peak District. Also, make time to experience authentic English countryside pubs, such as The Rambler Inn in Edale and Ye Olde Nags Head in Castleton.
Visiting the Peak District From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 52 min. Take the Avanti West Coast from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, then, take the Northern Rail to Edale.
🚗 Getting there by car: 2 hr 55 min (149 mi / 239 km) to the edge of the national park.
🏡 Where to stay: The Izaak Walton Country House Hotel (⭐️ 8.8) | The Old Bridge Inn (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: Late August and early September, when the weather is mild and there’s a blanket of purple heather over the national park, which is excellent for photographs.
3. New Forest National Park
Explored by Izzy of The Gap Decaders
🌿 Why you should visit: The New Forest National Park is hands down one of the best countryside getaways near London. With over 200 square miles of heathland, ancient forest, and coastline, it’s a perfect weekend trip for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking for a respite from the busy city.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: This national park is home to hundreds of miles of bridleways, cycle tracks, and exhilarating water sports like sailing and kitesurfing on the coast. Nature and animal lovers will enjoy the New Forest ponies, rare breed cattle, and even pigs, which roam free in the forest. The village of Brockenhurst is a good start point for cyclists as many of the best routes start there.
🌟 Don’t miss: Beaulieu is a picture-perfect 13th-century village situated on the southeastern edge of the park. It’s home to the famous National Motor Museum, and you’ll even see a cute family of donkeys that often frequent the tiny main street!
🔥 Insider Tips: The village of Buckler’s Hard has a great pub that serves BBQ on weekends; perfect as you watch the river meandering by. Lymington and Brockenhurst are both busy hubs; the former being the administrative centre of the forest, where you’ll find the excellent New Forest Heritage Centre and a lot of tea shops.
Visiting New Forest From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 27 min. Take the South Western Railway from Waterloo Station to Brockenhurst, located in the heart of New Forest.
🚗 Getting there by car: 1 hr 58 min (82 mi / 131 km) to the edge of the national park.
🏡 Where to stay: Forest Park Country Hotel (⭐️ 9.1) | High Corner Inn (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the spring, there are fabulous bluebells and lush woodlands. In autumn, the colours are amazing, the pigs roam freely (to eat acorns), and the stags are rutting. Summer will be incredibly busy and winter will be cold but beautiful.
4. Wye Valley AONB – The Perfect Escape From London
Explored by Martha of May Cause Wanderlust
🌿 Why you should visit: The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is not only a walker’s dream; it also has plenty of attractions for history buffs. The River Wye meanders through the idyllic countryside, dotted with medieval castles and pretty villages.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: A historic border between kingdoms, the Wye Valley is home to several castles to explore, including Chepstow, Monmouth, and Goodrich. Walkers will love the variety of scenic walking routes, including the Wye Valley Walk and Offa’s Dyke Path, which follows the remains of the medieval border between England and Wales.
🚣🏻♀️ Water sports enthusiasts: The village of Symonds Yat is a canoeing hot spot, and the Symonds Yat Canoe Hire organizes plenty of fun trips on the River Wye!
🔥 Insider Tips: For a quiet drink by the river, try The Boat Inn, which you can reach via an iron footbridge. Also don’t miss out on the remains of a magnificent abbey that stands proud on the banks of the Tintern River. It was burned during King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries.
Visiting Wye Valley From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 7 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Newport, then, take the CrossCountry train to Chepstow. Note that it’d be tricky to get around the area without a car as public transport is scant, so travelling by car is recommended.
🚗 Getting there by car: 2 hr 36 min (125 mi / 201 km) to Chepstow / 3 hr 7 min (138 mi / 222 km) to Symonds Yat
🏡 Where to stay: Old Court Hotel & Suites (⭐️ 8.6) | The Green Man Inn (⭐️ 8.9)
☀️ Best time to visit: Early autumn — late September or early October — when it is not too cold, the leaves are starting to change colour, and the area is a pretty patchwork of red, orange, yellow, and green trees.
5. Yorkshire Dales National Park
Explored by Sinead of Map Made Memories
🌿 Why you should visit: The stunning Yorkshire Dales has something to offer for all visitors, whether you’re a hiker, an adventurer, a foodie, or a history buff.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Hikers will be spoilt for choice here, but one of the most popular walks is the circular walk from Malham village. This scenic trail encompasses the Janet’s Foss waterfall, the dramatic Gordale Scar gorge, and Malham Cove — an enormous stone amphitheatre that was featured in the Harry Potter movies. Adventurous activities in the area include rock climbing, caving, and hiking Yorkshire’s three highest peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside, and Pen-y-ghent.
🧀 Foodies & history buffs: If you’re a foodie, head over to Wensleydale Creamery to taste the famous Wensleydale cheese and stop for a meal at Britain’s highest pub, The Tan Hill Inn, before visiting another ‘high’ — Britain’s highest single drop waterfall, Hardraw Force. If you’re a history fan, be sure to visit Skipton, Bolton Castle, and the ruins of Bolton Abbey.
🔥 Insider Tips: Come prepared for unpredictable weather — a raincoat is a must. After a long day of sightseeing, reward yourself with a trip to the oldest sweet shop in the world at Pateley Bridge, called — in true Yorkshire style — ‘The Oldest Sweet Shop in England’.
Visiting Yorkshire Dales From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 3 hr 25 min. Take the LNER from London King’s Cross to Shipley, then, take the Northern Rail to Skipton, located at the edge of the park.
🚗 Getting there by car: 4 hr 25 min (222 mi / 357 km) to the edge of the national park.
🏡 Where to stay: The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa (⭐️ 8.8) | The Black Bull Inn (⭐️ 9.1)
☀️ Best time to visit: June and September, as they provide warmer and drier weather without the large crowds that swarm the area during the summer school holidays.
6. Surrey Hills AONB – A Quiet Getaway From London
Explored by Angela of Where Angie Wanders
🌿 Why you should visit: The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is home to lots of charming villages, historic towns, and plenty of beautiful countrysides to walk or cycle through. In fact, it offers the chance to see some of the most stunning countryside in England.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: For walkers, the North Downs Way Trail runs along the Surrey Hills. Stops en route at medieval churches and villages add to the appeal. Garden lovers will love Winkworth Arboretum, one of the country’s leading botanical landscapes. Town dwellers will find lots to do at Reigate — aside from castle ruins and gardens, its Hight St is also lined with quirky independent shops and superb restaurants.
