London is a large, diverse cultural hub that has a plethora of attractions and activities to offer each traveler, but sometimes the metropolis can get pretty overwhelming and a change of pace and scenery is in order. Here are the best city breaks from London if you’re getting a bit too tired of keeping up with the capital’s pace.
Going out to see the iconic, historic, and famously controversial Stonehenge monument is one of the best city breaks from London. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have been a site where locals performed pagan worship, although this has sparked a lot of controversy and debate over the years. The mystery surrounding Stonehenge has attracted a lot of tourists and curious wanderers. Head out of London to try and uncover the truth yourself, and get treated to gorgeous English sights on the way to the Wiltshire countryside.
Another sight that’s famous for the history and intrigue surrounding it, Windsor Castle has been the Royal Family’s getaway home for ages and holds the title of being the largest and oldest occupied castle on earth. This impressive castle treats visitors to sights of treasures from the royal collection and massive staterooms and halls that the British Monarchy used throughout their reign. Windsor is also used for state and ceremonial occasions and you won’t be able to call it a getaway home yourself, but the castle offers an impressive visitor route that takes you through areas like the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel.
Just over 80 miles or an hour and 20 minutes by train from London, Deal comes packed with everything you’d ever want from a city break- Georgian townhouses seated neatly in rows, a bustling weekend market, and hundreds of colorful local shops and food fares. The former fishing, mining and garrison townhouses the majestic Deal Castle, a coastal fort built by the late King Henry VIII to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire. The castle now a gorgeous tourist destination with good music, food stalls that cater to all tastes, and fun rides for the kids.
Grab a bike and start pedaling out of the city! Located just 30 miles outside of London, Box Hill is the perfect place to get a city break. It forms part of the North Downs and has views across the surrounding countryside. Box Hill is home to a plethora of wildlife and plants, including the Adonis blue butterfly and bee orchid, and it was part of the 2012 Olympic road-cycling route. After pushing through a 1.6-mile climb and a few bends along the route, grab a bite from the National Trust café or The Tree.
Get on a one-hour train ride from London Victoria, Blackfriars, or London Bridge and explore the place known to many as “London-by-the-sea.” Don’t let this small city fool you because it packs quite a punch with gorgeous seafront hotels, a diverse selection of unique attractions, and bohemian market streets that are always buzzing with excitement and activity. Check out Brighton Dome and hang out by the yachts, or go for a classic Brighton experience and search for the best fish and chips by the pier.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to walk through university walls as majestic as Hogwarts’ then set out to explore the famous world-class Cambridge University and its breathtaking campus. A variety of people flock to Cambridge and join in on the fun, like tourists, aspiring freshmen, and couples looking to escape London for a day to stroll along Cambridge’s rivers and check out local food at the Cambridge market. It is definitely one of the easiest day trips to take from London and Cambridge’s charming parks and museums make it even more popular.
The Lake District
Drive five hours by car to The Lake District and come back with dirty boots and stories of your adventures told only in superlatives. Climb Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak, or take a Steamer across Ullswater and indulge in world-famous sweets and pastries to make up for all the energy you spent along the way. You can choose to end the night by sleeping at one of the most luxurious hotels and lake houses in the United Kingdom or have the best city break from London by sleeping under the stars at a picturesque Buttermere campsite.
Seaford and Seven Sisters Cliffs
If you still don’t want to head back to the crazy streets of London after your Brighton adventure, extend your break and check out Seaford and Seven Sisters Cliffs. Seaford is best known for the numerous pristine white chalk cliffs that line the coast of East Sussex and was featured in many various TV and film productions. Stroll through the Seven Sisters Country Park too for a leisurely walk across the coastal trail that has the best views Seaford has to offer.
Known as one of England’s most romantic cities, Oxford is a mere stone’s throw away from London, but it will feel like you’re miles away because of how different it is compared to the metropolitan capital’s hustle and bustle. Its fairytale-like spires and towers are just the start of Oxford’s charms. There are centuries of history in every brick laid upon this famous University City, but it is very much a young cultural hub filled with museums, great pubs, and parks where you can relax and hear young talent perform.
Canterbury is another famous university city much like Oxford and Cambridge, but the city boasts being the inspiration and muse for many English works of art like Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. It is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site- an English cathedral that locals and tourists flock to on a daily basis. This old city has preserved a lot of its old buildings’ charm and grandeur, but the massive student population has transformed it into a very contemporary scene. The perfect mix of two worlds.