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.
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.
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
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
Get a little insider knowledge with a walking tour
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
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
Craft your own tour around the area
Rye is just over an hour’s train ride from London St Pancras.
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