Living in London is exciting but it’s also quite draining. Anyone who’s taken the tube, train or bus during rush hour can attest to this. So it can do wonders for the soul to escape London for the weekend, to take in some fresh country air or to just visit somewhere new. Here are some of the places we like to escape to, all within two hours train commute from London.
In just over an hour (or just under if you get a fast train) from London’s St Pancras International you’ll find yourself in the picturesque Cathedral city of Canterbury, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Cathedral, go canoeing, check out the museums or take a step back in time with the Canterbury Tales tour. We stayed in a lovely little cottage that we booked through Mulberry Cottages.
In less than an hour from London Waterloo, you’ll be in Windsor and Eton Riverside. Windsor is home to Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth’s royal residences, and lies on the River Thames. It’s also home to Eton, where many a Prime Minster went to school. It’s a very pretty town with enough to keep you busy for a weekend, such as taking High Tea, going for a walk along the river, visiting the castle, shopping or if you have children it’s very close to Legoland. Stay at The Sir Christopher Wren, which is right on the river and is a spa hotel or The Christopher, which is a former coaching inn.
Rye, East Sussex
Rye is less than two hours from London St Pancras International. It’s very small but perfect for a weekend getaway. Be sure to visit the lovely little shops by The Strand and if you’re into antiques, Rye has lots of antiques shops. Have drinks, lunch or dinner at the Mermaid Inn – a 15th century Tudor-style inn which is said to be haunted. We stayed at The George in Rye (twice), which also has a great restaurant and we’ve stayed once in Froglets cottage which is right by the Mermaid Inn.
About an hour from London Waterloo you’ll find yourself in the University city of Winchester. Not only is it a university town, it also has a very beautiful Cathedral. There’s lots to do in Winchester, including a Jane Austen trail and a guided tour of Winchester College. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment that we booked through Airbnb.
One of the last stops on the Metropolitan line, Amersham is less than an hour by tube from central London. It’s a lovely little market town which happens to be home to one of my favourite restaurants – The Artichoke. Treat yourself to a foodie weekend by staying at The Crown and then enjoy dinner at The Artichoke across the road. Go for a long walk or hire a bike and visit the Chilterns.
Brighton, East Sussex
One of England’s most famous seaside towns, Brighton is around an hour by train from London. There’s lots to see and do in Brighton , from a walk along the pier to exploring the cobbled streets of The Lanes. If you like museums and historic sites, you’ll find these aplenty in Brighton – one of the more unusual being the Royal Pavilion, built for King George IV.