Let me start off by saying that I love London. It is diverse, and vibrant and has plenty to see, great places to eat and stay. However, there are times when I question myself, when I’ve wandered into the capital, why I am there – when I am being trodden on by several tourists, who are shoving their selfie sticks in my face, or just being trampled upon by the average rushed commuter.
These are the times, that I need to get out of London, and escape the busy, chaotic lifestyle; which has been what I have been doing of late. Having been back as a resident in the UK for around 18 months, I have taken time to reacquaint myself with the beautiful British Isles.
So for any Londoner, or visitor to London. If you need some headspace, and want to get away for a while, here are 5 trips you can easily make away from the capital!
At just under an hour an a half, by direct train, Arundel, in West Sussex is reachable from London Victoria, and makes for a pleasant day out. Think old historic houses, a castle, cute cathedrals and brilliantly spacious gardens, with a good helping of places offering the quintessentially English cream tea. It is a small, little market town that caters for every one. I visited Arundel last summer, and although there are a few tourists lurking around, it had a nice pace and felt like a nice nice tranquil getaway.
Although Bath in North East Somerset is a popular tourist destination, it is truely a place that you can pretend to be a Roman Empress (or Empire) for the day, as you bathe on the rooftop of a spa, in thermal waters, whilst overlooking an accient city, you can pretend you are actually in Rome (kind of!)
Bath is a quaint little city, with great shops, and places to eat, including more cream tea (there is a theme emerging here!). For lovers of Literature, this place will bring alive the pages from Jane Austens novels.
From London Paddington, Bath Spa is accessible via direct train in under an hour and a half, and for just £19.60 (if you buy a ticket in advance). It makes for a fairly cheap day out.
Brighton in East Sussex is the original seaside resort, and for years, it has attracted visitors from the capital, as it is the closest beach out of London. From various London stations, you can reach the beach in approximately 1 hour.
However, before you have visons of white sand running through your toes, you can forget that! The beach at Brighton is full of pebbles, so I would advise that you keep your shoes on, as you have a wander by the sea. If you are looking for lovely soft sand, I’d advise moving along the coast a little to a little seaside town called Rye, or Camber Sands.
That said, Brighton has a lot going for it. It is virbrant, loud, and proud of itself. Victorian housing lines the main promenade, and makes up a number of other buildings in the main town centre.
There are a number of quirky little shops, down precious little laneways. You can wile away your day in quaint little coffee shops, having fish and chips on the beach, or wasting your money in the arcades.
Brighton can be busy, but not as busy as London, and as an added bonus, you get a bit of sea air, and can have a little paddle.
The Peak District is a huge National Park, and actually covers a number of counties in England. However it takes up a significant portion of Derbyshire.
I have spent numerous times up in that direction, due to a close friend connection, and have visited a number of different places during these visits.
To access the Peak District, your best bet is to head to Chesterfield or Derby, which you can reach via direct train in under two hours. It may be a little bit of a trek to do as a day trip, so I’d recommend making a weekend trip of it.
I did this recently, and stayed at the Pentahotel in Derby.
If you are looking for gorgeous historic houses, like Haddon Hall, or to explore creepy caves like the Devils Arse (Peak Cavern), then you need to get to the Peak District. It has a number of incredible areas to walk, with stunning scenery.
At the end, you can feed your face with the original Bakewell tart (again with the food!) in the cute little village of Bakewell.
For the ulimtate literature lovers out there. No visit to England could be complete without having a wander up to Shakespeare’s Country in the quaint little town of Stratford-Upon-Avon (or Stratford, but not to be confused with Stratford in East London!) Here you can see the birthplace of Shakespeare, as well as where he, and his family members are buried.
The town itself is small, but is a wonderful little place to wander around, and again – a great place for a cream tea!
The river Avon (hence the name) flows through the town, and you can take a relaxing boat ride along it, or hire one yourself, if you are feeling energetic!
I spent a day there back last summer, and it is worth the visit. You can reach Stratford-Upon-Avon in about 2 hours, via train (with one change of trains), and a ticket will cost you just £30 (if booked in advance).
So what are you waiting for? Get out of London, and explore some wonderful places that England has to offer. I know I am not done exploring this country, and certainly have many trips lined up in the near future.