Escape The City: Best Weekend Trips From London

There are countless things to do in the capital, but we all know that sometimes you need a little break. And what better way to do so than by getting away to some of the other amazing parts of the UK for a day or two? Whether you're in the mood for a city trip, long rambling walks through the countryside or a quaint town to relax in, we've got it all. From the picturesque streets of Bath right up to the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, here are the top weekend breaks from London.

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Brighton

An hour by train or two hours by car

One of the best-known seaside towns in the country, Brighton is a top choice for weekend getaways 1 hour from London, thanks to regular trains from both Victoria and London Bridge. There's plenty to do here over a couple of days: The Lanes will keep you busy for hours with their selection of designer boutiques and quirky little shops selling everything from jewellery to vinyl. The pebbled beach is fantastic for summer swims or enjoying fish and chips all year round, and you'll also find some of the top vegan cafes and restaurants in the whole of the UK here. And if you want the very best views of the seafront, the iconic pier and the entire town from 450 feet in the air? Then check out the i360, which even boasts its very own sky-high bar.

Brighton | DesignMyNight

Fish and chips by Brighton pier is our idea of a winning weekend.

Bath

An hour and a half by train or three hours by car

We don't know about you, but wandering the Georgian streets of Bath sounds like an ideal weekend to us. Make sure to visit the original Roman Baths, before climbing the Abbey Tower for cracking views and the chance to learn more about the fascinating past of the area. There are plenty of museums or art galleries to keep you busy, and be sure to stop off at some of the cool and quirky bars lining the streets in between sightseeing. And if you really want to spoil yourself then book a spot at the Thermae Bath Spa - boasting a rooftop pool that looks out over the city.

Bath | DesignMyNight

Visit traditional Roman architecture in Bath.

Edinburgh

Four and a half hours by train or eight and a half hours by car

Admittedly this one is a bit of a longer journey, but if you're willing to commit to a little more travelling time then Edinburgh is without a doubt one of the best weekend trips from London by train. This historic city is a hotspot of activity all year round, with the iconic Fringe Festival dominating the summer months and some of the country's best Christmas markets setting up shop in December. A climb up Arthur's Seat is a rite of passage when visiting the Scottish capital, and a trip to the castle is definitely worth the walk too. There are countless grand hotels to choose from across the city, as well as plenty of more affordable options, and if you're wondering where to eat and drink then you'll find indulgent Italians, quirky cocktail bars and bougee brunch spots galore.

Edinburgh | DesignMyNight

Edinburgh's skyline truly is something special.

The Peak District

Around two and a half hours by train or three to four hours by car

One for the nature lovers out there, The Peak District is made up of miles and miles of rolling hills, interspersed with quaint little towns. Though it can be easily accessed by public transport, this is one of the best weekend trips from London by car - as this gives you the freedom to hop between each area as often as you like. We'd recommend staying in Bakewell, 15 miles South of Sheffield, for its traditional markets and historic architecture, or for spectacular scenery and amazing walks right on your doorstep then try Hope Valley instead.

The Peak District | DesignMyNight

You'll find some peak nature walks here.

The Cotswolds

Just over an hour by train or two and a half hours by car

For countryside galore only an hour or so from Paddington, The Cotswolds is one of the UK's most glorious spots for a trip. Spanning across Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, you're spoilt for choice when looking for places to stay, with plenty of old-fashioned brick cottages available to book for a true country getaway. This is the UK's largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, perfect for long walks and snapping pretty pictures, and you're never far from a friendly local pub to supply you with a hearty meal to fuel your adventures - across charming towns and villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, Bibury or Castle Combe.

The Cotswolds | DesignMyNight

There's always more to explore in The Cotswolds.

Rye

An hour by train or three hours by car

Looking to visit a unique seaside town steeped in history? That's where Rye comes in. This East Sussex town maintains many of its medieval features, from the cobbled streets to pubs that have been around since the 1400s. Find out more about its past at the Rye Castle Museum, or you can easily spend an afternoon exploring all the quirky independent shops and art galleries up and down the lanes. And just an 11-minutre drive away lies one of the most enchanting beaches in the whole of England: Camber Sands. 

Rye East Sussex | DesignMyNight

You're guaranteed to have a Rye-lly good weekend in this East Sussex town.

Oxford

50 minutes by train or two and a half hours by car

Though it may be best known for being home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world, there's plenty more to discover in Oxford - though it's well worth a saunter around the famous colleges too. Just 50 minutes from Paddington, this city is a haven of beautiful architecture, with a vibrant, modern culture despite its traditional feel. Be sure to check out all the brilliant pubs and restaurants it has to offer, in between shopping sprees and museum visits. This place is also ideal if you're after the cheapest weekend trips from London, as you can nab train tickets for as little as £25.

Oxford | DesignMyNight

For quick trips from the capital, Oxford is a winner.

Norwich

Two hours by train or three and a half hours by car

For a dose of history and beautiful surrounds, Norwich is a great place to stay for the weekend. The stunning cathedral is a must-visit, being one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the whole of Europe and boasting the second tallest spire in the country. Don't miss the secret Plantation Gardens nearby for a gorgeous picnic spot, or head to the largest covered market in the continent instead - open six days a week. Wondering where to go for your evening meal? Luckily, there are a whole lot of brilliant restaurants to be found in this city as well. And if you fancy venturing a little further out, you're not far from East Anglia's charming coast here either.

Norwich | DesignMyNight

Soak up all the architecture in Norwich.

Cambridge

An hour by train or two and a half hours by car

Another university town making its way on to our list, Cambridge is a great space to explore on foot and easily accessible from London, with all sorts of fun things to do. Take in the mesmerising architecture on show at King's College, or why not take a punt along the River Cam to explore the city a different way? The Fitzwilliam Museum is a must for history buffs, and the university's Botanic Garden provides an idyllic slice of nature during your visit. Of course, there are plenty of cosy pubs and delicious restaurants waiting for you here, providing you with top-notch gastro fare, cheap and tasty pizzas, high-end cuts of steak and much more.

Cambridge | DesignMyNight

By water or by foot, Cambridge is a great place to explore.

York

Two hours by train or five hours by car

Best known for its striking cathedral and promising lots of other fun activities, York is a brilliant choice if you want to head North. Go for a picturesque walk along the Roman city walls to take in the breathtaking city, popping into the medieval York Minster to marvel at the architecture. For a different way to see the sights, try out a river cruise down the Ouse, particularly pretty at sunset. There's plenty of enticing countryside strolls if you want to venture a little way out of town, but be sure to head back to sample some of the excellent pubs and restaurants that this area has to offer.

York | DesignMyNight

Step back in time when you visit York.

Bristol

An hour and a half by train or three hours by car

If you're looking to swap one iconic UK city for another, Bristol is a great shout. This vibrant, diverse destination is huge in the art scene, with regular live music nights across its bars and the famed road Stokes Croft covered in street art. This is also one of the best places in the country for foodies, from high-end restaurants to mouthwatering local produce from the Harbourside Food Market. If you have time in between chowing down on tasty plates, venture out to the Clifton Suspension Bridge for pretty views of the countryside surrounding Bristol, and a drink or two by the river is idyllic for summer days - as well as a dip in the recently restored lido if you're brave enough.

Bristol | DesignMyNight

The views are just as enticing as the food in Bristol.

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