⛵ For thrill-seekers: Head to the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hindhead, where parasailing is a regular activity to watch and take part in. Alternatively, you can also go Llama Trekking in Godalming at The Merry Harriers pub, complete with a champagne picnic!
🔥 Insider Tip: Visit the village of Shere in the Surrey Hills. It is often referred to as the most beautiful village in England and has appeared in many films, including The Holiday and Bridget Jones Diary. In Shere, stop by The White Horse, a picturesque 15th-century pub (featured in those films).
Visiting the Surrey Hills From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 45 min. Take the Southern Railway from London Victoria to Reigate, located in the eastern part of the Surrey Hills.
🚗 Getting there by car: 1 hr 5 min (25 mi / 40 km) to the eastern area of the Surrey Hills.
🏡 Where to stay: The Percy Arms (⭐️ 9.3) | Running Horses (⭐️ 8.7) | Barnett Hill Hotel (⭐️ 8.4)
☀️ Best time to visit: The Surrey Hills are good to visit at any time of the year as there’s rarely extreme weather there, and all areas & walking paths are well-maintained throughout the year. With that said, July is generally the warmest and driest month.
7. Shropshire Hills AONB
Explored by Ania of The Travelling Twins
🌿 Why you should visit: The Shropshire Hills are brimming with beautiful nature and are a wonderful escape from the city crowds and tourist hotspots. The hills have remained largely untouched by urban development and provide plenty of things to do, see, and enjoy.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Some of the most unmissable walking trails in the Shropshire Hills are the Long Mynd Circular, Caer Caradoc, and Stiperstones Ridge. This area also offers tons of cycling routes, horse riding centres, and fishing spots. Culture lovers would love the Ironbridge Gorge — the worldwide symbol of the Industrial Revolution — and the medieval Ludlow Castle.
🌃 Enjoy stargazing: There are four Dark Sky sites in the Shropshire Hills, so if you’re interested in stargazing, be sure to head to Pole Cottage, Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd (where you can sometimes even spot the Northern Lights!), Shooting Box Car Park, or Cross Dyke Car Park.
🔥 Insider Tip: Don’t forget to visit the nearby historical town of Shrewsbury, where you can canoe down River Severn or enjoy a relaxing boat ride.
Visiting the Shropshire Hills From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 15 min. Take the Avanti West Coast from London Euston to Crewe, then, take the Transport for Wales to Church Stretton, a market town situated at the heart of the Shropshire Hills.
🚗 Getting there by car: 3 hr 22 min (161 mi / 259 km) to the eastern area of the Shropshire Hills.
🏡 Where to stay: The Salwey Arms (⭐️ 8.7) | Town House Ludlow (⭐️ 9.4) | The Lion (⭐️ 9.2)
☀️ Best time to visit: In autumn, when temperatures are mild, daylight hours are long, the summer crowds are gone, and the foliage turns red and yellow.
🏡 Top Small Town Weekend Trips From London
If you’re looking for a more urban experience — but without the hustle and bustle of a large city — then there are plenty of small towns and villages near London that you can easily reach by car or train. Here are the best getaways from London for those who enjoy quiet cobbled streets, dreamy riverside views, and friendly local pubs.
8. The Cotswolds – One of the Best London Weekend Getaways
🏘 Why you should visit: The Cotswolds offer the perfect countryside escape from London as well as some incredibly picturesque village landscapes. While the famous rows of stone cottages are worth the trip alone, there’s also a myriad of other fun activities to do in the area.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Wander down the iconic Arlington Row in Bibury, one of the prettiest Cotswolds villages. Take a picturesque riverside stroll in charming Bourton-on-the-Water. Go on a self-guided Harry Potter tour in the quaint village of Lacock. Enjoy horseback riding among other fun outdoor activities in Minchinhampton. Don’t miss the famous stone cottages in Castle Combe.
💦 Take a dip: Head over to the Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool in the summer, especially if you visit with kids. This heated outdoor pool is fed by local spring water and also offers a children’s paddling pool, a sunbathing patio, and picnic tables. Just be sure to book your visit in advance!
🔥 Insider Tip: Stroll through the gorgeous lavender fields of the Cotswold Lavender Farm, which is in full-bloom and open to visitors every year from early to mid-July (the exact time differs from year to year, though). The admission fee is £7 per person.
Visiting the Cotswolds From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The shortest journey is 1 hr 29 min — take the GWR from London Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2 hours (85 mi / 137 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Calcot Hotel & Spa (⭐ 9.2) | The Swan Hotel (⭐ 9.0)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the summer for lavender fields and the warmest weather; in the spring and autumn for mild weather, fewer crowds, and gorgeous blossoms/foliages; in the winter for magical snowy landscapes.
Explored by Anuradha of Country Hopping Couple
🏘 Why you should visit: Charming Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of Shakespeare and is filled with Tudor architecture that’ll make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Not only is it brimming with history, it’s also got beautiful nature and plenty of cool pubs.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Visit Shakespeare’s Family Homes and get inspired by the places that shaped him as a storyteller. You can take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to see all of them since they’re scattered around town. Don’t forget to also catch a play at the iconic Royal Shakespeare Theatre! To explore from a different angle, hire a boat and cruise down the stunning River Avon.
🦋 A land of butterflies: Stratford-upon-Avon is home to the UK’s largest tropical butterfly farm. Wander through the waterfalls and lush plants and enjoy butterflies flying all around you!
🔥 Insider Tips: Stop by Planetarium Cafe for a drool-worthy Biscoff Cake and some delicious vegan food. If you enjoy glamping, you can do so by the riverside inside quirky wooden hobbit huts!
Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 3 min. Take the Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone to Leamington Spa, then, switch to another Chiltern Railways train to Stratford-upon-Avon.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2.5 hours (101 mi / 162 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Crowne Plaza Stratford-upon-Avon (⭐️ 8.7) | The White Swan Hotel (⭐️ 9.1)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the summer, when the weather is warmest and the town is most alive thanks to events hosted by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
10. Leamington Spa
Explored by Hannah of All About The Après
🏘 Why you should visit: Royal Leamington Spa (‘Leam’) is one of the best London weekend trips thanks to its small-town vibe and vibrant dining scene. It’s also a handy base for exploring the neighbouring towns of Kenilworth, Warwick Castle, and Stratford-upon-Avon if you stay overnight.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Wander down the Parade, the main shopping street in town, to admire Regency architecture. Swing by the Royal Pump Rooms while you’re there for some elegant afternoon tea. On a warm day, the Jephson Gardens are the perfect spot for some sunbathing. To explore from a different angle, hire a kayak or canoe from the Leam Boat Centre and paddle along the River Leam.
