With the complete lockdown being lifted, life is slowly going back to what we now refer to as the “new normal”. What does this mean for our summer 2020 travel plans? As of July 4th, the government has changed their travel advice, and has added exemptions for travelling to specific countries and territories for non-essential trips. Despite this, the Prime Minister has pointed out that UK residents should look to spend their holidays in the country rather than travelling overseas this summer. This will help boost the economy by encouraging local businesses, as well as diminish the risks of Covid-19 spread through international travel.
There are loads of great holidays destinations within the UK, so it’s easy to get on board with the idea of a staycation. Why not make the best of the situation and explore places within the country? Keep reading for our top 4 recommendations for a weekend trip out of London.
If you’re looking for the quintessential English countryside getaway, look no further – The Cotswolds is the perfect destination for you. Located less than a 2-hour drive from London, this destination is an accessible weekend getaway from the city. Tour buses and trains can also take you to the area, but with limited public transport within the Cotswold region, the most convenient option is getting there by car.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cotswold region is known for its unspoilt historic villages, rolling hills and picturesque homes built from the gorgeous Cotswold stone. Upon arrival, you’ll instantly feel as if you had stepped into another era. A relaxing stroll through the quaint, traditional villages is the perfect way to take in everything that this place has to offer.
One of the most notable villages in the region, Bibury, which is known as “The most beautiful village in England”, is not to be missed. It is home to Arlington Row, a lane of traditional stone cottages built in the late 14th century. This row is the most typical Cotswold-area depiction and, you’ve guessed it, one of the most photographed locations in the region.
After exploring the charming, picture-perfect string of villages, head over to Bath, which is located on the south-western edge of the region. This historic city is home to the ancient Roman Baths, which are some of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world. Wandering through these ancient ruins, you’ll learn about the history of the city, and the pivotal role that the natural thermal hot springs played in its development.
Beach getaway? Yes, please! Brighton has long been referred to as “London’s beach”, and with its all-around good vibes and easy accessibility, there’s no doubt that this seaside resort is the perfect sunny getaway from the city. To get there, simply hop on a southbound Southern or Thameslink train, which will get you to Brighton’s city center in less than one hour and a half.
Brighton is the perfect place to relax and unwind – once you get there, your first stop should be its iconic pebbly beach, where you can laze in the sun and go for a dip in the English Channel. From there, you can explore the Palace Pier, one of Brighton’s most famous landmarks. The pier offers games, rides, as well as food & drinks, and has now reopened to the public with new social distancing measures. Nothing says British seaside getaway like enjoying fish and chips on Brighton’s famous pier! Looking for the perfect backdrop? An oceanfront walk from the main beach towards Hove will take you to Brighton’s adorable colourful beach huts.
Brighton will surely win you over with its old-time English seaside charm, but it also has a lot more to offer. It is a colourful and diverse city, with an independent spirit and impressive cultural offering. Despite its small size, Brighton is known as the UK’s LGBT capital – the city boasts an unmatched multicultural and lively vibe. It is a buzzing foodie scene and eclectic art hub that will melt the hipster in all of us. A walk through the city center will take you to some of the best street art in the UK, where you’ll even be able to spot the original location of Banksy’s “Kissing Coppers”.
This city is known for its University, which is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. It’s therefore no surprise that most of the city’s top attractions have some link to the University – the city center is essentially a big campus! Missing student life? A train from London Paddington will take you to Oxford in just under one hour, where you’ll get to enjoy the city’s beautiful architecture and fascinating history.
When you get there, wandering through the city’s cobbled streets and admiring the University’s architecturally splendid campus is a must-do. Take in the tranquil courtyards, grandiose buildings and famed spires that have led to Oxford’s nickname, “The City of Dreaming Spires”. Next up, head over to the University parks, a 70-acre urban jungle in the heart of the city, where you can enjoy a relaxing picnic, and perhaps, watch a game of football, cricket, or even Quidditch!
With the current situation, some of Oxford’s top attractions, such as the Bodleian Library and University Museums, remain closed. Despite this, you can still explore the city and enjoy a nice weekend getaway in Oxford. Luckily, some institutions, such as the University of Oxford Botanic Garden – the oldest botanic garden in the UK – have reopened with new social distancing measures. Make sure you pre-book your visit to this lovely oasis of tranquility.
The Peak District
If it’s an outdoor adventure you’re after, a weekend in The Peak District will leave you feeling fully revitalised and connected with nature. The Peak District National Park covers more than 1000 square kilometers, and is the UK’s first national park. The best way to get from London to the Peak District National Park is by car, but going there by train is also possible. Located a 3-hour drive from London, getting to the Peak District is a bit longer than getting to the destinations mentioned above, but it is well worth the trip. With breathtaking views, rolling hills, underground caverns and crystal clear rivers, it is a must-see for nature lovers.
When you’re surrounded by natural beauty, as you are in the Peak District National Park, one of the best ways to explore is walking. Walking and hiking are some of the most popular activities for visitors in the national park, and there are lots of trails to choose from, with more than 2000 kilometers of footpaths and tracks available. Enough hiking for the weekend? The Peak District offers a plethora of activities. Cycling, fishing, water sports and rock climbing are among the most popular activities that visitors participate in.
If you’re not interested in making this getaway a camping trip, a good base for exploring the Peak District is the charming market town of Bakewell. Well-known for its traditional Bakewell pudding, the village has plenty of lovely eateries and classic English countryside charm.
Where will you be heading this summer? We hope that our city break recommendations will help you decide. If you’re still not comfortable venturing outside the city at the moment, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy your summer in London. From organising picnics in parks to getting started with your summer reading list, our blog offers many ideas on how to make the best of your summer at home.