Between travel bans, lockdown restrictions, and fears about the coronavirus, more and more travel enthusiasts have been embracing the classic staycation to soothe their wanderlust. Luckily for those living in the UK, there is so much natural beauty and historical locations for plenty of options for weekend trips from London.
Once the weather starts to warm up, avid travellers will be looking for city trips and weekend breaks around the English countryside. Recharge your batteries by visiting the old city centres, Roman-time ruins, or walking along extensive walking trails through the countryside and coastline.
1. Historical Bath – a Day Trip from London
As its name implies, a visit to Bath can be one of the most relaxing weekend trips from London – it’s only a 90-minute drive from Paddington Station. In fact, public transportation is even faster than driving, making Bath one of the best weekend trips from London by train.
The local hot springs that give Bath its name have fascinated the city’s people for centuries. From Roman times to the modern-day, people visit Bath for its healing powers and focus on relaxation.
There is still much evidence of Roman baths and great examples of ancient architecture. Don’t miss the Roman bath, Bath Abbey and Thermae Bath Spa.
Whether you want to spend a day in the thermal spa, or would rather explore the historic centre, Although its proximity to London makes it well-suited for a day trip, we can assure you that there is plenty to do in Bath to warrant a weekend-long city break.
2. The Lovely Lake District
The Lake District can be reached by train in just 3 hours from Euston Station in central London, making it a great choice for nature lovers who need a weekend break. You can search the Trainline to find tickets to any of the stations in the Lake District region such as Oxenholme, Windermere, or Grasmere.
The Lake District National Park spans an area of 2,362 square kilometres and was even announced as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2017. It includes the tallest mountain in England, and the largest and deepest natural lakes in the whole country.
Outdoors and active enthusiasts will find a large network of beautiful trails and mountains. Anyone seeking to gain some elevation and stretch their hiking legs will find everything they need right here in the UK. A nice weekend break from London in the Lake District is sure to quench your thirst for more far-flung destinations like Iceland or Switzerland.
For something special, get a bird’s eye view over the region by taking a hot air balloon flight. Or, take a boat cruise on Lake Windermere. Some of the most famous British literary talents also lived in the Lakeland region, and to this day, you can still visit the homes of William Wordsworth or Beatrix Potter.
Because of its proximity to the sea, the weather in the Lake District is generally rainy. So, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather forecast while planning your weekend break.
3. Cotswolds: A Charming Weekend Trip from London
The Cotswolds is a large area known for its hills, medieval villages, and thatched-roof houses. The buildings in the Cotswolds are all made from local limestone, which gives them a warm honey colour.
People love the Cotswolds for the abundance of walking and biking trails that pass through the quaint English villages. The best time to visit the Cotswolds is between June and August, when the lavender is in full bloom. Some say that the lavender fields in the Cotswolds can compete with the famous fields in Provence, France.
Antique shoppers love the Cotswolds for the famous Cirencester Antique and Collector’s market. Every Friday you can browse the markets and discover a large selection of antique treasures and street market stalls.
Regardless of how you spend your weekend, don’t leave Cotswold without trying the famous Cotswold cheese. It is a regional cow’s milk cheese that is flavoured with chives and onions and is made from cow’s milk.
4. Pembrokeshire – The Quintessential Seaside Weekend Break
A bit further afield, Pembrokeshire is popular among tourists from England and Wales since it has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the UK. This region is best suited for a long weekend break from central London, as a train will take about 5 hours 30 minutes.
With historic architecture and spectacular coastline, Pembrokeshire really has something to offer everyone. This region offers excellent food and drink, beautiful beaches, and historic Victorian-era villages. One of the most popular activities in Pembrokeshire is to hike the National Park along the coast. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path makes it accessible for casual pedestrians and serious hikers alike.
Pembrokeshire is also home to several historical architectural sites. Pembroke Castle, Carew Castle, and St. Cathedral David are the main highlights. In Pembrokeshire, there’s even “Stonehenge of Wales”, one of the best Neolithic dolmens that still exists today.
The best way to spend your weekend break in Pembrokeshire is to rent one of the available UK Holiday cottages on the weekends. These days, most cottage owners list their places on booking.com, so you can browse around to find a place that suits your needs.
5. Cornwall – Beautiful and Unique
This county in southwestern England is surrounded by water to the north, south, and east. Cornwall features a proud Celtic culture which makes it one of the best weekend trips from London. Since there is so much to do, we would recommend taking at least a whole weekend to explore all that Cornwall has to offer.
Take a stroll on Land’s End Trail, the most south-west point of England. Cornwall has more than 300 miles of walking trails along the coastline with spectacular cliffs, dunes, and medieval villages.
Cornwall cannot be mentioned without thinking of specific food traditions. Maybe you just want to spend your weekend break as more of a culinary vacation, indulging in Cornwall’s gastronomic pleasures — we’re not judging! From Cornish meat pasties, Cornish Heavy Cake, saffron buns, Cornish ice cream, Cornish fudge, there is more than enough regional specialities to keep you busy! During your weekend break, you might even want to take a cooking class to learn all about how to make traditional Cornish Pasties.
One of the unique places in Cornwall is the Eden Project. This ecological park and educational project site holds the distinction of being the world’s largest indoor rainforest. The section is full of biomes that showcase a number of the most important plants in the world. At night, the biomes are illuminated with colourful light displays and the atmosphere is simply magical.
As you can see, there is no shortage of nice weekend trips from London to make you feel a world away. If you’re looking for more things to do in the UK check out our UK Travel and Backpacking guide, where you’ll also find budgeting tips and advice for how to travel around for cheap.
About the author
Monica is an avid traveler and backpacker who seeks to inspire others to embark on great adventures off the beaten path. Originally from California, she has travelled to over 60 countries, most of which she explored while backpacking or camping.