🎒 Take a side trip: The market town of Kenilworth, whose star attraction is the ruins of the medieval Kenilworth Castle, is totally worth visiting and only 8 minutes by direct train from Leamington Spa. The X17 bus from the Parade takes 20 minutes and driving is 15 minutes.
🔥 Insider Tip: This town is a foodie destination and the Parade and side streets are teeming with places to eat. Grab brunch or lunch from Gusto Ricco, a cosy Italian cafe with legendary coffee and paninis, and head to The White Horse for ale battered fish and chips and a cider or cocktail.
Visiting Leamington Spa From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 10 min — take the Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone to Leamington Spa. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 2.5 to 3 hours (96 mi / 154 km).
🏡 Where to stay: The Angel Hotel (⭐️ 8.7) | Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: Summer offers the warmest and driest weather, but spring and autumn provide mild weather with fewer tourists.
11. Rye & Camber Sands
Explored by Jessie of Pocket Wanderings
🏘 Why you should visit: Rye is a charming medieval town complete with cobbled streets and beautiful surroundings. Just 10 minutes away from Rye is the golden sandy beach of Camber Sands, making it the perfect coastal escape from London.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Starting in Rye, go for a stroll down the impossibly pretty Mermaid Street and soak up the fairytale charm. Stop for a drink at the 12th-century Mermaid Inn. For a spot of history, pay a visit to Rye Castle Museum, which is particularly great for kids. Wander the 1,000-acre Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which is home to an abundance of wildlife and is a popular place for bird-watching. You can also hire fat bikes and explore the reserve on two wheels.
🏖 Relax by the sea: To get the adrenaline pumping, head to Camber Sands for an array of watersports, from kitesurfing to paddle-boarding. If you’d rather sit back and relax, take a picnic and enjoy a calming afternoon by the sea.
🔥 Insider Tips: Camber Sands is mostly a dog-friendly beach but note that there are some restrictions in the summer months. There are a number of cafes on the beach where you can get traditional fish and chips. Just watch out for the hungry seagulls!
Visiting Rye & Camber Sands From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 12 min. Take the Southeastern from London St Pancras to Ashford International, then, take the Southern Railway to Rye.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2.5 hours (74 mi / 119 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Mermaid Inn (⭐️ 8.8) | Rye Lodge Hotel (⭐️ 8.4) | The Hope Anchor (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the warmer summer months, when you can make the most of the outdoor activities. Sunny bank holidays are best avoided as the huge number of visitors can be overwhelming.
12. Salisbury – The Perfect London Weekend Getaway
Explored by Ucman of Brown Boy Travels
🏘 Why you should visit: Salisbury is a quintessentially English town that is small enough to explore on foot and offers plenty of historical sites to explore. With a rich food scene and just a short drive away from Stonehenge, it’s an amazing base for a cultural London getaway weekend.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the gothic 14th-century Salisbury Cathedral, which holds an original copy of the Magna Carta, is beautiful inside and out, and is home to the oldest functioning clock in the world. Travel back in time with all the Tudor architecture in the stunning Old Town. Pay a visit to the Salisbury Museum to learn more about the history and culture of the town.
🗿 Don’t miss Stonehenge: Just a 20-minute drive from Salisbury lies one of England’s most famous and mysterious monuments. Wander around the prehistoric structures of Stonehenge and be sure to book your ticket online to skip the queues. Visit towards the end of the day to avoid the crowds!
🔥 Insider Tip: Have a delicious meal and dessert at the stunning garden of The New Inn.
Visiting Salisbury From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 23 min — take the South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Salisbury. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2 hours (87 mi / 140 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Cricket Field House (⭐️ 9.2) | Caboose (⭐️ 9.2) | Chapter House (⭐️ 9.0)
☀️ Best time to visit: From May to October, when the weather is warmest and driest. For a spectacular view, head over to Stonehenge during the summer solstice to see the sun rise right behind the Heel Stone.
🏘 Why you should visit: This historical town has a very relaxing atmosphere and provides a great quiet escape from the bustling streets of London. With stunning gardens, ancient woodlands, historic buildings, and plenty of cool pubs, a weekend in Canterbury would never be boring.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Admire the gothic towers and gorgeous stained-glass windows of the Canterbury Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in England. Relax with a picnic and take a stroll through the Westgate Gardens, which offers picturesque views of River Stour. Visit the bookshop inside the quirky St John Boys House, whose peculiar design also makes for interesting photos!
🛶 Explore from the waters: Discover the town via boat with Canterbury Historic River Tours to see and learn more about all the historic sites scattered around.
🔥 Insider Tip: Head over to Cafe des Amis for some delicious Mexican flavours with an interesting Mediterranean twist.
Visiting Canterbury From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The shortest journey is 51 min — take the Southeastern from London St Pancras to Canterbury West. You can also take the Southeastern from London Victoria to Canterbury East or from London Bridge to Canterbury West — both journeys take 1 hr 33 min.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2.5 hours (62 mi / 99 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Canterbury Cathedral Lodge (⭐️ 9.0) | Howfield Manor Hotel (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: May and September offer long days, dry weather, and none of the packs of tourists that swarm the town during the summer.
🏖 Top Coastal Weekend Getaways From London
If sunbathing at the beach and surfing in the ocean is your idea of a perfect weekend out of London, then you’re in luck — there’s an incredible amount of coastal towns and seaside getaways just a short car or train ride away! See seals, take a dip in the water, and enjoy spectacular cliff walks during these coastal short breaks from London.
14. Dorset (Jurassic Coast)
Explored by Theo of Waffles & Lamingtons
🏖 Why you should visit: From dramatic cliff lines that resemble the Mediterranean to captivating country towns, the Jurassic Coast is brimming with history and natural wonders. While the entire coast is impossible to see in just a weekend, the stunning Dorset area is doable in 2 days. Escape the city life and dip your toes in clear waters during the perfect weekend getaway from London.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Marvel at the beauty of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove — the main highlights of Dorset and the Jurassic Coast. The landscapes there are absolutely jaw-dropping, and you can soak it all in from the beach. Wander the seaside town of Swanage, where you can enjoy various watersports. Explore the fascinating ruins of Corfe Castle, which has over 1,000 years of history.
🌃 A dreamy experience: About an hour’s drive from Durdle Door is Cranbourne Chase AONB, one of the dreamiest places in the UK for stargazing as it’s got very little light pollution. Lay down a blanket next to the ruins of Knowlton Church there and enjoy a sky full of shining stars.
