5 welcome ways to escape the big smoke this autumn


London, we love you but sometimes you’re a lot, says Rosie Carr

Sometimes we just need to get awayyyy, and when we want that quick and dirty break, these are our favourite towns to head to. All these top spots are under two hours by train from a central station, so butter your sandwiches, grab a flask and fire up the group chat with talk of where to go next. Choose from a UNESCO World Heritage Site city, a fun seaside escape, an iconic university city, a quaint medieval town and a picturesque historic city. All these places make for a perfect day trip, or weekend staycation.

Credit: Zoltan Tasi


We kick off with the lesser-explored Canterbury: the beautiful historic city in Kent, Southeast England. Small and photogenic it’s perfect for a day trip with a medieval town centre lined with ancient streets, a cathedral and a gorgeous flower-lined river that will look like a dream on your grid.  

Canterbury’s highlights

Go punting along the river

Visit Canterbury cathedral

See the Crooked House on Palace Street

Explore the pretty cobbled streets of Butchery Lane and Mercery Lane

Go for dinner at Old Weavers House - a 16th century timbered building with a riverside garden

Take a walking tour round the city centre

Take me there

Get a fast train from London St Pancras and you can be in Canterbury in under an hour.


Ah Bath! We love Bath for its rich culture, Roman remains, cosy tea rooms and traditional British pubs. However often we visit we never get bored. No wonder this prettiest of cities is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  

The best things to do in Bath

See the original Roman baths, one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world.

Explore Prior Park - the hillside park has stunning views over the city

Visit Bath Abbey - the last remaining Gothic church in England

Walk across Pulteney Bridge - widely considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges across the globe. It’s one of the only bridges in the world with shops spanning across both sides

Relax in the rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa

Try a bath bun at the famous Sally Lunn’s Eating House

Get the Bridgerton bug and go on a Bridgerton tour

Take me there

Bath Spa station is 1 hour and 20 minutes by train from London Paddington


We couldn’t not mention the self-styled London-by-the-Sea! In Brighton you get all the benefits of being of a sea breeze, but with a dose of hip that’s often missing from other seaside towns along the south east coast.  

Do all the Brighton classics

Explore the Laines and North Laine – new independent shops, cafes and bars are constantly opening in these cute little shopping streets

Go for drinks on the beach at The Tempest or Fortune of War

Play on the pier – enjoy all the funfair rides and arcade games on the Brighton Palace Pier

Pose at the Brighton Pavilion – a Taj Mahal-esque palace and gardens

Eat fish and chips on the shingles by the sea  

Have a coffee at one of Brighton’s excellent coffee shops, Pelicano and Red Roaster get our vote

Go vintage shopping at Snooper’s Paradise - a vintage & antique haven in the North Laine

Take me there

Brighton is one hour’s train journey from London Victoria and London Bridge


If you’re looking for a historic city with great academia vibes, head to Cambridge. Home to the renowned Cambridge University and less than an hour by train from London, it’s one of the best places to go for a day trip.

The best things to do in Cambridge

Tour the iconic Cambridge University colleges

Go punting on the River Cam

Hire a bike to explore the city (Cambridge is the most bike friendly city in the UK)

Wander the historic streets. Rose Crescent & Magdalene Street are two of the loveliest

Photograph Cambridge’s Mathematical Bridge - one of the city’s best-known landmarks

Stop for coffee & a pistachio pain au chocolat at Bould Brothers

Climb to the top of St Mary’s Church for best views of the city

Take me there

You can get to Cambridge in 50 minutes by train from London Kings Cross station.


Rye is a sweet little medieval town in Sussex, close to the South Coast of England. It’s filled with cobbled streets and quaint cottages, along with lots of cafes, restaurants and cosy pubs - so perfect for a day trip or weekend away.

The best things to do in Rye and beyond

Explore the historic streets (Mermaid Street is a must!!).

Get a cream tea at the Cobbles Tea Room

Visit Rye Castle - an ancient castle that’s now a museum

Go for drinks at The Mermaid Inn

Head to Camber Sands - just a short bus ride away - and enjoy one of England’s loveliest sandy beaches

Take me there

Rye is just over an hour’s train ride from London St Pancras.