I’m a London girl who loves the frenzy of the city but sometimes a girl needs a break. I’ve rounded up 3 of my favourite UK destinations for a stylish weekend away less than 2 hours travel from the Big Smoke.
Fun fact: I grew up in Royal Windsor working a weekend job as a shop girl just outside the walls of the castle! Tourists and locals alike flock to Windsor to enjoy afternoon tea on the cobbled streets, shop the fancy boutiques and feed the swans floating down the river.
See: Of course the major attraction here is a visit to Lizzie’s Castle. Aside from trying to get the guards to crack a smile, things you can do at Windsor Castle include visiting The State Apartments and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. Until the end of September you can also climb the castle’s iconic Round Tower for 360 views of the castle grounds and surrounding Windsor parklands.
Shop: Located in the Grade II listed Victorian railway station, Windsor Royal Shopping is Windsor’s historic shopping hub. Mid to high-end boutiques line the cobbled street and there’s a collection of restaurant and cafes tucked away behind the old station waiting room.
Top Tip: Head to Cinnamon Café in Windsor Royal Shopping for delicious cinnamon buns.
Stay: Check into the Macdonald Windsor Hotel for contemporary chic digs in an old townhouse directly opposite the castle.
Get There: Catch a train to Windsor & Eton Central from London Paddington (38 minutes) or Windsor & Eton Riverside from London Waterloo (54 minutes) or take the coach from London Victoria.
Step into a history book with a visit to the UNESCO heritage listed city of Bath. With its Roman Baths, natural springs and Georgian Terraces that make you want to see songs from Oliver the musical – a daytrip to Bath is packed full of old-fashioned fun.
See: All trips to Bath must include a visit to the Roman Baths – one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. See steam rising from the 2000 year old Great Bath and then take a sip (if you dare) of the mineral rich spa water. Then take a walk to Bath’s iconic The Royal Crescent, a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses built between 1767 and 1775. Finally, book lovers can discover what it would have been like to live in the Regency times at the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street.
Top Tip: Visit the Regency themed Tea Rooms at the Jane Austen Centre to enjoy traditional afternoon tea with excellent rooftop views of the city.
Spa: Make like the Romans and soak in Britain’s only natural thermal spa at Thermae Bath Spa. The state-of-the-art facilities include an open-air rooftop pool where you can watch sunset over the city as part of a Twilight Package.
Stay: Bath is bursting with boutique hotels and B&Bs housed in heritage listed Georgian Townhouses. For central stylish accommodation consider the likes of 2 Lyndhurst Place and Henrietta House.
Get There: Bath is just 90 minutes by train from London Paddington Station. Frequent coach services run from London Victoria coach station, London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport to Bath bus station.
When a heatwave heads to London, Londoners head to Brighton Beach. London’s nearest and dearest beach town is a quirky, cobbled enclave of bohemian boutiques, interesting architecture and eye-catching street art.
See: Have a bit of childlike fun at the Brighton Pier and paddle your feet (if you dare!) in the ‘refreshing’ sea! Also check out the Oriental-inspired architecture of The Royal Pavilion – a seaside pleasure palace built for King George IV over 200 years ago.
Shop: Fans of vintage fashion will love exploring the bohemian boutiques found in the Brighton Lanes. Stand out stores include Hope & Harlequin in North Laine and Rose Hill Boutique on Kensington Gardens.
Top Tip: Keep an eye out for the eclectic street art decorating the Lanes, including a replica of Banksy’s ‘Kissing Policemen’ at the Prince Albert Pub on Trafalgar Street.
Stay: The perfect, quirky place to stay in Brighton is the Artist Residence boutique hotel. The townhouse boasts sea views and consists of 12 ‘Arty’ rooms that have been decorated by local and international artists and 11 ‘House’ rooms which have been furnished with up-cycled furniture and limited edition prints.
Get There: Visit GoEuro.com to search and compare prices for trains and buses to all featured destinations. Brighton & Hove train station is just under an hour by rail from London and only half an hour from London Gatwick Airport. Coaches from London Victoria to Brighton take approximately 2hr and 15 minutes.