🔥 Insider Tip: Wrap up your trip with a visit to Chapmans Pool. At low tide, you can rummage the cliffside and find real fossils. It also offers magnificent views at sunset!
Visiting Dorset (Jurassic Coast) From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 15 min — take the South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Wareham. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 2.5 to 3 hours (124 mi / 199 km).
🏖 Note: Travelling by car is recommended as you’ll be able to get around in Dorset much more easily without having to worry about the sparse public transport in the area.
🏡 Where to stay: Crown Hotel (⭐️ 9.0) | The Kings Harbour Hotel (⭐️ 8.6) | Derby Manor (⭐️ 9.3)
☀️ Best time to visit: If you’re after the warm water and sunny days, then summer is a must. Just get to the popular spots early as the crowds will come in. If you’re a photographer, then miss the crowds and visit in the winter.
15. Dover – One of the Best Places to Visit Near London
Explored by Mal of Raw Mal Roams
🏖 Why you should visit: The ancient town of Dover is definitely one of the best weekend escapes from London as it boasts a magnificent coastline that’s home to the famous White Cliffs. From nature walks to historical explorations, there’s a wide range of activities to keep visitors busy.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the historic Dover Castle and the Secret Wartime Tunnels to learn about the town’s past. Dover was built to protect Britain from foreign invasions and was the target of many hostile bombings throughout history, especially during WWII. Another great place to see is the 13th-century Dover Town Hall, which was built as a shelter for pilgrims. Don’t forget to also get a beautiful coastal view from the South Foreland Lighthouse.
🌟 Don’t miss: The remarkable White Cliffs of Dover, where outdoor lovers would be delighted to take a stroll. The path along the edge of the cliffs offers stunning vistas of the coastline, and on a clear day, the view extends across the English Channel over to France! Keen trekkers can walk all the way to Deal and take the train back to Dover.
🔥 Insider Tip: Have some fresh seafood and homemade ale at Cullins Yard, located right on the marina. Head there on a Sunday afternoon for some live music and hearty roast dinners.
Visiting Dover From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The fastest journey is 1 hr 6 min — take the Southeastern from London St Pancras to Dover Priory. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 2.5 hours (76 mi / 122 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Hubert House (⭐️ 8.6) | The West Bank Guest House (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: In June or September, when temperatures are pleasant and yet it’s not as busy or pricey as the peak months of July and August.
16. North Norfolk
Explored by Annabel of Smudged Postcard
🏖 Why you should visit: North Norfolk is one of the best places to travel from London for those who’re looking for a complete escape from city life. Characterised by small country roads, Georgian market towns, seaside resorts, and epic coastlines, this destination has something for everyone.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Visit the fabulous country estates of Blickling and Holkham Hall, and don’t miss Sandringham, a country retreat of the Queen herself. See the largest seal colony in England at the nature reserve of Blakeney Point. Explore the art galleries and enticing shops in Cromer, which is also home to the famous Victorian Cromer Pier. At the pier, enjoy a traditional performance at the Pavilion Theatre, which puts on the only end-of-pier show in the UK.
🌿 For outdoor enthusiasts: The Holkham National Nature Reserve offers wonderful walks along the great expanse of sandy coastlines, which are especially beautiful in autumn and winter when you’ll have miles of unspoilt scenery to yourself. You can also rent a bike to explore at a slow pace!
🔥 Insider Tip: There’s a brilliant range of country pubs and seafood restaurants in North Norfolk. Be sure to enjoy some delicious fish and chips from French’s Fish Shop in Wells-next-the-Sea!
Visiting North Norfolk From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 2 hr 58 min — take the Greater Anglia from London Liverpool Street to Norwich, then, take another Greater Anglia train to Cromer.
🚗 Getting there by car: Around 3 hours (147 mi / 236 km) to reach the coastal town of Cromer.
🏡 Where to stay: Sea Marge Hotel (⭐️ 8.3) | Kings Head Holt (⭐️ 9.0) | Byfords (⭐️ 9.1)
☀️ Best time to visit: June, September, and the winter season are great times to enjoy North Norfolk without the crowds of mid-summer.
17. Isle of Wight
Explored by Nichola of Globalmouse Travels
🏖 Why you should visit: The Isle of Wight is one of the best weekend trips near London if you enjoy the feeling of going back in time for a couple of days. The pace is much slower there and it’s somewhere to come and really relax — although that’s not to say there isn’t plenty to do.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore Queen Victoria’s seaside home at Osborne House, which is full of her and Albert’s belongings and a wonderful insight into their lives. Clamber over the ruins at Carisbrooke Castle and imagine life as a medieval citizen. Unwind at the candy-coloured beach huts at Ventnor and the fossil-packed beach at Sandown. You can also surf at Compton Bay!
🦖 Hunt for dinosaurs: The island is well-known for its fossil finds and you can join a guided fossil walk, where experts will show you how to identify dinosaur bones washed up amongst the pebbles. Once you’ve learnt how to spot them, you won’t be able to stop looking!
🔥 Insider Tip: Enjoy a meal with a woodland backdrop at The Pointer Inn, a quaint little village pub.
Visiting Isle of Wight From London
🚊 Getting there by train + ferry: The total journey is between 2.5 to 3 hours. First, take the South Western Railway from London Waterloo to either Portsmouth & Southsea or Southampton Central. The train ride should be around 1.5 hours. Then, take either the Wightlink ferry or the Red Funnel ferry to the Isle of Wight — the ferry ride is around 45 min.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 3.5 hours (89 mi / 143 km).
🏖 Note: Travelling by car is recommended as some of the locations on the island can be remote and hard to reach by public transportation.
🏡 Where to stay: Lakeside Park Hotel & Spa (⭐️ 8.5) | The Wight Mouse Inn (⭐️ 8.9)
☀️ Best time to visit: While the summer offers the best weather for the beach, you’ll find less crowds in May and September, when temperatures are still pleasant and rainfall is still limited.
18. The English Riviera
Explored by Steph and Lewis of Book It Let’s Go
🇬🇧 For those who don’t know… The English Riviera on the south coast of Devon (sometimes referred to as the Torbay area) is made up of the 3 seaside resorts of Torquay, Brixham, and Paignton, as well as the smaller village of Babbacombe.
