Sweet escape: The best day trips from London


The busyness of the capital is just one thing that makes it so great: there’s always a place to be and people to see. That said, it can get overwhelming and frustrating, even for born-and-bred Londoners. Thankfully the city’s plethora of transport links has made it easy to escape, even if just for a few short hours or the weekend. 

Here’s our edit of easy day trips from London to visit in 2023 which don’t require too much travelling or planning in advance. And, once you’ve taken a minute to unwind in the country or by the beach, you may even start to appreciate the hectic lifestyle waiting for you when you get home. 

Rye, East Sussex

rye east sussex

Image: Shutterstock

How to get there: The train from London St Pancras takes one hour and 10 minutes, with a change at Ashford International. 

You’ve probably seen pictures of Rye all over your Instagram. The riverside day trip destination was once named the most naturally beautiful town in England and Wales, and its quaint cobbled streets and quintessentially British cottages don’t disappoint. Wander the lanes to find independent shops, local eateries and boozy boltholes including The Mermaid Inn — a 600-year-old pub offering delicious dining in its two AA Rosette restaurant and local ales in its relaxing Giants Fireplace Bar.

After a bite to eat and a pint or two, head to Camber Sands for a breath of fresh air. Just 15 minutes on the bus, or (for the hikers among us) a three mile walk from Rye town centre, feel the sand of one of England’s finest beaches between your toes and refreshing sea air in your face. The two-mile beach makes for a perfect picnic spot, picturesque walking route and sunbathing destination in the summer. Just hold onto your hat because it can get a tad windy. 

Where to stay: One of the town’s most luxurious hotels, The George, is home to maze-like corridors leading to a recently-refurbished restaurant and cosy bedrooms. All rooms have been individually designed and feature roll top baths, fresh linen, comfy beds and unique furniture.

Oxford, Oxfordshire 

How to get there: The train from London Paddington or Marylebone takes one hour. 

There’s plenty to see and do at one of the most quintessentially English cities in the UK, which also happens to be the most expensive outside of London. With every twist and turn of Oxford’s cobbled streets and quads, you’ll discover more and more of the city’s heritage and impressive architecture. The Ashmolean Museum is one of Britain’s oldest public museums, hosting a variety of prized historical artefacts ranging from medieval musical instruments to European art. If you fancy a bite to eat, head to the top floor for a slice of something sweet while looking out over the impressive city. 

There are too many good eateries and bars to name but Turf Tavern, which is found at the end of a small, almost-hidden lane between New College and Hertford College, is a stand-out pub serving local ales and delicious food. It’s a short stroll from Radcliffe Camera, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, which is also a working library. After you’ve whet your whistle, go behind the scenes at the University of Oxford — one of the UK’s most prestigious education establishments — to discover its impressive colleges and endless libraries. 

Where to stay: Boasting 43 luxury bedrooms and unrivalled views of the city, especially from its rooftop terrace, The Old Bank Hotel is the perfect base to explore the city. Surrounded by a number of university colleges and within walking distance of the Natural History Museum, Jericho’s fun bars and restaurants and the iconic Covered Market, it’s the best way to spend your break in Oxford in style. 

Windsor, Berkshire

How to get there: The train from London Paddington takes half an hour. 

Rub shoulders with royalty during a day trip to Windsor, home to the late Queen’s favourite retreat away from the busyness of London. The historic market town is built around Windsor Castle, one of the Royal Family’s many countryside outposts which saw Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed in 2018 and is also the burial ground of both the late Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II. 

Explore the grounds of the castle including the Round Tower, St George’s Chapel and a few of the State Rooms. Stroll along The Long Walk — a three-mile pathway surrounded by a vibrant, well-kept park — before returning to the town for a saunter through Alexandra Gardens. You’ll likely stumble upon Market Cross House, one of the town’s most photographed (and awkward) buildings which sits at the end of England’s shortest street. Take a walk along the River Thames, which separates Windsor and Eton on the other side of the bank, before nipping into the Duchess of Cambridge pub for a classic ale or English stout. 