🏖 Why you should visit: The English Riviera is a diverse area that holds UNESCO Global Geopark status — one of only 7 in the UK and 140 in the world. The whole area feels as though you could be in southern Europe; with its golden sandy beaches, palm tree lined avenues, and clear blue waters, it is the ideal place for a weekend away from London.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Feel like a giant among the cute miniature models inside the Babbacombe Model Village — Britain’s largest model village. Take the Babbacombe Cliff Railway down to Oddicombe Beach and enjoy the spectacular views along the way. Step back in time at the prehistoric caves of Kents Cavern and learn about life during the Ice Age. Enjoy camping in Devon for an unforgettable budget experience.
🔥 Insider Tip: It’d be a crime to miss out on some traditional British fish and chips at the locally-owned Rockfish restaurants in the area. You can also find some award-winning seafood restaurants, such as Below Decks, that offer plenty of fresh catches.
Visiting the English Riviera From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The fastest journey is 3 hr 6 min — take the GWR from London Paddington to Torquay. This is a direct train ride. It’s worth renting a car on arrival to get around the different towns and villages as taxis can be expensive and public transport is slower.
🚗 Getting there by car: On average, driving takes between 3.5 to 4 hours (194 mi / 312 km) to any of the 3 seaside towns (Torquay, Brixham, or Paignton).
🏡 Where to stay: Riviera Lodge Hotel (⭐️ 9.3) | The Cimon (⭐️ 9.2) | Astor House (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: From June to October, when temperatures are pleasant and there’s limited rainfall so that you can fully enjoy getting out into the seaside resorts.
19. Seven Sisters Country Park
Explored by Sherianne of Out of Office Blog
🏖 Why you should visit: The Seven Sisters, a row of chalky cliffs on the English Channel, is one of England’s best natural wonders and definitely one of the most stunning London weekend trips. The waves continually batter the cliffs, eroding their chalk limestone. As a result, the cliffs are brilliantly white.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: The Seven Sisters are located on the edge of South Downs National Park near Eastbourne. This park has two well-known hikes: the South Downs Way and the England Coast Path. Walking the England Coast Path from Seaford to Eastbourne offers the best views of these gorgeous white cliffs. The walk is 13 miles long and takes approximately 7 hours.
🌟 Don’t miss: Use the 12X bus from Eastbourne to leisurely visit highlights of the Seven Sisters area. Do not miss the Undercliff Walk near Rottingdean, the German shipwreck at the Cuckmere Haven beach, ice cream treats at Belle Tout Lighthouse, the beach at Birling Gap, and the postcard-perfect, candy-cane-coloured Beachy Head Lighthouse.
🔥 Insider Tips: It gets very windy on the cliff walk, so it’s best to not wear a skirt. The ground is unstable on the cliffs, so it’s highly recommended to stay at least 5 feet back from the edge. Be aware — several people have died taking jumping photos at the edge.
Visiting the Seven Sisters From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 32 min — take the Southern Railway from London Victoria to Eastbourne (where you can begin the hike). This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving to Eastbourne takes between 2 to 2.5 hours (82 mi / 131 km).
🏡 Where to stay: The View Hotel (⭐️ 8.8) | The Grand Hotel (⭐️ 8.7) | Ravilious (⭐️ 9.6)
☀️ Best time to visit: In March, when days are longer, wildflowers are in bloom, and the average temperature during the day is between 9°C and 16°C.
20. Cornwall – A Gorgeous Weekend Away From London
Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
🏖 Why you should visit: From gorgeous beaches and spectacular cliff views to picturesque harbour villages, Cornwall has something to offer every kind of traveller. Whether you’re a hiker, surfer, foodie, or simply looking to relax in nature, this popular seaside destination will not disappoint.
🎒 Note: Cornwall is also one of the best long weekend trips from London as it is a bit further away and simply has too much to offer. Definitely consider staying longer if you can!
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Stroll through the cobblestone streets of St Ives and try some delicious Cornish pastries at St Ives Bakery. Admire the striking cliff views from Tintagel Castle, a dramatic medieval fortress filled with myths and history. Wander around the postcard-worthy harbour in Mousehole, a beautiful fishing village. Explore the mystical castle and beach at St Michael’s Mount.
🌟 Don’t miss: The hidden gem of St Agnes is one of the less touristy places in Cornwall and a great place to get away from the crowds. This quaint and small village is a great place for a variety of outdoor activities such as cycling, kayaking, surfing, hiking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
🔥 Insider Tip: Enjoy a delicious crab sandwich at Rock Pool Café in Mousehole and admire the stunning surrounding views.
Visiting Cornwall From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 4 hr 35 min — take the GWR from London Paddington to Truro. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes around 4.5 hours (261 mi / 420 km).
🏡 Where to stay: The Cornwall Hotel Spa & Lodges (⭐️ 8.5) | The Alverton (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: In June or September, when the weather is pleasant, prices are moderate, and the beaches and villages aren’t as packed as they get during July or August.
Explored by Clotilde of A Princess Travelling With Twins
🏖 Why you should visit: The seaside town of Margate along the Kent Coast is one of the best weekend retreats near London. Home to a beautiful stretch of sandy beach, plenty of hip cafés, and lots of unique cultural attractions, this creative town has been nicknamed ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Admire the cutting-edge art inside the Turner Contemporary gallery, which has free admission. Take a dip in the Walpole Bay Tidal Pool, the biggest saltwater pool in the UK, and have a BBQ on the beach next to it. If you’re visiting with family, head over to Dreamland, a vintage theme park that not only has rides but also hosts tons of musical and theatrical performances.
🌿 Get lost in nature: Walkers would love the 32-mile Viking Coastal Trail, which offers enchanting landscapes from the high cliffs. You can also do a shorter version of it by walking 9 miles from Margate to Reculver along the sea wall. For a shorter walk, there’s a gorgeous coastal path from Margate to Broadstairs, where you can then relax (or go for a swim) at the picturesque Viking Bay.
🔥 Insider Tip: Just a 45-min walk (or an 8-min drive) from Margate is the breathtaking Botany Bay, a true hidden gem of the Kent Coast. Enjoy a swim or a sunbathing session on the beach there and admire the beautiful views of the surrounding white cliffs and chalk stacks. You can even spend a magical night or two at the Botany Bay Hotel (⭐️ 8.8) and fall asleep to the sound of the waves!
Visiting Margate From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 39 min — take the Southeastern from London St Pancras to Margate. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 2 to 2.5 hours (77 mi / 123 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Victoria Hotel (⭐️ 8.8) | Hussar Inn (⭐️ 8.4) | Margate Seaside Retreat (⭐️ 9.5)
☀️ Best time to visit: If you’re looking to swim and take full advantage of the beaches and bays here, then summer is obviously the best time to visit. If you’re simply looking to enjoy what the town has to offer, then miss the crowds and visit in the spring or autumn.
🏙 Top Weekend City Breaks From London
If you enjoy urban comforts and would like to explore other cities near London, there are a variety of them — each with its own unique charm. Whether you’re into history, culture, food, or pier walks, there’s a nearby city that’ll fulfil your needs. Here are the best London getaways for city lovers.
22. York – One of the Best Weekend Breaks From London
Explored by Maja of Away With Maja
🏙 Why you should visit: The gorgeous, charming, and historic city of York offers plenty of scenic and interesting things to do for a weekend away from London. A visit here allows you to step back in time, experience the beauty of Yorkshire, and indulge in some delicious food.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the stunning York Minster, one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. Don’t miss a walk along the medieval City Walls, either — it’s a fantastic way to get your bearings of the city. Stroll down the Shambles, the oldest shopping street in Europe, and discover York’s Snickelway (narrow, winding alleyways) as you walk around town.
⚔️ A unique journey back in time: The Jorvik Viking Center is one of the top museums in town and allows you to take a ride through a recreated Viking village. Head over there to experience what life was like for Vikings in York back in the days!
🔥 Insider Tips: York has an amazing food scene. Stop by Brew and Brownie or Pig and Pastry for brunch. For dinner, enjoy authentic Nepalese cuisine at Yak and Yeti or some Polish pierogi at Blue Barbakan. Built right into the City Walls, Gatehouse Coffee is one of the most unique cafes in town.
Visiting York From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 55 min. Take the LNER from London King’s Cross to York. This is a direct train ride and the best way to get to York.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving takes much longer — roughly 4-4.5 hours (209 mi / 336 km).
🏡 Where to stay: The Grand (⭐️ 9.2) | Novotel York Centre (⭐️ 8.2) | Hotel Indigo York (⭐️ 8.9)
☀️ Best time to visit: While York is a fantastic destination to visit year-round, it is the busiest in the summer. Both spring and autumn will have slightly fewer crowds, and between March and May, you’ll spot gorgeous blossoms around town.
Explored by Loredana of Destguides
🏙 Why you should visit: While Oxford is a great day trip from London, there are plenty of sights and activities here to keep you busy for a whole weekend. This buzzing city has something for everyone and is brimming with history — it is the oldest university town in England after all!
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Get lost in history at one of the city’s well-known 38 colleges, such as Trinity College. Pay a visit to the Oxford Castle & Prison, the oldest building in town. For some unique experiences, see mummies at the Ashmolean Museum and spot the most complete remains of a single dodo at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
🛶 An Oxford tradition: Punting has been an Oxford tradition since at least the 1880s, so a must-do activity is joining a punting tour. Many tour companies, such as the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse, are open year-round.
⚡️ Harry Potter fans: Discover the many Harry Potter filming locations inside Oxford’s ancient colleges with an Oxford University and City Walking Tour!
🔥 Insider Tip: Consider paying a visit to The Jam Factory for a light breakfast before starting your exploration for the day.
Visiting Oxford From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 45 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Oxford. This is a direct train ride and the best way to get to Oxford.
🚗 Getting there by car: Roughly 2 hours (56 mi / 90 km) as there’s usually traffic.
🏡 Where to stay: Courtyard by Marriott (⭐️ 8.7) | Head of the River (⭐️ 8.6) | Hill Farm (⭐️ 9.0)
☀️ Best time to visit: Summer offers the nicest weather. It’s also when the students have retreated back to their humble abodes, and the city returns back to its residents and tourists.
Explored by Aimee of Snap Happy Travel
🏙 Why you should visit: The fun and quirky seaside city of Brighton is often nicknamed “London by the Sea” thanks to its close proximity to the capital. There are lots of great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops in town, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a weekend of beach fun.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Stroll through the North Laine and browse the many quirky boutiques there. Waste a few fun hours at the slot machines and funfair on the main Brighton Pier. Relax on Brighton Beach and go for a swim if the weather’s good. Not to be missed too is the gorgeous Royal Pavilion — Brighton’s own Taj Mahal, and the British Airways i360 tower for the best views of the city.
🌈 Brighton Pride: The Brighton & Hove Pride festival takes place in August every year and is the UK’s biggest pride festival. This is a wonderful time to see the city in its highest of spirits and join the lively crowd in the parades.
🔥 Insider Tip: Stanmer Park is just a short bus journey from the centre and a great place to escape into nature. The Stanmer Tea Rooms there is also a lovely spot to grab some tea, coffee, or cake.
Visiting Brighton From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 3 min. Take the Thameslink from London Bridge to Brighton. This is a direct train ride and the best way to get to Brighton.
🚗 Getting there by car: Roughly 2 hours (54 mi / 87 km) as there’s usually traffic.
🏡 Where to stay: Jurys Inn Brighton Waterfront (⭐️ 8.5) | The Grand Brighton (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: In June, when the weather is typically warm and you can avoid school holiday crowds. If you can — avoid visiting Brighton during weekends as it’s notoriously busy.
25. Bath – One of the Best Weekend Escapes From London
Explored by Nichola of Globalmouse Travels
🏙 Why you should visit: The charming, small city of Bath makes for one of the best weekend trips from London as it is a wonderful insight into Regency England; a visit there feels like stepping back in time. It’s also the perfect place to immerse yourself in some soothing spa treatments.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the atmospheric Roman Baths, which offer a great insight into life in Roman Britain. Then, take a dip in the modern version at Thermae Bath Spa, which uses the same water that supplied the original. Find your way to architectural gems like the Circus and the Royal Crescent, and it’ll feel as though you’re in a film set. If you’re visiting Bath with kids, don’t miss the adorable Bath City Farm in the outskirts of town!
🎈 Explore from above: Take a hot air balloon flight complete with champagne and explore the town from up above. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of all the stunning landmarks of Bath as well as the gorgeous Cotswold countryside!
🔥 Insider Tip: Enjoy a delicious bun from the famous Sally Lunn’s, one of Bath’s oldest institutions.
Visiting Bath From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 20 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Bath Spa. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 2.5 to 3 hours (115 mi / 185 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Bath Priory (⭐️ 8.8) | Bathen House (⭐️ 9.5) | Homewood Hotel & Spa (⭐️ 9.2)
☀️ Best time to visit: During the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, when temperatures are mild and the city isn’t congested with visitors (as it is in the summer).