Where to stay: Offering both luxurious rooms and stand-out suites, the Castle Hotel is one of the most stylish places to rest your head in central Windsor. The grand Georgian building is home to 108 sleek bedrooms, all thoughtfully-designed with interesting interiors, flat screen TVs and fast wifi. 

The New Forest, Hampshire

How to get there: The train from London Waterloo takes one hour and 45 minutes. 

The New Forest has long been a relaxing haven for busy Londoners to escape to, with its rolling green hills, ancient woodlands and abundance of English fauna. This is the go-to destination for those aching to stretch their legs in the countryside, where you’re sure to be greeted by free-roaming ponies and sheep, before finishing the day with a hearty pub lunch by a warming log fire. 

Hop on the train from Waterloo to Beaulieu Road station and nip into The Drift Pub for a glass of wine while perusing its menu of pub classics, including slow-roasted New Forest pork belly and its pie of the day. After you’ve enjoyed your belt-busting meal, lace up your walking shoes and head into the New Forest National Park for a proper countryside ramble. 

Where to stay: Chewton Glen is a favourite among New Forest regulars. The 18th-century luxury country house hotel is set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside and comprises a number of estate and croquet lawn rooms. However, the hotel’s newest addition is its Treehouses, which are hidden among the woodland and self-contained. Expect daily breakfast hampers and a delicious room service menu, so you shouldn’t have to leave your plush bed after a long day in the country.

Whitstable, Kent

How to get there: The train from London Victoria takes one hour and 20 minutes. 

Enjoy a trip to the beach and indulge in famed British seafood dishes at north Kent’s favourite seaside town. The beach hut-lined shingle shore is renowned for its historical connection to oysters; it’s been home to The Whitstable Oyster Company since the 1400s, making it one of the oldest companies in Europe. Today, tourists and locals alike can indulge in the town’s famous oyster harvest which is best consumed from September through to April. To try them at their best, head to the Royal Native Oyster Stores which has become world famous for its seafood offering. Pick from classic rock oysters to crustaceans served with black truffle butter and champagne, or garlic butter and parmesan. 

Explore Whitstable’s arty side by visiting The Fishslab Gallery, which supports emerging artists, and the Chappell Contemporary which stocks limited-edition prints. Go into town and pay a visit to independent vinyl shop Gatefield Sounds and have a dig around for some brilliant records, before finding a new novel to sink your teeth into courtesy of Harbour Books. 

Where to stay: Hotel Continental is a beach-front haven just a short walk from the harbour and town centre, perfect for a luxurious night’s sleep after a day of oysters and champagne. The bright white rooms are fitted with all the amenities you’ll need for a relaxing break, but for those looking for a home away from home, look no further than its Fisherman’s Huts — self-contained accommodation perfect for families and only minutes away from the waves. 

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire


Image: Shutterstock

How to get there: The train from London Kings Cross takes one hour. 

It’s no secret that the best way to see Cambridge is via boat, especially if you have the muscles to punt the Cam yourself. The city’s maze-like waterways provide the perfect viewpoint from which to take in Cambridge’s classic architecture and the university’s grounds. However, if you don’t fancy the arm workout, hop aboard a boat tour courtesy of Scudamore — the city’s oldest ‘chauffeur’ company. 

Once you’re back on dry land, head to Midsummer House for an unforgettable meal. Headed by critically-acclaimed chef Daniel Clifford, Midsummer House is the only two Michelin-starred restaurant in the east of England. After, stroll along Parker’s Piece, which supposedly inspired some of the scenes in CS Lewis’ Narnia, to find a number of quirky, independent shops as well as Kettle’s Yard art gallery. Top off your day by experiencing the incredible choral evensong at King’s College Chapel for a heavenly hour of music. 

Where to stay: Gonville Hotel caters for all travellers, whether you’re escaping London life for a short break or settling in for a longer stay. All of its colourful rooms include the Gonville pillow menu to ensure you get the best rest possible, as well as an in-room valet system, air conditioning and Espa skincare amenities. Take a seat at the Atrium Bar to enjoy a night of jazz, as per the hotel’s weekly calendar, with a cocktail in hand. 

Read more: See and be seen: The coolest travel destinations for 2023

The post Sweet escape: The best day trips from London appeared first on Luxury London.

Lascia un commento