Explored by Claire of Go South West England
🏙 Why you should visit: Bristol is a wonderful London weekend getaway thanks to its cool city vibe, historic attractions, and scenic views. While it’s a large city, there’s a real sense of community there that you can feel after just spending a few hours in town.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the Brunel’s SS Great Britain, a famous museum ship that was restored to mimic what it looked like in the 19th century. Admire the beautiful view from the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge — you won’t believe that this kind of view is possible so close to the city centre!
🏡 Explore the many neighbourhoods: Wander down the Harbourside, home to Bristol’s iconic coloured houses. Stokes Croft is famous for its quirky cafes and street art, whereas Clifton is famed for its Georgian architecture.
🔥 Insider Tips: Bristol has one of the best food scenes in the world, so be sure to visit some local restaurants, such as Eat a Pitta for the city’s best felafel, and The Bristol Stable for delicious pizza and West Country cider.
Visiting Bristol From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 33 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: The journey (118 mi / 189 km) can take anything from 2 hr 30 min to 4+ hrs depending on traffic and where in London you’re driving from.
🏡 Where to stay: SACO Bristol (⭐️ 9.0) | Beech House (⭐️ 9.2) | The Wellington (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: Bristol is best in the summer — the harbourside looks especially beautiful on a sunny day. However, there’s plenty to do at any time of the year!
Explored by Fiona of Travelling Thirties
🏙 Why you should visit: The charming university town of Cambridge straddles the picturesque River Cam and offers plenty of historical attractions as well as outdoorsy things to do. It is the perfect weekend break from London for those who enjoy a peaceful small city experience.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Go for a guided punting tour on River Cam — punting has been a long-time tradition in Cambridge and is the most immersive way to experience the city. Take a walk around the university and admire the majestic King’s College Chapel. Enjoy the 40 acres of greenery at the beautiful Botanic Gardens — you’ll be fully immersed in woodland and surrounded by lush foliage.
🚴🏻♀️ Explore on two wheels: If you love cycling, you’re definitely in the right place. There are plenty of places around town to rent bikes and tons of biking lanes to cater to those who want to explore the city in a different way!
🔥 Insider Tip: Have a pint at The Eagle, the second oldest pub in Cambridge. It’s known as ‘the DNA pub’ as it was where Watson and Crick first announced they’d discovered DNA. It’s also referred to as ‘the lipstick pub’ because during WWII, airmen who visited used lipstick and wax candles to write their names, the names of their loved ones, and their squadron numbers on the roof.
Visiting Cambridge From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 51 min. Take the Great Northern from London King’s Cross to Cambridge. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 1.5 to 2 hours (61 mi / 98 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Clayton Hotel (⭐️ 8.9) | University Arms (⭐️ 8.9) | Varsity Hotel & Spa (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the shoulder seasons of spring or autumn, when the weather is still pleasant and the tourist crowds of the summer have left.
28. Cardiff – One of the Best Weekend Breaks Near London
Explored by Kyle of ViaTravelers
🏙 Why you should visit: The stunning capital of Wales is the core cultural metropolis of Welsh culture and makes for a perfect weekend trip from London for those who enjoy slowing down. Cardiff also has plenty of interesting cultural, historical, and outdoorsy activities to offer.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Learn history at the 11th-century Cardiff Castle, which has been standing for over 2,000 years. Enjoy an underrated shopping experience at the Cardiff Central Market, which sells everything from fresh produce to clothing and records. There are also plenty of outdoorsy things to do, such as cruising around Cardiff Bay and walking the nearby Four Waterfalls Valley.
🖼 Cultural experiences: Cardiff is home to a number of top museums and art galleries. Be sure to add the National Museum Cardiff, St. Fagans National Museum of History, and the Off The Wall Art Gallery to your list of stops along the way.
Visiting Cardiff From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 1 hr 50 min. Take the GWR from London Paddington to Cardiff Central. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 3 to 3.5 hours (152 mi / 244 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Jurys Inn (⭐️ 8.6) | Lincoln House Private Hotel (⭐️ 8.9) | Maltsters (⭐️ 8.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: From June to September, when the weather is a bit warmer and precipitation is lighter (but as you know, you can never really escape the rain in the UK).
🏙 Why you should visit: Winchester is hands-down one of the prettiest cities in England with a wonderfully lively atmosphere. While it’s surrounded by the countryside and has plenty of greenery to offer, there are also tons of cool pubs, restaurants, and shops that add to its charm.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Wander down the vibrant High St and stop by the many cafes and shops there. Have a picnic at the charming Abbey Gardens. Take the Keats’ Walk along River Itchen and soak up the stunning views of the countryside. Explore the gothic Winchester Cathedral, which dates all the way back to AD 642 — a diver worked on its foundations for 5 years in the mud underneath it.
🌟 Don’t miss: The Winchester Farmers’ Market takes place on the second and last Sunday of each month. You’ll find 30-40 stalls selling all kinds of fresh produce and baked goods. You can also enjoy lots of delicious food and drinks there, such as buffalo burgers, hog roasts, and mulled wine!
🔥 Insider Tip: Stop by The Golden Lion for some fresh, home-made traditional dishes.
Visiting Winchester From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 57 min. Take the South Western Railway from London Waterloo to Winchester. This is a direct train ride.
🚗 Getting there by car: Driving usually takes between 1.5 to 2 hours (65 mi / 104 km).
🏡 Where to stay: Lainston House (⭐️ 9.1) | Hotel du Vin Winchester (⭐️ 8.6) | Esme’s (⭐️ 9.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: From May to September, when the weather is the warmest and driest (dry by UK standards, of course).
🚉 Top London Weekend Getaways Outside the UK
Some of the best weekend trips from London by train are actually outside the UK. Thanks to Eurostar, you can hop over to France and Belgium in just 2 hours, and the Netherlands in 4 hours — all without catching any flight.
The advantage of taking a train is that you won’t have to spend time waiting at the airport and will also arrive straight into the heart of the city — therefore avoiding those dreaded commutes from the airport. So, why not take one of these short train trips from London and get off in a different country?
30. Paris – One of the Most Romantic Getaways Near London
Explored by Karee of Our Woven Journey
🇫🇷 Why you should visit: Paris is one of the best weekend getaways from London for those who want to get out of the UK with just a quick train ride. It promises visitors a weekend of culture, history, impressive architecture, delicious food, and a never-ending list of photo opportunities.
📝 Travel tip: With so many options for things to do, it’s best to come with a well-planned itinerary. You can also shorten the amount of time you’ll wait in lines by buying tickets online ahead of time.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the world-famous attractions in the city, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles, and the Arc de Triomphe. Paris is, of course, also famous for its food and you’ll want to save plenty of time to enjoy your meals on your weekend visit. The food in Paris is an event in itself — so much so that UNESCO declared the French way of eating an “Intangible Heritage” in 2010!
🔥 Insider Tip: For a truly unique experience, consider dining at one of the Eiffel Tower restaurants. If you’re on a tight budget, lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel is only slightly more than you’d pay for an online skip-the-line ticket, and you’ll get priority entry along with a meal with an amazing view!
Visiting Paris From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 2 hr 16 min. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord, right at the heart of the city. This is a direct train ride!
🏡 Where to stay: Hotel d’Angleterre (⭐️ 8.5) | Maison Albar (⭐️ 9.0) | Hotel Lutetia (⭐️ 8.9)
☀️ Best time to visit: In September and October so that you avoid the busy season of the summer while still enjoying nice weather. Paris is the most visited city in the world with over 27 million people touring it each year, so although the weather is at its best during the summer months, the crowds are at their worst.
Explored by Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer
🇧🇪 Why you should visit: Brussels, the capital of Europe, is one of the most eventful weekend trips from London if you’re interested in a big change of scenery. This city is wonderfully safe and offers plenty of fun cultural activities for all visitors. The historic centre is also very pedestrian-friendly!
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Wander around the most beautiful square in Europe — the Grand Place, lined with intricately adorned golden guild houses and a beer museum. Go on the hunt for the little peeing man (Manneken Pis) and woman (Jeanneke-Pis). Rent a bike and ride towards the Atomium — a remnant of the 1958 World Expo. Go all the way to the top for the best views over the city!
🌟 Don’t miss: Make sure to keep some time to try out the best waffles in town at Maison Dandoy. The waffle should give you the necessary energy boost to take the self-guided comic strip mural walk crisscrossing through the city, a fun activity for all ages.
🔥 Insider Tip: If your trip coincides with rain, do not despair! The city has a lot of fun indoor activities to do as well, such as the Art & History Museum, the Magritte Museum, and the Comics Art Museum. Alternatively, you could spruce up your cooking skills and partake in a waffle or chocolate-making workshop. Plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy!
Visiting Brussels From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is just 2 hr 1 min. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Brussels-Midi, right at the heart of the city. This is a direct train ride!
🏡 Where to stay: Cocoon (⭐️ 9.3) | NH Collection (⭐️ 8.7) | Steigenberger Wiltcher’s (⭐️ 8.7)
☀️ Best time to visit: In the summer, when the days are long and there are plenty of little pop-up terraces where you can grab a bite to eat or indulge in a local beer.
Explored by Babs of Next Stop Belgium
🇧🇪 Why you should visit: The picturesque city of Bruges is often dubbed as the ‘Venice of the North’ and is the perfect dreamy getaway from the hustle and bustle of London. Reachable by train, this medieval town is famous for its many canals, fairytale vibes, and overall historical charm.
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Cruise down the canals on a boat and admire the incredibly photogenic views. Wander around the colourful Brugge Markt, which has been holding a weekly market for over 1,000 years now. Climb up the 15th-century Belfry tower and get a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the city. Stop by the Gruuthusemuseum for a deep dive into the history of Bruges.
🌟 Don’t miss: Be sure to stop by the Historium, especially if you’re visiting Bruges with kids. This museum takes interactivity to a whole new level and includes a VR trip through Medieval Bruges! If you have time to spare, peace and quiet can be found in the Beguinage but also by taking a (half) day trip to the nearby picturesque village of Damme.
🔥 Insider Tip: While Bruges is a touristy city, there are some secret spots where you’ll only meet locals. One of them is De Republiek, a community centre with an alternative cinema, a local art shop, and a Grand Café that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner — all with a world kitchen twist.
Visiting Bruges From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 3 hr 26 min. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Brussels-Midi, then, take the InterCity to Bruges.
🏡 Where to stay: Hotel De Castillion (⭐️ 9.5) | Die Swaene (⭐️ 9.1) | Castelsuites (⭐️ 9.8)
☀️ Best time to visit: While summer offers the warmest weather, Bruges is especially vibrant and picturesque in December, amid the festivities and the Christmas markets.
Explored by Tom & Zi of Craving Adventure
🇳🇱 Why you should visit: Amsterdam is a gorgeous and lively city that has enough to offer to keep you entertained for weeks. With that said, it’s totally possible to see it on a weekend getaway from London — one that will be packed with history, culture, incredible vistas, and tasty food!
🚶🏻♀️ Top things to do: Explore the canals, but shake it up a little. Instead of just walking around, rent a bike and explore on two wheels. Or better yet, take a canal cruise, pack a picnic, and you’ll be ticking off your first real Amsterdam experience! Also don’t miss the Red Light District, which during the day, is actually a very charming neighbourhood full of boutique shops, cafés, and canal views.
🏛 A city of museums: Amsterdam is famous for its many museums, and some of the most unmissable ones are the Rijksmuseum (for art and history), the Van Gogh Museum, the Moco Museum (for modern art), and the thought-provoking Anne Frank House, which tells the incredibly powerful story of the famous young Jewish girl’s life during the Holocaust.
🔥 Insider Tip: For a true Amsterdam experience, spend the night in a houseboat. There are about 2,500 houseboats on the city’s canals, and many of them come with great amenities!
Visiting Amsterdam From London
🚊 Getting there by train: The total journey is 4 hr 7 min. Take the Eurostar from St Pancras International to Amsterdam Centraal, right in the heart of town. This is a direct train ride!
🏡 Where to stay: Hotel Estheréa (⭐️ 9.2) | Zoku Amsterdam (⭐️ 9.0) | Ambassade (⭐️ 9.3)
☀️ Best time to visit: On King’s Day — the 27th of April. The king’s birthday is the biggest party of the year. The whole city will be packed with people dressed in orange and there’ll be something happening at every corner. You’ll be guaranteed an experience like nothing else!
🗺 Tips for Planning Your London Weekend Trips
- 🚗 To escape London by car, get great deals on Rentalcars.com
- 🚊 To escape London by train, find your train tickets on Trainline or Omio
- 🏨 Find the best accommodations on Booking.com or Expedia
- 🧔🏻 Get the best tour guides via Get Your Guide, Tiqets, or Viator
- 🎒 Pack some essential hiking gear and a power bank
- 📚 Read Lonely Planet Great Britain and Fodor’s Essential Great Britain
- 📸 Bring the best photography gear (including these must-have Sony lenses!)